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  • Rumi, Mevlana Jalaleddin
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    $10.17 $6.00 list($14.95)
    1. Essential Rumi
    $37.50 $7.95
    2. In Search of the Hidden Treasure:
    $9.00 list($28.00)
    3. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection
    $29.95 $25.54 list($32.95)
    4. The Sufi Path of Knowledge
    $18.90 list($30.00)
    5. The Illuminated Rumi
    $21.50 $21.49
    6. Mystical Dimensions of Islam
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    7. The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways
    $24.95 $23.74
    8. Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light:
    $29.95 $29.47
    9. Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth
    $20.00 $11.95
    10. The Illuminated Prayer : The Five-Times
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    11. Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching-Stories
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    12. The Book of Certainty: The Sufi
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    13. The Meccan Revelations
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    14. The Mysticism of Sound and Music
    $11.53 $11.02 list($16.95)
    15. Rumi's World : The Life and Works
    $19.95 $13.99
    16. The Shakers: Two Centuries of
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    17. The Light of Dawn : Daily Readings
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    18. Alone with the Alone
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    19. Joy : The Happiness That Comes
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    20. The Sufis

    1. Essential Rumi
    by Coleman Barks
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0062509594
    Catlog: Book (1997-02-14)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 10206
    Average Customer Review: 4.51 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A comprehensive collection of ecstatic poetry that delights with its energy and passion, The Essential Rumi brings the vibrant, living words of famed thirteenth-century Sufi mystic Jelalludin Rumi to contemporary readers. ... Read more

    Reviews (43)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An American Rumi
    This book may well become an American classic of poetry someday. It is by far the best English collection of Rumi's poetry, done by his most able translator.

    Although Rumi's poetry -- as with most poetry -- is at core untranslatable, Barks has done a fine job in rendering older technical translations of the Maulana into poetic English. What one encounters here is not just Rumi, but Rumi filtered through Barks. If you object to that go learn Persian because no translation will be able to capture the subtle nuances conveyed through the original language.

    Barks should be commended in showing us another face of Islam, and revealing, in the process, the timeless, universal and transreligious teachings of one of Islam's greatest saints.

    For fans of Rumi/Barks, I suggest Winkel's new book: Damascus Steel. Its a work of fiction exploring contemporary political themes through sufi lenses, and was written before (!) September 11th.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Poetic Enlightenment
    Rumi (as he is known in the West), was known as Jelaluddin Balkhi by the Persians and Afghanis, from where he was born in 1207. Rumi means 'from Roman Anatolia', which is where his family fled to avoid the threat of Mongol armies. Being raised in a theological family, Rumi studied extensively in religion and poetry, until encountering Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic, with whom he formed the first of his intense, mystical friendships, so intense that it inspired jealously among Rumi's students and family. Shams eventually disappeared (most likely murdered because of the jealousy); Rumi formed later more mystical friendships, each with a different quality, which seemed essential for Rumi's creative output. Rumi was involved with the mystical tradition that continues to this day of the dervish (whirling dervishes are best known), and used it as a personal practice and as a teaching tool.

    This book has a deliberate task: 'The design of this book is meant to confuse scholars who would divide Rumi's poetry into the accepted categories.' Barks and Moyne have endeavoured to put together a unified picture that playfully spans the breadth of Rumi's imagination, without resorting to scholarly pigeon-holes and categorisations.

    'All of which makes the point that these poems are not monumental in the Western sense of memorialising moments; they are not discrete entities but a fluid, continuously self-revising, self-interrupting medium.'

    Rumi created these poems as part of a constant, growing conversation with a dervish learning community. It flows from esoteric to mundane, from ecstatic to banal, incorporating music and movement at some points, and not at others, with the occasional batch of prose.

    'Some go first, and others come long afterward. God blesses both and all in the line, and replaces what has been consumed, and provides for those who work the soil of helpfulness, and blesses Muhammad and Jesus and every other messenger and prophet. Amen, and may the Lord of all created beings bless you.'

    From the lofty sentiments...

    'There's a strange frenzy in my head,
    of birds flying,
    each particle circulating on its own.
    Is the one I love everywhere?' the simple observations...

    'Drunks fear the police,
    but the police are drunks too.
    People in this town love them both
    like different chess pieces.'

    Some poems take very mystic frameworks, such as the Sohbet. There is no easy English translation of Sohbet, save that it comes close to meaning 'mystical conversation on mystical subjects'. These poems become mystically Socratic, by a series of questions and answers, very simple on the surface, yet leading down to the depths of meaning.

    In the middle of the night
    I cried out,
    "Who lives in this love
    I have?"
    You said, "I do, but I'm not here
    alone. Why are these other images
    with me?"

    Rumi also has an elegant series called the Solomon Poems, in which King Solomon is the embodiment of luminous divine wisdom, and the Queen of Sheba is the bodily soul. This sets up a dynamic tension that gets played out in the poetry (in extrapolation from the Biblical stories from which they were first derived)

    Rumi reminds us that, in the face of love and truth, even the wisdom of Plato and Solomon can go blind, but there is vision in this blindness.

    In the conclusion of this volume, Rumi's poetry of The Turn (the dervishes) is presented, as a place of emptiness, where the ego dissolves, and opens a doorway to the divine to enter. The night of Rumi's death in 1273 is considered 'Rumi's Wedding Night', the night he achieved full union with the divine that he had sought so often in poetry and mystical practice.

    There is much to be gained in the contemplation of this frequently overlooked poet.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential part of the dilettante's library
    "Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing,
    There is a field.
    I will meet you there."

    I have bought no fewer than ten copies of this book, for friends and family. I was lucky to find them remainder at the local book megamart, but I would gladly pay full price.

    This book made Rumi my favorite poet. Rumi is habit forming, but this is by far the most accessible place to start.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Keep going back
    This is one of those books I keep handy, and just open randomly whenever I need a quick reminder that the world runs deeper than we think. It never fails to pull me from the shallow waters... When I want to go.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful poetry, but not well arranged
    I do not understand how Barks organized these poems. They're amazing, every last one but the order that they're in is quite confusing. Nonetheless it should be read by everyone, whether a poetry lover or not. Also, check out the recipes in the back of the book! As the name states, it is ESSENTIAL! ... Read more

    2. In Search of the Hidden Treasure: A Conference of Sufis
    by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
    list price: $37.50
    our price: $37.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1585421804
    Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
    Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
    Sales Rank: 477432
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Like no other book, In Search of the Hidden Treasure captures the centuries-old traditions of Sufism. Its pages allow the contemporary reader to become immersed in the words, sights, and wisdom of this powerful mystical wing of Islam. Here is the world of whirling dervishes; of mysterious alleyways where chanting is heard all day long; and of a young poet named Rumi, who writes impassioned love songs to God.

    Constructed as a conference of Sufis who gather in a great hall to answer the questions of a seeker, In Search of the Hidden Treasure is illustrated with more than a hundred previously unpublished works of Islamic art, and portraits of the Sufi Pirs, or enlightened teachers, drawn by the author's wife, Mary Inayat Khan.

