For more than a millennium, Sufism has been the core of the spiritual experience of countless Muslims. As the chief mystical tradition of Islam, it has helped to shape the history of Islamic societies. Although it is the Sufi face of Islam that has often appealed to Westerners, Sufis and Sufism remain mysterious to many in the West, and are still widely misunderstood. In this new, redesigned paperback edition of this bestselling book, a scholar with long experience of Sufism in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Europe succinctly presents the essentials of Sufism and shows how Sufis live and worship, and why. As well as what Sufism is and where it comes from, the book discusses Sufi orders not only in the Islamic world but also in the West. The political, social, and economic significance of Sufism is outlined, and the question of how and why Sufism has become one of the more controversial aspects of contemporary Islamic religious life is addressed. This book assumes no prior knowledge of the subject. It is a penetrating and concise introduction for everyone interested in Islam and Islamic societies.
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
Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs
The Coptic Orthodox Church
The Coptic Orthodox ChurchJill Kamil
The Copts, the indigenous Christians of Egypt, have a long and fascinating history, but their importance has often been overlooked. Jill Kamil has written an engaging survey of Coptic Christianity since pharaonic times, through its development under Rome, Byzantium, Islam, and beyond. Based on extensive travel around the Coptic sites of Egypt and conversations with numerous experts, from monks to museum directors, the book looks at the fundamental importance of Coptic religion and culture in Egypt. Weaving together historical research with absorbing stories, the author explores such questions as: •How did Christianity succeed, when Egypt already enjoyed a distinctive and successful religious tradition that had lasted for more than 3000 years? •What led the Copts to invent monasticism? •Why were there so many Egyptian martyrs? •What caused the Coptic church to break away from the rest of Christianity in the fifth century AD? •How has Egyptian Christianity influenced the wider church? Lavishly illustrated with more than 120 photographs, drawings, and maps, Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs offers a captivating insight into Egypt and will make ideal reading for students of Egyptian history and Christianity....read more
123 b/w illus.
Photographs of Sufi Rituals in the Middle East and the Balkans
Photographs of Sufi Rituals in the Middle East and the BalkansNicolaas Biegman
Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, is as far from the strident and often violent fundamentalist strain of the religion that has so captured world attention as it is possible to be. Sufis in all parts of the Islamic world are broad-minded, tolerant, and non-violent, their quest only to find and approach God through all means, including poetry, music, and dance. Historian Nicolaas Biegman has been observing and photographing Sufi practice and ritual in different Muslim lands for many years, and here in this collection of extraordinary photographs he feels the pulse of the Sufi experience, with its enormous variety in discipline and exuberance, intellectualism and spontaneity, in Egypt, Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In accompanying texts he explores what lies behind the rituals, and explains aspects of Sufi life and practice such as the position of women....read more
1 June 2009
100 color 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.