About the From Rabia to Rumi course
Encountering Islam through Sufi tales and poetry
Rumi’s masterpiece, the Masnavi, is among the most celebrated works of spiritual poetry in the world. Even if poetry is not your “thing”, you probably know more lines or quotes from Rumi than you think. And, even if you have not come across them, the tales and legends revolving around Rabia are foundational to the story of Sufism, the mystical tradition within Islam.
Together, the stories about Rabia and Rumi’s majestic poetry offer valuable insights into lesser-known aspects of Islam, including gender dynamics, social justice, and interfaith relations. We can also explore some correspondences between Rabia and Rumi and similar figures in other faith traditions, such as Julian of Norwich or John of the Cross in Christianity.
In this course, our learning journey will focus on reading and enjoying some of the best-loved poetry associated with Rabia and Rumi. We will also reflect on how these poetic encounters can enrich spiritual sharing and learning within and between different faith traditions.
About the Tutor
Dr Shanon Shah is director of Faith for the Climate, a UK-based charity that aims to encourage, equip, and inspire people of faith to take effective action to address the climate crisis. He writes and publishes widely on the intersections of religion, popular culture, and social justice.
He is also Tutor in Islam at the University of London’s Divinity Programme and conducts research at the Information Network Focus on Religious Movements (Inform), affiliated with King’s College London. He holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from King’s College London.
Now based in London, he was a multiple award-winning singer-songwriter, playwright, and journalist in his native Malaysia.