The Conference of the Birds is a Sufi poem written by Farid al-Din ‘Attar in the 12th century, that describes a group of birds’ journey towards mount Kafkuh: an Iranian mythological mountain that represents the world’s highest point.
Since its emergence, this work has exerted (and continuous to do so) a great influence in Islamic mysticism. The poem describes the Sufi path towards enlightenment through an allegory: the search launched by the birds towards the end of the world in order to find their king. They travel, led by a hoopoe, to find Simorg, king of the birds. From all those that begin the trip, only thirty reach the final destination. Once they are there, they discover that the king is actually within themselves.
Since its emergence, this work has exerted (and continuous to do so) a great influence in Islamic mysticism.
The travel of the birds describes the different stages of spiritual experience, while the birds (from the proud falcon to the greedy owl) represent the different human archetypes, who have their own, very human, reasons for not following the spiritual path. The story intertwines amusing anecdotes and satires with passages of great mystic beauty.