Chapter

Introduction

Julian Johansen

in Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267577
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683305 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267577.003.0001

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

Introduction

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Sufism is the term which designates the inner, experiential aspects of Islam. It is often translated as ‘Islamic mysticism’, a term which presents certain methodological difficulties to the researcher. As the inner dimension of Muslim worship, Sufism can be said to be the essence of Islam. Religious debate is no stranger in Egypt, which has been a centre for Islamic scholarship almost since the entry of the Muslims in the mid-seventh century AD. Given Egypt's long tradition of Islamic scholarship and Sūfī activity, it is not surprising that Sufism should be a significant element in Egypt's public religious discourse. The use of what might be called the ‘floating arbiter’, a religious authority whose opinion is cited in support of two conflicting sides in a given dispute, is emphasized. The chapter also presents the ways in which the writers respond to criticisms of Sūfī ideas and practices.

Keywords: Sufism; Sūfī ideas; Islam; Egypt; religious authority; Muslim worship

Chapter.  4255 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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