Journal for Islamic Studies

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The Soul of Islam: Writing and Publishing as Engaged Sufism

J Hammer


Writing and publishing imply purpose and intentionality. This
study analyzes writings of contemporary Sufi authors in the West
and demonstrates that such writings constitute engaged Sufism
in several distinct ways: The authors share Sufi knowledge with
the world they live in, particularly the Western world they come
from or have settled in. Sufism is presented as an alternative to
spiritually impoverished and materialistic Western modernity and
as a remedy to its negative impacts on the individual as well as
religious communities. More importantly, the writers recognize,
challenge and potentially change negative perceptions of Islam
and Muslims by presenting Sufism as the spiritual, peaceful and
beautiful heart or soul of Islam. The Sufi writings address
rejection and critiques of Sufism by modernist and Salafi Muslims
and confidently counter them with an emphasis on pluralism of
interpretations and proof for the organic connection between
Sufism and Islam.
To be a Sufi is to be a lover, but not just any kind of lover. We
need knowledge to know what to love and what love asks of us,
in order that we might become love itself.

Journal for Islamic Studies Vol. 26 2006: pp. 36-70
AJOL African Journals Online