Brothers Mohammed Ali Vakil and Mohammed Arif Vakil are the team behind the fabulous graphic novels, collectively known as Sufi Comics. They started off creating short single narrative comics, which they found to reflect the inner dimensions of Qur’anic teachings and the example of the Prophet Muhammad. These early works were eventually collected in 40 Sufi Comics (available on kindle) and published in 2011. They went on to publish Sufi Comics: The Wise Fool of Baghdad in 2013.
The brothers have returned with a beautiful collection of illustrations dedicated to the life and work of the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi. The book includes an introduction t the life of Rumi followed by 11 stories:
The Tattoo Artist
Keep Your Dragon in the Snow
Quarrel about Grapes
Grief is Worth More than the Empire of this World
You are the Macrocosm
Since you are I
These are fairly well-known stories from Rumi’s writing and the addition of the illustration make them easily accessible. The book also includes calligraphic renditions of the Persian original text. The text also includes English translations. After each poem the authors have included Qur’anic verses that they feel reflect the essential teaching of the narrative. While Rumi’s work could certainly stand on its own, these passages contextualize Rumi’s work within the broader Islamic tradition. They are also rendered in both English and Arabic, thus also reveal the beauty of traditional Muslim book culture. Overall, anyone interested in the intellectual history of Islam or contemporary Muslim medias will enjoy Sufi Comics: Rumi. It will also be useful for including Rumi’s work in the classroom in a new and engaging way.
Full disclosure: I will receive a free print copy for writing a review. However, there were no conditions on the review so I was able to discuss it without any constraints.