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’s research has been concerned primarily with medieval Sufi texts written in Arabic and Persian. His doctoral dissertation was a literary analysis of the Sufi tabaqat genre, from al-Sulami’s (d. 1021) foundational Arabic work to the Persian collection by Jami (d. 1492). The tabaqat genre is the main hagiographical genre in Sufism. Works of this genre structure the past by means of biographies of predecessors, which are usually grouped together chronologically as “generations” (tabaqat). This dissertation investigated the functions of this genre in the processes of redefining the identity of the Sufi community. It was published as  The Biographical Tradition in Sufism ([Routledge] Curzon, 2001).

BTSClass Islam

After the completion of this book, Jawid Mojaddedi began to focus on the other prolific genre of the period, the Sufi treatise (or “manual”). Works of this genre contain theoretical expositions and rules of conduct, rather than biographies. His research into this genre produced his article about the drunken/sober typology depicted in tenth and eleventh-century Sufi texts and associated with two representatives of Sufism from the ninth century, Abu Yazid and Junayd (BSOAS 66/1, 2003), as well as the bulk of the chapter on Sufism in Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature (Routledge, 2003). He is also drawing on that research for his current study of the famous Sufi poet Rumi, which aims to analyze his teachings in their historical and intellectual context for the first time.

It was soon after moving to New Jersey in 1998 that Jawid Mojaddedi decided to pursue his longstanding interest in the poetry of Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273) by translating his magnum opus, the Masnavi.  This is a poem of some 26,000 verses divided into six books. Jawid Mojaddedi’s translation, The Masnavi: Book One, was published in 2004 by Oxford University Press as an Oxford World’s Classics edition. It was awarded the 2004 Lois Roth Prize for excellence in translation of Persian literature by the American Institute of Iranian Studies. His translation of The Masnavi: Book Two has recently been published by Oxford University Press (scroll down for cover image).

Masnavi One

The Masnavi is a didactic poem written for disciples who preferred poetry to prose treatises about Sufism, and it draws heavily on the works it substitutes. Jawid Mojaddedi has therefore decided to combine his earlier research on the classical manuals and his current interest in Rumi’s Masnavi, in order to help identify Rumi’s place in the Sufi tradition. That is to say, his research is now concerned with comparing Rumi’s teachings with that of his predecessors in order to assess their influences on him and to highlight his own original contributions to the tradition. Like the Masnavi itself, this will be a multi-volume project. He is currently preparing a monograph for the Religion series of Oxford University Press, tentatively entitled “Friend of God", which will examine and contextualize Rumi’s descriptions of sainthood (walaya) in relation to prophethood (nubuwwa), the revelation of saints, their relationship to the religious law, and Rumi’s own perspectives on the Sufi saints of the past.

            Masnavi 2