From Library Journal
With only a few exceptions, the mystical tradition of Sufism has received little attention outside Muslim countries. Ernst's carefully constructed anthology and Barks and Green's entertaining volume are among the best recent examples of new interest in--and improved publications about--the subject. Ernst (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina) uses translations from primary sources and his own fine connecting material to shed crucial light on topics such as ethics, music, the mystical understanding of the Qur'an, and saints. (He is especially good on the lives of Sufism's women saints.) This book, which does not dilute or Westernize the originals, should become an essential introduction. Barks and Green's work is more popular in approach and limited in scope, but it is a delightful, skillfully written, and imaginatively illustrated book; it too seems indispensable for a beginner in the mystical traditions of Islam. For most collections.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
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.