What is Sufism?
By Martin Lings
Paperback 134 Pages
ISBN : 9789675062087
Publisher : Islamic Book Trust (IBT), Malaysia
About The Book
Martin Lings provides an excellent and authoritative introduction to the mystical movement of the Sufis based on his lifelong interest in Islamic culture.
His explanation derives from a profound understanding of Sufism, and extends to many aspects which are usually neglected.
His illuminating answer to ‘What is Sufism?’ gives a taste of the very subject matter itself. What do Sufis believe? What do they aim at? What do they do? Unlike other writers on the subject, Martin Lings treats all the three questions with equal justice. He is thus able to give a wealth of answers to the main question ‘What is Sufism?’, each answer being from a different angle but all going to the root of the matter.
A reviewer wrote ‘Should the book appear in paperback, I would use it for undergraduate and graduate courses on Islamic civilisation’, and in fact What is Sufism? has become a set book in colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.
It is now accepted as the authoritative statement on the subject of Sufism and it has been translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish. It has also been published in Sarajevo in Bosnian, and is available in Braille.
Table of Contents
1. The Originality of Sufism.
2. The Universality of Sufism.
3. The Book.
4. The Messenger.
5. The Heart.
6. The Doctrine.
7. The Method.
8. The Exclusiveness of Sufism.
9. Sufism throughout the Centuries.
About The Author
Martin Lings was born in Lancashire in 1909. After a classical education he read English at Oxford where he was a pupil and later a close friend of C. S. Lewis.
In 1935 he went to Lithuania where he lectured on Anglo-Saxon and Middle English and subsequently he went to Egypt and and lectured mainly on Shakespeare at Cairo University.
In 1952 he returned to England and took a degree in Arabic and in 1955 he joined the staff of the British Museum where from 1970–73 he was Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts. For the following year he held the same post in the newly founded British Library.
In addition to writing many books he is also the author of the chapter ‘Mystical Poetry’ in Abbasid Belles-Lettres, which is Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, and the chapter on ‘The Nature and Origin of Sufism’ in Vol.19 of World Spirituality, as well as articles for Studies in Comparative Religion, Sophia, The New Encyclopaedia of Islam and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din better known as Martin Lings passed away in the year 2005.
‘The discussion of Sufi aims, psychology, doctrine and method is original (many previously untranslated texts are cited), sensitive and readable. The mood of Sufism is conveyed here with a clarity that is rare, even unique, yet is done in a responsible, non-proselytizing manner.’ Review of Books and Religion.
‘It is an invaluable contribution to the study of the subject and may well become a standard textbook…Highly recommended.’ Choice.
‘He has treated all the most important features of Sufism with a degree of profundity and understanding rarely to be found among modern writers.’ Religion.
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