Mysticism (Religion 337)
Theme: The Persian Love Tradition In Sufism
Omid Safi: email@example.com
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, Farid al-Din Attar, and Rumi.
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
Thursday: September 1st: Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak, Love is the Wine, p. 40-94.
The Foundational Sources of Sufism:
Quran 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 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
September 8th: Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 2
*For some information on Sufi
exegesis of the Quran, also 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
Early Sufi theorists, early female Sufi
Tuesday, September 13th:
Music: "Namidanam kuja budam" plus handout
from Burckhardt book.,
Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, Chapter 4 (Rabi'a)
( Assignment: In looking at Rabia, how is she a woman Sufi?)
Ecstasy Unleashed: Hallaj, Bistami, etc.
Also, read Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 62-77
Sufism in the West
Thursday, September 22nd:
Tuesday, September 27th:
The heart of this course:
12th and 13th century Persian Love Tradition of Tasawwuf
The Perfume-seller of the saint:
Lives of Sufi saints: Memorial of Godfriends (Tadhkirat al-awliya'):
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/
Thursday, September 29th:
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:
Tuesday, October 18th:
The Path of Love:
Hazrat Mawlana (Rumi)
Thursday, October 27th:
Tuesday, November 1st:
Thursday, November 3rd:
Tuesday, November 8th:
Thursday, November 10th:
The crystallization of Sufi communities:
Sufism in the contemporary world:
Tuesday, November 15th:
Thursday, November 17th:
Tuesday, November 22nd:
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
Thursday, December 8th: Last day of
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