This timely and stimulating Handbook, edited by world-class experts in the field, provides a comprehensive guide to Islamic Studies today. It examines the main issues in the field and explores the key debates. It provides readers with an indispensable, balanced guide to the roots of Islam and the challenges it faces in the twenty-first century.
Chapter 16: Contemporary Sufism: Islam without Borders
Contemporary Sufism: Islam without Borders
What do white-turbaned students touring Yemen by Land Cruiser, a throng of pilgrims surging towards a gold-domed shrine in Baghdad and an ecstatic gathering of poets along the Pakistan–Afghan border all have in common? The common thread is Sufism. Each group is seeking a deeper, inner experience of Islam than can be found in the mosque. Their quest is for a mystical connection with God that is outside the narrow confines of the cycle of daily prayer and annual fasting that form the basis of normal Muslim spirituality.
In this chapter, the term Sufism is used in its broadest sense–to include any mystical impulse that is beyond the borders of the routine worship in the mosque. Traditionally, ...