Beshara and Ibn 'Arabi: A Movement of Sufi Spirituality in the Modern World

Overview

Investigating sufi-inspired spirituality in the modern world, this multi-faceted and interdisciplinary volume focuses on Beshara, a spiritual movement that applies the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi in a non-Muslim context. It traces the movement’s emergence in sixties Britain and analyses its major teachings and practices, exploring through this case-study the interface between sufism and the New Age, and the encounter between Islam and the West. Examining from a global perspective the impact of cultural ...

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Beshara and Ibn 'Arabi: A Movement of Sufi Spirituality in the Modern World

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Overview

Investigating sufi-inspired spirituality in the modern world, this multi-faceted and interdisciplinary volume focuses on Beshara, a spiritual movement that applies the teachings of Ibn ‘Arabi in a non-Muslim context. It traces the movement’s emergence in sixties Britain and analyses its major teachings and practices, exploring through this case-study the interface between sufism and the New Age, and the encounter between Islam and the West. Examining from a global perspective the impact of cultural transformations associated with modernization and globalization on religion, this timely volume concludes by tracing possible futures of sufi spirituality both in the West and in the Muslim world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] masterful and multifaceted study. This important book opens out to provide a much-needed critique of the sociology of Islam in the age of globalization."  —Victoria Rowe Holbrook, former associate professor of Turkish literary and cultural studies, Ohio State University

"The great interest of this exemplary book . . . is its discussion of the way in which Ibn 'Arabi's teachings have been received, rejected, and transformed in the modern world."  —Professor Michel Chodkiewicz, author, Seal of the Saints and Ocean Without Shore

"A marvellous book . . . historically and ethnographically well-informed, with equally well-informed use of theory . . . handled with very considerable sensitivity and lucidly written."  —Paul Heelas, author, The New Age Movement and The Spiritual Revolution

"The primary reference work on Beshara will be this thoughtful, intelligent and immensely well-researched book. We can learn a great deal from it."  —Peter Young, principal, Beshara School of Intensive Esoteric Education

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781905937264
  • Publisher: Anqa Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/18/2010
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Suha Taji-Farouki is Senior Lecturer in Modern Islam at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, the University of Exeter, and Research Associate at The Institute of Ismaili Studies (London). She has written extensively on modern Islamic thought, including (ed.) Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century and Modern Muslim Intellectuals and the Qur'an. She is the author/translator of Ibn ‘Arabi, A Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

1 Setting the scene 1

Sixties Britain as historical context 2

Sufism and sufi spirituality in the modern West 8

Beshara as a movement of sufi spirituality 10

Introducing Ibn 'Arabi and the Oneness of Being 14

Concerning methodology, data collection and sources 18

2 Emergence and history 23

Rauf in London: a chance meeting? 23

Coalescence: the establishment of a spiritual centre 28

Reorientations 32

Emergence, consolidation and expansion of the Beshara movement 35

3 Spiritual education: texts and contexts 45

Study texts in English 45

Inside the School of Intensive Esoteric Education 54

4 Bulent Rauf as guiding figure 69

Origins 69

Approach as adviser and guide 81

Legacy 91

5 The Beshara perspective and the teaching of Ibn 'Arabi 97

Why Ibn Arabi? 98

Ibn 'Arabi's metaphysics as exposition of Absolute Truth 99

Ibn 'Arabi's teaching as universal 102

A direct personal message 104

The spiritual evolution of man 107

Preparing for the Second Coming of Christ 116

The Second Coming as new age: 'universality' and global unity 122

6 The spiritual life: culture and practice 135

The end of religions and spiritual orders: a direct realisation of Truth 135

Spiritual practices: origins and adaptations 141

Islamic-sufi forms and interior realities 151

The cult of saints 156

An Uwaysi culture? 164

7 Projecting Ibn 'Arabi for today's world 171

Beshara and Ibn 'Arabi 171

Avenues of engagement: bringing Ibn 'Arabi into the wider culture 173

Scholarly dissemination: the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society, Beshara and 'sufi academia' 177

Ibn'Arabi and his readers: spirituality for the elite? 184

Ibn 'Arabi(re-)constructed? 188

8 Beshara and Sufism in the modern world l95

Situating Beshara 195

Sufism and the shifting of the West 207

Modern Muslims, spiritual seekers and sufism 214

Epilogue 233

Notes 241

Appendices

1 Sufism and sufi spirituality in the West: a working typology 405

2 The life and thought of Ibn 'Arabi: recommended reading 406

3 A Beshara study session: Bosnevi's Commentary on the Fusus al-Hikam 408

4 A Beshara dhikr 415

5 Life stories 417

Select bibliography 451

Index 470

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