International Journal of Literature and Arts

Special Issue

The Woman as a Sufi Motif in Modern Arabic Poetry

  • Submission Deadline: Apr. 30, 2022
  • Status: Submission Closed
  • Lead Guest Editor: Jamal Assadi
About This Special Issue
The modern Arab poets have employed the motif of woman in their works to tell about various inferences. Indeed, in many works, the woman has played the role of an objective formula through which the modern Arab poets conveyed his idea as if the woman were a mask. In fact, the woman is shown as a wide-ranging icon that helps the writer attain great ambitions and change the world around him. This image of the woman is influenced by the female character as depicted by medieval Ṣūfī writers who regarded the woman as one of the major foundations of their writing. The medieval Ṣūfī writers’ belief is best compressed in an amazing statement attributed to the medieval Ṣūfī thinker, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn al-‘Arabī, (26 July 1165 – 16 November 1240) who says, "In order for a man to reach the absolute, that is, God, he must go through femininity” (Iben Arabī 2001 36). Consequently, Ṣūfī poets would select their female characters, give them glamorous names, and make them the target of their writings. The content of the Ṣūfī practices centered on love and craving. They considered their created woman their earthly mistress who aided them to reach their supreme lover, God. Take for example ‘Aisha created by `Umar al-Khayyām (1048-1131) and 'Ayn ash-Shams, Nazzām, to whom Iben Arabī dedicated his poetry.
These Ṣūfī rituals have profoundly impacted modern-day Arab poets who employed the same notion about femininity in their literary works. The list of modern poets who made use of Ṣūfī practices including women as Ṣūfī motifs is lengthened and includes notable figures like the Iraqi poet Abdul Wahāb al-Bayyātī, the Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwīsh and the Egyptian free verse poet, editor, playwright and essayist Salāḥ Abdel Sabūr (1931-1981).
Scholars interested in this topic are requested to study the works of modern Arab poets to answer why these writers are attracted to the Ṣūfī image of woman and how the Ṣūfī treatment of women in modern Arabic literature offers new insights into the dynamic potential of the motif and a new critical approach.


  1. Modern Arabic Poetry
  2. The Ṣūfī image of woman
  3. Modern critical theory
  4. Medieval Ṣūfī writers
  5. Ṣūfī motifs Mahmud Darwīsh
  6. Ṣūfī motifs and Abdul Wahāb al-Bayyātī
  7. Ṣūfī motifs and Ṣalāḥ Abdel Ṣabūr
Lead Guest Editor
  • Jamal Assadi

    Department of English, Sakhnin College: Academic College for Teacher Education, Sakhnin, Israel

Guest Editors
  • Mahmoud Naamneh

    Achva Academic College, Arugot, Israel

Published Articles
  • The Textual Dialogue Between Adonis and Al-Niffarī in Adonis's Poem “The Transformations of the Lover”

    Fadi Ma’louf

    Issue: Volume 10, Issue 2, March 2022
    Pages: 74-81
    Received: Feb. 09, 2022
    Accepted: Mar. 03, 2022
    Published: Mar. 15, 2022
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20221002.12
    Abstract: This article deals with the textual dialogue between Adonis (born 1930) and al-Niffarī (died in 965 AD) in the poem, “The Transformations of the Lover,” from Adonis’s poetry collection The book of Transformations and Migration in the Day and Night Regions (1965) and reveals Adonis’ melting of the mystic text of al-Niffarī in his own text. First, th... Show More
  • Şūfī Language and the Opening of Signification: al-Ḥallāj as an Example

    Maḥmūd Na’āmneh

    Issue: Volume 10, Issue 1, January 2022
    Pages: 59-67
    Received: Dec. 12, 2021
    Accepted: Jan. 26, 2022
    Published: Feb. 16, 2022
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20221001.18
    Abstract: The present paper studies the use of the Şūfī al-Ḥusayn b. Manşūr al-Ḥallāj as a mask in modern Arabic poetry, specifically the influence this figure exerted on Adūnīs (‘Alī Aḥmad Sa’īd; b. 1930), ‘Abd al-Wahāb al-Bayyātī (1926-1999) and Şalāḥ ‘Abd al-Şabūr (1931-1981). It examines how these poets used al-Ḥallāj’s mask in order to express contempor... Show More
  • The Manifestation of Woman as a Şūfī Motif in Modern Arabic Poetry: Abdul Wahāb al-Bayyātī as an Example

    Jamal Assadi

    Issue: Volume 10, Issue 1, January 2022
    Pages: 44-50
    Received: Dec. 12, 2021
    Accepted: Jan. 13, 2022
    Published: Jan. 26, 2022
    DOI: 10.11648/j.ijla.20221001.16
    Abstract: The contemporary Arab poets have used the motif of women in their works to convey a variety of messages. Indeed, in many poetical works, the woman has played the role of an objective formula through which the modern Arab poet conveyed his idea, as if the woman were a mask. In fact, the woman is shown as a wide-ranging icon that helps the poet attai... Show More