Rabi'a From Narrative to Myth

The Many Faces of Islam's Most Famous Woman Saint, Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya

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Rkia Elaroui Cornell
  • New York, NY: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , April
     2019.
     416 pages.
     $59.99.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781786075215.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Elisabeth Mehl Greene forthcoming.

Description

Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya is a figure of myth. Certainly a woman by this name was born in Basra, Iraq, in the eighth century, but her life remains recorded only in legends, stories, poems and hagiographies. The various depictions of her – as a deeply spiritual ascetic, an existentialist rebel and a romantic lover – seem impossible to reconcile, and yet Rabi'a has transcended these narratives to become a global symbol of both Sufi and modern secular culture.

In this groundbreaking study, Rkia Elaroui Cornell traces the development of these diverse narratives and provides a history of the iconic Rabi'a's construction as a Sufi saint. Combining medieval and modern sources, including evidence never before examined, in novel ways, Rabi'a From Narrative to Myth is the most significant work to emerge on this quintessential figure in Islam for more than seventy years.

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

Rkia Elaroui Cornell is Professor of Pedagogy and Coordinator of the Arabic Program at Emory University.

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