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Poetry Month 2023: Radical Love

Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition is a stunning collection that showcases the love poetry and mystical teachings at the heart of the Islamic tradition. Accurately and sensitively translated by leading scholar of Islam Omid Safi, the writings of Jalal al‑Din Rumi can be read alongside passages by Kharaqani, ‘Attar, Hafez of Shiraz, Abu Sa‘id‑e Abi ’l‑Khayr, and other key Muslim mystics.

During Poetry Month 2023, enjoy excerpts on our blog from a variety of poets published by Yale University Press.

My Only Shame

My Only Shame

is this

On the Day of Judgement

I won’t have sinned


to match

the enormity

of Your forgiveness


This is Love!


This is love

—to soar towards the heavens

To tear a hundred veils

in every breath

To tear a hundred viels

at the beginning

To travel in the end

without a foot

I said:

“O my heart

may it for you be blessed

To enter

in the circle of the lovers

To look from far beyond


what the eye

cannot see

O soul,

from where comes

this new breath?

O heart

from where comes

this heavy throbbing?

O bird,

speak now

the language of the birds.”


Not This, Not That

Both This and That

I will write you a book on Radical Love

provided you do not bifurcate it

into Divine Love

and Human Love


Love Beyond Death

Radical Love is nothing

but heart-shattering grace


but the expansion of heart

and guidance

The masters of law

offer no lessons

on love

Religious law is

relevant only until death

Love is for all eternity



Omid Safi, professor of Islamic studies at Duke University and a columnist for On Being, is a frequent commentator on Islam. He has published numerous books, including Memories of Muhammad.

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