6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Gives a clear background to the contemporary ideas and controversies,
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This review is from: Sufism and the Way of Blame: Hidden Sources of a Sacred Psychology (Paperback)
If you have read books on Sufism that appeared contradictory, then this work helps to explain why those differences exist. It tracks the emergence of different schools of thought over time and places them in their historical context: showing how they arose as a reaction to the prevailing circumstances of the age. This is taken right up to the present day when the author provides interesting perspectives on the contemporary approaches to Sufism in the West, as promoted by figures such as Hossein Nasr and Idries Shah. The author's chapter covering the relationship between Sufis in Afghanistan and Idries Shah, as well as its implications for how Sufism is adopted within a Western framework, would be useful background reading for anyone who has read Shah's books.
The author does not take sides but lists the differing viewpoints, and there are some well-informed sources. But this book is more than that. It also provides valuable conceptual material about Sufism itself which is thought provoking and which I have not found elsewhere. It is well-written and I would advise anyone who is seriously studying this subject to get this book.