    The book also includes an extensive glossary of Sufi terms that pertain to states of consciousness, as well as well-documented biographies of all the Sufi Pirs, members of a long lineage that dates back to the prophet Muhammad.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Priceless Pearl
    This book is charged-- a direct transmission of heart and soul, light and life from Pir Vilayat Khan. Pir Vilayat is the son of the great Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan and pioneer of liberated spirituality within the US and Europe since the 1960's offers his magnum opus. The work, beautifully illustrated with inspired drawings by Mary Inayat Khan along many sacred paintings and images of the East, is a vibrant dialogue among ancient and modern Sufi masters, inquirers and students. It filled my being and will fill yours with the antidote to the delusion of our modern existence and of conventionally defined models of Reality. ... Read more

    3. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems
    by Coleman Barks, John Moyne, Reynold A. Nicholson, Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi
    list price: $28.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060604530
    Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
    Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
    Sales Rank: 350665
    Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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    When Rumi was born in Afghanistan in 1207, it was a time of tremendouspolitical turmoil in the Near East. Paradoxically, it was also a time of"brilliant mystical awareness," writes translator Coleman Barks in The Soulof Rumi. This brilliance shines through in every passage, as Barkscelebrates the ecstatic nature of Rumi's poetry. Barks (The Essential Rumi) has beengiven much credit for leading modern Westerners to this astounding poet. Hissensitivity to the reader is evidenced in how he organizes the poetry accordingto themes. Since Rumi is often quoted at public gatherings, such as weddings andmemorial services, this makes referencing especially easy. In the sectionentitled "When Friend Meets Friend," readers find the poem "The Soul's Friend":

    The most living moment comes when those who love each other meeteach other's eyes and in what flows between them then. To see your face in a crowd of others, or alone on afrightening street, I weep for that….
    Barks offers a gracefully rendered introduction to each section, providingpersonal and historical background of the poetry. Elegantly designed and printedon cream-colored, heavy-stock paper, this is a delight for Rumi fans. --GailHudson ... Read more

    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best introduction to Rumi available
    If there is only one book of Rumi you purchase, this should be it. But warning, the purchase may send you into a frenzy to learn and read more.

    Barks' works as a translator here make poetry come alive, leap off the page and fly circles around your mind. A single poem can bring a person to great thoughts.

    The book begins with a great introduction to Rumi's life, work, culture, spirituality, but Barks also includes some history of Sufi poetry. Then Barks divides the poetry into logical sections. Some involve community, others involve love, some love of God, peace between religions, inner life, work, home, playing... The range of catagories Barks creates represent human life in a wholeistic manner. They make Rumi's poetry easier to grasp, much more enjoyable, and center on the needs of all human beings. Barks also introduces each section (usually no more than a page). Barks' intros are concise, clear, and point toward key ideas in the most notable poems of each section.

    This large collection of poetry is worth reading for a lifetime. Not to mention as Robert Bly asked of Barks years ago, Barks follows through in "releasing these translations from their cages."

    5-0 out of 5 stars The alchemy of RumiÕs vision brought to life
    Jelaluddin Rumi has become familiar to Western readers who seek out ecstatic poetry, as more and more translations and commentaries are offered on perhaps this greatest of mystical writers. But as they say, it takes one to know one, and Coleman BarksÕ masterpiece is the obvious product of an attuned heart and poetic soul.

    This volume is one of the clearest and most vibrant illustrations of the Ôwild heartÕ Rumi was and is. It is difficult to find superlatives which do justice to the beauty and towering vision this work contains. Every verse, every line seems to open, in some disarmingly simple way, vast new vistas of possibilities for the human spirit.

    How good is this book? The highest accolade that can be given Barks is that his brief section introductions, frequently fodder in other volumes exploring Rumi, here are powerful and transformative in their own right. Each one sets up the following verses in a natural and seamless flow. BarksÕ light shines brightly, even in the rarefied company he keeps.

    Get this volume and devour it. Then get another copy and give it to someone who is ready for the infinite freedom it open-handedly offers...

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nice...
    When I first began to read this book, I didn't like it nearly as much as the essential rumi, some of the poems just didn't speak to me in quite the same way. But this last winter break, I read through the whole masnavi at the end of the book, and it gave me a very different feeling from anything I've ever read before. It was like there was a deeper message, or an understanding which is difficult to say other then just a deeper understanding of everything.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Love's Embodiment
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi. He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobia and perhaps homophobia.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment?

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Embodied Love?
    Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi.

    He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobic and perhaps homophobic.

    Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

    I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical, physical men.

    In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment.

    Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong. ... Read more

    4. The Sufi Path of Knowledge
    by William C. Chittick
    list price: $32.95
    our price: $29.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0887068855
    Catlog: Book (1989-07-01)
    Publisher: State University of New York Press
    Sales Rank: 144591
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Work on Ibn Arabi's Non-Dualistic Cosmology to Date
    Ibn Arabi is not easy reading. By far the best and most comprehensive book to date is this one -- perhaps Chittick's most important work yet. SPK is primarily a collection of translations from various sections of Ibn Arabi's greatest work, the Meccan Revelations, and is structured more as an anthology. Chittick puts in his own commentary here and there which helps decode the complexity of some of the passages. But for the most part, he allows Ibn Arabi to speak for himself.

    Although the book is long, you don't have to read all of it. Chittick is not arguing a thesis, but presenting Ibn Arabi's view on a variety of subjects which are fundamentally rooted in a non-dualistic cosmology where only Allah 'is'. You can read just the introduction of the work (where Chittick gives a bare-bones sketch of the Shaikh's worldview) and then start plugging away from the various passages at your own convenience.

    In my opinion, SPK is better than Chittick's more recent THE SELF DISCLOSURE OF GOD which is too technical and requires quite a bit of familiarity with Ibn Arabi in particular and sufism in general.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An expository not a deconstructive work
    Chittick allows Ibn Arabi to speak for himself without attemptiong to fit him within a philosophical paradigm like other authors (Nicholson, Affifi). This itself is a landmark step in oriental studies.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book to read
    This is a great book for any one who is interested in true no nonsense spiritualism. Ibne Arabi as always proves himself a true master of this path. I would like to mention a couple of points which has left me confused as to the real position of this great master. He puts a great deal of emphasis on the fact that a true "traveler" is always mindful of the " Sacred Laws" of Islam and never for a moment undermines them. One might ask the question as to what is "Sacred Laws" and what are the sources of them. Quran rarely mentions anything about the Laws in a detailed fashion and those hadiths left from Prophet are uncertain , and more importantly there has never been much agreement about what the Sacred Laws are among the jurisprudence. Four canonical schools among the jurisprudence were established , at the expense of other schools, due to the fact that there was almost a chaos due to many schools of Law each with their own version of "Sacred Laws". So it seems that "Sacred Law" is more or less in the eye of the beholder and very much " relative". Moreover it is very confusing that Ibne Arabi should accept the very notion of " four cannonical" schools of law randomly picked by the ruler of the time. An indication that Ibne Arabi perhaps avoided any topic which would have brought him face to face with the political powers of his time. The second confusing aspect of Ibne Arabi is his almost total silence in regards to socio-political aspect of Islam and Islamic society. He never touches upon the early history of Islam and the shortcoming of the "Companions" of the Prophet as though he either sees no problem with that history at all or he is afraid of a backlash. It is unlikely that a man like Ibne Arabi would give a blank check and a money back guaranty entry to heaven to Mohammad's companions irrespective of their socio-political behavior. Why is it so important that we put the companions of the prophet under a microscope? It is because their behavior is particularly relevant to all moslems since according to a hadith attributed to Muhammad " my companion are like stars, any which one one follows is lead to truth". Does Ibne Arabi accept this hadith? How does he , or better yet Prophet Muhammad himself, justify the turmoil and killings and political injustice which was exercised by companions after Mohammed's death? Moslems rarely touch upon this aspect of their history and almost never discuss it and Ibne Arabi, unfortunatly, seems to fall under the same category.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best, yet difficult to grasp...
    This book is one of the best I've ever come across. Subject matter is not at all easy to grasp even with background in Islamic studies. After all 17000 pages of "Meccan Openings" or as Ibn al-Arabi named it, "Futuhaat al-Makkiyah" cannot be condensed in a volume of 500 or so pages.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gives more answers to deep questions than any other book,
    The author has written a number of balanced, penetrating books revealing the world of the religious masters of the Near East of 700 years ago. Willaim Chittick, Professor of Islamic Studys at SUNY Stoney Brook is unique in the English speaking world in his training in these topics; and in the synthesis and scope he provides. The Sufi Path of Knowledge is an expertly and lovingly considered condensation of a work that in it's Arabic original runs over 10,000 pages. Ibn Arabi, along with Al Ghazali and Rumi, was the greatest mystic of the Islamic religion. This book provides more insight on man's nature, the nature of his relationship to the world and his creator, the world of angels and dreams and deep awakening, and the nature of being than any other book I know. Overwhelming ... Read more

    5. The Illuminated Rumi
    list price: $30.00
    our price: $18.90
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0767900022
    Catlog: Book (1997-10-13)
    Publisher: Broadway
    Sales Rank: 12123
    Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings...

