SITTING WITH SUFIS: A Christian Experience of Learning Sufism

Mary Blye Howe, Author . Paraclete $14.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-55725-415-3

The Christian author of A Baptist Among the Jews continues her walk through the Abrahamic religious traditions with this spiritual memoir of her introduction to and practice of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. Sufism in America is known to many through the poetry of Rumi, and Howe's experience reflects this; she quotes the popular poet frequently as she tells her own story, which begins with a retreat in Texas that introduced her to Sufism's prayers and rituals. Her narrative paints Sufism in lively action, including the whirling ecstatic dance known as sema and the repetitive chanting prayer known as zhikr . Howe says her Christian journey began at a point of "spiritual rigidity" but evolved to make room for ritual and mystery, which she found first in Judaism and subsequently in devotional Sufism. The insights and practices she has learned in these traditions that are related to Christianity serve to deepen and intensify her relationship with God. Those curious about the content, history or structure of Sufism and its many sects will need another book that more specifically addresses Sufi beliefs and practices. However, those seeking to affirm the universalism of core teachings of different religions, and those drawn to the mystical religious path, will welcome this small memoir. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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