It has been argued that the mystical Sufi form of Islam is the most sensitive to other cultures, being accommodative to other traditions and generally tolerant to peoples of other faiths. It readily becomes integrated into local cultures and they are similarly often infused into Sufism. Examples of this reciprocity are commonly reflected in Sufi poetry, music, hagiographic genres, memoires, and in the ritualistic practices of Sufi traditions. This volume shows how this often-side-lined tradition functions in the societies in which it is found, and demonstrates how it relates to mainstream Islam.
The focus of this book ranges from reflecting Sufi themes in the Qur’anic calligraphy to movies, from ideals to everyday practices, from legends to actual history, from gender segregation to gender transgression, and from legalism to spiritualism. Consequently, the international panel of contributors to this volume are trained in a range of disciplines that include religious studies, history, comparative literature, anthropology, and ethnography. Covering Southeast Asia to West Africa as well as South Asia and the West, they address both historical and contemporary issues, shedding light on Sufism’s adaptability.
This book sets aside conventional methods of understanding Islam, such as theological, juridical, and philosophical, in favour of analysing its cultural impact. As such, it will be of great interest to all scholars of Islamic Studies, the Sociology of Religion, Religion and Media, as well as Religious Studies and Area Studies more generally.
Table of Contents
Short biographies of the contributors
Introduction: Cultural Fusion of Sufi Islam: Alternative Paths to Mystical Faith
Part I: Cultural fusion
1 Tasting the Sweet: Guru Nanak and Sufi Delicacies
Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh
2 The ‘Sufism’ of Monsieur Ibrahim
3 Promoting Social and Religious Harmony: Bāul’s Origin, Migration West and Roji Sarker’s Performance in the British Bangladeshi Diaspora
Part II: Poetry and literature
4 Making Passion Popular: Sung Poetry in Urdu and Its Social Effects in South Asia
5 Shaping the Way We Believe: Sufism in Modern Turkish Culture and Literature
6 Orthodoxy, Sectarianism, and Ideals of Sufism in an Early Ottoman Context: Eşrefoğlu Rumi and His Book of the Sufi Path
Part III: Devotional expressions in hagiography and music
7 Calligraphy as a Sufi Practice
8 The Abstraction of Love: Personal Emotion and Mystical Spirituality in the Life Narrative of a Sufi Devotee
9 "O Beloved My Limbs Long for Thee": Devotionalism and Gender Transgression in the Songs of Miazbhandariyya Tariqa in Bangladesh
Part IV: Political discourse
10 Injecting God into Politics: Modelling Asma’ ul Husna as a Sufi-based Panacea to Political Conflict in Contemporary Malaysia
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid and Noorulhafidzah Zawawi
11 Sufism and Communism: The Poetry of Fuʾād Ḥaddād
Abdullah Ramadan Khalaf Moursi and Mohamed A. Mohamed
Sarwar Alam is Visiting Assistant Professor at the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies of the University of Arkansas, USA. He has published widely on the subject of Islam in various journals as well as edited volumes and two books, Sufism, Pluralism and Democracy (2017) coedited with Clinton Bennett and Perceptions of Self, Power, and Gender among Muslim Women (2018).