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Aiyub Palmer

In Sainthood and Authority in Early Islam Aiyub Palmer recasts wilāya in terms of Islamic authority and traces its development in both political and religious spheres up through the 3rd and 4th Islamic centuries. This book pivots around the ideas of al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī, the first Muslim theologian and mystic to write on the topic of wilāya.

By looking at its structural roots in Arab and Islamic social organization, Aiyub Palmer has reframed the discussion about sainthood in early Islam to show how it relates more broadly to other forms of authority in Islam. This book not only looks anew at the influential ideas of al-Tirmidhī but also challenges current modes of thought around the nature of authority in Islamicate societies.

Thus Spake the Dervish

Sufism, Language, and the Religious Margins in Central Asia, 1400-1900

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Alexandre Papas

Thus Spake the Dervish explores the unfamiliar history of marginal Sufis, known as dervishes, in early modern and modern Central Asia over a period of 500 years. It draws on various sources (Persian chronicles and treatises, Turkic literature, Russian and French ethnography, the author’s fieldwork) to examine five successive cases, each of which corresponds to a time period, a specific socially marginal space, and a particular use of mystical language. Including an extensive selection of writings by dervishes, this book demonstrates the diversity and tenacity of Central Asian Sufism over a long period. Here translated into a Western language for the first time, the extracts from primary texts by marginal Sufis allow a rare insight into their world.

The original French edition of this book, Ainsi parlait le dervice, was published by Editions du Cerf (Paris, France).

Sufism East and West

Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World

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Edited by Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh

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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Hamza Malik

In The Grey Falcon, Hamza Malik offers an account of the life and teaching of the twelfth century scholar and Sufi of Baghdad, and eponym of the Qadiri order, Shaykh ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī (1077-1166). The question of whether Jīlānī was a Sufi, or simply a scholar appropriated by later Sufis as has been sometimes suggested, is tackled through an analysis of his three most popular works, the Ghunya li Ṭālibī Ṭarīq al-Ḥaqq, the Futūḥ al-Ghayb, and the Fatḥ al-Rabbānī. Malik identifies and presents Jīlānī’s Sufi thought and theological stance, and furthermore attempts to paint a picture of the character and personality of Jīlānī, as might be ascertained solely from the works analysed.

Sufism in Central Asia

New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries

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Edited by Devin DeWeese and Jo-Ann Gross

Sufism in Central Asia: New Perspectives on Sufi Traditions, 15th-21st Centuries brings together ten original studies on historical aspects of Sufism in this region. A central question, of ongoing significance, underlies each contribution: what is the relationship between Sufism as it was manifested in this region prior to the Russian conquest and the Soviet era, on the one hand, and the features of Islamic religious life in the region during the Tsarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras on the other? The authors address multiple aspects of Central Asian religious life rooted in Sufism, examining interpretative strategies, realignments in Sufi communities and sources from the Russian to the post-Soviet period, and social, political and economic perspectives on Sufi communities.
Contributors include: Shahzad Bashir, Devin DeWeese, Allen Frank, Jo-Ann Gross, Kawahara Yayoi, Robert McChesney, Ashirbek Muminov, Maria Subtelny, Eren Tasar, and Waleed Ziad.

'Stringing Coral Beads': The Religious Poetry of Brava (c. 1890-1975)

A Source Publication of Chimiini Texts and English Translations

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Edited by Alessandra Vianello, Lidwien Kapteijns and Mohamed Kassim

This book presents fifty-one didactic and devotional Sufi poems (with English translations) composed by the ulama of Brava, on Somalia’s Benadir coast, in Chimiini, a Bantu language related to Swahili and unique to the town. Because the six ulama-poets, among whom two women, guided local believers towards correct beliefs and behaviours in reference to specific authoritative religious texts, the poems allow insight into their authors’ religious education, affiliations, in which the Qādiriyyah and Aḥmadiyyah took pride of place, and regional connections. Because the poems refer to local people, places, events, and livelihoods, they also bring into view the uniquely local dimension of Islam in this small East African port city in this time-period.

Islam and Gender in Colonial Northeast Africa

Sittī ‘Alawiyya, the Uncrowned Queen

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Silvia Bruzzi

In Islam and Gender in Colonial Northeast Africa, Silvia Bruzzi provides an account of Islamic movements and gender dynamics in the context of colonial rule in Northeast Africa. The thread that runs through the book is the life and times of Sittī ‘Alawiyya al-Mīrġanī (1892-1940), a representative of a well-established transnational Sufi order in the Red Sea region. Silvia Bruzzi gives us not only a social history of the colonial encounter in the Eritrean colony, but also a wider historical account of supra-regional dynamics across the Red Sea, the Ethiopian hinterland, and the Mediterranean region, using a wide range of fragmentary historical materials to make an important contribution towards filling the gap that currently exists in women's and gender history in Muslim societies.

‘Alā’ al-Dawla al-Simnānī Between Spiritual Authority and Political Power: A Persian Lord and Intellectual in the Heart of the Ilkhanate

With a Critical Edition of al-Wārid alšārid al-ṭārid šubhat al-mārid and its Persian version Zayn al-mu‘taqad li-zayn al-mu‘taqid

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Giovanni Maria Martini

In ʿAlāʾ al-Dawla al-Simnānī between Spiritual Authority and Political Power: A Persian Lord and Intellectual in the Heart of the Ilkhanate, Giovanni Maria Martini investigates the personality of a major figure in the socio-political and cultural landscape of Mongol Iran. In pursuing this objective, the author follows parallel paths: Chapter 1 provides the most updated reconstruction of Simnānī’s (d. 736/1336) biography, which, thanks to its unique features, emerges as a cross-section of Iranian society and as a microhistory of the complex relationships between a Sufi master, Persian elites and Mongol rulers during the Ilkhanid period; Chapter 2 contains a study on the phenomenon of Arabic-Persian diglossia in Simnānī’s written work, arguing for its socio-religious function; in Chapters 3 to 6 the critical editions of two important, interrelated treatises by Simnānī are presented; finally, Chapter 7 offers the first full-length annotated translation of a long work by Simnānī ever to appear in a Western language.

Barbara Flemming

In Essays on Turkish Literature and History Barbara Flemming makes available essays partly previously published in German. They offer insights gained through decades of scholarship. Although the Ottoman period is central, a wide range is covered, including an early Turkish principality, Mamluk and Ottoman Egypt, and contemporary southeastern Turkey. The essays look into historical and political factors involved in the preoccupation with the world’s ending, into Muslim-Christian dialogue, the sultan’s prayer before battle, and the bilingualism of poets. Of particular interest are the sections on female participation in mysticism, on an anti-Sufi movement in Cairo, on the Ottoman capital’s appeal to collectors and emigrants (Diez, Süssheim, Böhlau), and on the far-reaching effects of alphabet change.

Sheikh Ahmadu Bamba: Selected Poems

Edited by Sana Camara, with an Introduction, Commentary, and Notes

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Sana Camara

While in exile in Gabon (1895–1902), Sheikh Ahmadu Bamba marked a historic moment with his poetry of resilience, pivotal to the cultural and religious transformation of the Murīds of Senegal. The qaṣāʾid (poems) included in this annotated edition, most of them hymns of praise to the qualities of Allāh and the Prophet Muḥammad, and professions of faith that demonstrate how to realize the precepts found in the Qur’ān, display the underlying elements of Sheikh Ahmadu Bamba’s imaginative energy and poetic vision. They reveal a unifying poetic purpose and exemplify Ṣūfī literary traditions in subject matter, form, and versification and aim to explore the deepest regions of mysticism in search of the divine truth.