Heighten the Mind
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The Story of a Miracle
Hāshem is a young man from a well-to-do Sunni family, who falls in love with Rihanna (who is from a poor but honorable Shī‘a family) when she walks into his jewelry shop one morning. Hāshem wants more than anything to marry Rihanna, but their different faiths prevent them from being able to do so. Rihanna has had a dream that prophecies the identity of the person she will marry; but it will take a miracle for the seemingly impossible situation to come to a satisfying resolution.
Set in 14th century Arabia and based on a true event, this gripping story uses suspense and intrigue to shed light on fundamental theological themes and intellectual and practical concerns that are relevant to today’s readers and to the modern era.
Sheikh Mozaffar Salari was born in February 1963 in Yazd, an ancient city in south central Iran. He started writing fiction and stories for children as a teenager, and worked in various editorial capacities in his early career. His most successful novel Rihanna's Dream is an example of the writing style which he has become famous for, which is one that fuses romantic themes with religious ones. Rihanna's Dreambecame an instant best-seller, undergoing over a hundred print runs. It was nominated and short-listed for the most prestigious literary prize in Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran Book of the Year, as well as being awarded the top prize in many other competitions. Sheikh Salari’s fiction and outstanding cultural contributions were selected for special recognition in 2004 by the 10th Poetry and Fiction Congress of Seminary Students.
With the recommendation of the Council for Public Culture and the subsequent decree of the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Sheikh Salari was appointed a member of the policy-making board responsible for the production of books for children and young adults, where he supervised the drafting of the board’s policy guidelines. In addition to his responsibilities as the cultural and artistic director of the Office for the Propagation of Islamic Teachings of the Seminary at Qom, as well as his activities as a highly successful novelist, Sheikh Salari is also the editor of Āfarīneh, a literary and creative fiction quarterly. Additionally, he is engaged in a major project of the translation of and commentary on the Quran for children. Another of the projects that he is supervising is a thematic and alphabetical encyclopedia of the Quran for children and young adults.
Sheikh Salari wrote his first novel, Elizabeth’s Travels, when he was in middle school. The influence of the writings of Charles Dickens is clearly visible in the book, which is about the adventures of an English girl who sails from England to Australia. During the years of the Iran-Iraq war, Sheikh Salari served on the war front, where he wrote down and published his observations of the battlefields in a format suitable for children. Sheikh Salari is the first cleric in Iran who is also a critically acclaimed screenwriter, having written a screenplay with a religious theme in 1996 which won a cinematic award. In addition to his various best-selling novels, Sheikh Salari has also written a book entitled Heading to the Ocean in a Row Boat, which is a journal of a visit in 2007 of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khāmeneī to Yazd Province.
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