This book explores how Sufis approach their faith as Muslims, upholding an Islamic worldview, but going about making sense of their religion through the world in which they exist, often in unexpected ways. Using a phenomenological approach, the book examines Sufism as lived experience within the Muslim lifeworld, focusing on the Muslim experience of Islamic history. It draws on selected case studies ranging from classic Sufism to Sufism in the contemporary era mainly taken from biographical and hagiographical data, manuscript texts, and treatises. In this way, it provides a revisionist approach to theories and methods on Sufism, and, more broadly, the category of mysticism.
The material in The Nature of the Sufi Path consists of 70 commentaries on a book entitled Sufism: A Short Introduction by Professor William C. Chittick. Many, if not most, of the paragraphs that comprise the 163 pages (preface plus text) of Professor Chittick’s book contain problems, errors, misleading statements, and/or incorrect understandings concerning Islam, in general, and the Sufi path, in particular. This is both surprising and disturbing since the author is someone who, apparently, enjoys a considerable reputation in North America -- and, perhaps, elsewhere in the world -- as an expert on, and scholar of, the Sufi mystical tradition. I do not claim that what I say in this book is a definitive, exhaustive, ‘incapable-of-being-improved-upon’ treatment of the Sufi path. Rather, my hope is that the present book might move a person closer to the truth concerning the nature of that path than Professor Chittick’s aforementioned introduction to Sufism does and, as such, would represent an improvement over his work.
Over the centuries, religion has inspired some of civilization's most beautiful poetry, and certain Persian Muslims, the Sufi, have created intricately wrought poems celebrating peace and harmony. The world is a beautiful garden of mystery when viewed through the eyes of the Sufi. Each poem, most from the 1200's, is clearly and fully explained in its historical, religious, political, and spiritual context. Written to propagate tranquility and harmony through a better understanding of an important religion and its impact on literature, Garden of the Sufi is a lavishly thorough exploration of Sufi poetry and philosophy.
THE PYSCHOLOGY OF SUFISM is a guide to help the reader understand the nature of man and the obstacles to becoming a true human being. Within this context, the symbolic dream world is discussed in some detail, and how it applies to everyday life, the book also discusses the realms of the Heart, the Spirit, the Inner Consciousness and the Innermost Consciousness.
An unparalleled exploration of Sufism as it is practised around the world, describing meetings with today's enlightened teachers as well as including wonderfully inspiring translations of the great Sufi masters of the past. Ultimately, this book acts as a guide to the Sufi path and offers wise insight into the meaning and purpose of life. A compelling view of Sufi history together with vivid personal remembrances of living mystics. This is an inspiring and at the same time beautifully subtle book, with light-filled insights on every page." – Saadi Shakur Chishti, author of The Sufi Book of Life The Sufi path described in this book leads the seeker past ordinary states of consciousness towards a new experience of infinitude that is the source of the universe. In this stage there is no duality or otherness, but instead infinitude, the Original Oneness, from which all dualities and attributes emanate. The book is at once an autobiography, a didactic treatise and a literary opus full of wonderful translations of the words of earlier Sufis, as well as the author's own poetry. It describes Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri’s life quest to connect today’s world with classical times, especially through his meetings with enlightened Sufis all over the globe. Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri also addresses profound Sufi teachings concerning the nature of humankind, the cosmos and God, using clear and simple language to address difficult doctrinal issues as only a master who has digested fully such knowledge could do. The book also reveals much about the present-day Islamic world where, despite the tragedies that are to be seen everywhere, tradition and spirituality survive. This is a metaphysical and spiritual guide to the Sufi path that ultimately offers insight into the meaning and purpose of life.
With the increasing Muslim diaspora in post-modern Western societies, Sufism – intellectually as well as sociologically – may eventually become Islam itself due to its versatile potential. Although Sufism has always provoked considerable interest in the West, no volume has so far been written which discusses this aspect of Islam in terms of how it is practised in Western societies. Bringing together leading international authorities to survey the history of Islamic mysticism in North America and Europe, this book elaborates the ideas and institutions which organize Sufism and folk-religious practices. The chapters cover: the orders and movements their social base organization and institutionalization recruitment-patterns in new environments channels of disseminating ideas, such as ritual, charisma, and organization reasons for their popularity among certain social groups the nature of their affiliation with the countries of their origin. Providing a fascinating insight into how Sufism operates within different spheres of society, Sufism in the West is essential reading for students and academics with research interests in Islam, Islamic history and social anthropology.