    In the mid-thirteenth century, in a dusty marketplace in Konya, Turkey, a city where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist travelers mingled, Jelaluddin Rumi, a popular philosopher and scholar, met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish.Their meeting forever altered the course of Rumi's life and influenced the mystical evolution of the planet.The bond they formed was everlasting--a powerful transcendent friendship that would flow through Rumi as some of the world's best-loved ecstatic poetry.

    Rumi's passionate, playful poems find and celebrate sacred life in everyday existence.They speak across all traditions, to all peoples, and today his relevance and popularity continue to grow.In The Illuminated Rumi, Coleman Barks, widely regarded as the world's premier translator of Rumi's writings, presents some of his most brilliant work, including many new translations.To complement Rumi's universal vision, Michael Green has worked the ancient art of illumination into a new, visually stunning form that joins typography, original art, old masters, photographs, and prints with sacred images from around the world.

    The Illuminated Rumi is a truly groundbreaking collaboration that interweaves word and image: a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi's teachings.Coleman Barks's wise and witty commentary, together with Michael Green's art, makes this a classic guide to the life of the soul for a whole new generation of seekers. ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sacred art for our time meets Greatest poet of all time
    This is an incredible journey into the most humanly rendered exploration of what it means to be surrendered/searching/dancing with the great mystery. Rumi is--what?-- a fully enlightened mystical poet who somehow speaks through Coleman Barks right to our ragged twentieth century hearts; The wonderful art takes it into a realm beyond words. Are there prints available of his work? Should be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book
    This translation is better then other translations of Rumi that I have read. I have read this book several times and each time I discover something that I haven't seen befor. I would recomend this book highly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book
    This is a truly beautiful book - the artwork laid out with the poems is masterful. Its far more than just a book of terrific poetry - which it is by the way! I don't know how these poems read in their original language and forgive me but in this case that doesn't even matter - the writings represented here are beautifully written. I'm so glad I bought it. Its a real joy to read and contemplate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A doorway to erternity flickered open.And Rumi........
    From beginning to end a true masterpiece. Always acurate and ever so gentle,pushing the boundaries of language and spirit. To slowly and gracfully unravell this oral poetry is the hardest of tasks. The translations in this book evolve with the silent tongue of the reader,eloquent,reading the reader. Rumi,shams,mean spirited roadhouses and the faint shimmer of a 13th century mystic pointing towards your spirit.Classic and captivating pictures interweave with prose effortlessly true. Thankyou.................

    4-0 out of 5 stars Illuminated Rumi
    I find some of the other rather pedantic reviews a bit troubling. I can, of course, appreciate that those who are more knowledgable about Sufism in general, and Rumi in specific, might be disappointed in what some obviously consider a lack of credentials on Mr. Barks part; however, as a relative newcomer to Sufism and the works of Rumi, I must say that this is an excellent place to start. No, perhaps the translation is not exact, but the combination of the magnificent illuminations, and the undeniable strengh and power of Rumi's poetry will move many newcomers like myself to do further, more in depth research and hopefully capture the true essence of the message. And isn't that the point? Start the neophytes slowly, so as not to overwhelm them; intrigue them, in order to guide them. Why else would I be here? ... Read more

    6. Mystical Dimensions of Islam
    by Annemarie Schimmel
    list price: $21.50
    our price: $21.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0807812714
    Catlog: Book (1975-06-01)
    Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
    Sales Rank: 313966
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Contours of the Breadth and Depth of Islamic Spirituality
    Where do I begin? This book, although old (and, some would argue - perhaps fairly - a bit dated), is an incredible scholarly work on how various mystics within Islam have understood Islam's central claim: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is His Prophet". According to Schimmel, all of Islamic mysticism can be summed up as trying to understand this core doctrine.

    Unlike some scholars today who pay more attention to differences than continuity, Schimmel's book outlines the many, many currents of Islamic thought without coming to conclusions such as "Well, it is really impossible to say what is or is not Islamic mysticism". Instead, she looks at the historical development of mystical Islamic thought, noting both consistencies and deviations, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, the noble and the shameful. The ability to walk the fine line between excessive praise and excessive criticism of a given religious tradition - in this case Islam - is walked with great care and balance by Schimmel. She recognizes that the basic goal of the mystics of Islam was to be true witnesses to Islam's central claim but that this was not always achieved.

    One of the most fascinating streams of mystical Islamic thought is the understanding of the soul. This topic is discussed many times as Schimmel notes the views of different mystics; for those looking for a way out of the dead end that much of secular psychotherapy has given us, the understanding of people as containing both higher and lower natures - as well as a fundamental need for God - is something that is worth chewing on. That this view is the same as that held by classical Christianity is worth noting (and Schimmel regularly notes similarities to other religious traditions throughout her work).

    This book is a thick read - in fact, it is highly detailed and can become a bit confusing at points, especially when Schimmel begins to discuss yet another person by the same name; it will take time to get through. Nonetheless, it is a highly rewarding read and, for those that seek to understand the religion of Islam better, this book will help to paint *some* of that picture in a more detailed manner.

    5-0 out of 5 stars BATINIS - THIS BOOK HAS SECRETS!
    Attention all batinis - this book is a must-read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Awe of the Sufi Path
    Annemarie Schimmel is probably the foremost scholar on the Sufi poet Jelalluddin Rumi, whose poetry is suffused with love and awe of the Divine. In much of her book Prof. Schimmel projects the same love, love of Islam and its people, most especially its mystics, the Sufis. It is also extremely informative about the history of Sufism and the different branches of its mystical path. If you are interested in the history of Sufism, and want to understand mystical Islam, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a quick study, or a popular way to practice Sufism, this is not for you. ... Mystical Islam and orthodox Islam (as with most religions) are very different in practice and outlook, although there are conservative Sufis and out-there Sufis, as Prof. Schimmel aptly demonstrates. I loved this book and want to read more of her work.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Mystical vision of Islam
    What is the vision of Islam? That is a good question, I am not sure if anyone knows for sure. Depending on whom you talk to, you get a different answer. Taleban of Afghanistan has his version of Islam’s vision, Mr. Ben Laden would have his version of Islam’s vision, which is pretty much nothing other than “exploding” your way through life etc. The truth of the matter is that Islam, like any other religion, has no vision, never did, and never will. Quran is a source of confusion among Moslems and it has been from day one. Each group having their own interpretation and considering all others as false views. Even on simple matters such as music, after 1400 years, still Moslem scholars are in disagreement whether music is allowed or it is forbidden. There are contradicting views on matters such as nature of God, his names and what they signify, hell, heaven, can God be seen with normal human eyes or not, some say yes he will be seen by normal human eye and some say absolutely not, etc etc etc. There is rarely a topic of importance that the so-called scholars haven’t been disagreeing about and fighting each other for centuries. The sad thing is that all of them use Quran as their starting point, which indicates that Quran by its very nature is a confusing and confused book. Of course needless to say that the same is true for all other religious books as well. Even at the time of Muhammad himself there was disagreement on what Quran says and means. Muhammad himself was criticized in a number of occasions by his companions as not observing the command of God as is indicated in the Quran. In most cases however, during his lifetime Muhammad was the final authority as what the verses in the Quran meant, but after his death the confusion and fight began. The fact is that even if Quran had a transcendent and glorious meaning that would provide mankind guidelines till eternity, that meaning was buried with Muhammad himself and the wise thing would have been to burry Quran once and for all and save humanity from yet another source of confusion and self destruction which continues to this day. Just look at what [people]like Taleban are doing to our countries. Some of my Moslem friends tell me in response “ but Taleban isn’t really true Islam” but the fact is how the heck do they know what “true” Islam is. Who are they to Judge and what authority do they have? Maybe it is Taleban that represents “true” Islam and not these guys. How do we know? Everyone in history of Islam has pointed finger at others accusing their opponents as” not being Islam” but on whose authority did they get their “true” Islam. The word “true” Islam is as meaningless as the claim that Quran is a clear book, a light in the darkness etc. All I have seen by studying the history is nothing but disagreement, confusion and darkness, contradictory theories about God-Man and just about everything else in between, wars and killings with no end at sight. As I said I don’t know what the vision of Islam is, but I do know what the accomplishment of Islam has been for past 14 centuries and what Islam is doing to our countries like Afghanistan. I say if Islam had a vision for humanity, and that is a big if, that vision got buried with Muhammad and we will never know.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Schoalrs discover a new dimension of Islam
    I am not sure why everyone and their grand parents are writing books on Islamic Mysticism/suffism, but no doubt this too shall pass since it is, like many other things, a seasonal phenomena. I guess some western "scholars" who have been telling everyone for a couple of centuries that Islam is an unsophisticated religion for desert dwellers , now have "discovered" that they have been full of it and in fact Islam does have a spirituality aspect to it too, (duh! Is there a religion which doesn't), of course ordinary people like us knew that all along but it took scholars a couple of hundred years to catch up. But even now, there are those who wouldn't give a "D" about a few books written here and there, and they are not going to change their mind about anything. It took a few hundred years of solid observation to get them agree that earth isn't the center of the universe. Of course we appreciate books such as these which attempt to show a more gentle side of Islam, but as they say one religion's misery is another's fortune. Religions, or rather followers of religions are like wild animals, waiting for one to get wounded so the others can move in and finish him off, more territory and less competition for donations I guess. ... Read more

