Sufism East and West

Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World


In Sufism East and West, the contributors investigate the redirection and dynamics of Sufism in the modern era, specifically from the perspective of global cross-cultural exchange. Edited by Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, the book explores the role of mystical Islam in the complex interchange and fluidity in the resonance spaces of “East” and “West.”
The volume challenges the enduring Orientalist binary coding of East-versus-West and argues instead for a more mutual process of cultural plaiting and shared tradition. By highlighting amendments, adaptations and expansions of Sufi semantics during the last centuries, it also questions the persistent perception of Sufism in its post-classical epoch as a corrupt imitation of the legacy of the great Sufis of the past.

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Jamal Malik, Ph.D. (1989), University of Heidelberg, is Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Erfurt. He has published widely on Islamic education, religious pluralism, Sufism, and the mobilization of religion, including Islam in South Asia (Brill 2008 and Orient Blackswan 2012). Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh, Ph.D. (2013), University of Erfurt, is Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at that university. He has published on Sufism, comparative mysticism, religion and modernity, and Persian literature, including Practical Mysticism in Islam and Christianity (Routledge, 2016).
“Examining texts and movements that transcend the dichotomy of East and West, the twelve essays collected here suggest new ways of studying Sufism as a medium of cross-cultural collusion. These rich case studies reveal how, whether through renewal or reinvention, misapprehension or métissage, Sufism has acquired a range of new meanings through the intercultural contacts of the modern era.”
Nile Green, University of California, Los Angeles

“This collection of essays by some of the world’s leading scholars of Sufism is one of the most important scholarly contributions to have appeared in recent years for an understanding of how Sufism has been comprehended by Muslims and non-Muslims in the modern period.... As such the book is a fitting tribute to Annemarie Schimmel. Students and researchers of Islam and Sufism will find this work indispensable.”
Lloyd Ridgeon, University of Glasgow

“This is a worthy tribute to the memory of Annemarie Schimmel. From the definition and typology of Sufism to its orientalist and modernist constructions, from early encounters in Arabia and India to today’s manifestations in East and West, it contributes new findings and fresh insights to the ever-expanding study of the mystical aspect of Islam.”
Itzchak Weismann, University of Haifa

“From among the mass of publications devoted to Islamic mysticism, Sufism East and West stands out brilliantly. With twelve essays authored by leading scholars, the book not only refreshes our historical vision of Sufism in modern times but also shakes up our habits of thought about its socio-religious geography.”
Alexandre Papas, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris

“An engaging study of Sufism’s journey to the West, this book details the complexities involved in the exchange of philosophical ideas across cultures and offers rich insights into Sufi practitioners and their critics. It is a substantial contribution to Sufi studies.”
Imtiaz Ahmad, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

List of Figures
Notes on Transliteration
Notes on Contributors

  Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Part 1: Construction and Reorientation of Sufism in the Modern World

 1 The Dabistan and Orientalist Views of Sufism
  Carl W. Ernst
 2 Definitions of Sufism as a Meeting Place of Eastern and Western “Creative Imaginations”
  Alexander Knysh
 3 Sufi Amnesia in Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s Tahdhib al-Akhlaq
    Jamal Malik
 4 Discussing the Sufism of the Early Modern Period: A New Historiographical Outlook on the Tariqa Muhammadiyya
  Rachida Chih

Part 2: Interactions between Sufism and Western Culture

 5 Sufism and the Gurdjieff Movement: Multiple Itineraries of Interaction
  Mark Sedgwick
 6 Beyond West Meets East: Space and Simultaneity in Post-Millennial Western Sufi Autobiographical Writings
  Marcia Hermansen
 7 Sufism in the Modern West: a Taxonomy of Typologies and the Category of “Dynamic Integrejectionism”
  Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

Part 3: Sufism and the Representation of Islam

 8 Between Two or Three Worlds: Reversion to Islam, Beur Culture and Western Sufism in the Tariqa Budshishiyya
  Marta Dominguez Diaz
 9 Between Religiosity, Cultural Heritage and Politics: Sufi-Oriented Interests in Contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Catharina Raudvere
 10 Transmitting and Transforming Traditions: Salman Ahmad and Sufi Rock
  Ali S. Asani

  Bruce B. Lawrence
All interested in mystical Islam, post-classical Sufism, dynamics of religion in modern times, Muslims in the West, East-West cultural interactions, and the history of Islam from the eighteenth century onwards.
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