Islamic Mysticism

A Short History


Author: Alexander Knysh
The book provides a general survey of the history of Islamic mysticism (Sufism) since its inception up to the modern time. It combines chronological and personality-based approaches to the subject with a thematic discussion of principal Sufi notions and institutions. Sufism is examined from a variety of different perspectives: as a vibrant social institution, a specific form of artistic expression (mainly poetic), an ascetic and contemplative practice, and a distinctive intellectual tradition that derived its vitality from a dialogue with other strands of Islamic thought. The book emphasizes the wide variety of Sufism's interactions with the society and its institutions from an ascetic withdrawal from the world to an active involvement in its affairs by individual Sufi masters and organizations.

Islamic Mysticism by Knysh is a comprehensive survey of the interesting and fascinating world of Islamic Mysticism.

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Alexander D. Knysh, Ph.D. (1986) in Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Soviet Academy of Sciences, is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. His publications on Islamic Mysticism include Ibn Arabi in the Later Islamic Tradition (SUNY Press, New York, 1998).
' ...a well argued summary of recent scholarship that for those questions it treats will certainly be the standard tool of reference for some years to come.'
Lutz Berger, Journal of Semitic Studies, 2001.
' ...une livre utile, nourrissant, fournissant d’une manière classique, commode et accessible au public occidental le point des recherches universitaires contemporaines sur la question.
Pierre Lory, BCAI, 2002.
Those interested in Islamic Mysticism, Islamic Studies, Religious Studies and the History of Religions, and the History of Islamic thought.