This recording of a live lecture by Idries Shah presents his ideas about the purpose of Sufism and the method and expression of its aim. He compares Sufi education with that obtained from a university or school. He emphasizes that the learner must have some stability of mind in order to approach Sufi studies correctly. His topics cover many subjects, including assumptions that prevent understanding; the difference between Sufis and idealists or 'good' people who base their conduct, beliefs, and actions on principles; sincerity versus emotionality; familiarity with the material; and developing the right attitude towards it. The second part includes selections from Shah's "Wisdom of the Idiots" and "Seeker After Truth" read by members of The London College of Storytellers. 3 CDs running approx. 3 hours
Studying the history of the notion of the ‘Perfect Human’ (al-insān al-kāmil), this book investigates a key idea in the history of Sufism. First discussed by Ibn ‘Arabī and later treated in greater depth by al-Jīlī, the idea left its mark on later Islamic mystical, metaphysical, and political thought, from North Africa to Southeast Asia, up until modern times. The research tells the story of the development of that idea from Ibn ‘Arabī to al-Jīlī and beyond. It does so through a thematic study, based on close reading of primary sources in Arabic and Persian, of the key elements of the idea, including the idea that the Perfect Human is a locus of divine manifestation (maẓhar), the concept of the ‘Pole’ (quṭb) and the ‘Muhammadan Reality’ (al-ḥaqīqah al-Muhammadiyyah), and the identity of the Perfect Human. By setting the work of al-Jīlī against the background of earlier Ibn ‘Arabian treatments of the idea, it demonstrates that al-Jīlī took the idea of the Perfect Human in several new directions, with major consequences for how the Prophet Muhammad – the archetypal Perfect Human – was viewed in later Islamic thought. Introducing readers to the key Sufi idea of the Perfect Human (al-insān al-kāmil), this volume will be of interest to scholars and students interested in Sufism, Islam, religion and philosophy.
This is a comprehensive historical study of the Islamic mystical brotherhoods of the northern Sudan. Based on new or previously inaccessible oral and written sources, it traces the change from lineage-based holy clans to centralized supra-tribal brotherhoods in the 19th century. It links this evolution to both external influences from Egypt and Arabia and changes in northern Sudanese society brought about by Egyptian colonial rule. The analysis of this fundamental shift in the nature of religious organization is seen as a major contributory factor in the Mahdist Revolutiuon of 1882-5. The last two chapters present an account of the structure and rituals of the brotherhoods based on their own writings.
"A concise but authentic account." — Islamic Review. The first concise history of Sufism to appear in any language, this work remains among the best. A noted scholar offers insights into every aspect of Sufism, from interpretation of the word of God and the life of the Prophet to the theorists of Sufism, the structure of Sufi theory and practice, and more.
Sufism is often understood to be the mystical dimension of Islam, and many works have focused on the nature of "mystical experiences" and the relationship between man and God. Yet Sufism was a human response to a wide range of contexts and circumstances; the fact that Sufis lived in society and interacted with the community necessitating guidance on how to behave. This book examines the development of Persian Sufism, showing it to be a practical philosophy of the everyday rather than just a metaphysical phenomena. The author explores the ethic of futuwwat (or jawanmardi), an Iranian code of honour that emphasised loyalty, humility, generosity and bravery. Although inevitably some Sufis spiritualised this code of honour and applied it to their own relationship with God, the ethic continued to permeate Sufi behaviour on a more mundane level, typified by the strong links between Sufis and certain trades. Drawing on field research in Iran, as well as detailed analysis of both Arabic and Persian texts and new materials that have been published in Iran in recent years, this is the first book in English to provide a history of Persian Sufi-futuwwat, As such, this book is an important contribution to the study of Persian Sufism, and to the fields of Islam, history and religion.
This introduction to the study of the doctrines of Sufism provides seekers with a clear understanding of the mystical tradition of Islam. The work defines the nature of Sufism, discusses it in relation to Christian mysticism and Hinduism, examines its foundations and ends with the elements of operative Sufism. Drawing on his scholarship, Burckhardt provides a comprehensive and clearly organized overview to Sufism.
Veil and Quintessence : a New Translation with Selected Letters
Author: Frithjof Schuon
Publisher: World Wisdom, Inc
This revised and expanded edition of Frithjof Schuon's Sufism: Veil and Quintessence contains: a new translation of this classic work; previously unpublished correspondence by Frithjob Schuon; an editor's preface by James S. Cutsinger; a new foreword by Seyyed Hossein Nasr; extensive editor's notes by James S. Cutsinger; a glossary of foreign terms and phrases; an index; and biographical notes.
