Islamic Mysticism (Religion 337)
Theme:  The Persian Love Tradition In Sufism

Colgate University
Fall 2005

Omid Safi: osafi@mail.colgate.edu

(315) 228-7690

 

Sufism:

Path to God,

through the Heart

"Love is a flame.

It burns away all

that is not God."

 
 

 

Course Description

Schedule of Classes & Reading Assignments

(All readings on given days are to be completed before you come to class.)

August 29th:  half day, class introduction.

 

 

Encountering a Sufi master


Tuesday, August 30th:  Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine, p. iii-39.
 

Thursday: September 1st:   Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine, p. 40-94.
* For a web representation of the followers of Sheikh Muzzafer,
see http://www.jerrahi.org/  [question: what forms of engagement with the modern world do you see this group undertaking? How do they identify their relationship with Islam?]

 

 

 

The Foundational Sources of Sufism: 

Qur’an and the baraka of Muhamamd (S)


Tuesday, September 6th:
  
      Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 1 (29-56)
Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 3-22.

* For a Sufi interpretation of the Opening chapter of the Qur’an,, see
www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/ruzguide.html

( Assignment: Discuss the Sufis’ relationship to the Qur’an, 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 (Mi'raj)

Thursday, September 8th:  Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 2 (75-97)
Also, browse:   Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 23-62.

*For some information on Sufi exegesis of the Qur’an, also see
www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html#Sufi Qur'an Commentary

We have talked about significance of Hadith Qudsi.  Browse:
http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/hadithqudsi.html

* See the following web-site associated with the Mi'raj:
http://www.al-aqsa.com/HISTORY.html#anchor661673

The poem to the right is by the Persian poet, Sa'di, in honor of the Prophet. 
This poem, in Arabic, is sung all over the Muslim world.

Balagha 'l-ula bi-kamlalihi
kashafa 'l-dujja bi-jamalihi
hasunat jami'u khisalihi
sallu alayhi wa alihi

"He reached hights of perfection
he unveiled darkness through his beauty
he achieved the totality of beauty in all qualities
Peace be upon him, and his family."


(Assignment: What aspects of Muhammad’s being do Sufis seek to emulate? )

 

 

Early Sufi theorists, early female Sufi

Tuesday, September  13th:
Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 3 (Qushayri)
Browse:  Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapter 3 (98-186)

Music: "Namidanam kuja budam" plus handout from Burckhardt book.,
(poem by Amir Khusrau, song by Sabri Brothers, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan)

Thursday, September 15th:

Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 4 (Rabi'a)
* Music: Zuleikha, featuring chanting of the names of significant Sufi women.
*Also, see an early 13th century definition of "what is tasawwuf"
Also:   www.naqshbandi.org/chain/6.htm

Web: www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html#Rabi'a  
and,  
http://www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html#Sufi Women

( Assignment: In looking at Rabi’a, how is she a woman Sufi?)


 

 

Ecstasy Unleashed:  Hallaj, Bistami, etc.

Tuesday, September 20th:

Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 7, 9
www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/Sufism.html#Hallaj

Also, read Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 62-77

 

 

Sufism in the West
recalling earlier Sufism

 

Thursday, September 22nd:
Essential Sufism 1 (skim into, read closely 35-86)
Assignment:   What historical aspects of Sufi teachings
are highlighted in the process of transmission? 
 

Tuesday, September 27th:
Essential Sufism, 2 (read 87-193)
For transmission of Sufism to the West,
see look at:  http://www.uga.edu/islam/sufismwest.html
 browse Essential Sufism, 3 (read 197-258) 

 

 

 

 

The heart of this course: 
12th and 13th century Persian Love Tradition of Tasawwuf

 

 

The Perfume-seller of the saint:  
Farid al-Din Attar of Nishapur

 

Lives of Sufi saints:   Memorial of Godfriends (Tadhkirat al-awliya'): 
A Classic Sufi hagiography

You can access a free copy of this text online.   It is also available in the "course documents" section of Blackboard.

Image to the right:  Two Lovers, 1629-30/ A.H. 1039;
Safavid period (1501-1722)
Riza `Abbasi, Painter; Riza `Abbasi
Attributed to Iran

Thursday, September 29th: 
Muslim Saints and Mystics, from Hasan of Basra to end of Dho 'l-Nun Misri (PDF pages)

Tuesday, October 4th: Muslim Saints and Mystics, from PDF. (figures assigned)

Thursday, October 6th:  Attar, Speech of the Birds, 1-110

Tuesday, October 11th:   Mid-Term Recess (no classes)

Thursday, October 13th:
Instead of class, come to Sheila Blair lecture

Tuesday, October 18th:
Attar, Speech of the Birds, 111-300

Thursday, October  20th:

Attar, Speech of the Birds, 301-418.
Read Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 301-309


image to the right:  Mantiq al-tayr (The Language of the Birds), ca. 1600; Safavid period (1501-1722) Habib Allah, Painter, Attributed to Isfahan, Iran, MET.

