Global Sufism: A Historical and Chronological Overview


Norman C. Rothman, PhD
University of Maryland Global Campus, MD, US

Series: Religion and Spirituality
BISAC: REL090000
DOI: 10.52305/QBHJ8575

This book analyzes the enduring appeal of the Sufi movement. Its first chapter deals with origins of the Sufi movement and then discusses of the various definitions attached to what came to define what would later be called the mystical dimension of Islam. The succeeding chapters deal with its historical development. Under this theme, specific chapters deal with the spread of Sufism during the Middle Ages and early Modern period and how it survived and even thrived during this time. The concluding chapter during this historical section traces its spread beyond the Islamic world and into the West during the contemporary period.

The middle chapters examine the appeal of Sufism on a cross-cultural basis around the globe both past and present. In this section, the crucial role that Sufi brotherhoods and lodges have played in the cultures and societies around the world on various continents are detailed. The emphasis is on the key role played by the Sufi orders in terms of community service and outreach activities often directed toward disadvantaged and marginal groups. This section also reviews the basic principles, practices and philosophies of the largest global orders. The final chapter in this section outlines the contributions of Sufism to world culture through literature, the arts and philosophy.

The concluding chapters analyze the continued appeal of Sufism to various cultures and societies in both its religious and non-religious versions. They evaluate how Sufism through its adaptability has managed to survive and even thrive in an often indifferent or hostile environment and in the face of trends such as secularism, modernization and urbanization as well as challenges from orthodox traditional advocates of Islam. Another chapter summarizes the various criticisms that have been directed toward Sufi beliefs, and the Sufi response to them. Finally, the concluding chapter restates why Sufism has survived and connects it to a number of factors, particularly its message of inclusion, compassion, tolerance and love—a message with universal appeal.

In addition to the usual table of contents and index of terms, an overview and glossary is provided for each chapter.
(Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Note on Orthography and Word Usage


Chapter 1. Overview and Origin, History, and Definition

Chapter 2. Overview and the Medieval and Early Modern Era

Chapter 3. Overview and the Modern and Contemporary Era

Chapter 4. Overview and Sufi Influenced Regions: Asia

Chapter 5. Overview and Sufi Influenced Regions: Africa

Chapter 6. Overview and Sufism in Non-Islamic Societies

Chapter 7. Overview and the Sufi Orders

Chapter 8. Overview and Sufi Music, Literature, and Philosophy

Chapter 9. Overview and Cross-Sectarian Appeal of Sufism


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