On Monday, April 20, 2021 ECO Cultural Institute hosted an international webinar on Attar Nishapuri titled “Attar in the Horizon of Literature and Poetry of the ECO Region”, with the participation of researchers and university professors to consider the literary significance of legendary Iranian poet and Sufi mystic Attar Neishaburi.
According to the ECO Cultural Institute, Mr. Sarvar Bakhti, the president of this international organization, while welcoming the participants, said: “Attar has written poetry in the spiritual world, which belongs to the tradition of mysticism with its wisdom and world. It is difficult to enter the spiritual world of a mystic like Attar without understanding this wisdom.”
Mr. Bakhti further emphasized: “Today, the need to pay attention to the teachings of Attar and other great figures of culture and literature is felt more than before, and it is necessary to use practice mystical teachings of culture and literature.”
Asghar Dadbeh, a university professor and a lasting figure in mystical literature, elaborated the theory of “Unity of existence in Attar’s view”, saying that it is thought that Ibn Arabi was the father of the unity of existence. “The unity of existence” is an ontological and cosmological concept and its primary sources existed in Khorasan and Attar has thoroughly explored this concept in poetic language before Ibn Arabi."
Dadbeh added: “Mantiq-ut-Tayr (The Conference of the Birds) is a complete course of philosophy in which, in addition to special literary values, the issues of methodology, cosmology, ontology and epistemology are discussed from a mystical perspective.”
Sharif-Murad Israfilnia, a professor at the National University of Tajikistan, appreciated the initiative of Sarvar Bakhti and spoke about the influence of Darwish Nasser Bukharaei, the famous poet of the eighth century AH from Attar Nishapuri. He acknowledged that Attar is one of the greatest mystical poets who influenced the poets after him: "Attar Nishapuri and Nasser Bukharaei are the representatives of Khorasan School of mysticism and Nasser Bukharaei, like Attar, has benefited from both theoretical and practical mysticism."
He further added: "Nasser mysticism is the romantic mysticism of Khorasan. Nasser is a follower of Attar in matters of the principles, and the main theme of his mysticism is love. Nasser Bukharaei’s influence on Attar’s poetry can be seen both in terms of structure and more on content."
Seyedeh Shokufeh Akbarzadeh, writer and literary researcher, said in a speech that all Persian-speakers of the world and the culture-loving people of Iran are inheritors of Attar: "The people of Afghanistan are interested in mysticism and Attar Nishapuri’s works, in print and manuscripts are available in the country."
Akbarzadeh went on to explain the various manuscripts of Attar’s works in Afghanistan and acknowledged that there are more than forty copies of his works in the National Archives of Afghanistan. Introducing the book “Sufism in Contemporary Afghanistan”, she discussed the history of mysticism and mystical principles in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that manuscripts in Afghanistan would be scientifically cataloged so that they would be available for researchers and also through the expansion of joint cultural and literary conferences, the scientific treasures of the region should be introduced as much as possible."
Fatima Fayyaz, Professor at Lahore University, Pakistan, was another speaker at the webinar, who said that Attar’s works fascinated Sufis and the great scholars of the subcontinent, and that his poems had been considered by religious schools in the region for centuries. He has been an inspiration to the public in this region, adding: “A brief look at the list of manuscripts in the subcontinent shows that Attar`s most celebrated works are Pandnameh, Tazkirat al-Awliya and Mantiq-ut-Tayr, and the history of some of them date back to the eighth century."
Fayyaz went on to explain Attar’s ideology in the Sufi circles and that reading and interpreting his works would open a new horizon before the readers.