Shakespeare As Sufi
In a paper to be presented at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre next month, Dr. Martin Lings will propose a new theory about the Bard–that he may have been a Sufi.
Lings argues that the guiding principles of Sufi thought are evident in Shakespeare’s writing. The plays, he believes, depict a struggle between the dawning modernist world and the traditional, mystical value system. And, like the Sufis, the playwright is firmly on the side of tradition and spiritualism. (…) The famous line of Prospero’s ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on’ is a complete fit, he claims, adding that King Lear’s words also eerily echo Sufi ideas when he tells his faithful daughter: ‘Upon such sacrifices, my Cordelia, the gods themselves throw incense.’ Lings makes the point that the Bard is ‘quite at home’ with ‘Gods’ in the plural.
Lings, who was once in charge of Koranic manuscripts at the British Museum, is also the author of Muhammad: His Life Based on The Earliest Sources, an excellent biography of the Prophet that I would highly recommend.
Observer link via Moby.