Beauty in Sufism

The Teachings of Ruzbihan Baqli

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Kazuyo Murata
  • Ithaca, NY: 
    State University New York Press
    , June
     2017.
     212 pages.
     $72.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781438462790.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

Analyzes the place of beauty in the Sufi understanding of God, the world, and the human being through the writings of Sufi scholar and saint Rūzbihān Baqlī.

According to Muhammad, “God is beautiful and He loves beauty.” Yet, Islam is rarely associated with beauty, and today, a politicized Islam dominates many perceptions. This work tells a forgotten story of beauty in Islam through the writings of celebrated but little-studied Sufi scholar and saint Rūzbihān Baqlī (1128–1209). Rūzbihān argued that the pursuit of beauty in the world and in oneself was the goal of Muslim life. One should become beautiful in imitation of God and reclaim the innate human nature created in God’s beautiful image. Rūzbihān’s theory of beauty is little known, largely because of his convoluted style and eccentric terminology in both Persian and Arabic. In this book, Kazuyo Murata revives Rūzbihān’s ideas for modern readers. She provides an overview of Muslim discourse on beauty before Rūzbihān’s time; an analysis of key terms related to beauty in the Qur’ān, Ḥadīth, and in Rūzbihān’s writings; a reconstruction of Rūzbihān’s understanding of divine, cosmic, and human beauty; and a discussion of what he regards as the pinnacle of beauty in creation, the prophets, especially Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and Muhammad.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Kazuyo Murata is lecturer in Islamic Studies at King’s College London and coeditor (with Mohammed Rustom and Atif Khalil) of In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought byWilliam C. Chittick, also published by SUNY Press.

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