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Sufism: An Introduction To The Mystical Tradition Of Islam
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Sufism: An Introduction To The Mystical Tradition Of Islam

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  168 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The Sufis are as diverse as the countries in which they've flourished—from Morocco to India to China—and as varied as their distinctive forms of art, music, poetry, and dance. They are said to represent the mystical heart of Islam, yet the term Sufism is notoriously difficult to define, as it means different things to different people both within and outside the tradition. ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Shambhala Publications Inc (first published September 23rd 1997)
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Apr 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a letdown for me...
There seemed to be no solid information. Everything was out in this rose-coloured lense.
And, considering the author had a background in comparative religions, I don't know why he insisted on translating Allah (the name 'god' in Islam) to God in English, and then give you other Arabic words, like morality and ethics. (Authors who have a 'point' to make do this... Muslims use the word Allah, just leave it be as they see it, since it's their religion that you are w
Anna Kendig
As someone who has learned little bits and pieces about Sufism through an appreciation for the ecstatic religious poetic tradition made famous by those like Jelaluddin Rumi and Hafiz/Hafez, this book was invaluable. It helped to correct a lot of romantic notions about Sufism that are often put forward by lovers of these great poets who have not taken the time to respect and learn about the traditions from which they came - namely, the strain of Islam known in the West as "Sufism," but which repr ...more
Ron Krumpos
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The Shambhala Guide to 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.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
A little scattershot at times, but a very good reference and introduction to a topic I didn't know anything about. Worthwhile.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well research book on the mystical tradition. This book is not theology but an academic study of Sufism which presents the tradition squarely in Islam
Matt Friedman
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
On the one hand, Ernst's book is a wonderful and informative introduction to the basics of Sufi thought. On the other hand, he periodically segues into polemics against particularly Protestant Christian thought in a manner which assumes that his principle audience is composed of such Protestants who perhaps need to be shown the error of their orientalist ways. This becomes particularly strained when he seeks to demonstrate that, unlike those dastardly colonial missionaries, the Sufis really had ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it liked it
The first half of the book was also quite interesting, perhaps because it spoke of Islam more generally, when then began to go into details such as the names of God or the suras bored me a little bit more.

La prima metá del libro era anche abbastanza interessante forse perché parlava dell'Islam piú in generale, quando poi ha cominciato a scendere in particolari come i nomi di Dio o le sure mi ha annoiato un pochino di piú.
Krishnanand Khambadkone
This book can also be called Sufism 101. A very good introduction to this branch of Islam that is basically associated with Shia'ism since it's adherents follow the tenets of Ali and the Imams. Sufism is probably the only moderating factor in this otherwise widely misunderstood religion and may be the answer to solving it's centuries long confrontations with other faiths.
Mar 22, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It assumed you had a deep background of Islam and their different orders. I didn't enjoy the book personally. However it's full of information and I can't bench mark it with other Sufism related books as its my first.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting. It is a very good guide for those who would like to start reading about Sufism.
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Carl W. Ernst is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Islamic studies at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also the director of the Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations.

Ernst received his A.B. in comparative religion at Stanford University in 1973, and his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1981.

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