restricted access How “God Becomes a Lover”: Sufi Poetry and the Finitude of Desire in Kurdistan
Abstract

Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, this article tracks the imbrication of ordinary and mystical desire in the life of a Muslim man who disavows pietistic forms of ethical striving. It examines the way tropes of desire from Sufi poetry affect everyday life and desire in ordinary relationships with friends and kin. Revising the notion of the “infinity of desire,” which explains the traction of the paradigmatically mystical figures of lover and beloved in pious frameworks, the article argues that the finitude of desire in relation to intimate others in everyday life provides one context in which these figures, and Sufi poetry more generally, may become attractive to contemporary Muslims.


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