The prose and verse readings in this book were chosen to interest the many people who have become attracted to Sufi teachings through their exposure to popular Sufi poetry, music, and dance. The selections—mostly from the Middle East and India, ranging from the tenth to the twentieth century—provide a sampling of Sufi thought on some of the basic aspects of this spiritual path.
Most of the readings are published here in English for the first time. Brief introductory remarks place each selection into its historical and religious context, and an index of Qur'anic passages helps the reader to trace the extensive allusions to the Islamic holy scriptures.
The topics covered include:
• The nature of mystical love
• Listening to music as a spiritual practice
• Ethical teachings of Sufism
• Pitfalls on the spiritual path
• Spiritual companionship and the master-disciple relationship
• The importance of the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad
• Biographical accounts of great mystics, including the poet Rumi as well as several female saints
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About the Author
Carl W. Ernst, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A specialist in Islamic mysticism, he has spent research tours in Pakistan, India, and Turkey. He is also the author of Words and Ecstasy in Sufism and the translator of The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master by Ruzbihan Baqli.