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The headlines are filled with the politics of Islam, but there is another side to the world's fastest-growing religion. Sufism is the poetry and mysticism of Islam. This mystical movement from the early ninth century rejects worship motivated by the desire for heavenly reward or the fear of punishment, insisting rather on the love of God as the only valid form of adoration. Sufism has made significant contributions to Islamic civilization in music and philosophy, dance and literature. The Sufi poet Rumi is the bestselling poet in America. But in recent centuries Sufism has been a target for some extremist Islamic movements as well as many modernists. The Garden of Truth presents the beliefs and vision of the mystical heart of Islam, along with a history of Sufi saints and schools of thought.
In a world threatened by religious wars, depleting natural resources, a crumbling ecosystem, and alienation and isolation, what has happened to our humanity? Who are we and what are we doing here? The Sufi path offers a journey toward truth, to a knowledge that transcends our mundane concerns, selfish desires, and fears. In Sufism we find a wisdom that brings peace and a relationship with God that nurtures the best in us and in others.
Noted scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr helps you learn the secret wisdom tradition of Islam and enter what the ancient mystics call the "garden of truth." Here, liberate your mind, experience peace, discover your purpose, fall in love with the Divine, and find your true, best self.
First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Dark Eyes, Lady Blue tells the story of Sister Maria of Agreda's remarkable life. Maria was born in Agreda, Spain, in 1602, and vowed there as a nun at age seventeen. From birth to her death in 1665, she never left the small town. Yet her accomplishments had a lasting impact in Spain and as far away as the American Southwest, where she is celebrated to this day. Although cloistered in Agreda's Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, Maria grew to be a renowned mystic, a widely read author, and an advisor to the King of Spain. She experienced religious ecstasy that inspired her visionary writings and - quite remarkably - communications with the Jumano Indians of what would later become the states of Texas and New Mexico. When Spanish missionaries met the Jumano Indians, their chief expressed a desire to be baptized because of the supernatural visits from the mystical ""lady in blue."" This fresh telling of Maria's story is one that will appeal to readers young and old and provides an unforgettable perspective on early American exploration of Texas and New Mexico.
A pathbreaking history of Sufism, from the earliest centuries of Islam to the present After centuries as the most important ascetic-mystical strand of Islam, Sufism saw a sharp decline in the twentieth century, only to experience a stunning revival in recent decades. In this comprehensive new history of Sufism from the earliest centuries of Islam to today, Alexander Knysh, a leading expert on the subject, reveals the tradition in all its richness. Knysh explores how Sufism has been viewed by both insiders and outsiders since its inception. He examines the key aspects of Sufism, from definitions and discourses to leadership, institutions, and practices. He devotes special attention to Sufi approaches to the Qur'an, drawing parallels with similar uses of scripture in Judaism and Christianity. He traces how Sufism grew from a set of simple moral-ethical precepts into a sophisticated tradition with professional Sufi masters (shaykhs) who became powerful players in Muslim public life but whose authority was challenged by those advocating the equality of all Muslims before God. Knysh also examines the roots of the ongoing conflict between the Sufis and their fundamentalist critics, the Salafis--a major fact of Muslim life today. Based on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Sufism is an indispensable account of a vital aspect of Islam.
A personal invitation to walk with God through one of the great classics of Christian spirituality. This book of daily devotions is based upon The Cloud of Unknowing. In this edition Robinson sought to remain as true as possible to the voice of this medieval classic. Cloud Devotion follows the original Middle English text sentence by sentence, with Robinson's own translation and paraphrase, divided work into 366 small portions, with a Scripture passage related to the theme from each daily reading. "My heart has yearned for this book. I wanted a guide to help me savor and reflect on the spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing. David has insightfully discerned how we might do this. The partnership of this unknown, ancient writer and this known, living pastor is masterful. I invite you into the clouds with the slow reading of this book." -Dr. MaryKate Morse, author and mentor-professor of formation and leadership
The Deoband movement-a revivalist movement within Sunni Islam that quickly spread from colonial India to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and even the United Kingdom and South Africa-has been poorly understood and sometimes feared. Despite being one of the most influential Muslim revivalist movements of the last two centuries, Deoband's connections to the Taliban have dominated the attention it has received from scholars and policy-makers alike. Revival from Below offers an important corrective, reorienting our understanding of Deoband around its global reach, which has profoundly shaped the movement's history. In particular, the author tracks the origins of Deoband's controversial critique of Sufism, how this critique travelled through Deobandi networks to South Africa, as well as the movement's efforts to keep traditionally educated Islamic scholars (`ulama) at the center of Muslim public life. The result is a nuanced account of this global religious network that argues we cannot fully understand Deoband without understanding the complex modalities through which it spread beyond South Asia.
This eloquent ethnography reveals the daily lives and religious practice of ordinary Muslim men in Tajikistan as they aspire to become Sufi mystics. Benjamin Gatling describes in vivid detail the range of expressive forms-memories, stories, poetry, artifacts, rituals, and other embodied practices-employed as they try to construct a Sufi life in twenty-first-century Central Asia. Gatling demonstrates how Sufis transcend the oppressive religious politics of contemporary Tajikistan by using these forms to inhabit multiple times: the paradoxical present, the Persian sacred past, and the Soviet era. In a world consumed with the supposed political dangers of Islam, Gatling shows the intricate, ground-level ways that Muslim expressive culture intersects with authoritarian politics, not as artful forms of resistance but rather as a means to shape Sufi experiences of the present.
