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In: Mawlana Rumi Review


Of the numerous Sufi lineages that have expanded their presence into the West beginning in the twentieth century, that of the Indian shaykh Azad Rasool (d. 2006) has until now largely eluded scholarly attention. One major channel by which his teachings continue today is through his US-based khalifa, Ahmed Abdur Rashid (b. 1942). By way of an analysis of the latter’s writings and lectures combined with participant observation and in-depth interviews, this chapter seeks to demonstrate how this American shaykh has strived to achieve a balance, preserving tradition while also making it applicable to the contemporary globalized context. It shows how his spiritual search as well as social activism resonated with and culminated in his fully embracing Sufism and Islam, resulting in the emergence of a distinctive reading and application of mystical Islam. This renewal of tradition is pluralistic and sees Islam as compatible with democracy and science, it seeks to make full use of advances in technology, and it emphasizes social responsibility and engagement. Through studying Abdur Rashid’s “Applied Sufism,” which holds that the transformation of individuals can lead to the transformation of the world, the chapter presents an example of the evolution of Islamic mysticism in the modern age.

In: Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World
Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World scrutinizes and analyzes Islam in context. It posits Muslims not as independent and autonomous, but as relational and interactive agents of change and continuity who interplay with Islamic(ate) sources of self and society as well as with resources from other traditions. Representing multiple disciplinary approaches, the contributors to this volume discuss a broad range of issues, such as secularization, colonialism, globalization, radicalism, human rights, migration, hermeneutics, mysticism, religious normativity and pluralism, while paying special attention to three geographical settings of South Asia, the Middle East and Euro-America.
In: Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World
In: Dynamics of Islam in the Modern World