 

 

 

 

The Path of Love:  Mazhab-e 'eshq
Ahmad Ghazali's Sawanih
.

Tuesday, October 25th:


Also, from the "course documents" section of Blackboard, get the PDF File for Sawanih, and read only pages 15-22, plus chapters 11 (page 31), and 13 (33-34).  This is a dense, though rewarding, read, so try to read this twice.

 

 

 

Hazrat Mawlana (Rumi)   

Thursday, October 27th:
Browse:  Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 309-327.
 Masnavi 1-55

First, start with this page,
and pay attention to the Persian original of the first 18 lines.
Then, check out the various translations of the same 18 lines.  
Then, read the commentaries on the first 18 lines by Nicholson:  part I, part 2, part 3

Tuesday, November 1st:
 Masnavi 56-119
music:  Daram hava-ye 'asheqi

Thursday, November 3rd:
catch up day

Tuesday, November 8th:
 Masnavi 120-180
music: Baz amadam, baz amadam

Thursday, November 10th:
Masnavi 180-243
* Music: man dard-e to-r ze dast sn nadaham; by Shahram Nazeri

 

 

 


Extra credit:


Theosophical Sufism:   Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam,259-286.
Also,
read Bagley article on Taj Mahal (see right) [to be passed out]
James Morris, "Listening for God: Prayer and the Heart in the Futht",
 [available through
www.ibnarabisociety.org/morris.html ]

The crystallization of Sufi communities:  
Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 228-259
 

 

 

 

Sufism in the contemporary world: 
walking with a Sufi teacher today

Tuesday, November 15th:  
Bawa Muhayiyadeen, Islam and World Peace (part I)

Thursday, November 17th: 
Bawa Muhayiyadeen, Islam and World Peace (part II)

Tuesday, November 22nd: 
Bawa Muhayiyadeen, Islam and World Peace (part III, movie in class)

Thursday November 24th:   Thanksgiving break.

Tuesday, November 29th:    Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, 1-164.

Thursday, December 1st:   Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, 165-253
 

Tuesday, December 6th: Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, 254-382
 * Camille Helminski’s article on Sufi women:
http://www.sufism.org/society/articles/women.html
* On Sufi women, see
http://sufiwomen.org/

Thursday, December 8th:  Last day of classes.
Marcus, My Years with the Qutb, 383-486.
In addition, pay close attention to:
"Islam's Relationship to Sufism: Approval and Criticism
http://www.uga.edu/islam/sufismislam.html
for example of Salafi approach to Sufism,
see:  http://www.islamonline.net/fatwa/english/FatwaDisplay.asp?hFatwaID=79051
Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Sufism: 
 http://www.famsy.com/salam/Sufism0404.htm

 

 

Exam Period.

12 Monday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM
12 Monday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM
13 Tuesday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM
14 Wednesday Review Period
15 Thursday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM
15 Thursday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM
16 Friday Examination Period
9:00AM-5:00PM

 


 

 

Assigned sources:

Books:

Required for the class, bring the readings with you to each class.

  1. Sheikh Mozzafer, Love is the Wine

  2. Michael Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism

  3. Marcus, My Years with the Qutb

  4. Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam

  5. Bawa Muhaiyadeen, Islam and World Peace

  6. Fadiman, Essential Sufism

  7. Jawid Mojaddedi, Rumi: Masnavi (Oxford)

  8. Attar, Speechof the Birds
     

  9. STRONGLY Recommended CD: Oruj Guvenc, Oceans of Remembrance.

Web resources:

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 be discussing:
http://www.arches.uga.edu/~godlas/sufism1.html

Articles:

  1. R. A. Nicholson, "Origin and Development of Sufism", Journal of Royal Asiatic Society (1906): 330-348.
  2. Michael Sells, "Ibn Arabi’s Garden Among the Flames: The Heart Receptive of Every Form", Mystical Language of Unsaying, pp. 90-115.
  3. James Morris, "Listening for God: Prayer and the Heart in the Futht", [available through www.ibnarabisociety.org/morris.html

 

Grade to be based on:

 

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