Civilization of Paradise is both a collection of Qur'an inspired poetry and a fascinating record of intimate dialogs with a Sufi master in Damascus. Poetry, in the case of Asad Ali, is a way of life and prayer. In the state of consciousness from which he speaks, we become the companions of great beings: the Timeless Desert, the Infinitely Compassionate, the Supplicating Earth, the Universal Human. Each of these poems is related to a Surah of the Qur'an, as ted below the title of each poem.
Assad Ali is an eminent Islamic thinker and a living spiritual master in the storied tradition of such great Sufis as Ibn Arabi and Rumi. He received spiritual training in several Sufi schools, including the Shadhiliyyah, Qadiriyyah, and Riffaiyyah schools. He is the author of many books, most notably In the Lights of the Quran, a 25-volume multilevel poetic expression of the Quran in accordance with the seven spiritual stations of the human being. He is a former a professor of literature, linguistic methodology, and rhetoric at Damascus University, Syria and has written more than a thousand papers and research studies and is widely published in Arabic magazines and newspapers. Kabir Helminski is a Shaikh of the Mevlevi Order of Sufis, which traces its inspiration to Jelaluddin Rumi. He and his wife founded and now direct the Threshold Society, a nonprofit educational foundation that has developed programs to provide a structure for practice and study within Sufism and spiritual psychology. He has translated many volumes of Sufi literature, including the works of Rumi, and is the author of two books on Sufism. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, USA.