Oriental Mysticism

Oriental Mysticism

E.H. Palmer

This is a concise study of the key concepts of Sufi philosophy, written by a western scholar in the mid-19th century. Palmer discusses the spiritual journey that Sufis take, the path to oneness with God. A very useful feature of this book is the glossary of poetic symbols used in Persian Sufi literature.

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Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans

Selections from the Poetry of the Afghans

Henry George Raverty

This is an anthology of English translations of Pushto poets from the 16th century on. Most, if not all, of these poets are Sufi. They utilize the poetic vocabulary of Sufiism: the tavern, the wine, the flowers, etc., all actually technical terms describing the soul’s progression on the mystical path towards God. Raverty’s introductory…

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Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory

Development of Muslim Theology, Jurisprudence and Constitutional Theory

Duncan B. Macdonald

From the Introduction: ‘IN human progress unity and complexity are the two correlatives forming together the great paradox. Life is manifold, but it is also one. So it is seldom possible, and still more seldom advisable, to divide a civilization into departments and to attempt to trace their separate developments; life nowhere can be cut in two with a hatchet. And this is emphatic…

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The Diwan of Zeb-un-Nissa

The Diwan of Zeb-un-Nissa

Zeb-un-Nissa

The Princess Zeb-un-Nissa was the eldest daughter of the Mogul Emperor Aurungzebe of India, and was born in 1639. A Sufi, she was well educated in both the Quran and the sciences, and was fluent in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. She started to write Persian poetry secretly at the age of 14. Her works included the Diwan, a collection of her poetry, excerpts…

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Poems from the Divan of Hafiz

Poems from the Divan of Hafiz

Gertrude Lowthian Bell

Khwaja Samsu d-Din Muḥammad Hafez-e Shirazi, known by his pen name Hafez (1325/26–1389/90) was a Persian lyric poet. His collected works composed of series of Persian poetry (Divan) are to be found in the homes of most Iranians, who learn his poems by heart and use them as proverbs and sayings to this day. This collection includes a selection…

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The Enclosed Garden of the Truth

The Enclosed Garden of the Truth

Hakim Abul-Majd Majdud ibn Adam Sana’i Ghaznavi

For close to 900 years The Enclosed Garden of Truth, or, The Hadiqat al Haqiqa, has been consistently read as a classic and employed as a Sufi textbook. It was the first Persian mystical epic of Sufism. Dedicated to Bahram Shah, the work expresses the poet’s ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason.

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History of Philosophy in Islam

History of Philosophy in Islam

T. J. De Boer

This is a well-written and authoritative review of the history of Islamic philosophy during the middle ages. Medieval Islamic civilization at its height was a center of learning, and its philosophers were no exception. Islamic philosophers grappled with issues such as free-will, causality and the nature of reality. Some of these figures are still well-known, such as Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Ibn Roshd (Averroes), the Sufi…

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The Gospel of Barnabas

Lonsdale and Laura Ragg

The Gospel of Barnabas is a book depicting the life of Jesus, and claiming to be by Jesus’ disciple Barnabas, who in this work is one of the twelve apostles. Two manuscripts are known to have existed, both dated to the late 16th century and written respectively in Italian and in Spanish—although the Spanish manuscript is now lost…

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The Conference of the Birds

The Conference of the Birds

Farid Ud-Din Attar

This is a classic sufi text written by the Persian poet Farid Ud-Din Attar. In the poem, the birds of the world gather to decide who is to be their king, as they have none. The hoopoe, the wisest of them all, suggests that they should find the legendary Simorgh, a mythical Persian bird roughly equivalent to the western phoenix. The hoopoe leads the birds, each of whom represent a human fault which…

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Christ in Islam

Christ in Islam

James Robson

This small book is a collection of traditional sayings and stories attributed to Jesus taken from Islamic literature. Islam has always considered Jesus to be one of the greatest of prophets, second only to Mohammed, and this beautiful collection is illustrative of some of the ways he is perceived in the Islamic world.

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The Masnavi I Ma’navi

The Masnavi I Ma'navi

Rumi

This is the abridged Whinfield translation of the Masnavi; an extensive poem by Rumi, the celebrated Persian Sufi saint and poet. It is one of the best known and most influential works of both Sufism and Dari literature. A series of six books of poetry, it is a spiritual writing that teaches Sufis how to reach their goal of being in true love with God. Book one of the Masnavi must be read in order to understand the other five…

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The Bible, The Koran, and the Talmud

The Bible, The Koran, and the Talmud

Dr. G. Weil

This book is a collection of Islamic stories of the prophets, a genre which has been perennially popular in the world of Islam. Most of the characters present in the stories are the same prophets which are familiar from the Bible and other Jewish and Christian sources. Although the selections and translations appear to be fair and accurate enough, the commentary is hostile to Islam throughout.

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The Religion of the Koran

The Religion of the Koran

Arthur N. Wollaston

This short entry in the Wisdom of the East series includes a short introduction to Islam, and a set of topical quotations from the Palmer translation of the Qur’an. It covers subjects such as the Devil, Jinn, Marriage, Pilgrimage, Prayers, Fasting, Angels, and more.

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The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq

The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq

Ibn al-Arabi

One of the most prolific of the medieval Sufi writers, al-Arabi wrote over 150 books. Unfortunately, very little of this output was translated, up to the early 20th century. This is Reynold Nicholson’s translation of the Tarjuman al-Ashwaq, or the ‘Interpreter of Desires,’ the first edition of which was completed in 611 A.H. (1215 A.D.). This text is of great interest, aside from its literary merits as delightful (but highly encoded) Sufi…

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