Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture (Paperback) book cover

Contemporary Sufism

Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture

By Meena Sharify-Funk, William Rory Dickson, Merin Shobhana Xavier

Routledge

270 pages

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Description

What is Sufism? Contemporary views vary tremendously, even among Sufis themselves. Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture brings to light the religious frameworks that shape the views of Sufism’s friends, adversaries, admirers, and detractors and, in the process, helps readers better understand the diversity of contemporary Sufism, the pressures and cultural openings to which it responds, and the many divergent opinions about contemporary Sufism’s relationship to Islam. The three main themes: piety, politics, and popular culture are explored in relation to the Islamic and Western contexts that shape them, as well as to the historical conditions that frame contemporary debates. This book is split into three parts:

• Sufism and anti-Sufism in contemporary contexts;

• Contemporary Sufism in the West: Poetic influences and popular manifestations;

• Gendering Sufism: Tradition and transformation.

This book will fascinate anyone interested in the challenges of contemporary Sufism as well as its relationship to Islam, gender, and the West. It offers an ideal starting point from which undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers and lecturers can explore Sufism today.

Reviews

"Contemporary Sufism examines both "God’s unruly friends", as well as the scholars who have studied, written about, interpreted, and theorized about them. This is a welcome addition to the literature on Sufism and its interpreters." Amir Hussain, Department of Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University, USA

"Contemporary Sufism fills an enormous gap in the Islamic Studies literature. The analysis offered here is especially powerful because it reveals the many ways in which Sufi practices challenge the conventional wisdom about gender and religious authority in Islam. Essential reading for anyone looking to understand religion and society in the Muslim world today." Peter Mandaville, author of Islam and Politics, George Mason University, USA

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction

The Structure of this Book

Part I: Sufism and Anti-Sufism in Contemporary Contexts

Part II: Contemporary Sufism in the West: Poetic Influences and Popular Manifestations

Part III: Gendering Sufism: Tradition and Transformation

Bibliography

 

Chapter 1: Contextualizing the Production of Knowledge on Contemporary Sufism in the West

Orientalism and the Study of Sufism

Precolonial European Encounters with Sufism

Colonial-Era Encounters with Sufism

The Beginnings of Western Sufism: Rene Guénon and Hazrat Inayat Khan

From Text to Context: The Shift to Studying Living Sufism

Scholarship on Sufism Beyond the Academy

Towards Contemporary Sufism

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes

 

PART I: SUFISM AND ANTI-SUFISM IN CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS

Chapter 2: Heart or Heresy? The Historical Debate Over Sufism’s Place in Islam

Early Islam and the Emergence of Sufism

The Sunni Synthesis: Sufism and Shari‘a

Ibn Taymiyya and the Medieval Roots of Modern Anti-Sufism

Two Visions of Islam

Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab and the Birth of Modern Anti-Sufism

European Colonialism, Salafism, and End of Sufi

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes

 

Chapter 3: Contesting Sufism Today: Contemporary Sufi and Anti-Sufi Responses

Contending Islamic Paradigms

Contrasting Hermeneutics of the Qur’an and Hadith

Contesting Theologies: Understandings of Tawhid and Islam

Pedagogy and the Transmission of Islamic Knowledge

Summarizing the Contemporary Islamic Scene

The Spread of Anti-Sufism in the Twentieth Century

Al-Qaeda and ISIS

North American Sufi Responses to Anti-Sufism

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes  

PART II: CONTEMPORARY SUFISM IN THE WEST: POETIC INFLUENCES AND POPULAR MANIFESTATIONS

Chapter 4: Sufism in the Eyes of the West: Colonialists, Romantics, and Transcendentalists

Before Orientalism: Ramon Llull and Early Medieval Encounters with Sufism

Dervishes and Non-Muslims in Ottoman Turkey

Orientalists and Sufism: Scholarly Constructions and Poetic Transmissions

Early Translations and Interpretations: Jones, Malcolm, and Wilberforce

The Travelogues of Lane and Brown

The Romantics and Sufism

The Poets of the East and the West: Hafiz and Goethe

American Transcendentalism and Sufism

The Concordians and the Sufis: Emerson, Whitman, and Hafiz

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes

 

Chapter 5: The Era of Rumi: Contemporary Sufism and Popular Culture

The Making of the "Rumi Phenomenon" in America

"Jalaloddin Barks": Coleman Barks and the Making of Rumi-Mania

Rumi as the Main Character: Novels, Comics, and Popular Literature

"Keep Calm and Read Rumi!": Rumi, Self-Help Books, and Spiritual Biographies

Sufism and the Arts: Music, Rumi Tours, and the Big Screen

Rumi and Visual Art

Whirling with Rumi and Sufi Tourism

Musical Expressions of Rumi

#RumiWasntWhite: Rumi on the Big Screen

Rumi: An Icon of LGBTQ Activism Some Tea with your Rumi? Culinary Delights and Architectural Inspirations There is an App for That! Rumi on Social Media

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes

 

part iii: GENDERING SUFISM: TRADITION AND TRANSFORMATION

Chapter 6: Perfecting the Self: Female Sufi Saints in Islamic History

Insan al-Kamil: The Perfected Human Being

Gendered Qualities Encompassed by the Perfected Human

Gendered "Friends of God" A Brief Historical Overview of Sufi Women

Formative Period: Female Ascetics and Male Biographers

Medieval Period: Female Teachers and Sufi Orders Age of Colonization: Sufi Females and the Call of Resistance

Conclusion

Bibliography

Notes  

Chapter 7: "Women of Light": Contemporary Female SUFI Leaders

Living Sufism Today

The Significance of Living Sufism: Transmission, Teachers and Role Models

Contemporary Female Sufi Leadership: Responsibilities and the Role of the Feminine

Conclusion

Bibliography Notes

 

Conclusion: Discourses of Authenticity and Complementary Contradictions in Contemporary Sufism

Key Findings of Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3 Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Complementary Contradictions and the Making of Contemporary Sufism

Reflections on Possible Trajectories for Future Scholarship

Concluding Thoughts

Bibliography

Notes

 

 

 

 

About the Authors

Meena Sharify-Funk is Associate Professor and the Chair of the Religion and Culture Department at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.

William Rory Dickson is Assistant Professor of Islamic Religion and Culture at the University of Winnipeg, Canada.

Merin Shobhana Xavier is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Ithaca College, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
REL000000
RELIGION / General