‘Conversion’, Initiation, and Succession

Julian Johansen

in Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267577
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683305 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

‘Conversion’, Initiation, and Succession

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This chapter is devoted to an examination of two instances in which the tension between the Sufis and their hostile critics has been overcome, and individuals once critical of a particular Sheikh, or of Sufism in general, realize and acknowledge a radical change in their views. This phenomenon is called ‘conversion’. The practical aspects of the initiation of blessing are explained. A discussion on succession is then provided. One single reference to the question of succession by Sheikh Muṭammad is addressed. In attempting to draw any conclusions about individual and institutionalized taṣwwuf, one encounters the problem of speaking meaningfully about that which ‘by definition’ defies description. This study has gone some way to describing the language and content of the Islamic religious discourse, as well as pointing out the dangers of relying on narrowly defined conceptions of ideas, individuals and groups. It has also offered an impression of recent change in the parameters of controversy.

Keywords: conversion; initiation; succession; Sheikh Muṭammad; taṣwwuf; Sufis

Chapter.  8924 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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