Conventionally The Word Sufi Is Considered Synonymous With The Word Mystic , But The Word Sufi As Used In Arabic, Persian, Turkish And Urdu, Has A Religious Connotation. The Sufis Claim To Have Inherited Their Doctrines Direct From The Teachings Of The Holy Prophet, Who, Strictly Speaking, Has Given No Dogmatic Or Mystical Theology.The Classical Sufism Of The Early Brotherhoods Was Strong On Simple, Straightforward Faith In Islamic Theology, Personal Devotion To God And Trust (Tawakkul) In Him Under All Conditions, Personal Loyalty To The Prophet Of Islam And Allegiance To The Qur An And The Shri At. The Faith Was Accompanied By The Practice Of A Well-Controlled Ascetic Life And In Many Cases Meant Renunciation Of The World. Then Followed The Khanqah Stage And Concentration, Between A.D. 1100 And 1400, On The Creation Of The Silsilah-Tariqah System, Its Organization, Its Rules Of Conduct And The Writings Of Handbooks Both On Esoteric Doctrine And On The Sufi Path. During Its Historical Development It Gathered Elements And Characteristics From The Intellectual And Cultural Climate Of The Region Concerned Which Transformed It Into A Bourgeois And Later A Mass Movement Of Wide Acceptance.The Fundamental Of Sufism Is God, Man And The Relation Between Them, Which Is Love. The Whole Sufi Theosophy Revolves On These Three Pivots.The Present Work Organised In 12 Volumes, Is Designed To Bring Together The Valuable Information On Suffism, Its Doctrines And Preachings, Main Orders, Prominent Sufi Saints, Their Life And Teaching, Etc. The Information Is Drawn From Various Authoritative Sources. The Primary Purpose Of This Work Is To Serve As A Basic Handbook On Significant Topics Of Sufism.No Doubt, This Work Will Prove Of Utmost Value To The Scholars And Laymen Alike Who Wish To Have Detailed Look Into Sufism.
At first glance Sufism and Surrealism appear to be as far removed from one another as is possible. Adonis, however, draws convincing parallels between the two, contesting that God, in the traditional sense does not exist in Surrealism or in Sufism, and that both are engaged in parallel quests for the nature of the Absolute, through 'holy madness' and the deregulation of the senses. This is a remarkable investigation into the common threads of thought that run through seemingly polarised philosophies from East and West, written by a man Edward Said referred to as 'the most eloquent spokesman and explorer of Arab modernity'.
Both in everyday language and religious metaphor, the heart often embodies the true self and is considered to be the seat of emotion in many cultures. Many Muslim thinkers have attempted to clarify the nature of Sufism using its metaphorical image, particularly in the tenth and eleventh centuries. This book examines the work of Abū Tālib al-Makkī and his wider significance within the Sufi tradition, with a focus on the role of the heart. Analysing his most significant work, Qūt al-qulūb (‘The Nourishment of Hearts’), the author goes beyond an examination of the themes of the book to explore its influence not only in the writing of Sufis, but also of Hanbalī and Jewish scholars. Providing a comprehensive overview of the world of al-Makkī and presenting extracts from his book on religious characteristics of the heart with selected passages in translation for the first time in English, this book will give readers a better understanding not only of the essential features of Sufism, but also the nature of mysticism and its relation to monotheistic faiths.
Thirteenth-century Sufi poet, mystic, and legal scholar Muhyi al-Din ibn al-'Arabi gave deep and sustained attention to gender as integral to questions of human existence and moral personhood. Reading his works through a critical feminist lens, Sa'diyya Shaikh opens fertile spaces in which new and creative encounters with gender justice in Islam can take place. Grounding her work in Islamic epistemology, Shaikh attends to the ways in which Sufi metaphysics and theology might allow for fundamental shifts in Islamic gender ethics and legal formulations, addressing wide-ranging contemporary challenges including questions of women's rights in marriage and divorce, the politics of veiling, and women's leadership of ritual prayer. Shaikh deftly deconstructs traditional binaries between the spiritual and the political, private conceptions of spiritual development and public notions of social justice, and the realms of inner refinement and those of communal virtue. Drawing on the treasured works of Sufism, Shaikh raises a number of critical questions about the nature of selfhood, subjectivity, spirituality, and society to contribute richly to the prospects of Islamic feminism as well as feminist ethics more broadly.
Legacy of Medieval Persian Sufism (1150-1500) v. 2
Author: Leonard Lewisohn
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
This collection - the second of a three-volume study - examines the roots of the artistic, literary and cultural renaissance of Sufism from the 12th to the 15th centuries. It includes essays on Rumi's poetry and imagery; Sufi music and the idea of ecstacy; sainthood and Neoplatonism; comparative metaphysics and literature; and unity of religion theory in Sufi philosophy.