    7. The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Mondern Dervish
    by Neil Douglas-Klotz
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.20
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    Asin: 0142196355
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-22)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 714370
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    8. Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light: Wang Tai-Yu's Great Learning of the Pure and Real and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm
    by Sachiko Murata, William C. Chittick, Tu Weiming, Jami Lawa'Ih, Tai-Yu Ching Chen Ta Hsueh Wang, Chih Chen Ching Chao Wei Liu
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $24.95
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    Asin: 0791446387
    Catlog: Book (2000-08-01)
    Publisher: State University of New York Press
    Sales Rank: 61721
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light investigates, for the first time in a Western language, the manner in which the Muslim scholars of China adapted the Chinese tradition to their own needs during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book surveys the 1400-year history of Islam in China and explores why the four books translated from Islamic languages into Chinese before the twentieth century were all Persian Sufi texts. The author also looks carefully at the two most important Muslim authors of books in the Chinese language, Wang Tai-yu and Liu Chih. Murata shows how they assimilated Confucian social teachings and Neo-Confucian metaphysics, as well as Buddhism and Taoism, into Islamic thought. She presents full translations of Wang's Great Learning of the Pure and Real--a text on the principles of Islam--and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm, which in turn is a translation from Persian of Lawa'ih', a famous Sufi text by Jami. A new translation of Jami's Lawa'ih' from the Persian by William C. Chittick is juxtaposed with Liu Chih's work, revealing the latter's techniques in adapting the text to the Chinese language and Chinese thought. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars First book of its kind
    An original work that fills an unknown gap of Islam in China. Excellent, also includes a translation of Jami's Lawaih. ... Read more

    9. Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth
    by Henry Corbin
    list price: $29.95
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    Asin: 0691018839
    Catlog: Book (1989-08-01)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 482998
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An analysis of interrelated themes in Iranian religion, including the angelology of Mazdaism and Islamic Shi'ite concepts of spirit-body identity. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and strange world.
    It is very rare that one can read a religiously oriented book and end up with a feeling of respect and awe. The Shii/Sufi teachings are most fascinating. A wonderful book to read, to say the least. ... Read more

    10. The Illuminated Prayer : The Five-Times Prayer of the Sufis
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $20.00
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    Asin: 0345435451
    Catlog: Book (2000-01-25)
    Publisher: Wellspring/Ballantine
    Sales Rank: 153554
    Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Prayer is a drawing of the curtain, an invitation to a secret place that is discovered and explored. . . .

    According to tradition and the testimony of Sufi mystics, The Prayer--or Salat--was first taught by the angels, who themselves practiced it in celestial adoration. The Prayer is God's gift to all humankind, and in this gorgeously illustrated volume, its simple, archetypal practice unfolds like a fragrant, many-petaled flower, joining words and movements into a single luminous event that engages our entire being.

    These ancient rituals are presented here as a gift for anyone with a heartfelt desire to set aside for a moment the concerns of every day and enter a sacred time and space in which to explore the beckonings of the spirit. The authors take us through the words, movements, and hidden meanings of the Call to Prayer, the Ablutions, The Prayer itself, and the Peaceful Embrace afterwards. Faithful practice lends a sacred rhythm to each day and creates a psychological force that helps us nurture and express a profound inner harmony.

    This first, marvelously accessible interpretation of The Prayer also offers a compelling introductin to the wisdom and teachings of the beloved contemporary Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who brought new life to this mystical tradition by opening a passage to its deepest, universal realities. It is the loving handiwork of two of Bawa's best-known students, Coleman Barks and Michael Green, who also created The Illuminated Rumi.

    Like a jewel given extra brilliance by its setting, The Prayer is surrounded by the wisdom and understanding of the thirteenth-century Sufi master Rumi, whose generous poetry has become an essential canon for modern-day seekers in the West. The final gift is the Primeval Kalima, the core practice and most profound teaching of the Sufi, the "open secret" that leads to Divine Luminous Wisdom.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    3-0 out of 5 stars A book I wanted to like but . . .
    I am generally a fan of Coleman Barks work; this book, however, was a disappointment. The jacket cover says of Michael Green "is working to create a new kind of sacred art for our time." This is an accurate description - he is still "working" with some successes and some failures. The net result is that pursuing the volume's art, one is encouraged to explore further.

    Coleman Barks' text interweaves Jellaludin Rumi, who is translated well, with Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a contemporary Sufi teacher. Unfortunately, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen does not fare well in the comparison. Bark's descriptions of personal experience and renderings of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen evoke thoughts of many of the South Asian "mystics" who arrived in the US in the late 60's and early 70's. While there are teachers who impress me in under 16 pages, this teacher leaves me unimpressed in 140.

    This book does have value in its explanation of the ritual prayer of the Muslim Sufi. It deals well with the relationship between the physical and mental aspects of prayer. It raises some interesting questions regarding the relationship of revealed scripture (the Koran) and the interpretation of the scripture, especially mystical meaning.

    The net result is a book that is interesting reading for the insights into the followers of a particular teacher, one easily representative of a class of teachers. It shows both the spiritual needs and the "leaps of faith" taken to fill those needs. In that, Coleman Barks has performed a service for us.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enter this sacred space
    This is definitely one of the best books on Salat that I have ever seen. I read it cover to cover without setting it down. Barks and Green have put together some of the most beautiful images with some of the most beautiful words and come through keeping all the sacredness of the prayers. They cover all the essentials of the Muslim prayers, explaining in very accessible terms the hows of what to do. But more than that, they also make the prayer palpable to even those that may never have done it. By combining art and the poetry of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi they create the atmosphere of the connection with God that one feels during the deepest salat.

    I think that almost anyone, after reading this book will at least want to try out salat for a few days. Maybe even make a strong comitment to doing it for a long time. But even if not, after reading this book, more people will understand the heart of Islam, the prayer we repeat at least 5 times every day and what really is going on inside, what depth of feeling is during this prayer.

