Visualizing Sufism

Studies on Graphic Representations in Sufi Literature (13th to 16th Century)


Volume Editor:
Visualizing Sufism approaches the question of the presence of graphic materials in Islamic mystical literature from a broad and comprehensive perspective. To this goal, an international group of specialists in the field worked on largely manuscript and unpublished sources with the aim of analyzing the use of visual elements in the works of some key figures of Islamic mysticism—Ibn al-ʿArabī, Aḥmad al-Būnī, Saʿd al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh, al-Shaʿrānī—, and in intellectual networks—Ḥurūfiyya and Bektashiyya, Shīrīn Maghribī and his connections. The result is the most extensive collection of specimens of Sufi graphic materials ever brought together and discussed in a single volume. By virtue of the object of study investigated in the chapters of this book, in addition to the history of Sufism, questions are raised that touch upon numerous areas in the field of Islamic Studies, including intellectual history, codicology, and art history.

Elizabeth R. Alexandrin, Noah Gardiner, Ali Karjoo-Ravary, Evyn Kropf, Giovanni Maria Martini, Orkhan Mir-Kasimov, and Sophie Tyser.

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Giovanni Maria Martini, Ph.D. (2014), University of Naples L’Orientale, is a research fellow at that university. His primary areas of interest are the history of Sufism, the history of the occult sciences in the Islamicate world, and Qurʾanic Studies.

Elizabeth Alexandrin, Noah Gardiner, Ali Karjoo-Ravary, Evyn Kropf, Giovanni Maria Martini, Orkhan Mir-Kasimov, and Sophie Tyser.
List of Plates
Notes on Contributors

Giovanni Maria Martini

1 Diagrams and Visionary Experience in al-Būnī’s (d. 622/1225) Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt fī al-ḥurūf al-ʿulwīyat
Noah Gardiner

2 Illustrating the Forms: Ibn al-ʿArabī’s Images in al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya
Ali Karjoo-Ravary

3 Visualizing the Architecture of the Universe: Ibn al-ʿArabī’s (d. 638/1240) Diagrams in Chapter 371 of the Meccan Openings
Sophie Tyser

4 Reading and Reciting the Qurʾan: Calligraphic Spaces in Saʿd al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh’s (d. 649/1252) Kitāb al-Maḥbūb
Elizabeth Alexandrin

5 Use of Diagrams in the Ḥurūfī and Nuqṭavī Manuscripts, and Possible Links between the Ḥurūfī ‘Verbal’ and the Bektashi Visual Iconographies
Orkhan Mir-Kasimov

6 Shīrīn Maghribī’s (d. 810/1407) Visual Sufism: Diagrams, Intellectual Networks, and the Transmission of Spiritual Knowledge in 14th Century Tabriz and beyond
Giovanni Maria Martini

7 “Sensible Images”: Pictograms in the Manuscript Transmission of ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Shaʿrānī’s (d. 973/1565) al-Mīzān al-kubrā
Evyn Kropf

All interested in the history of Sufism and the art of the Islamic book, and anyone concerned with the role of visual materials in the history of religions.
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