Farid Attar's The Conference Of The Birds

1510 Words 7 Pages
Farid Attar in The Conference of the Birds suggests that in order to enlighten an individual, the individual must have an educator who is willing to destroy their Self. Throughout “The Story of Sheikh San’an”, Sheikh San’an is displayed as an exemplary Muslim who follows the Islamic guidelines and is described as the people of Mecca’s “living symbol of belief” (Attar 1984: 68). Additionally, his pious attributes qualify him to be an educator to many people. However, “every man meets problems on the Way” (Attar 1984: 68) and the Sheikh encounters a Christian girl who needs help finding the Way. Throughout The Conference of the Birds, Attar discusses self-annihilation as being the key to finding the Way to the Simorgh. However, in “The story …show more content…
Sheikh San’an, a very mild-mannered and pious Muslim, must experience this as he is educating the Christian girl. Although it may seem like she is causing him to stray from the correct Islamic path, she is actually asking him to sacrifice his faith, which is his Self, and he willingly agrees to help her. Furthermore, once Sheikh San’an has sacrificed his Self, he is able to lead the Christian girl into Islam. Moreover, Attar explains that a student “…[must] fill the bowl with blood not wine – And if [they lack] the heart’s rich blood [they can] take [their educator’s]” (Attar 1984: 67). This theme that an educator must sacrifice something to enlighten their student is similar to “The Allegory of the Cave” in The Republic by Plato where the enlightened individuals must return to the cave to enlighten the others. The enlightened individuals are told that because they are “better and more completely educated than the others, and better able to share in both types of life” (Plato 2004: 214) that they must “grow accustomed to seeing in the dark” (Plato 2004: 214) so that the “city will be awake” (Plato 2004: 214). Socrates’ holds the connotation that the enlightened must share their knowledge and wisdom once they have acquired it. However, they must sacrifice the light and enter the darkness to educate the people of the cave. Ultimately, in The Conference of the Birds Attar teaches, much like Plato, that with an instructor’s decision to teach, they should understand that they must sacrifice in order for their students to

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