    Recomended without reservation to anyone.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
    In "Conference of the Books, A Search for Beauty in Islam" Author and Scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl vexes over the lack of beauty in contemporary Islamic expression. He has some very interesting points. Points that I recalled upon my exposure to Michael Green's beautiful and meaningful paintings. While the Shia community produces an enormous treasury of artwork, highly expressive with spiritual tones to it, the Sunni community remains stagnant and stoic. There is a suffocation of creative activity in Islam for a number of reasons. Most of all is that there is an extreme conservatism amongst the practicing Muslims in the Sunni tradition which makes anything beyond intricate calligraphy a sinful act. They cite some odd reports, attributed to the Prophet, which seem to restrict personal expression and the making of images. This position is bizarre because, using the basic logic of Islamic jurisprudence, if there is not a harm in people worshiping those images, then its nature is purity and permissibility. I don't know... It sounds goofy, but Im certain the conservatives would claim that images have an inherent "evil" in them that forces people to recognize them as deities... Anyway, as you may have guessed, this title explores some of the meanings of the salah prayers as understood by Coleman Barks. Barks, a student of Bawa Muhaiyadden, and a devotee of Rumi has translated Rumi's poetry into an interesting manual of spirituality. I enjoyed the insights and the artwork in this. Michael Green certainly has a gift. I hope to see more like this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime !
    I have read quite a number of books on Sufism. This is the best and most beautiful introduction among all.

    It covers both Islam and its innermost meaning, the Sufi way: its mystic nondual devotional realization.

    It deserves 10 stars. Is not only introductory and easy to read, but also deeply profound and universal. It really goes beyond any kind of narrowness that it's so easy to associate with Islam or with any religious establishment in general.

    La illaha il Allahu. There's only God.
    And this book is a wonderful portal to that truth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Upward Refinements
    Personally I found this book sublime and uplifting, an indispensable companion for the western muslim/sufi.

    Salat is an open barzakh(bridge)between oneself and ones Lord.

    Additionally the book is an uplifting, introduction to the Islamic practice of prayer and the sublime concept of Allah, (exalted be His name) held by the awilya and sadiqun. ... Read more

    11. Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching-Stories of the Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years
    by Idries Shah
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $10.50
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    Asin: 0140193588
    Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 66582
    Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A mysterious chest is buried unopened. A wondrous caravan brings fortune to a simple cobbler. An outcast princess creates a new life in the wilderness. Some of the 78 tales in this remarkable book first appeared in print over a thousand years ago, others are medieval classics. Yet, each has a special relevance for us in the 21st century. All are told with Idries Shah's distinctive wit and grace and the author's own commentary notes.

    Although enormously attractive as sheer entertainment, dervish tales were never presented merely on the level of fable, legend or folklore.

    They stand comparison in wit, construction and piquancy with the finest stories of any culture, yet their true function as Sufi teaching stories is so little known in the modern world that no technical or popular term exist to describe them. For centuries, dervish masters have instructed their disciples by means of these tales, which are held to convey powers of increasing perception unknown to the ordinary man.

    These are teaching stories in the Sufi tradition. Those who probe beyond the surface will find multiple meanings to challenge assumptions and foster new ways of thinking and perceiving.

    Sold all over the world in many languages, this is deservedly a classic and an essential reading for anyone interested in Sufi thought, the significance and history of tales, or simply superb entertainment. ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ancient stories from a spiritual tradition
    Many of these stories are quite old, yet all are given a modern and entertaining voice by the author, and each has its own applicability to specific problems. This is a very rich collection. It should not be overlooked by anyone interested in world literature or spiritual traditions.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Stories as Tools
    With each new projection of the Sufi impulse, the current exponent collects and organizes materials from the wealth accumulated during the over thousand years of works that are relavant the the current time and targeted people. It is cusomary for the potential students to study and become familiar with them so that the multiple embedded meanings may be later reveiled. This is the real, authentic, material, much of it available in the West for the first time. Since the point of these stories is function, a judgement based upon appearances, likes or dislikes, is of little value. It is far less important if a wrench is chrome or black than if it is properly designed and constructed so that it does its job.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Jewels Of Spiritual Insight
    Idries Shah presents a selection of stories from hundreds of years worth of Sufi literature and tradition. The stories are short, entertaining, and easily read, but also challenging since they are not so easily understood in many instances. Nevertheless, there are certainly jewels of spiritual insight to be gleaned from this book, regardless of any puzzlement one might experience in regard to its many obscurities. The patient reader will find that some stories which seem terribly obscure to begin with will, at some later reading, become perfectly obvious as to their relevance.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Dare to question everything
    Stories that will shake your assumptions and strict belief in the established, conventional, trusted and safe relationship between cause and effect. These stories, if nothing else, open your mind to a different way of thinking. By doing that, it awakens parts of your brain that normally stay dormant. A fresh look at everyday occurrences, unquestioned practices and established thought-processes. It has an invigorating value. You don't have to 'believe' anything the author says: he is not selling anything, not even ideas. Just read and observe what happens to yourself, since these stories are about you.

    1-0 out of 5 stars unbearable mumbo-jumbo
    what's going on? what's the problem with people who consume such common sense useless material like this? ... Read more

    12. The Book of Certainty: The Sufi Doctrine of Faith, Vision and Gnosis (Islamic Texts Society)
    by Martin Lings
    list price: $13.95
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    Asin: 0946621373
    Catlog: Book (1992-12-01)
    Publisher: Islamic Texts Society
    Sales Rank: 116134
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    'To express in the language of Sufism, that is, Islamic mysticism, some of the universal truths which lie at the heart of all religions' - this is the book's avowed purpose. It came into being because the author was asked by a friend to set down in writing what he considered to be the most important things thata human being can know. He was also asked to make it very easy, and despite the depth of all that it contains, it has in fact a remarkable simplicity and clarity, due no doubt to the constantuse of traditional imagery which awakens and penetrates the imagination. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
    I review this work with some trepidation. "Martin Lings" and "Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din" are the same person, incidentally; Lings embraced Islam and wrote this book in Egypt, where, he indicates, it has been translated into Arabic.

    My impression can be summed up succinctly. To date, I have not encountered any other original work in a Western language that incorporates and reveals so much directly transmitted Sufi lore - not Guenon, not Henry Corbin, not Frithjof Schuon - and this despite the fact that this is a little book, less than 100 pages. I was a surprised to find such material in print, and I wonder if it should have been written at all, due to the possibility of misinterpretation.

    But then, I am not qualified to pass judgment on such matters. The book requires multiple re-readings to obtain all that it has to offer - then set it aside, and read it again in a couple of months. In this unenlightened age, it is a treasure. ... Read more

    13. The Meccan Revelations
    by Ibn Al'Arabi
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
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    Asin: 1879708167
    Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
    Publisher: Pir Press
    Sales Rank: 71631
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pioneer translations of Sheikh al Akbar's Futuhat
    The Meccan Revelations: Selected texts from the Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya Volume 1 by M. Ibn Arabi, edited by Michel Chodkiewicz, new introduction by James W. Morris, English translations by William Chittick and James W. Morris (Pir Press) Perhaps no mystic in the history of the world has delved as deeply into the inner knowledge that informs our being as did Ibn 'Arabi. He was born into the cultural and religious crucible of Andalusian Spain in 1165, a place and time in which Muslim, Jewish and Christian scholars learned from each other and from the Greek classics that were then being translated and circulated. Drawing from the most advanced philosophical and metaphysical thinking of his time and from his extensive knowledge of the religion of Islam, Ibn Arabi created an extraordinary mystical theosophy that essentially sprang from his own spiritual realization into the divine unity of existence. Because of the advanced nature of his teachings, he has been known for 800 years as the Sheikh al Akbar, or the Greatest Master. Because of the subtlety of his language and complexity of his thought, access to Ibn Arabi has always been difficult and translation daunting. Previously only short extracts were available in English. This volume, the first of two, contains 22 key chapters of Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya, an encyclopedic Sufi "summa mystica," on such issues as Ibn Arabi's doctrine of the Divine Names, the nature of spiritual experience, the end of time, the resurrection and the stages of the path that lead to sanctity.
    Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya soars beyond time, culture and any particular form of religion. Describing what is fundamental to our humanity, it is astonishingly universal. Finally, readers in the West have a pioneering entree into one of the most important, profound works of world literature.
    Any work on the Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya in English is provisional and exploratory and it will require several generations of scholars and some further development in philosophical hermeneutics before anything like a coordinated complete translation could yet be attempted. The importance of this work, and its future volume two that will include English translations of the French from the original 1988 French edition, is that it inaugurated the first systematic exploration in the West of this profound theosophical encyclopedia. As a result, the years since the first appearance of these translations have seen an ongoing worldwide transformation- in the Islamic world at least as much as in Western academic and spiritual circles in the understanding and appreciation of the nature and wider significance of Ibn 'Arabi's writings. When ibn 'Arabi's thought is more fully explored and more widely known its unique contribution to a future global religious plurality and harmony may become apparent. Ibn 'Arabi proposes unique formulations of divine reality which when understood in depth may radically transform world theological discourse, not only in Islam but also in liberal and conservative Christian and Jewish hermeneutics.
    Pir Press is to be commended in re-issuing this important selection of chapters from the gargantuan Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya because the French edition of 1988 its size, cost and foreign publication made access difficult in the English speaking world from the start, soon became utterly difficult to get to due to problems at the original publishers. Generally, for the past decade, only those with ready contact to university libraries and Islamic research collections have been able to refer directly to these essential translations. The translators have gone on to provide significant studies and translations of ibn 'Arabi's work as Morris summarizes in his new introduction to this partial reprint edition. The second volume should include Chodkiewicz's original long Introduction to the key themes and opening chapters of the Al-Futuhat al-Makkiya, as well as outlines the contents and location, in the overall scheme of the Futuhat and translations of both the original French chapters. Highly recommended. ... Read more

