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Of Love and Longing

Diede Farhosh-van Loon defended her thesis on 18 October 2016

Diede Farhosh-van Loon
18 October 2016
Leiden Repository

Of love and longing : a study of Ayatollah Khomeini's mystical poetry and its reception in Iran and abroad

This research has been conducted in response to the mystical poems that Ayatollah Khomeini composed during his life. His poems contain multiple mystical topics such as wine, love, annihilation and adoration of non-Islamic figures. In various poems Ayatollah Khomeini rejects the Kaʿba, the Holy House of God in Mecca. How to interpret these unorthodox poems by the hand of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran? How to explain the paradox of his personality? His poems are also highly interesting because of their biographical and political elements, such as his references to the Iran-Iraq war. The main question of this research is how to interpret Ayatollah Khomeini’s mystical poetry. Are his poems the expressions of a convinced mystic, or did he copy this poetic framework for other purposes? How to interpret his poems in which he rejects Islamic institutions, such as the Kaʿba in Mecca? Is this topic merely a classical metaphor or does it reflect the personal problems he had with Saudi Arabia? And finally, how did his opponents and his followers respond to his poetry?

Supervisor: Prof. P.M. Sijpesteijn.
Co-supervisor: dr. A.A. Seyed Gohrab

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