*    Majnun: the Islamic literary figure who falls in love with Leila—his social superior—and becomes a “vagabond” searching for her. Towards the end of his life he meets her again but, unable to recognize, denies her, so different the Leila in his mind has become from the actual person. This denial (“you are not Leila”) is the step from the earthly to spiritual love—the Sufi, mystic transformation.

†    Leila: the woman Majnun loves.

**   Alif: Alif is the Turkish version of the Hebrew Alef, which in the Kabbalah is the letter for God, for infinity. “Saying Alif Alif” is also an expression used by Turkish poets to describe the allure (eda) of the lover’s walk. The same allure is also in the eda (melodic essence) of a Turkish poem. In other words, the infinity of God, the lover’s beauty and the poetic essence are described by the same word.
       The Jewish mathematician Georg Cantor in the 19th century chose Alef to denote transfinite sets in his mathematics of the continuum (infinity)

‡    Hadj: One of the five virtues of Islam, requiring every faithful to visit Mecca at least once in life.