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Essential Sufism

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Paperback Book
November, 1999
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Banyen's Description: 

Thousands of jewel-hearted seekers have fallen in love with the poetry of Rumi and other Sufi poets. Yet their poems are but a few of the gems within the glittering treasure-house of Sufi writings and wisdom—the sacred texts, exuberant verse, and profound meditations and prayers that are both the foundation and fruit of a rich and complex 1,500-year-old tradition which has touched a dozen cultures.

The Sufis are the mystics of Islam. Every upright Muslim expects to see God after death, but the Sufis are the impatient ones. They want God now—moment by moment, day by day, in this very life. And they are willing to undergo the disciplines that make that possible. This book presents selections from a multitude of saints and sages whose hearts were opened through the Sufi path. —Huston Smith, from the foreword

Drawing together the most important—and the most beautiful—poems, prayers, proverbs, essays, and meditations from the many Sufi traditions and eras, Robert Frager and James Fadiman guide readers through the basics—What is a Sufi? What do Sufis do? They also profile the key teachers, artists, and philosophers of Sufism, its history, its beliefs, its quirky soulful humor, and its modern-day flowering. Thoughtful commentary is provided for the reader knowledgeable in Sufism as well as the newcomer.

There is no single, systematic approach to Sufi teachings, and not all of its teachings can be communicated in words. The wisdom of Sufism can be found in stories, poetry, art, calligraphy, rituals, exercises, readings, dance movements, and prayer....

One basic Sufi principle is to live in the world and still pursue the highest mystical goals. To serve others is, in a real sense, to serve God, and this service is considered by many saints to be the highest form of worship. It is not enough simply to love or to know. We have to act on our love and our knowledge.

Both Frager and Fadiman are California psychologists who have studied Sufism for more than two decades. Frager is a sheikh of the al-Jerrahi order of Sufis.

Publisher’s Description: 

The definitive compendium of Sufi wisdom, 'Essential Sufism' draws together more than three hundred fables, poems and prayers that reveal the luminous spirit of Islamic mysticism. Embracing all eras and highlighting the many faces of Sufism, this colleThe first accessible and broad-ranging sourcebook of key Sufi writings, Essential Sufism draws together more than 300 stories, fables, aphorisms, short writings, and poems that reveal the heart of Islamic mysticism. Each selection has been chosen for the beauty and emotional impact that have made the work of Sufi writers such as Rumi so popular. The poets and writers chosen here - including Ibn Arabi, Al-Ghazzali, Hafiz, Attar, Koranic writers, and, of course, Rumi - will fascinate newcomers to Sufism, delight old hands, and provide a matchless overview of a mystical tradition that has touched a dozen cultures and endured for more than 1,500 years.

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