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.
An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic MovementsSherine Hafez
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....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.
Christianity and Monasticism in Wadi al-Natrun
Edited by Maged S.A. Mikhail Mark Moussa
Wadi al-Natrun, a depression in the Western Desert of Egypt, is one of the most important centers for the development and continued thriving of the Coptic monastic tradition. Christianity and monasticism have prospered there from as early as the fourth century until the present day, when four major monasteries still flourish. Here, international specialists in Coptology, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Wadi al-Natrun over the past seventeen hundred years. The studies center on aspects of the history and development of monasticism inWadi al-Natrun, as well as the art, architecture, and archaeology of the four existing and numerous former monasteries of the region. Contributors: Elizabeth S. Bolman, Karl-Heinz Brune, Peter Grossmann, Johannes den Heijer, Suzana Hodak, Lucy-Anne Hunt, Mat Immerzeel, Martin Krause, Ewa Parandowska, S.G. Richter, Rushdi Said, Zuzana Skalova, Hany H. Takla, Tim Vivian, Jacques van der Vliet, Youhanna NessimYoussef, Ugo Zanetti....read more
1 March 2009
90 b/w illus.
Christians in Egypt
Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Communities Past and Present
Otto F.A. Meinardus
Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Communities Past and PresentOtto F.A. Meinardus
Drawing on more than four decades of experience studying Christian communities in Egypt, Otto Meinardus offers here a sweeping overview of the principal Christian churches and organizations in Egypt today. For the first time, this wealth of information has been gathered into one volume, making it an ideal introduction to the contemporary scene of the various Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant denominations that have a presence in Egypt. Looking at Maronite churches in Alexandria, Greek Orthodox congregations in Cairo, and new evangelical communities in Upper Egypt, among others, this book serves as an important reference work for anyone interested in the broad variety of Christian groups in Egypt, including the majority Coptic Orthodox Church. As one of the foremost scholars of the Christian history of Egypt and the wider Middle East, Dr. Meinardus brings an unparalleled wealth of expertise to this subject, while placing Christianity in the historical perspective of its relationship to the ancient pharaonic religion and medieval and modern Islam. A first of its kind, Christians in Egypt is an indispensable resource for both scholars and interested general readers....read more
17 October 2006