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Kurdish poets throughout history: Mawlawi Tawagozi

Mawlawi Tawagozi (1806-1882), also known as Mawlawi, is an Ismalic mystic and poet from the 19th century.


Mawlawi was born in Iran into a family of famous theologians, including the renouned scholar and mystic Abu Bakr b. Heayat-Allah Hosayni Kordi. 

His father ran a madrasa in Iraqi Kurdistan and Mawlawi himself attended various madrases over the course of his studies. 

After completing his education, Mawlawi became very interested in the social life of his region. Curious about Sufism, he joined the Naashbandi and received mentoring from Sufi Sheikhs around him. 

Statue of Mawlawi in Sulaymaniyah

Mawlawi’s poetry

Mawlawi had multiple sources of inspiration for his poetry. When his wife, Katun ‘Anbar, died in front of him, he wrote about the painful experience of losing and grieving her. 

He was a prolific writer, his favourite genre was the ghazal. Mawlawi took inspiration from famous poets such as Hafez and Rumi, who he had grown up reading. Nonetheless, Mawlawi remained loyal to the Gorani literary traditions. 

Poetry extract

Here, we have a small extract from Mawlawi’s Aqiday Mardia (The Approved Aqeedah). The full poem is 2450 verses long, and it offers the reader a journey through the field of Islamic theology – with Sufi language and feelings spread throughout. 

The poem was written in Sorani, although – as many classical Kurdish poets do – Farsi and Arabic is also used throughout the poem. 

The extract here is taken from a discussion of “The Night Journey of the Prophet”. Mawlawi is responding to people sayin the telegraph was greater, or more important, than the Prophet’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem:

هەی تەل! هەی نەی کەی پێی گەی هەی نەی خۆی
وەک ماری زامدار هەر پێچدا لە خۆی
فەرقیان هەی فام ئەهلی زەمانە
هەر لە سەر زەمین تا ئاسمانە

Hey line, it is not for you to reach it, you will not
Even if like a wounded snake you coil yourself
Their difference, O sound-minded people of this age,
Is like the difference between the earth and heaven

Extract from Aqiday Mardia, Mawlawi (1806-1882). Translated by Ikram Hawramani.

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