    14. The Mysticism of Sound and Music (Shambhala Dragon Editions)
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
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    Asin: 1570622310
    Catlog: Book (1996-09-03)
    Publisher: Shambhala
    Sales Rank: 102642
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful book
    This book has honestly changed my life. I have always felt close to God; this book has brought me even closer. I can see more clearly now the obscure in the ordinary and a fascination with the familiar. I would reccomend this book to anyone who interested more in the inner journey. This book has filled me with music and tuned me to the music of the universe.
    Sai Ram

    4-0 out of 5 stars AAAAAHHHHHwesome!!
    This book has fine tuned my perception, realligned my focus and I can feel its results every morning when I awake with a song in my heart. Buy it, Read It 'n' Suck It Up!! ... Read more

    15. Rumi's World : The Life and Works of the Greatest Sufi Poet (Shambhala dragon editions)
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
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    Asin: 0877736111
    Catlog: Book (2001-05-22)
    Publisher: Shambhala
    Sales Rank: 95700
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
    There are a number of writers on Islamic topics that are excellent from differing perspectives. There are only two Western authors, however, that I have any respect for when it comes to the subject of Islamic spirituality. One of them was Frithjof Schuon, and the other is Annemarie Schimmel.

    With all of the fuss about Rumi and the whole New Age Sufi thing, it is all too easy to forget that Rumi was a Muslim (sometimes I suspect that too many people would like to forget it). Rumi was the sort of person that he was because he was a Muslim, and not in spite of that fact. Professor Schimmel places Rumi squarely in the Islamic perspective, which is where he belongs. This book provides the best short introduction to his life and thought within that context that I have run across, and I recommend it highly to anyone interested in his life and work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening
    An excellent piece of writing on the life and poetry of Rumi. Gives a biographical sketch as well as outlines the technicalities of Rumi's prose, his beliefs and ideas as rendered in poetry. One of the most moving book's I've ever read.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, poetic, biography of the great Mawlana Rumi.
    This book is the best biography of Mawlana Jalal uddin Rumi (may his secret be sanctified!) that I have read in the English language to date. The prose itself is absolutely wonderful and is almost poetry in itself! Added to this is Prof. Schimmel's intimate knowledge of the works and life of Mawlana Rumi which she does a wonderful job of presenting. Also, unlike other Orientalist interpreters of Sufism, she firmly places Rumi within the orthodox Islamic framework and ideology/world-view where he belongs. Her translations of his poems are also delightful. This book is highly recommended for all those Muslim and non-Muslim who are interested in the life and works of one of the greatest Saints to ever walk this earth.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A great book about a great Sufi poet
    The Truth that Rumi hints in his work do not need any introduction "la ilaha ill-Allah." Rumi immersed in the love of "Hu" tried his best to sing from his heart. Annemarie Schimmel has done a great service to mankind by introducing Rumi's call to general public. I enjoyed thoroughly every page of this book, which feels like a book of poetry in prose. I highly recommend this book for people who would like to have a short introduction to the life and work of Rumi.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book about a Great Sufi Poet
    The Truth that Rumi hints in his work do not need any introduction "la ilaha ill-Allah." Rumi immersed in the love of "Hu" tried his best to sing from his heart. Annemarie Schimmel has done a great service to mankind by introducing Rumi's call to general public. I enjoyed thoroughly every page of this book, which feels like a book of poetry in prose. I am lucky to have a copy of this book and highly recommend the Publisher to reprint this book to further spread Rumi's message from the words of Professor Schimmel, an eminent Sufi scholar. ... Read more

    16. The Shakers: Two Centuries of Spiritual Reflection (Classics of Western Spirituality)
    by Robley Edward Whitson
    list price: $19.95
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    Asin: 0809123738
    Catlog: Book (1984-04-01)
    Publisher: Paulist Press
    Sales Rank: 559144
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent description of Shaker beliefs
    "The Shakers: Two Centuries of Spiritual Reflection" is an excellent effort at understanding Shaker beliefs.

    The book, from its introduction by Gertrude M. Soule, flows very well and gives good detail of the key aspects of Shaker life throughout the nineteenth century. The first writings are a testimony to how Shaker community served to give experience of the Divine to each Believer and direction to his/her life. There is an excellent description of Joseph Meacham's viewpoint of how Shakerism relates to the life of Christ, and there are several other simple but effective sources later in the book.

    The next section deals with the way in which Shakers lived out their lives within the context of the Gospel and how Shaker theology was related to the ideal of Christ and Wisdom of earlier sects. Indeed, the whole chapter shows Shaker theology possessed a mystical spirit vased on the idea of the Light of God and the discernment of spirits. This areas shows how Shakers taught "to make the way of God their occupation" and how Shaker writers believed themselves illuminated by the divine Spirit.

    The third chapter "Sharing The Christlife" turns the focus away from theological matters to practical Shakerism and the observation of a religious life. Here we see the character of celibate communalism that was a fundamental Shaker doctrine and how the interests of each Believer must be the interest of all. Shakers felt the Spirit led them into this order, and in the fourth chapter we see a return to theological reflection. Because Shakerism believed God to have both male and female attributes (Ann Lee was seen as the Second Coming by believers), this part focuses on the role of Christ, and simple description of the birth and life of Christ are most effective to see Shakerism's connection to the Peace Churches of the Reformation.

    This part is more difficult to read than the relatively unchallenging earlier parts, but illustrates the manner by which Shakerism was effective in developing the humanity of Christ in a way rarely seen since the first millennium. There is a lengthy treatise on historical redemption that illustrates Mother Ann's historical role, and on the dual nature of the Godhead and Trinity. The last two chapters focus on the role of spiritual gifts in Shakerism that served to enhance their lives beyond rigid routine. The gift of peace, unity, and simplicity so evident in Shakerism during the nineteenth century are put out impressively throughout these parts. Written in touching mystical language, they show Shakers as people possessed of a truly joyful spirit.

    Focusing on as many Shaker writers as possible, the book gives a very good understanding of who these people were and how they evolved during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Rather than becoming incongruent, the use of many authors illustrates the communal spirit of the Shakers.

    An impressive historical resource.

    4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource
    This volume is an excellent introduction to the breadth of Shaker experience, the diversity of writings, and the depth of thought. Shakers are often unfairly associated with an idealized view of a lifestyle or fine furniture rather than their groundbreaking theology, vital interaction with society at large, and unprecedented ability to take themselves both lightly and seriously. This volume respects "the Believers" and kindly reveals them to ecumenically minded folks. Students who can appreciate a tradition with a fluid nature will enjoy this book. ... Read more

    17. The Light of Dawn : Daily Readings from the Holy Qur'an
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1570625972
    Catlog: Book (2000-10-31)
    Publisher: Shambhala
    Sales Rank: 305072
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Buy it!!!
    This book delivers the universal message that all spiritual beings yearn for in selected verses from the Holy Quran. The translations are easy to read and well written.

