As the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either “religious” or “secular” discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism. Here Sherine Hafez focuses on women’s Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on five years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women’s Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular.
An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
For sale only in the Middle East
Coptic Saints and Pilgrimages
Otto F.A. Meinardus
The Coptic Christian tradition is one that goes back almost two thousand years to the very beginnings of Christianity: Mark the Evangelist himself is said to have brought the faith to Alexandria. In his Two Thousand Years of Coptic Christianity (AUC Press, 1999), renowned scholar Otto Meinardus reviewed the history of the official church from its earliest days to the end of the twentieth century, with its doctrinal disputes and its long isolation from other world churches. Here in Coptic Saints and Pilgrims, he examines the other side of the coin, the popular traditions and beliefs of the people. While the Coptic Orthodox church is strongly influenced by Hellenistic modes of thinking, many of the folk attitudes and practices by contrast have their roots in the religious heritage of pharaonic Egypt, and while the official faith is by its sacramental nature exclusive, the folk religion is inclusive and touches every aspect of the personal lives of ordinary Copts. It is this popular aspect of Coptic religious devotion that is revealed here, in its many points of focus: biblical saints, martyrs, ascetics, equestrian warriors, ‘silverless’ physicians, women saints, pilgrimage, dreams, visions, and apparitions....read more
15 February 2008
20 color illus.
Christianity and Monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin Krause
Edited by Gawdat Gabra
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin KrauseEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity began in the large and fertile Fayoum oasis of Egypt’s Western Desert as early as the third century, and its presence has endured to the present day. This volume, which constitutes a tribute to the scholarly work of the father of modern Coptology, Martin Krause, contains contributions on various aspects of Coptic civilization in Egypt’s largest oasis over the past eighteen hundred years. The contributors are all international specialists in Coptology, from Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the United States. A number of the studies included in this volume deal with recent archaeological discoveries at Deir al-Banat, the early Christian graves in the necropolis at the eastern edge of the Fayoum, and the monastic settlements and medieval Coptic cemetery at Naqlun. Others provide thorough examinations of archaeological sites at Karanis, Tebtunis, and Naqlun. Contributions cover the rich Christian literary heritage in Greek, Coptic, and Arabic, while art historians touch on the famous Fayoum portraits and their influence on the production of Coptic icons, as well as on the medieval wall paintings at Naqlun and in textiles, metal objects, and basketry from the region. This important volume provides for the first time an up-to-date, comprehensive treatment of Christianity and monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis. Contributors: Father Bigoul al-Suriany, Roger S. Bagnall, Dominique Bénazeth, Anne Boud’hors, Ramez Boutros, Karl-Heinz Brune, Barbara Czaja-Szewczak, Stephen Davis, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, Wodzimierz Godlewski, Wilfred C. Griggs, Peter Grossman, Alexi Krol, Suzana Hodak, Anetta Lyzwa-Piber, Ewa Parandowska, Siegfried G. Richter, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef....read more
1 August 2005
96 b/w illus.
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes
Shems Friedlander Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr Music section by Nezih Uzel
Foreword byAnnemarie Schimmel
Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr
Music section byNezih Uzel
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced and sang his famous verses in memory of his friend and teacher Shams Tabriz, who opened to him the way to direct experience of the Divine Beloved. After Rumi’s death in 1273, the whirling dance was introduced as part of the Mevlevi ritual, a statement of a timeless and passionate yearning toward God. Author Shems Friedlander has been doing documentary photography of the whirling dervishes since his first trip to Konya in 1973, and this book features haunting, evocative pictures of the order’s dancers, clad in their traditional white skirts and tall hats that represent their tombstones. Taken within the dervish lodges, known as tekkes, these photographs provide an insider’s view of ceremonies usually closed to the public. Friedlander’s images of the dervishes in mid-whirl evoke the exaltation of union with the divine source. In addition to Rumi’s life story and the accounts of dervishes past and present, the book features excerpts from Rumi’s poetry and the teachings of other Sufi masters, descriptions of the tekke and the symbolism of the dervish ceremony, an overview of the music that accompanies the Mevlevis’ turn, and a concluding section on the universality of Rumi’s message of love. This classic account of the Whirling Dervishes is now presented in a new and revised edition containing additional text and photographs....read more
100 b/w illus.
Historical Dictionary of the Coptic Church
According to tradition, Saint Mark brought Christianity to Egypt during the first century, and in so doing formed the basis for the Coptic Orthodox Church. Today, Copts comprise the largest Christian community in the Middle East. They make up perhaps tenth of Egypt’s population, and many hundreds of thousands also live in North America and Australia. This new and comprehensive reference work by a leading Coptic scholar details the history of one of the oldest Christian churches through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and more than 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on important people, organizations, and structures, the theology and practices of the church, its literature and liturgy, and its monasteries and churches....read more