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In: Mawlana Rumi Review

Abstract

Over the last two and a half centuries, Sufism has enjoyed an increasing presence in the West. Entering the Occident initially by means of literature in the late eighteenth century, it has expanded its domain as a living praxis since the turn of, and intensified its presence since the second half of, the twentieth century. In an effort to present a typology of typologies, the current chapter arranges the major classifications used by scholars to describe this enduring presence into five overlapping divisions, namely typologies based on (a) chronological/generational development, (b) modes of presence, (c) affiliation with Islamic denominations and Sufi orders, (d) migrant-native or East-West binaries, and (e) connection to Islam. It then examines these five-fold typologies in terms of their relevance to, and usefulness for, analyzing the issue of the engagement of Sufism with modernity in the Western context. Arguing for the insufficiency of these classifi­cations for studying the issue despite the beneficial outlooks they may provide, the chapter suggests the construct of “dynamic integrejectionism” (a portmanteau of “integra­tionism” and “rejectionism”) as a useful apparatus for investigating this changing and relative engagement. Finally, the rubric of “modern Sufism” is proposed in reference to those Sufi trends in the West with more adaptive attitudes towards, and greater compatibility with, modern culture. The title points to the second stage of the positive involvement of Sufism with modernity after the claimed first stage of Sufi contribution to the eighteenth-century process of autochthonous modernity, though this time in the Western setting rather than the predominately Muslim environment.

In: Sufism East and West
In: Mawlana Rumi Review

Abstract

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
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.
In: Sufism East and West
In: Sufism in Western Contexts
In: Sufism in Western Contexts
In: Sufism in Western Contexts