Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure

Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure

by Camille Adams Helminski
     
 

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The luminous presence of women who follow the Sufi Way—the mystical path of Islam—is brought to life here through their sacred songs and poetry, their dreams and visions, and stories of their efforts as they witness the Truth in many realms. These writings reflect the honor and respect for the feminine in the Sufi worldview, and they are shared in the

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Overview

The luminous presence of women who follow the Sufi Way—the mystical path of Islam—is brought to life here through their sacred songs and poetry, their dreams and visions, and stories of their efforts as they witness the Truth in many realms. These writings reflect the honor and respect for the feminine in the Sufi worldview, and they are shared in the spirit of inspiration and hope for the flourishing contributions of women to the spiritual development of humanity.

Spanning the centuries, from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day, the selections are by or about an array of Sufi traditions in different parts of the world, from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to Europe and America—from beloved members of the Prophet's family to the mystic Rabi'a al-Adawiyya to the modern scholar Annemarie Schimmel. Biographical anecdotes and personal memoirs provide a glimpse into the experience of great saints and contemporary practitioners alike, while providing an introduction to the principles and practices of Sufism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A rich and varied resource for understanding women of 'The Way.'"—Publishers Weekly

"The intensity and the eclectic range of the material is impressive. . . . Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure reveals the depth and breadth of spiritual riches within this mystical tradition."—Spirituality & Health

"An admirable job of bringing history to life . . . a book that can be read with rapture, browsed, used for scholarly reference, or as an inspiring source to deepen our knowledge of Sufism by the examples and teachings of these beautiful and wise Sufi women."—Sufism

"A great resource for understanding women's ongoing search for the Divine."—Ascent

"Women of Sufism is a valuable addition to Sufi literature and women's spiritual studies. Camille Helminski awakens us to the important contribution of women to this mystical tradition."—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D., author of Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart

Publishers Weekly
Helminski was the first woman to publish an English translation of the Qur'an and has built a career out of reprinting classic Sufi materials. This collection of primary sources casts a spotlight on the roles women have played in Sufi history: because Sufism sheds hierarchical and social distinctions in favor of a total consummation with the Beloved (Allah), women have always held an important position, says Helminski. The collection opens with early writings about Sufi women, most of which were written by men, and some of which have only recently been made available in English. Here we learn of Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya, an eighth-century saint about whom many legends were composed, and the ninth-century healer Lady Nafisa, who was renowned for her Qur'anic knowledge and whose tomb is still a sacred destination for spiritual pilgrims of many religious traditions. Helminski goes on to offer writings by and about Sufi women up to the present day, including poetry (Rumi has some competition!), folklore, prayers, songs and journal entries. Helminski does a fine job of introducing each subject, placing each shaykha (female teacher) in her historical context and explaining why she should be remembered. Some of the contemporary women are particularly interesting, such as Russian-born Sufi author Irina Tweedie, who describes her gradual path toward Sufism. This collection of women's voices is a rich and varied resource for understanding women of "The Way." (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
With this selection of writings from different women and places throughout Islamic history, Helminski-cofounder and codirector of the Threshold Society, a Sufi organization-offers a history of women in Sufism, Islam's mysticism. Chapters are arranged by time and region, spanning from the time of Muhammad (the seventh century) to the present and including poems, journals, scholarly essays, and more. In her introduction, Helminski describes contemporary women's involvement with Sufism as it developed from the early centuries of Islam. Throughout the stories and experiences gathered here, readers learn about women's place and voice in the Sufi experience, showing their participation in a long line of traditions, teachers, and study. More personal than analytical, this book is appropriate for readers interested in women's religious experiences and for those wishing to learn about this mystical tradition, whose customs few are familiar with. For larger public and academic libraries.-Naomi Hafter, Baltimore Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570629679
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
02/25/2003
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,382,610
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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