Al-Farahidi book street

Basra: Sufism and religious critique top 2024 reading lists

Al-FARAHIDI STREET, BASRA, 5 January – The first week of the new year in Basra’s Al-Farahidi Street has seen a notable increase in demand for Sufi literature, particularly works by Jalaluddin Rumi and books on divine love. Traditional religious texts have seen a decline in popularity, according to publishers.

Salam Abu Akram, a bookstore owner, told 964media, “This Friday, we saw good demand for Sufi books, especially those of Jalaluddin Rumi. His writings on divine love are popular among the youth. Notable among these are ‘Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s Rubaiyat’, ‘Fihi Ma Fihi’ [In it what’s in it], and ‘Seeking the Sun’, selections from Shams-i Tabrizi’s Diwan.”

Tawfiq Al-Jazaeri, owner of Al-Jazaeri bookstore, noted, “Al-Farahidi Street’s bookstores have many sought-after titles, but most people ask for novels, self-development books, religious criticism, and poetry.” He highlighted the increasing demand for Sadik Jalal Al-Azm’s ‘Critique of Religious Thought’ as one of the prominent titles in religious criticism.

Sajjad Abdul Razzaq, another bookstore owner, commented, “People have different tastes. Some ask for religious books, others for self-help books, in addition to novels. This week, the demand for religious books is very low, with only a few asking for them for specific information.” He listed ’30 Days with God,’ ‘The Great Secrets of Death,’ ‘Because You Are Allah,’ ‘Journey to the Seventh Heaven,’ ‘I Missed Prayer,’ ‘In the Prophet’s Footsteps,’ and ‘The Search for Happiness’ as some of the notable religious books.

“Sometimes the simplicity and charm of stories and novels attract readers, like ‘Bamboo Stalk,’ ‘Memory of the Body,’ ‘Black Suits You,’ ‘The Harafish,’ ‘The Tantouria,'” he added.