    I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about Islam and spirituality. ... Read more

    18. Alone with the Alone
    by Henry Corbin
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0691058342
    Catlog: Book (1998-03-02)
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
    Sales Rank: 369178
    Average Customer Review: 4.05 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "Henry Corbin's works are the best guide to the visionary tradition.... Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius.He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality."--From the introduction by Harold Bloom

    Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made a unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines.

    Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Su fitreatises.

    Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet. These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls. ... Read more

    Reviews (19)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
    After reading "The seal of saints" by Mr. Chodkiewickz, I got curious about Mr. Corbin's books in general and this one, Alone with the Alone" in particular. In the book " The seal of saints" Chodkiewickz is highly critical of Corbin in assesing a "Shia" core for Suif's in general and great Shiekh in particular. I am no expert in these matters but from my studies of suffism and Shiism, I see about a 80% overlap between the two. Suffism has much more in common with Shia beliefs than it has with our Sunni beliefs. I always wondered why Shiism has added " I bear witness that Ali is Wali of God" to the call for prayer, I didn't get the significance of this addition until I read Mr.Chodkiewickz's fine book on Ibne' Ul-Arabi's doctorine of Sainthood. Not that I agree with the Sufi or Shia assertion in this regard, it violates my Sunni beliefs, but at least I have an appreciation for the concept. I respect Sufis, though I am not an advocate , well at leats not yet. I tend to agree with Corbin that Shiism and Suffism seem to be twins, or at least distant causins. Reading some of Sheikh's work in Arabic, I came across passages that had strong Shia tone, one wonders if these passages were added to the book or was written by Sheikh himself. If written by Shiekh himself, then knowingly or unknowngly, Sheikh must have been influneced by Shii thoughts. Whatever the case maybe, this is an excellent book, I recommend Mr.Chodkiewickz's book as well. I think everyone should read about all point of views and arrive at their own conclusion.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Who's sufism? Corbin's or Ibn Arabi's?
    Corbin is perhaps one of the least appreciated of 20th century Islamicists. One reason no doubt is the difficulty of his works. But obscuriy often parodies profundity so "difficulty" by itself doesn't mean much. Perhaps in philosophical circles the book might be appreciated, but as a monograph on the role of creative imagination in the thought of Ibn Arabi, the author appears to miss the mark in achieving the object of his task.

    Another interrelated problem as Chittick points out, is discerning where Corbin ends and Ibn Arabi begins. The French writer had his own premises and weaves Ibn Arabi around them. This had to with his own interests in Iranian illuminationist philosophy as well his early ties with existentialism. For example, Corbin tries to make Ibn Arabi some sort of secret shiah which he certainly wasn't, attested to by strong remarks Ibn Arabi directs against them, as well as his own immersion in sunnism. Chodkiewickz and Addas have illustrated the falsity of Corbin's ideas on this point. On a whole, Corbin fails to do justice to Ibn Arabi's dhahiri or exoteric dimension, projecting him as an exclusively esoteric mystic who stood at odds with the law. In fact, Ibn Arabi was as much an exotericist as he was an esotericist. (Eric Winkel has recently brought to light the importance that Ibn Arabi laid on the outward dimension of Islam in his MYSTERIES OF PURITY as well ISLAM AND THE LIVING LAW).

    Apart from these short comings, the book is an interesting read, and requires the carefull attention of the reader. But sadly, the book is perhaps a better introduction to Corbin's ideas than Ibn Arabi.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic analysis of Arabi
    The only thing which might be better than reading this book, is reading Arabi himself. This is a useful introduction to a vast field, that gives a careful analysis to his ideas and therefore it is a must. I will have to re-read it, to get everything out of it and at that time I may change my rating.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Vertical Imagination of Henry Corin
    Though Chodkiewicz and Chittick have offered respected criticisms of Mr. Corbin's treatment in his study of Ibn 'Arabi, his work still stands out as a testimony to the transcendent imagination. Chittick has stated that Henry Corbin overstressed the imagination in his presentation of Ibn 'Arabi's teaching and couldn't go beyond to the Substance those imaginatings seek to convey. Chodkiewicz raised the issue that Corbin's appology for the apparent esoterism of Ibn 'Arabi is that he was a "form breaker" (i.e. that the form wasn't all that important and certainly present an obstacle to beholding Reality). Chodkiewicz sees this as a dangerous over-simplification of the Shaykh al-Akhbar's teaching because while Ibn 'Arabi did seek the underlying and immutable truth (haqiqah) in every form, and while he considered the manifest world to be a dream, this does not mean that the dream doesn't share in "Being", or that it serves no higher purpose (thus the form is essential to beholding Reality).
    Aside from that this work does reintroduce Western readers to the dynamic function of the imagination in spiritual intuition and rekindles some of the lost beauty in the human condition. A beauty which has been seared over by the onslaught of Western modernity and its desacrilizing effects on humanity.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Rethinking Imagination
    This is an important study of imagination in Ibn Arabi by a significant philosopher-Orientalist. Corbin differentiates imagination from mere "fantasy," an "exercise of thought without foundation in nature." Thus what he has in mind when speaking of imagination is quite different from what we usually associate with the term. Cosmic Imagination is the creative power that gives birth to the sensory world: God imagines the cosmos and brings it into being. Imagining is a creative act which at the Divine level is a form of genesis where God draws out existence from Himself. This view stands in contrast to creation ex nihilo, a theological view partly responsible, in Corbin's view, for the degeneration of imagination into fantasy. But it is not only God who creates through Imagination, but man as well. The God that man creates is a theophony of man's active imagination, which is merely an organ of "absolute theopanic Imagination" (takhayyl mutlaq). This is another way of saying that God imagines Himself or rather creates an image of Himself through man, and that this imagining is a part of a larger Divine Imagination. No two images of God created by mortal imagination are exactly alike.

    Most of the work is based on Ibn Arabi's Fusus al-Hikam, but as Chittick has noted, determining where Ibn Arabi ends and Corbin begins is not a simple task. ... Read more

    19. Joy : The Happiness That Comes from Within (Osho, Insights for a New Way of Living.)
    by Osho
    list price: $11.95
    our price: $8.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312320744
    Catlog: Book (2004-03-18)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Sales Rank: 29715
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In Joy, Osho posits that to be joyful is the basic nature of life. Joy is the spiritual dimension of happiness, in which one begins to understand one's intrinsic value and place in the universe. Accepting joy is a decision to "go with the flow," to be grateful to be alive and for all the challenges and opportunities in life, rather than setting conditions or demands for happiness.

    The Insight for a New Way of Living series aims to shine light on beliefs and attitudes that prevent individuals from being their true selves. The text is an artful mix of compassion and humor, and readers are encouraged to confront what they would most like to avoid, which in turns provides the key to true insight and power.

    Joy is a wondrous investigation into the source and importance of joyfulness in our lives.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Rajneesh (Osho) Sufi???
    These posthumous books published by Rajneesh's people are regularly described or categorized as "Sufi" or "Sufism." Was Rajnessh a Sufi? I don't know of any of his commune devotees at "Rajneesh puram" who would have called themselves Sufis.

    Let's be honest and leave the Sufism to Sufis.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Osho does it again
    In "Joy--The Happiness that Comes From Within" Osho proves himself once again to fit squarely in the tradition of cultural physicians past and present (Nietzsche, Colin Wilson, Erich Fromm, Laing) and clearly states that society as it exists is little more than a mass neurosis of fear, culturally glorified narcissism, and above all, fear of openness. Perhaps the only problem with his work is that it is being marketed in a culture directly inimical to it's message--as a Westerner, I have trouble inculcating his on-the-mark attacks simply because I am a Westerner. Osho has written the same book countless times, and his message never becomes less relevant for the repetition. He is a poet, philosopher and sage all at the same time, and his constant exhortation to 'drop the ego' could be characterized as the central message in his work. The only thing I take issue with in his work is his persistent dismissal of culture's irrevocable (and sometimes irreversible) influence on the individual. If one could simply 'drop out' of this mass neurosis a lot more intelligent people would have done it by now. Nonetheless, his work is invaluable and I am certain that one day Osho's name will be up there with the greats of both literature, eastern thought and creativity. ... Read more

    20. The Sufis
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $10.85
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385079664
    Catlog: Book (1971-02-05)
    Publisher: Anchor
    Sales Rank: 174422
    Average Customer Review: 4.08 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    First published in 1964, Idries Shah's definitive work, 'The Sufis', completely overturned Western misconceptions of Sufism, revealing a great spiritual and psychological tradition encompassing many of the world's greatest thinkers: Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Ibn El-Arabi, Al-Ghazzali, Sadi, Attar, Francis of Assisi and many others.

