Cover note of the 9th Edition of the Festival of Sufi Culture:

The Religion of Love. From Rabiaa, Ibn Arabi, Rumi, to the present day…

Love has been a real-life experience, it has come in a variety of forms in life and acts and it has been sung by an unbroken chain of women and men through different cultures.

Love has been recognized as the highest accomplishment of spirituality and faith.

Love for our fellow men, love for the other one, love for the quite different one, however closest to us than our own self.

 This Love is placed by Rabiaa beyond Paradise and Hell, Rumi gives evidence of its fire and devastation (He said: “I was raw, I became cooked, and I am now totally burnt”). Ibn Arabi draws our attention to the fact that Love will forever remain a mystery. Thus he will lay the keys of his soul at the feet of this invisible guide : « Whatever direction my mounts follow, Love is my religion and my faith!”

What remains of this Love nowadays? It is, as Sufis say, an endless ocean and an inexhaustible thirst.  One must turn away from stupid and mortiferous caricatures of religions, and get absorbed into writings, poetry, accounts of experiences and acts that irrigate their heart and spirit. One must seek even further into unspeakable and private experiences that the People of Love exude around them, every day, in the past as today.

Hurried to give explanations about his unreasonableness, Layla’s Majnoun used to reply to his denigrators that life was worth it only for those who are seized by this Love.

An essential question remains, though. How can this energy of love found a “living together”, a society?

And even further, in this extreme diversity of the world, how can it instill more empathy and brotherhood feelings among human beings. We are this year invited to explore these thoughts and exchange our approaches.