Sacred Drift: Essays on the Margins of Islam

Overview

Peter Lamborn Wilson proposes a set of heresies, a culture of resistance, that dispels the false image of Islam as monolithic, puritan, and two-dimensional. Here is the story of the African-American noble Drew Ali, the founder of “Black Islam” in this country, and of the violent end of his struggle for “love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice.” Another essay deals with Satan and “Satanism” in Esoteric Islam; and another offers a scathing critique of “Authority” and sexual misery in modern Puritanist Islam. “The ...

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Overview

Peter Lamborn Wilson proposes a set of heresies, a culture of resistance, that dispels the false image of Islam as monolithic, puritan, and two-dimensional. Here is the story of the African-American noble Drew Ali, the founder of “Black Islam” in this country, and of the violent end of his struggle for “love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice.” Another essay deals with Satan and “Satanism” in Esoteric Islam; and another offers a scathing critique of “Authority” and sexual misery in modern Puritanist Islam. “The Anti-caliph” evokes a hot mix of Ibn Arabi’s tantric mysticism and the revolutionary teachings of the “Assassins.” The title essay, “Sacred Drift,” roves through the history and poetics of Sufi travel, from Ibn Khaldun to Rimbaud in Abyssinia to the Situationists. A “Romantic” view of Islam is taken to radical extremes; the exotic may not be “True,” but it’s certainly a relief from academic propaganda and the obscene banality of simulation.
Peter Lamborn Wilson lives in New York and works for Semiotext(e) magazine, Pacifica Radio, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. A long decade in the Orient (1968-1981) inspires his writing, including The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry and Scandal: Essays in Islamic Heresy.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Given the popular American misperception of Islam as monolithic and harsh, the timeliness of studies like Sacred Drift cannot be overstressed. Wilson presents a collection of well-researched essays on the heterodox beliefs and practices of Islam. The poet and historian, who is also a convert, is widely versed in Islamic history and spirituality. The first essay, which would be of interest to students of black American history, is an enlightening study of the life and work of Noble Drew Ali (1886-1929), an early founder of Black Islamic congregations. The four essays on spirituality, however, tend toward an ornamented style, and Wilson is sometimes strident in criticizing his ideological foes. Moreover, he presupposes a wide knowledge of Islam. This book will reward specialists in history and esoteric spirituality but will not appeal to casual readers. Recommended for academic libraries and large public libraries with interest in Islamic and black studies.-- James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872862753
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Quatrain 3
Preface 5
The Spiritual Concert 9
Quatrain 10
Ghazal 11
Lost/Found Moorish Time Lines in the Wilderness of North America 13
The Patent Medicine Show 51
Two Ghazals 52
The Anti-Caliph: Ibn Arabi, Inner Wisdom, and the Heretic Tradition 55
Like This 80
The Lover's Tailor's Shop 81
Iblis, the Black Light 83
Satanic Panic 95
False Authority 97
Three Rude Quatrains 99
Quatrain 100
"The Shaykhs Have Two States" 101
Quatrain 120
On His Sepulchre 121
Travel 122
The Elephant's Dream 123
Divan 124
Sacred Drift: On the Road With Doctor Maximus 125
Proper Vocation 162
Ghazal 164
Select Bibliography 165
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