Muhammad al-Nawaji bin Hasan bin Ali bin Othman|
Poet and mystic
Muhammad al-Nawaji bin Hasan bin Ali bin Othman was also known as Shams al-Din, "Sun of Religion." His nickname, and all indications about him, suggest he was a pious and respected citizen of medieval Cairo. A native of the city, he studied law there under the master al-Damiri. In later years al-Nawaji taught the Hadith (The Traditions, taught by the prophet Muhammad), at the Islamic colleges of al-Husayniyya and al-Jamaliyya, and led the mystic prayer sessions, which suggests he was a Sufi.
His devotional life, which included two pilgrimages to Mecca, did not prevent him from immersing himself in intellectual occupations. At that time Cairo, under Turkish rule, was experiencing a period of freedom as well as great opulence. As a Sunni of the Shafiite rite, al-Nawaji would have been tolerant and open to intellectual debate. This is borne out by his studies of natural history and his writings, a book of poems which opens a door onto his other interests, and reveals that to an educated man of his day the erotic was inseparable from the divine, as is evident in his poems.
You can find a page devoted to gis poems in our Collection of Homoerotic Poetry.