Mysticism (Religion 337)
Theme: The Persian Love Tradition In Sufism
Omid Safi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Path to God,
through the Heart
"Love is a flame.
It burns away all
that is not God."
This course seeks to engage the mystical interpretations of Islam (Sufism) as one of the most important historical manifestations of the Islamic experience.
Themes explored in this class include the tradition of love mysticism embodied by Ahmad Ghazali and Rumi.
The bulk of the reading assignments in the course are from 12th and 13th century Persian Sufis such as Ahmad Ghazali, Najm al-Din Daya, Fakhruddin Iraqi, and Rumi.
Schedule of Classes & Reading Assignments
(All readings on given days are to be completed before you come to class.)
January 17 M First Day: Special schedule for 20 minute meetings for all classes.
Encountering a Sufi master
January 19 Wed Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine, p. iii-39.
January 24 Mon. Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine, p. 40-94.
Defining "Sufism" and the problematic of the "Mystical"
Sufism and the
problematic of "the mystical"
Ernst, Shambhala Guide to Sufism, xi-31
* Nicholson, "Origin and Development of Sufism", pp. 330-348. (handed out in class Monday)
* For some thoughtful
reflections on the category of "mystical", refer to:
Based on what you have seen so far, how would you translate the term
The Foundational Sources of Sufism:
Quran and the baraka of Muhamamd (S)
January 31 Monday
Ernst, Shambhala Guide To Sufism, Chapter 2 (32-57),
Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 1 (29-56)
*For some information on Sufi exegesis of the Quran, also see
www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html#Sufi Qur'an Commentary
* For a Sufi interpretation of the Opening chapter of the Quran,, see
( Assignment: Discuss the Sufis relationship to the Quran, particularly in terms of their hermeneutics.
How do they access different layers of meaning in the holy text?)
| The example of the Prophet, and
the Heavenly Ascension
2 Wednesday Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 2
* For a Sufi
interpretation of the Opening chapter of the Qur’an,, see
We have talked about significance of Hadith Qudsi. Browse:
* See the following web-site
associated with the Mi'raj:
The poem to the
right is by the Persian poet, Sa'di, in honor of the
hights of perfection
|Wednesday, February 14th:
Early Sufi theorists, early female Sufi
February 7 M Sells, Early
Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 3 (Qushayri)
February 9 W Sells, Early
Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 4,5 (Rabi'a and Muhasibi)
( Assignment: In looking
at Rabia, how is she a woman Sufi?)
Ecstasy Unleashed: Hallaj, Bistami, etc.
February 16 W Sells, Early
Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 8, 9
Lives of Sufi saints: Memorial of Godfriends (Tadhkirat al-awliya' of Attar)
You can access a free copy of
February 21 M Muslim Saints and Mystics, from Hasan of Basra to end of Dho 'l-Nun Misri (in the PDF pages,
February 23 W Muslim Saints and Mystics, from PDF.
The Path of Love:
February 28 M Muslim Saints and Mystics, from PDF source. Only read the chapters on Hallaj and Shebli from the remainder of the document.
Transmission/transformation of Sufism in the West
Sufism 1 (skim into, read closely 35-86)
Sufism, 2 (read 87-193)
W Bawa Muhaiyaddeen's Islam and World Peace handout
March 12-20 Mid Term Recess
The heart of this course:
12th and 13th century Persian Love Tradition of Tasawwuf
Hazrat Mawlana (Rumi)
April 11 M March
Shambhala Guide To Sufism, chapter 6
W Masnavi 180-243
Fakhruddin 'Iraqi, translated by Chittick
April 4: Iraqi, 1
April 6 M Iraqi, 2
Path of God's Bondsmen,
April 11th: Razi, pages 25-148
Razi , 255-394
April 20th: Razi, 395-497
Sufi Aesthetics: music and dance
April 25 Monday
* check out web page:
Sufism in the contemporary world
April 27 W Ernst, Shambhala Guide To Sufism, chapter 8
* Camille Helminskis article on Sufi women:
May 2-3 Examination Period
May 4 Review Day
May 5-6 Examination Period
May 6 and 7 Examination Period
Senior Grades Due May 9
All other grades due May 16
Michael Sells, "Ibn Arabis Garden Among the Flames: The Heart Receptive of Every Form," pp. 90-115. [handed out]
Required for the class, bring the readings with you to each class.
You would do well to acquaint yourselves with the following web-page,
and use it as a frequent
point of entry and exploration around many of the issues we will
Grade to be based on:
To return to Omid Safi's Main Page