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See below for a selection of the latest books from Sufism & Islamic mysticism category. Presented with a red border are the Sufism & Islamic mysticism books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Sufism & Islamic mysticism books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
The Masnavi is the six-volume masterpiece created by one of the world's greatest poetic geniuses, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). It is perhaps the single most influential piece of mystical writing ever conceived. Though the Persian poet Rumi is now hugely popular in the West, his most famous oeuvre still remains enigmatic. Alan Williams here offers a novel approach to reading and understanding this great jewel of world literature. Recognizing that all medieval and modern attempts to 'explain' the Masnavi have been based on an examination of its teachings, Williams shows that those who have tried to find the key to its message in its separate themes have had little success. He argues that the work can only be fully comprehended if the 'meaning' of the text is understood to lie in the poetry itself, in the language. The closely woven tapestry cannot be unwoven into prosaic explanation without losing the whole. The visionary poetic metaphors and devices are not the container for the teachings: they are the teachings. This revelatory unlocking enables Rumi's voice and purpose to become fully transparent.
Studying the history of the notion of the 'Perfect Human' (al-insan al-kamil), this book investigates a key idea in the history of Sufism. First discussed by Ibn 'Arabi and later treated in greater depth by al-Jili, 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 'Arabi to al-Jili 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 (mazhar), the concept of the 'Pole' (qutb) and the 'Muhammadan Reality' (al-haqiqah al-Muhammadiyyah), and the identity of the Perfect Human. By setting the work of al-Jili against the background of earlier Ibn 'Arabian treatments of the idea, it demonstrates that al-Jili 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-insan al-kamil), this volume will be of interest to scholars and students interested in Sufism, Islam, religion and philosophy.
Since the eighteenth century, adherence to Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, has been associated with membership in one of the Sufi brotherhoods. These brotherhoods constitute distinct religious communities within the general community of Islam. Jamil M. Abun-Nasr describes them as communities of grace because his readings in Sufi hagiographies have convinced him that divine grace is the central element of their system of beliefs. In his reconstruction of the development of the Sufi tradition, Abun-Nasr examines the emergence of Sufism's central tenets and the factors that account for their appeal to Muslims in different lands. Drawing on original Sufi sources, he contends that, in their formative period, Sufi tenets were shaped by the caliphs' inability to live up to the ideal the Prophet represented in the Muslim community: that political leadership was a subordinate function of religious guidance. He also contends that the Sufi brotherhoods' form of religious communalism emerged from the adaptation of the spiritual authority that Sufis ascribed to their leaders to the Muslims' major pious concerns. In the last two chapters Abun-Nasr examines the reaction of the Sufi brotherhoods' shaykhs to European colonial rule, the campaign directed against them by Muslim reformers of the Salafiyya school, and the reliance of the independent Muslim states' rulers on their support in counteracting the hostility of the Muslim reformers, as well as, since the 1970s, the Islamists, to their secular development plans.
The figure of the shaman has always been a prominent motif within the Islamic world, particularly in relation to the mystical domain of Sufism. Here, Thierry Zarcone and Angela Hobart bring together a vigorous and authoritative exploration of the link between Islam and shamanism in contemporary Muslim culture, examining how the old practice of shamanism was combined with elements of Sufism in order to adapt to wider Islamic society. Shamanism and Islam thus surveys shamanic practices in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Balkans, to show how the Muslim shaman, like his Siberian counterpart, cultivates personal relations with spirits to help individuals through healing and divination. Here, two different kinds of healers are examined: firstly, the shaman healers of Central Asia, which belong to several different traditions, and yet all have the common thread of mixing Islam - especially Sufism - with old religious practices. This 'Islamized shamanism', covering the geographic areas of modern-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirghizstan, northern Afghanistan, the Turkoman province of Iran and the Uygur district of Xinjian province of China, is analysed through its rituals, represenations and modern manifestations. Secondly, the book explores the examples of healers from different parts of the Islamic world outside central Asia, from Iran to Turkey, and from Algeria to the suburbs of Paris. Using healing rituals that are extremely similar to those performed in Central Asian 'Islamised shamanism', Shamanism and Islam draws out the parallels that exist throughout the Islamic World, and the close relations between shamanism and Muslim mysticism. Exploring the complexities and variety of rituals, involving music, dance and, in some regions, epic and bardic poetry, demonstrating the close links between shamanism and the various arts of the Islamic world, this is the first in-depth exploration of 'Islamized shamanism'. It is thus a valuable contribution to the field of Islamic Studies, Religion, Anthropology, and an understanding of the Middle East more widely.
Salvation and Hell in Classical Islamic Thought uses classical Islamic sources to trace the development of Islamic eschatology during the formative centuries of Islamic intellectual history. Marco Demichelis draws on classical Islamic scholars, including Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, to bring together concepts from Islamic philosophy, theology and mysticism - including proto-Sufism - to examine the interplay of these concepts between these traditions. The doctrines of salvation from Hell are examined in depth, in particular the theory of the annihilation of Hell, which proposes the idea that there will be a time when Hell will be empty and no longer inhabited. This is the first book to examine Islamic eschatology in the classical period, and adds to the growing scholarship on Islamic views on salvation and the eternity of Hell. It will be essential reading for scholars of Islamic intellectual history, theology, and comparative religion.
The Kizilbash were at once key players in and the foremost victims of the Ottoman-Safavid conflict that defined the early modern Middle East. Today referred to as Alevis, they constitute the second largest faith community in modern Turkey, with smaller pockets of related groups in the Balkans. Yet several aspects of their history remain little understood or explored. This first comprehensive socio-political history of the Kizilbash/Alevi communities uses a recently surfaced corpus of sources generated within their milieu. It offers fresh answers to many questions concerning their origins and evolution from a revolutionary movement to an inward-looking religious order.