The title of Charles Taliaferro's book is derived from poems and stories in which a person in peril or on a quest must follow a cord or string in order to find the way to happiness, safety, or home. In one of the most famous of such tales, the ancient Greek hero Theseus follows the string given him by Ariadne to mark his way in and out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. William Blake's poem "Jerusalem" uses the metaphor of a golden string, which, if followed, will lead one to heaven itself. Taliaferro extends Blake's metaphor to illustrate the ways we can link what we see, feel, and do with deep spiritual realities. Taliaferro offers a foundational case for the recognition of the experience of the eternal God of Christianity, in which God is understood as the fount of all goodness and the subject and object of our best love, revealed through scripture, tradition, philosophical reflection, and encountered in everyday events. He addresses philosophical obstacles to the recognition of such experiences, especially objections from the "new atheists," and explores the values involved in thinking and experiencing God as eternal. These include the belief that the eternal goodness of God subordinates temporal goods, such as the pursuit of fame and earthly glory; that God is the essence of life; and that the eternal God hallows domestic goods, blessing the everyday goods of ordinary life. An exploration of the moral and spiritual riches of the Christian tradition as an alternative to materialism and naturalism, "The Golden Cord" brings an originality and depth to the debate in accessible and engaging prose. "Charles Taliaferro has written a thought-provoking, original work that succeeds in throwing some of the central tenets of naturalism into question. He has gathered cutting-edge scholarship from the context of debates about naturalism and discusses that within the framework of a theological account of the human condition. The result is a robust theological response to secular naturalism, one that deserves to be taken seriously by the latter's proponents." --Victoria Harrison, University of Glasgow
'Joking is teaching, so take care to listen - Don't look at just the joke's form of expression. To jesters every serious thing's hilarious, While to the wise hilarious jokes are serious' Rumi is the greatest mystic poet to have written in Persian, and the Masnavi is his masterpiece. Divided into six books and consisting of some 26,000 verses, the poem was designed to convey a message of divine love and unity to the disciples of Rumi's Sufi order, known today as the Whirling Dervishes. Like the earlier books, Book Four interweaves amusing stories with homilies to instruct pupils in understanding of God's meaning. It has a special focus on the mystical knowledge of the spiritual guide, elaborated through stories such as Solomon's freeiration to the Queen of Sheba, and animal fables. This is the first ever verse translation of Book Four of the Masnavi. It follows the original by presenting Rumi's most mature mystical teachings in simple and attractive rhyming couplets.
Gershom Scholem (1897-1982) was ostensibly a scholar of Jewish mysticism, yet he occupies a powerful role in today's intellectual imagination, having an influential contact with an extraordinary cast of thinkers, including Hans Jonas, Martin Buber, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Theodor Adorno. In this first biography of Scholem, Amir Engel shows how Scholem grew from a scholar of an esoteric discipline to a thinker wrestling with problems that reach to the very foundations of the modern human experience. As Engel shows, in his search for the truth of Jewish mysticism Scholem molded the vast literature of Jewish mystical lore into a rich assortment of stories that unveiled new truths about the modern condition. Positioning Scholem's work and life within early twentieth-century Germany, Palestine, and later the state of Israel, Engel intertwines Scholem's biography with his historiographical work, which stretches back to the Spanish expulsion of Jews in 1492, through the lives of Rabbi Isaac Luria and Sabbatai Zevi, and up to Hasidism and the dawn of the Zionist movement. Through parallel narratives, Engel touches on a wide array of important topics including immigration, exile, Zionism, World War One, and the creation of the state of Israel, ultimately telling the story of the realizations--and failures--of a dream for a modern Jewish existence.
This groundbreaking collection presents for the first time in English a substantial body of poetry that emerges directly from the sublime and often startling world of Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem's call to plumb the "tremendous poetic potential" concealed in the Kabbalistic tradition, Peter Cole provides dazzling renderings of work composed on three continents over a period of some fifteen hundred years. In addition to the translations and the texts in their original languages, Cole supplies a lively and insightful introduction, along with accessible commentaries to the poems. Aminadav Dykman adds an elegant afterword that places the work in the context of world literature. As a whole, the collection brings readers into the fascinating force field of Kabbalistic verse, where the building blocks of both language and existence itself are unveiled. Excerpts from The Poetry of Kabbalah have been featured in the Paris Review, Poetry, and Conjunctions. "Studded with insight, and written with great verve, this book will become a classic."-Lawrence Fine, author of Physician of the Soul, Healer of the Cosmos
SUFISM THE WAY OF SUFI CHIVALRY A highly respected Sufi saint and scholar of the 10th century, Ibn al-Husayn al-Sulami compiled this book as a guide to enlightened behavior for the spiritual aspirant. In its pages, he records the teachings of renowned spiritual masters (available for the first time in English translation) as well as tales and quotations from the Koran and Hadith. The teachings reveal the true meaning of compassion, love, friendship, generosity, and hospitality, as well as the right actions associated with these virtues. According to the Sufis, Futuwwah is a code of honorable behavior that follows the example of the prophets, saints, and sages. By adhering to its precepts, the student learns detachment from the ego. The Way of Sufi Chivalry addresses the reader directly, providing the aspirant of today with living guidance on the path of perfection and the way of Sufism. Cover illustration: The Turkish calligraphy is an invocation for the help and assistance of Hasan and Husayn, the two martyred grandsons of the Prophet, and reads Madad ya Hasan Husayn.
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