The city of the dead, or Qarafa, located in the heart of Cairo, is, unlike most Cairo’s neighbourhoods, clean and tranquil. It is the burial place of many historic Egyptian figures, including the great poet Omar Ibn El-Farid.
Ibn El-Farid, son of El-Farid in Arabic, or Sidi Omar as known locally, is one of the greatest Egyptian mystic poets. To this day his poems still read beautifully, including his masterpiece The Sufi Way, which is also the longest mystic poem ever written.
Born in March 1182, Ibn El-Farid was brought up to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a legal advocate. El-Farid in Arabic means he who advocates women’s rights in Shari’a or Islamic legislation. (...)
Many historians mention in chronicles and biographies that Ibn El-Farid was able to compose more than 45 verses at once and that he was able to enter long states of ecstasy that could continue for 10 or more days. During these states he would not eat, drink or sleep, insisting that he was being nourished spiritually.
In Sufi history many stories about Ibn El-Farid and his miracles, known as karamat, are preserved and still find an audience eager to believe in his spirituality. One of the legends says that Ibn El-Farid was protected during his spiritual retreats by two lions send to him by God, while other tales mention special mystical and metaphysical abilities