Book Review: Sufi Comics – Rumi
This review is a slightly different: One thing is that this book is not yet released. Secondly, I get a free print copy for making this review! When I discovered Sufi comics and the great work they were doing to introduce children to spirituality, I immediately ordered a copy of their first book, The Wise Fool of Baghdad, with the hope of donating it to the supplementary Islamic school I volunteer at. I was not disappointed, and neither were the children. I had one student who kept borrowing it from the library, and one of her friends was vying with her to get a chance to borrow it. Even one of the adult volunteers appreciated the lessons it had to give. There’s a lot of Islamic material out there for children, and unfortunately a lot of it is not very good, so this for me was a breath of fresh air.
The Rumi comic illustrates, explains, and details a number of parables and metaphors from the Masnavi, it’s beautifully decorated in the tradition of Persian/Mughal miniatures, but slightly updated in style to be in line with modern comics. As a result, the benefit of the story is not just the lesson in the story to be learnt, but the appreciation children can derive from the artwork and calligraphy that has gone into every page. It’s a very innovative way to encourage Muslim children to tap into our artistic heritage, which they may have never known existed.
Some of the stories are quite complicated compared to the The Wise Fool of Baghdad, as such pre-teen children may struggle to understand some stories without an adult to explain (but even they may struggle to bring Rumi down to Earth!). The verses of Qur’an given at the end of each story really help to put the parable into context, the creators have made it clear in the beginning their objective is to educate from within an orthodox Muslim understanding of Rumi, and the Qur’an verses make sure of that. The Masnavi is indeed even considered an exegesis of the Qur’an, a fact unfortunately lost upon many western readers of Rumi.
I was really happy to see the completed product, and I pray Sufi comics carry on to do the great work they do. As many are aware, in the modern era spirituality is unfortunately seen suspiciously among certain areas of the Muslim community. This is a step to clear those doubts not just within our children, but I can imagine quite a few adults too.
I can’t wait to get my copy so the kids can dig into it. If you want to order your own you can do so here.