God's Unruly Friends: Dervish Groups in the Islamic Middle Period 1200-1550

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Oneworld Publications, Jun 1, 2006 - Religion - 192 pages
Wandering dervishes formed a prominent feature of most Muslim communities well into the modern period, surviving in some regions even today. Shocking in appearance, behaviour, and speech, these social misfits were revered by the public, yet denounced by cultural elites. "God's Unruly Friends" is the first in-depth and comprehensive survey of this enigmatic type of piety, tracing the history of the different dervish groups that roamed the lands in Western, Central and South Asia as well as the Middle East and Southeast Europe. Demonstrating that the dervish lifestyle originated as a reaction to the formation of 'socially respectable' Sufi orders, author Ahmet T. Karamustafa compels us to reconsider the medieval Islamic past as a vast spectrum of widely divergent forms of pious living, accommodating the 'puritanical' and the 'libertine' alike. As the definitive appraisal of this neglected topic, "God's Unruly Friends" will fascinate both scholars of religion and those who seek to challenge and broaden their conception of Islam.

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Renunciation through Social Deviance
Renunciation Deviant Individualism and Sufism
Ascetic Virtuosi

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About the author (2006)

Ahmet T. Karamustafa is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. He has edited numerous articles and edited books on Islam.

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