Saints and Spirituality in Medieval Islam | Newberry

Saints and Spirituality in Medieval Islam

Led by Judith M Wilks
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Six sessions. Wednesdays, November 3- December 15. Class will not meet on November 24.



For the Fall 2021 term, we’re offering a mix of virtual and in-person classes. Although we are still primarily virtual, you will find a smaller selection of in-person seminars in the schedule. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. Registration opens on September 1st at 9am (Central time). Registration will take place through our online platform, Learning Stream.

Seminar Description

In this six-session course, we will sample five works by three major figures in medieval Islamic mysticism: Farid al-Din Attar, Jalal al-Din Rumi, and Yunus Emre. Using high-quality English translations of the Persian and Turkish sources, we will explore these mystics’ different approaches to spirituality and the quest for nearness to the divine. While our main emphasis will be on the content of their work, we will also devote attention to literary form. Finally, we’ll observe present-day performances based on these poems, exploring how their universal spiritual insights continue to resonate all over the world centuries after the authors lived.

Six sessions. Registration – $230

Judith Wilks holds a PhD in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from the University of Chicago. She has taught Persian, Turkish, and Islamicate literature courses at Northwestern University and has published numerous translations from Persian, Turkish, and Tajik, as well as literary articles.

Materials List


  • Digital Course Packet.

First Reading:

  • There is no first reading assignment..

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration Information

Registration opens at 9 am (CST) on Wednesday, September 1st . Newberry Associates members at the Literati level and above will have access to early registration beginning August 25th at 10am. Learn more about membership benefits and becoming a Newberry Associate.

Please note: The Newberry is moving to a new registration system called Learning Stream. This will simplify the registration process for participants, instructors, and staff. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.