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.
Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt
Volume 1: Akhmim and Sohag
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla
Volume 1: Akhmim and SohagEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Sohag region of Upper Egypt 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 the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag over the past seventeen hundred years. Many of the studies center on the person and legacy of the great Coptic saint, Shenoute the Archimandrite (348–466 ce), looking at his preserved writings, his life, his place in Pachomian monasticism, his relations with the patriarchs in Alexandria, and the life in his monastic system. Other studies deal with the art, architecture, and archaeology of the two great monasteries that he founded and the archaeological and artistic heritage of the region. Contributors: Heike Behlmer, Elizabeth Bolman, Anne Boud’hors, Andrew Crislip, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, James Goehring, Suzana Hodak, Dale Kinney, Rebecca Krawiec, Bentley Layton, Catherine Louis, Nina Lubomierski, Nashaat Mekhaiel, Samuel Moawad, Siegfried G. Richter, Ashraf Sadek, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Bigoul al-Suriany, Mark Swanson, Hany Takla, Janet Timbie, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef, Ugo Zanetti....read more
30 May 2008
40 b/w illus.
The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, 641–1517
The Popes of Egypt, Volume 2
Mark N. Swanson
The Popes of Egypt, Volume 2Mark N. Swanson
In Volume 1 of this series, Stephen Davis contended that the themes of “apostolicity, martyrdom, monastic patronage, and theological resistance” were determinative for the cultural construction of Egyptian church leadership in late antiquity. Volume 2, The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt, shows that the medieval Coptic popes (641–1517 CE) were regularly portrayed as standing in continuity with their saintly predecessors; however, at the same time, they were active in creating something new, the Coptic Orthodox Church, a community that struggled to preserve a distinctive life and witness within the new Islamic world order. Building on recent advances in the study of sources for Coptic church history, the present volume aims to show how portrayals of the medieval popes provide a window into the religious and social life of their community....read more
15 September 2010
Reem Al Faisal With text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
With text bySeyyed Hossein Nasr
The great Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam, required of every Muslim who is fit and able to undertake it. Every year in the month of Dhu al-Hijja, millions of Muslims converge on this desert city on the Arabian Peninsula from all corners of the globe, in one of the world’s greatest and most spiritual human gatherings. Saudi princess and photographer Reem Al Faisal here brings together a portrait of the Hajj in an extraordinary collection of black-and-white photographs that reveal not just the vast scale of the pilgrimage, not just the range of rituals involved, but also the human dimension: the sheer variety of humanity that comes here, the private moments of piety and devotion, the intimate moments of relaxation, and the joy (and sometimes anxiety) of being a part of such an immense community of people in a common purpose....read more
175 b/w photographs
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.