Unveiling Sufism

From Manhattan to Mecca

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William Rory Dickson, Meena Sharify-Funk
  • Sheffield, England: 
    Equinox Publishing Limited
    , August
     2017.
     288 pages.
     $29.95.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781781792445.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Mohd Irfan Shah forthcoming.

Description

In contrast to most introductory texts on Sufism, this work begins not with the historical past, but with the contemporary present. Beginning with Sufism as it is lived today, each chapter further unveils the complexities of Sufism, journeying through a variety of historical, political, and cultural contexts, moving deeper into the past, and closer to the origin and heart of Sufism. This geneological framework will enable the reader to understand the patterns of connection between contemporary manifestations of Sufism and past realities. 

To ensure that the full range of Sufism’s varied expressions is taken into account, each chapter is divided into four sections: Politics and Power, Philosophy and Metaphysics, Arts and Culture, and Overview of Historical Developments. Dividing chapters into these four broad categories enables the book to highlight some of the ways in which Sufism has influenced Muslim politics, philosophy, art, and culture in each historical period. In each category the relevant issues are illustrated through detailed case studies, whether of a particular Sufi figure, place, artistic expression, or philosophical view. This allows the reader to develop a genuinely three-dimensional appreciation of Sufism, neither reducing it to a private mystical experience divorced from social expression, nor limiting the tradition to historical names and dates.

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

William Rory Dickson is assistant professor for the religion and culture department at the University of Winnipeg, with a specialization in Islamic studies. His research focuses on contemporary Islam and Sufism in North America. Dickson’s recent book Living Sufism in North America: Between Tradition and Transformation (2015) explores the ways in which Sufi leaders in North America relate to Islamic orthodoxy, authority, and gender. Dickson has published articles on contemporary Muslim thought and Sufism in the Journal of Contemporary Islam and Studies in Religion and has presented his research at a number of national and international conferences.

Meena Sharify-Funk is associate professor for the religion and culture department at Wilfrid Laurier University who specializes in Islamic studies with a focus on contemporary Muslim thought and identity. Sharify-Funk has written and presented a number of articles and papers on women and Islam, Sufi hermeneutics, and the role of cultural and religious factors in peacemaking. Her current research focuses on the construction of contemporary North American Muslim identity in a post 9/11 world. It is a continuation of her first manuscript, Encountering the Transnational: Women, Islam, and the Politics of Interpretation (2008) which examined the impact of transnational networking on Muslim women’s identity, thought, and activism. She also has co-edited two books, Cultural Diversity and Islam (2003) and Contemporary Islam: Dynamic, Not Static (2006).

Keywords: 

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