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Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The luminous presence of women who follow the Sufi Way—the mystical path of Islam—is brought to life here through their sacred songs and poetry, their dreams and visions, and stories of their efforts as they witness the Truth in many realms. These writings reflect the honor and respect for the feminine in the Sufi worldview, and they are shared in the spirit of inspiration ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Shambhala
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Huma Rashid
Aug 17, 2011 Huma Rashid rated it it was amazing
Absolutely gorgeous. This book offers a brief survey of important Muslim women, from Ummul Mu'mineen to women like Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, aka Nora Baker, aka Madeline, who was among the first woman to infiltrate occupied France as an Allied spy, and was kept in head to toe chains by the Germans after her capture, and later executed. In addition to the survey of Muslim women, the book offers valuable spiritual insights and tales from the Islamic mystics, including heavy emphasis on one of my p ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Gwen rated it it was amazing
I had a bit of hesitance buying a book that seemed to be written for college classes. I wasn't sure if I could really get myself to read the full thing. Once I began reading the book I couldn't stop. It took a full month, but it was a great month! The use of the women's own writing is really what made this great. There is a difference between reading the poem of a woman mystic from over a thousand years ago and being told about what to see in the poem. This book does a marvelous job of not over ...more
Ron Krumpos
Jul 09, 2014 Ron Krumpos rated it really liked it
"Women of Sufism" is one of the books in the primary bibliography of my free ebook on comparative mysticism. "The greatest achievement in life" at has been reviewed on Goodreads.

It is essential reading for those who are interested in female mystics, from ancient to modern times. Camille Helminski has more than 10 books on Goodreads, some written in conjunction with her husband Kabir Helminski.
Jul 29, 2010 Sara rated it liked it
Great information about women and their role in mysticiam and early Islamic faith communities. It was a bit dry in parts as it is written in a very academic manner.
Yelda Basar Moers
I truly looked forward to reading this book as I know virtually nothing about the notable Sufi women of the past. I think the author here tried to do too much too fast and this compendium is both overwhelming and too confusing. The writing is very difficult for a lay reader, as it is not easy on the eyes, and the book as a whole needs a very good editor to break the language down and make it easier to process and digest. Also there is no continuum from chapter to chapter, it is too much a hodgep ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Jaine rated it it was amazing
5 stars because of the subject matter.

But wow, the way Helminski organized each chapter irked me. I needed more structure. As I read the book, I found myself thinking: "CAH has to know that this is confusing" or "CAH has to know that this isn't working."


If this were any other book, I probably would've stopped reading it on account of how annoying the organization of the book is/presentation of material. I wanted to read the book.

I should check out the publisher.

I've read some horridly wri
Jul 22, 2007 Lubna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Islam, Sufism, women
If you are looking for spiritual inspiration, this is a very helpful book. I felt very humbled in reading about the awesome spiritual lives of such a varied number of Muslim women - the book contains biographies, stories, and poetry & covers Sufi women from the Indian subcontinent to the Western world. Its not a book to read in 1 sitting but is probably best read slowly, with contemplation, and interspersed with other reading.
The Hermit's
Apr 26, 2016 The Hermit's rated it did not like it
It's good to know that there are women in the Islamic tradition and in Sufism that are active and vocal. However, I have to agree with this qoute on page 99: "To write about Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, is an almost impossible task" and like most 'inspirational' texts that lack reason, I found this to be very dry, empty and bloated.
Aug 27, 2007 Amelie added it
Interesting information and quotations from Sufi women. Some prior knowledge of Sufism might be useful, but this book is fairly accesible to general readers, and feels comprehensive, though not exhaustive.
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  • The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam's Mystical Tradition
  • A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi
  • The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish
  • The Lives of Man: A Guide to the Human States: Before Life, In the World, and After Death
  • The Sufi Path Of Knowledge: Ibn Al ʻarabi's Metaphysics Of Imagination
  • Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual on Retreat
  • Essential Sufism
  • The Kashf Al-Mahjub (the Revelation of the Veiled) an Early Persian Treatise on Sufism ('Ali B. 'Uthman Al-Jullabi Al-Hujwiri)
  • The Content of Character: Ethical Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (sa)
  • Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires (Books XXII and XXIII of The Revival of the Religious Sciences)
  • The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
  • The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Sexual Ethics And Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence
  • Sea Without Shore: A Manual of the Sufi Path
  • Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi
  • Scattered Pictures: Reflections Of An American Muslim
  • The Sufis
  • Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi

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“The pain will be born from that look cast inside yourself, And this pain will make you go beyond the veil. (Mathnawi II, 2517)” 0 likes
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