Contents: General introduction. 1. Introductory. 2. The word of God. 3. The life of the prophet. 4. The ascetics. 5. The mystics. 6. The theorists of Sufism. 7. The structure of Sufi theory and practice. 8. The Sufi orders. 9. The theosophy of Islamic mysticism. 10. The Persian poets. 11. The decay of Sufism. 12. Epilogue. Notes. Index.
"This is a very well researched and written introduction to the Islamic science of tassawuf – which is the Arabic word usually translated as sufism.
Dr. Brown shows Sufism is an integral part of Islam; a part which has always been accepted as the heart of Islam. As a famous Sufi [Islamic saint who has reached the highest spiritual station] once said, "Shariat is the body and tariqat [another name for Sufism] the soul".
This book looks at the origins of Sufism, its historical development, its branching into various brotherhoods, its importance in Islamic history as well as the various aspects of Sufi methodology and worship. Most importantly, this book puts Sufism where it belongs: at the heart of Islam and it shows that Sufism is not, as some have argued, extraneous to the Islamic belief. In other words, though it has some similarities with other mystical aspects of other religions, it is totally a product of Islam and it’s orthodox teachings." (jacket)