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Essential Sufism Paperback – November 17, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sufis are celebrated in the West for their joy, humor, and devoted worship. Two students of Sufism, James Fadiman and Robert Frager, have collected some of the jewels of Sufic literature, polished them up a bit, and organized them for ready contemplation. Rumi's poems, Attar's stories, Mohammed's terse sayings, and even some moving pieces from contemporary Western devotees make Essential Sufism a treasury of Sufic literature. The extensive introduction provides practical context, and preambles to each section set the tone for what's to come. If you haven't encountered the wisdom of Sufi mysticism, the material in this book is a good place to start; if you have, it's a comfortable place for return. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A welcome addition to the literature on Islam, this small volume offers sayings, religious quotes, poems, aphorisms, and prayers from many Sufi masters. Reading through the many entries, one gets a feeling for the beauty and deep wisdom of the Sufis, the mystics of Islam. The book includes the necessary discussions of the major Sufi teachers, history, culture, and beliefs to aid the reader in understanding the vitalness of the sayings and meditations but is not meant as a fully encompassing investigation of Sufism. Instead, it is a wonderful appetizer that tantalizes the reader to seek other works that further celebrate and elucidate the relatively obscure world of Sufism. Recommended for all libraries.?Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 Reprint edition (November 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062514752
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Sufi practitioner is a mystic. Sufi practices are the mystical practices of Islam. Many of those whom Islam heralds as saints and sages were Sufi masters. For nearly 1500 years, Sufi practices have co-existed with a diversity of other practices and cultures in which Islam has survived and thrived.
'According to many Sufis, the essential truths of Sufism exist in all religions. The foundation for all mysticism includes the outer forms of religious practice, plus a life based on moral and ethical principles. The roots of the tree of religion are founded in religious law.... The branches of the tree are mysticism.... The fruit of the tree is the Truth, or God.'
Edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager, this book reaches from the very beginnings of Sufi practice to the present, and pulls together materials that are luminous and spirit-provoking, from prayers that have survived a millennium to contemporary poetry. Writers such as Ibn al-Arabi, Ahmad al-Ghazzali, Hafiz, Rumi and Attar fill this book with an enchanting sense of a divine presence in the curiously distant yet all-to-present reality.
Many of the teachings of Sufi are very basic and practical, much moreso than one would think a mystical framework would be. And yet, God is practical in many ways. God particularly expects those with wisdom to impart the wisdom, and this is best done practically for many hearers. Action is the final essential component of wisdom.
The task of the Sufi is to recognise the Truth, to learn and remember it, and secondly, to help others to the Truth as well. As the task evolves, it becomes one process, which infiltrates daily life, worship, and all of existence. Nothing is apart from God. The Sufi strives to recognise this wholeness.
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Format: Hardcover
For non-Muslims, this book is essential to understanding a very important aspect of Islam that people don't see, either due to ignorance or because of bias. It deals with universal morals, ideals and ethics (ranging from love of humanity, to patience, to gratitude) that are central to tassawwuf (what is known in the west as Sufism). Sufism/tassawuf is actually considered (traditionally) to be an Islamic science dealing with the purity of an individuals heart in relating with God and creation. To those who thought Islam is some sort of evil, alien force, this book will prove how ignorant they are.
Specifically, I'm recommending this book for Muslims, as it holds a wealth of knowledge going back to the words of the Prophet (PBUH), to modern scholars. The words of all the women and men in this book are PRICELESS, and should be read as they are beautiful expressions of of our pan-Islamic heritage.
Yet for anyone in seeking to own an open heart, this is the book for you.
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Format: Paperback
This is a solid introduction to the basic tenets of Sufism. Described as the impatient mystics of Islam, Sufis seek God all the time in all living things and actions, rather than just waiting for the hereafter. Interestingly, they also call themselves "lovers" because they have an active and continuous love for the Almighty. Sufism can be of interest to non-Muslims because it is made up of many tenets that are beyond particular belief systems, not unlike Buddhism or Confucianism, and can be applied while practicing other religions. (Though I am not claiming to be an expert on comparative religion here.) After some useful introductory descriptions, this book contains mostly parables and aphorisms, some from the Koran but mostly from later poets and mystics, that shed light on the Sufi belief system. Included are interesting takes on key concepts like charity, daily life, education, and one's place in the universal scheme of things; as well as refreshing stances on Satan and death that may seem alien to the Westerner but make a lot of sense. This compendium may not be intensive enough to make you a convert, but it certainly provides much enlightenment and spiritual food for thought. [~doomsdayer520~]
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Format: Hardcover
Now that I have an actual identity here I am simply reiterating my former review. This book takes qoutations from many different sufi "dervishes", some are ancient and some contemporary. Nonetheless the wisdom in this book is largely timeless. From Sheik Muzaffer and Rumi and as far back as Muhammad himself. this book does not limit its spiritual wisdoms to only muslims (I am not really a muslim) but to any person who seeks the spiritual side of themselves. These wisdoms are arranged in short quotes and small fable-like stories making it extremely easy to read. In short, it is a very interesting and enlightening book. The broad spectrum of material in this book ranges from such lofty concepts as spiritual experience, contemplation and knowledge, love, God and Satan yet also has such worldly concerns as Sufi humour. Even the sections not directly concerned with humour show that the Sufis have always been masters of irony and mirth. The one thing I think impressed me the most about this book was the incredibly intricate and beautiful calligraphy. The readability of this book is excellent. All these "Essential..." books are great, read them.
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