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The Prophet described iman, or faith, as such: “Faith is to acknowledge with the heart, to voice with the tongue, and to act with the limbs,” (Chittick 6).

This outlines the hierarchy of bodily domains that human beings consist of: the heart, signifying innermost awareness; the tongue which articulates and expresses; and one’s limbs, the source of action.

The art of poetry incorporates all three of these, for one cannot compose a poem without the cognizance of the heart, the use of speech or the physical use of limbs to write out the words.

Poetry channels the three spheres of the body so that awareness, thought and activity fuse to create one product.

Beyond Words: Chronicling Spiritual Ecstasy and Experience in Sufi Poetry

Kate Van Brocklin 

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