2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Sufism as a Model for the Migrant Condition in Rushdie's Satanic Verses
John E. Fausz
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The study of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses has been linked so concretely with the controversy that has surrounded it, that in most cases a deeper examination of its spiritual core is precluded. There is, however, enmeshed in the novel, what can be seen as a marked influence of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, from which the novel derives an ambivalent spirituality that undermines the arguments of its controversy. By reading the novel through this lens, the main characters, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, should be seen as composite migrant everymen and represent, in their divergent mutations into an angel and a demon, a mystical manifestation of the complementary forces of good and evil. This paper will illuminate the ways in which elements of Sufism are used as motifs in the Satanic Verses. Additionally, the Sufi dimension of the novel, as this paper will argue, allows the reader to come closer to fully understanding the complex spirituality of the Satanic Verses.

Keywords: Salman Rushdie, Islam, Sufism, Mysticism, The Satanic Verses

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 41-1
Location: OP 2111
Time: 1:15 pm

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