    The spiritual and psychological tradition of Sufism was regarded, before this pioneering book was published, as the preserve of ecstatic religionists and a small number of Oriental scholars, who treated it in the main as a minority cult.

    'The Sufis' is the pivotal work which heralded the revelation of the astonishing richness and variety of Sufi thought and its contribution to human culture contained in Idries Shah's many books on the subject.

    The astonishing impact of Sufism on the development of Western civilization from the seventh century is traced through the work of Roger Bacon, John of the Cross, Raymond Lully, and Chaucer. Many of the greatest traditions, ideas and discoveries of the West are traced to the teachings and writings of Sufi masters working centuries ago.

    But 'The Sufis' is far more than an historical account. In the tradition of the great Sufi classics, the deeper appeal of this remarkable book is in its ability to function as an active instrument of instruction, in a way that is so clearly relevant to our time and culture.

    Today, studies in Sufism, notably through Shah's research and publication, are pursued in centers of higher learning throughout the world, in the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and many other areas of current human concern. ... Read more

    Reviews (26)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Idries Shah's classic and most expansive work"
    Sufism is not a religion (if by that we refer to organized groups with prescribed methods of ritual and dogma) because Sufism is the shedding of one's externals, the releasing of the True Self from the Commanding Self. It is the purification of the soul through seven stages, largely centered around (but not necessarily restricted to) esoteric interpretations of the Qu'ran, the Holy Book of Islam. Idries Shah's work is based upon his lifetime experience, having been raised as a dervish (a student of Sufism) and ultimately becoming a Grand Sheikh, like his father before him (the recently deceased author's lineage was legitimately traced as far back as the Prophet Mohammed). Hailed internationally as a master and scholar, he was a guest lecturer at several Universities, including Stanford, as well as a visiting professor at Geneva. First published in 1964, THE SUFIS is Idries Shah's classic and most expansive work. It brings to light the wonders of a highly misunderstood international society first established in the East, whose influence in the West remains largely unknown, while its true birth remains concealed beneath the veils of space and time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Difficult but Rewarding Read
    I think it should be clear from reading the above reviews that if one begins this book with a preconceived notion of what it should contain, the result will be disappointment and confusion. Like the title of the Rumi classic, this book has "in it what is in it." It is part of a course of study, and though it is rich in factual information about Sufism, those who are obsessed with the academic inquiries "Who, what, when, and where?" will find that they could have gotten what they were seeking without the difficulty of bothering with the parts of this book whose purpose is something else. So I will, in a sense, concur with those who have panned this book: If you are looking for an academic treatment of the history of Sufism, this book is not for you. If you are interested simply in learning what a true Sufi master has to teach you, whether or not it is what you originally set out to learn, read The Sufis.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that exists to 'do' something...
    The 26 other reviews recorded here, with their wide range of reactions, illustrate why this is still such a remarkable book. The points that we all want to make about 'The Sufis' (and its author, Sayed Idries Shah) say far more about ourselves than they do about the book - a lesson the book itself teaches, if one will let it. "I think that mirror is a load of complete garbage - all I could see was a really ugly, unpleasant person." "That mirror showed me someone smart enough to think it was wonderful." "There are better mirrors - ones that reflect a slimmer, more elegant me". And so on. The question is, do we want to dwell on our own reactions - reactions that, to be honest, could be elicited by almost anything - or are we interested in what else this book might be able show us?

    This is not a book that primarily exists to impart information, although it is full of fascinating, unexpected and useful information. It is a book that exists to 'do' something. Yet it is not easy to describe what this action is - one might say that it begins to restructure our perceptions, or that it enables us to recognize a 'taste' or a 'scent' of something, or that through its technique of 'scatter' it feeds us with pieces that slowly begin to form into some kind of whole. None of this makes much sense unless one has experienced it - and if one has experienced it there is little need to describe it. Nor is this experience automatic: one has to allow the book time to work on one - a process that may take years and decades rather than days and weeks.

    If you find this description off-putting, it is most likely that you won't like the book either. That's fine - Shah wasn't in the business of convincing anyone, and 'The Sufis' works for those for whom it works. If that sounds high-handed, it is because we in the West are not used to thinking about books as instruments - as tools that require patience and respect and the acquisition of a certain amount of skill to get any benefit from. Instead we expect authors to make a sales pitch for their ideas, and we reserve the right to make consumer judgments as to whether to buy their product or a rival brand. But if you are prepared to put in the time, the effort, and a measure of goodwill you will undoubtedly find this book rewarding - and in many different ways, too.

    If I had to choose a single book to take to a desert island, it would be this one. For the last twenty five years it has proved an admirable companion and guide and it still astonishes me with its ability to be waiting ahead of each new experience. Its beauty and subtlety and insight reveal themselves little by little, in the same way that life itself does. If this is 'suggestibility' or 'charlatanism' or 'false Sufism', then may God grant me more of it!

    When it was first published in 1964, 'The Sufis' served as a call to those who were seeking a real path of spiritual development. Shah's caravan set off many years ago, and it is now nearly two decades since he announced that his work had been completed. If you are among those who are wondering where to pick up the trail, you might like to take a look at Juan Sgolastra's 'The Way' or Marco Santello's 'Between Heaven and Earth' (both listed here on amazon) for indications of a new phase of teaching.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Fair book for pseudo-Sufi studies
    This is one of Shah's books which "popularized" the Sufi path in America. While it can be viewed as a very general "introduction" and is interesting in parts, it lacks the authority of scholarship and experience. The author, Idries Shah, was a self-proclaimed "Sufi Master" and falsely claimed numerous titles for himself. If you want a good, honest introduction to the Sufi path, read "Heart, Self, and Soul" by Robert Frager or"Irshad" by Muzaffer Ozak. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a New-Age, watered down, westernized "Sufism" stripped of it's spiritual essence, than I guess Idries Shah is for you

    1-0 out of 5 stars amazingly egomaniacal
    Hard to understand how this guy ever got as famous as he did. I guess he just had a talent for self promotion.

    Anyway, this book is very hard to read, it suffers a lot from the twisted syntax of a non-english speaker. Its hard to understand why the editors didn't try and clean it up and make it more readable. Perhaps Mr. Shah considered every word he wrote as golden and inviolable.

    There is a lot of medieval scholarship thrown in the reader's face here and its easy to get snowed. But if you read it carefully you see that there is really only one message being put forward in this book, and that is that Sufism is an important and central mystical discipline. In fact, it is very likely the most important and seminal mystical discipline that ever existed, according to the author. These claims begin very early to start to ressemble the old joke about Russians always claiming that they had invented everything first, e.g., the radio, telephone, light bulb, everything. Very outrageous claims are made over and over again with a straight face.

    The general tone of the book is extremely irascible and defensive. After having read as many lovey-dovey hippie mysticism books back in the early seventities, encountering this attitude in someone who professes to be fully steeped in mystic knowledge is nothing short of astonishing. If there is mystical illumination present here, it doesn't shine through very strongly. Instead it is shrouded by the black, billowing clouds of Mr. Shah's permanent spleen and distemper.

    I did a casual survey of other sources on Sufism, and I was surprised to see that Idries Shah is never mentioned as a serious source. ...

    You can read some of the chapters on interpreting the arabic of the ancient Sufi prophets for comic relief since the system of interpretation advanced is so loose that it allows absolutely anything you want to be read into them. ... Read more

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