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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (October 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570625662
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570625664
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sufism is making a name for itself as a viable spiritual path for the average Westerner, and Kabir Helminski is blazing the trail. A genuine Sufi shaikh and representative of the Mevlevi order of Sufism in North America, Helminski seeks to create what he calls "a spirituality adequate to our times." In The Knowing Heart's collected essays, Helminski delves into the unique characteristics that define Sufism and make it relevant to seekers today. Along the way, he explains the difference between a shaikh and a dervish; the purpose of the dervish's whirling dance during a sema; why Sufis chant the zikr; when a spiritual conversation is a sohbet; and how love turns service into ecstasy. Although the author is reaching into an ancient foreign tradition, there is little in this book that's arcane or awkward. Helminski softens his delivery with liberal use of poems, especially from his lineal forebear Rumi, and with pithy stories that are the hallmark of Sufi teaching. The overall message is that true spirituality requires sustained self-development, and The Knowing Heart offers an attractive path. --Brian Bruya

From Library Journal

Sufism, which has been described as the mystic heart of Islam, is little known and little understood in this country despite the advocacy of popularizers such as Idries Shah. Helminski, a Mevlevi Shaikh and translator of the great Sufi poet Rumi, offers a clear and well-grounded introduction to Sufism, liberally seasoned with insights from the Koran and the writings of Rumi; his is perhaps the best beginner's guide now available. For most libraries.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Helminski, writing with the ease and fluidity that comes from years of discernment, discusses the seven levels of the self, the important role of the spiritual teacher, the blessings of spiritual conversation, the courtesy of the path, and the sacredness of everyday life. The author's exquisite overview of Sufism and all its resources enables him to enchant us with the sayings of Muhammad, aphorisms that stir the soul, themes for contemplation from Rumi, and a helpful glossary. ~Frederic Brussat
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Sufism, which has been described as the mystic heart of Islam, is little known and little understood in this country despite the advocacy of popularizers such as Idries Shah. Helminski, a Mevlevi Shaikh and translator of the great Sufi poet Rumi, offers a clear and well-grounded introduction to Sufism, liberally seasoned with insights from the Koran and the writings of Rumi; his is perhaps the best beginner's guide now available. For most libraries.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Knowing Heart draws a sweeping picture of the Sufi way, covering such topics as the structure of the spiritual path, the centrality of love, Sufi psychology, the importance of spiritual friendship and community, spiritual faculties, and the sources of the Sufi tradition. Clearly the fruit of personal, heartfelt experience, Helminski's work is a refreshing addition to a body of literature that all too often neglects the profound role that tradition plays in Sufism. He accomplishes this task without subverting either tradition or the needs of his audience. In marked contrast to the "pick-and-choose" spirituality that seems so popular nowadays, The Knowing Heart speaks from the heart, yet a heart humbled and submissive to the sources which enliven it.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By SULEYMAN on October 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I do this review not as a result of my strong emotions those have stimulated upon reading the book, but also, maybe more importantly, because of the responsibility i felt.
Having been/raised Muslim all my life, i was familiar with the facts and concepts that Kabir Helminski included. However, KH prepared a very well tuned compilation of our 'being' consisting of nothing too much or too less. One word would describe this intimate and honest work: 'Moderacy'. Moderate as to contain every simplicity and complexity. Just like the 'Oneness' containes all in its sacred stillness.
He flows in the words with a touching rythm and makes you flow hand-in-hand with love. He does his final touch while shaping up the expressions and the descriptions in total faith. You can absorb as long as you strive to be as honest, as clean, as faithful, as open, as humble, as objective, as subjective, as prudent as he is...Only if you strive, not necessarily you be. It won't change your faith, will only refine it as it was meant to be, couple of million years ago.
As i have just stated above, KH doesn't claim something new; one can derive alot even though he/she thinks that he/she already knows it all. He just, with God's help, knows how to place the pearls in our craving soul with an absolute love, conscience and wit. All of us deserve this.
I had my share, and my gratitude goes first to God then to KH.
God bless KH and all the belivers.
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