The Middle East Institute is pleased to host Dr. Hasan Aziz for an evening of poetry reading and conversation about his recent book, Kalaam-e-Arifaan, a compilation of iconic Sufi poems that have been widely read and put to music through the ages.
The spread of fundamentalism in recent times has given rise to a yearning in the Indian subcontinent and Persia for Islam to return to its spiritual and mystical roots as expressed in Sufism. Sufi saints have embraced the coexistence of Islam with other religions, and through a search for common humanity, they preach a message of mutual understanding, spirituality and social harmony.
Kalaam-e-Arifaan has been compiled for those who are unfamiliar with Sufi and mystical poetry, but are keen to understand. The book presents a vast collection of poems with translation and commentary in English.
A wine and cheese reception will take place in the Middle East Institute's garden from 6:00-6:15pm. The poetry reading and book talk will begin at 6:15pm.
Hasan Aziz has had a lifelong exposure to Sufi poetry and thought. He was formally trained in Indian classical music and sitar from a young age, but had to discontinue the practice to pursue his medical education. Dr. Aziz is currently, the Emeritus Professor of Neurology at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Karachi, Pakistan. His lifelong passion for classical music, especially Qavaali, and Sufi poetry has remained with him, nevertheless.
Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and served as analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1999 to 2003. He is currently a scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC. At Illinois, Dr. Weinbaum served for fifteen years as the director of the Program in South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. His research, teaching, and consultancies have focused on the issues of national security, state building, democratization, and political economy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the author or editor of six books and has written more than 100 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Weinbaum was awarded Fulbright Research Fellowships for Egypt in 1981-82 and Afghanistan in 1989-90, and was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in 1996-97. He has been the recipient of research awards from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, the American Political Science Association, and other granting agencies.