Sufis and Saints' Bodies: Mysticism, Corporeality, and Sacred Power in Islam
Islam is often described as abstract, ascetic, and uniquely disengaged from the human body. Scott Kugle refutes this assertion in the first full study of Islamic mysticism as it relates to the human body. Examining Sufi conceptions of the body in religious writings from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth century, Kugle demonstrates that literature from this era often treated saints' physical bodies as sites of sacred power.
Sufis and Saints' Bodies focuses on six important saints from Sufi communities in North Africa and South Asia. Kugle singles out a specific part of the body to which each saint is frequently associated in religious literature. The saints' bodies, Kugle argues, are treated as symbolic resources for generating religious meaning, communal solidarity, and the experience of sacred power. In each chapter, Kugle also features a particular theoretical problem, drawing methodologically from religious studies, anthropology, studies of gender and sexuality, theology, feminism, and philosophy. Bringing a new perspective to Islamic studies, Kugle shows how an important Islamic tradition integrated myriad understandings of the body in its nurturing role in the material, social, and spiritual realms.
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A'isha Abd al-Haqq Abd al-Quddus Adam Ahmad al-Sanhaji al-Tirmidhi al-Zahi angels Arabic ascension ascetic asserts authority belly bodily bones breath chapter Chishti claimed created devotional dhikr disciple divine embodiment erotic essence experience eyes female gender God's hadith hagiographic Hajji Imdadullah heart heaven holy human body Ibid Iblis Ibn Abd al-Wahhab Ibn Arabi imagine Imdadullah insight intimacy Islamic jurists Lahore lineage living Madho majdhub male Marinid Mawlay Idris medieval metaphor moral Morocco Mughal Muhammad Ghawth Mukhbir Muslim Muttaqi mystical Nakhshabi narrative norms patriarchal Persian person play political practice presence Prophet Muhammad punishment Qadiri Qur'an Qur’an recitation religion religious role rulers sacred sainthood saintly scholars sexual Shāh Shah Hussayn sharia sharifian Shattari Shaykh shrine shuraja social society soul South Asia spiritual story Sufi Sufi communities Sufi master Sufism sultan teaching throne tion tomb tradition vision Wahhabi Wajih al-Din woman worship Yogic zawiya