Ibn al-Arabi's Fusus al-Hikam is a translation of one of the most important works written on Islamic Mysticism. Muhyi al-Din Ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240) is deemed the greatest mystic of Islam and his mystical philosophy has attracted the attention of both Muslims and non-Muslims from his time to the present day. Believing that the world is the self- manifestation of God, he claimed that all religions are equal and that the perfect human being is he who knows all the religious phenomena in the world. Fusus al-hikam examines the singular characteristics of twenty seven prophets of Islam and constitutes the best summary of Ibn al-Arabi's thought. The translation of these twenty seven chapters is preceded by an introduction that explains the main ideas of Ibn al-Arabi and is accompanied by explanatory notes to the text. Providing an easily accessible translation of one of the greatest mystics of Islam, Ibn al Arabi' Fusus al-Hikam is essential reading for students, scholars and researchers of Islamic Philosophy, Mysticism and Islamic Mysticism in particular.
Exploring the diverse myriad of female religious identities that exist within the various branches of the Moroccan Sufi Order, Qadiriyya Budshishiyya, today, this book evidences a wide array of religious identities, from those more typical of Berber culture, to those characterised by a 'sober' approach to Sufism, as well as those that denote New Age eclecticism. The book researches the ways in which religious discourses are corporeally endorsed. After providing an overview of the Order historically and today, enunciating the processes by which this local tariqa from North-eastern Morocco has become the international organization that it is now, the book explores the religious body in movement, in performance, and in relation to the social order. It analyses pilgrimage by assessing the annual visit that followers of Hamza Budshish make to the central lodge of the Order in Madagh; it explores bodily religious enactments in ritual performance, by discussing the central practices of Sufi ritual as manifested in the Budshishiyya, and delves attention into diverse understandings of faith healing and health issues. Women and Sufism provides a detailed insight into religious healing, sufi rituals and sufi pilgrimage, and is essential reading for those seeking to understand Islam in Morocco, or those with an interest in Anthropology and Middle East studies more generally.
Islam in Africa is deeply connected with Sufism, and the history of Islam is in a significant way a history of Sufism. Yet even within this continent, the practice and role of Sufism varies across the regions. This interdisciplinary volume brings together histories and experiences of Sufism in various parts of Africa, offering case studies on several countries that include Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Egypt, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria. It uses a variety of methodologies ranging from the hermeneutical, through historiographic to ethnographic, in a comprehensive examination of the politics and performance of Sufism in Africa. While the politics of Sufism pertains largely to historical and textual analysis to highlight paradigms of sanctity in different geographical areas in Africa, the aspect of performance adopts a decidedly ethnographic approach, combining history, history of art and discourse analysis. Together, analysis of these two aspects reveals the many faces of Sufism that have remained hitherto hidden. Furthering understanding of the African Islamic religious scene, as well as contributing to the study of Sufism worldwide, this volume is of key interest to students and scholars of Middle Eastern, African and Islamic studies.
Awhad al-Din Kirmani (d. 1238) was one of the greatest and most colourful Persian Sufis of the medieval period; he was celebrated in his own lifetime by a large number of like-minded followers and other Sufi masters. And yet his form of Sufism was the subject of much discussion within the Islamic world, as it elicited responses ranging from praise and commendation to reproach and contempt for his Sufi practices within a generation of his death. This book assesses the few comments written about Kirmani by his contemporaries, and also provides a translation from his Persian hagiography, which was written in the generation after his death. The controversy centres on Kirmani's penchant for gazing at, and dancing with, beautiful young boys. This anonymous hagiography presents a series of anecdotes that portray Kirmani's virtues . The book provides an investigation into Kirmani the individual, but the story has significance that extends much further. The controversy of his form of Sufism occurred at a crucial time in the evolution of Sufi piety and theology. The research herein situates Kirmani within this critical period, and assesses the various perspectives taken by his contemporaries and near contemporaries. Such views reveal much about the dynamics and developments of Sufism during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the Sufi orders (turuq, s. tariqa) began to emerge, and which gave individual Sufis a much more structured and ordered method of engaging in piety, and of presenting the Sufi tradition to society at large. As the first attempt in a Western language to appreciate the significant contribution that Kirmani made to the medieval Persian Sufi tradition, this book will appeal to students and scholars of Sufi Studies, as well as those interested in Middle Eastern History.
Ibn al-'Arabi (d. 1240) was one of the towering figures of Islamic intellectual history, and among Sufis still bears the title of al-shaykh al-akbar, or the greatest master. Ibn al-'Arabi and Islamic Intellectual Culture traces the history of the concept of oneness of being (wahdat al-wujud) in the school of Ibn al- 'Arabi, in order to explore the relationship between mysticism and philosophy in Islamic intellectual life. It examines how the conceptual language used by early mystical writers became increasingly engaged over time with the broader Islamic intellectual culture, eventually becoming integrated with the latter's common philosophical and theological vocabulary. It focuses on four successive generations of thinkers (Sadr al-Din al-Qunawi, Mu'ayyad al-Din al-Jandi, 'Abd al-Razzaq al-Kashani, and Dawud al-Qaysari), and examines how these philosopher-mystics refined and developed the ideas of Ibn al-'Arabi. Through a close analysis of texts, the book clearly traces the crystallization of an influential school of thought in Islamic history and its place in the broader intellectual culture. Offering an exploration of the development of Sufi expression and thought, this book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars of Islamic thought, philosophy, and mysticism.