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By John Renard

With greater than 3,000 entries and cross-references at the historical past, major figures, associations, idea, and literary works linked to Islam's mystical culture, Sufism, this dictionary brings jointly in a single quantity large historic details that is helping placed modern occasions right into a historic context. extra gains comprise: _

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Literary genres with affinities to the treatise include letters and discourses. Writing to a wide variety of correspondents, Sufi masters from at least the third/ninth century on have discussed a host of practical and theoretical concerns. Some epistles are addressed to individuals who inquired about their personal problems in the spiritual quest, while others are “letters” in a more generic sense and are meant for a wider readership among spiritual seekers. Discourses constitute a sizable body of written material.

A¯mid alGhaza¯lı¯, as well as the first manual in Persian, by Hujwı¯rı¯. a¯ rı¯, demonstrating a growing sense of Sufism as an integral part of the Islamic tradition. An important theme was the systematic establishment of sainthood as a parallel to prophethood. ammad as the “seal” of the prophets, Sufis now spoke of leading Friends of God as contenders for the title “seal” of the saints. Sufi authors also further elaborated distinctively mystical ways of reading and interpreting the Qur’a¯n, shoring up what would become an important foundation for Sufi exegesis.

The first trend manifested itself in the formalization of the earliest Sufi orders, with their normative understandings of the relationships between aspirant and shaykh, and set requirements for membership and training. Though tradition accords the distinction of founding the first order to ‘Abd al-Qa¯dir al-Jı¯la¯nı¯, there were likely other “intentional communities” before him (such as that associated with Ka¯zaru¯nı¯ in southwestern Iran). What is new in this “institutionalization” is the beginning of the growth of well-endowed stable foundations, with their own dedicated facilities for community living, spiritual formation, and ritual practice.

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