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A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-'Alawi

A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-'Alawi

Paperback Golden Palm Series

By (author) Martin Lings

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  • Publisher: The Islamic Texts Society
  • Format: Paperback | 242 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 213mm x 15mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 1 April 1994
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0946621500
  • ISBN 13: 9780946621507
  • Edition: 3, Revised
  • Edition statement: 3rd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 5 b&w halftones, indexes
  • Sales rank: 241,824

Product description

'Almost a prerequisite for any serious study of Sufism in European languages': this was the verdict of Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his review of the first edition of the book. According to the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, it is 'one of the most thorough and intimately engaging books on Sufism to be produced by a Western scholar'. Certainly there is nothing second-hand about it. The author lets Sufis speak for themselves and, in a series of unusual and absorbing texts mainly translated from Arabic, he gives a vivid picture of life in a North African Sufi order. Against this background stands the unforgettable figure of the Algerian Shaikh who was head of the order from 1909 until his death in 1934. The last few chapters are mainly devoted to his writings, which include some penetrating aphorisms, and which end with a small anthology of his remarkable mystic poems.

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Author information

Martin Lings, formerly Keeper of Oriental Manuscript in the British Museum and the British Library, is the author of three works on Islamic mysticism, 'Sufi Poems', 'What is Sufism?' and 'The Book of Certainty', as well as the award-winning 'Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources' all published by the Islamic Texts Society.

Review quote

'A masterly study of a man whose sanctity recalled the golden age of medieval mystics. In this well documented book Dr Lings draws on many rare sources ... and has made some important original contributions.' A. J. Arberry; 'What Martin Lings adds by way of commentary is of the greatest significance and may serve as a key to a deeper understanding of Islam as a whole.' Titus Burckhardt.

Table of contents

Table of Contents; Part One: The Path and the Order; 2. Seen from Outside; 3. The Origins of Sufism; 4. Seen from Within; 5. The Spiritual Master; Part Two: The Doctrine; 7. Oneness of being; 8. The Three Worlds; 9. The Symbolism of the Letters of the Alphabet; 10. The Great Peace; 11. Gnosis; 12. The Ritual Purification; 13. The Ritual Prayer; Part Three: Further Dimensions; 15. Selections from his Aphorisms; 16. Selections from his Poetry; Appendix I: List of his Writings; Appendix II: The Spiritual Chain