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
Egypt’s Monastic Art and Architecture
Gawdat Gabra With a historical introduction by Tim Vivian
Egypt’s Monastic Art and ArchitectureGawdat Gabra
With a historical introduction byTim Vivian
Egypt, the birthplace of communal monasticism, has a rich store of monasteries and monastic art. Coptic Monasteries takes the reader on a tour of the best preserved and most significant of these ancient religious centers, documenting in exhaustive detail the richness and the glory of the Coptic heritage. An informative introduction by Tim Vivian brings to life the early Christian era, with background information on the origins of the Coptic Church as well as its rites and ceremonies, sketches of some of monasticism’s founding figures, and accounts of some of the difficulties they faced, from religious schism to nomadic attacks. Gawdat Gabra’s expert commentary, complemented by almost one hundred full-color photographs of newly restored wall paintings and architectural features, covers monasteries from Aswan to Wadi al-Natrun. Ranging across a thousand years of history, Gabra’s observations will make any reader an expert on the composition and content of some of Egypt’s most outstanding religious art, the salient architectural features of each monastery, as well as the ongoing process of restoration that has returned much of their original vibrancy to these works. A unique and invaluable historical record, Coptic Monasteries is equally an in-depth, on-the-spot guide to these living monuments or an armchair trip back in time to the roots of one of the world’s oldest Christian traditions....read more
15 October 2010
96 color illus.
Christianity and Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany N. Takla
Hany N. Takla
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region....read more
1 August 2016
91 b/w illus.
Two Thousand Years of Christianity in Egypt
Edited by Gawdat Gabra
Two Thousand Years of Christianity in EgyptEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Egypt’s Copts make up one of the oldest and largest Christian communities in the Middle East. Yet despite the availability of a large number of books on aspects of Coptic culture, including art and architecture, monasticism, theology, and music, there is to date no single volume that provides a comprehensive cultural history of the Copts and their achievements. Coptic Civilization aims to fill this gap, by introducing the general reader, the interested non-specialist, to Coptic culture in all its variety and multi-faceted richness. With contributions by twenty scholars, Coptic Civilization includes chapters on monasticism, the Coptic language, Coptic literature, Christian Arabic literature, the objects and documents of daily life, magic, art and architecture, and textiles, as well as the history of the Coptic Church, its liturgy, theology, and music. Contributors: Dominique Bénazeth, Lois Farag, Cäcilia Fluck , Peter Grossmann, Gisele Helmecke, Magdalena Kuhn, Marvin Meyer, Samuel Moawad, Elisabeth R. O’Connell, Monica René , Tonio Sebastian Richter, Saad Michael Saad, Mark Sheridan, Mark N. Swanson, Hany N. Takla , Jacques van der Vliet, Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Gertrud J.M. van Loon, Youhanna Nessim Youssef, Ewa D. Zakrzewska
Includes chapters on Coptic Historiography • Church History • Monasticism • Alexandrian Theology • Liturgy • Music • The Coptic Language • Gnosticism and Manichaeism • The Coptic Bible • Coptic Literature • Documentary Evidence of Daily Life • Magic • Copto-Arabic Literature • Archaeology • Architecture • Church Decoration • Objects of Daily Life • Post-pharaonic Textiles • The Coptic Church Today • Contemporary Coptic Art • Coptic Civilization in the Diaspora...read more
1 May 2014
171 color illus., 8 b/w illus., 15 plans
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.