A Psychology of Early Sufi Samâ`: Listening and Altered States, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

A Psychology of Early Sufi Samâ`

Listening and Altered States, 1st Edition

By Kenneth S. Avery


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Avery explores the psychology of altered states among the early Sufis. It examines samâ` - listening to ritual recitation, music and certain other aural phenomena - and its effect in inducing unusual states of consciousness and behaviours. The focus is on the earliest personalities of the Islamic mystical tradition, as mediated by texts from the tenth to the twelfth centuries C.E. These unusual states are interpreted in the light of current research in Western psychology, and also in terms of their integration into historical Islamic culture.

A Psychology of Early Sufi Samâ` provides new insights into the work of five Sufi authors, and a fresh approach to the relation between historical accounts of altered states and current psychological thinking.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Samâ` in Early Sufi Literature: An Overview 3. The Language of Samâ` and Other Key Concepts 4. The Psychology of Samâ` Part 1 5. The Psychology of Samâ` Part 2 6. The Psychology of Samâ` According to the Sufi Writers 7. The Sufis' Explanations of their Altered State Experiences 8. The Ritual Behaviour and Etiquette of Samâ` 9. The Paradigmatic Experience of Two 'Ecstatics', Nûrî and Shiblî 10. Conclusions

About the Author

Kenneth S. Avery is a specialist in Sufi studies and Persian literature. He is a musician and a recent Ph.D. graduate in Islamic Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia

About the Series

Routledge Sufi Series

The Routledge Sufi Series provides short introductions to a variety of facets of the subject, which are accessible both to the general reader and the student and scholar in the field. Each book will be either a synthesis of existing knowledge or a distinct contribution to, and extension of, knowledge of the particular topic. The two major underlying principles of the Series are sound scholarship and readability.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
RELIGION / Islam / Sufi
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies