The Nature of Sufism : An Ontological Reading of the Mystical in Islam book cover
1st Edition

The Nature of Sufism
An Ontological Reading of the Mystical in Islam

ISBN 9781138328334
Published September 29, 2021 by Routledge
176 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores how Sufis approach their faith as Muslims, upholding an Islamic worldview, but going about making sense of their religion through the world in which they exist, often in unexpected ways. Using a phenomenological approach, the book examines Sufism as lived experience within the Muslim lifeworld, focusing on the Muslim experience of Islamic history. It draws on selected case studies ranging from classic Sufism to Sufism in the contemporary era mainly taken from biographical and hagiographical data, manuscript texts, and treatises. In this way, it provides a revisionist approach to theories and methods on Sufism, and, more broadly, the category of mysticism.

Table of Contents

1 ‘Introduction’ to Sufism  2 The Journey Through Islam: a phenomenological analysis of the Sufi tariqa and the experience of the ‘master’  3 ‘Being Sufi’  4 Jesus as Sign  5 Absent Christ, present God  6 Break with the past: transgressing restrictions of the category and scholarship on ‘mysticism’  7 Conclusion: The ontological question for Sufism

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Milad Milani is a Senior Lecturer in religious studies at Western Sydney University.


The Nature of Sufism is a unique contribution to an old discussion. In bringing Heidegger to bear on Sufism, Milad Milani has created something that is part history, part philosophy, and sometimes almost mystical—though what that term, too, might mean is questioned as well as clarified. This radical and fascinating book covers a lot of ground: Sufism and Heidegger, of course, but also Junayd and Ibn Taymiyya, Corbin and the Persianate, love, and even Jesus. Challenging and well worthwhile.

—Mark Sedgwick, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University, author of Western Sufism: From the Abbasids to the New Age (2016), and co-editor of Global Sufism: Boundaries, Narratives and Practices(2019).