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Historical Sufism

Session Chair: N.N. | Friday, August 28, 1:30-3 p.m. | Venue

Makoto Sawai

The Meaning of Adam in Ibn ʿArabiʼs Theory of the Oneness of Existence

In Islamic mysticism called Sufism, Adam, the first man, has played an important role in speculating the linkage between God and human beings. Adam on the basis of the divine names is the medium between both of them and at the same time, the spiritual source of imagining various ideas. This motif of Adam is originally derived from the Qurʾan and Hadith. In the Creation, for example, God bestowed the privilege to Adam, because He taught him name of the things (Q2:31) and made a caliph on earth (Q2:30). Thus, Adam as an individual was given the honorable position of caliph. Human beings called “the sons of Adam” (banu Adam) inherit his various natures. This presentation is to clarify how Ibn ʿArabi argues the Oneness of Existence (wahdat al-wujud) in relation to Adam.

Yuki Nakanishi

Mystic Unified with the First Intellect: Šamsaddīn al-Fanārī’s (d. 1431) Anthropocentrism

The unification with the transcendent One has always been the ultimate goal for the mystic. Various attempts made to achieve this goal are also found among the Arabic-speaking Muslims in the Near East who were active in the late medieval and the early modern period. In this presentation, I will deal with the metaphysical anthropology of Šamsaddīn al-Fanārī (d. 1431), one of the most prominent mystic-scholars in the early Ottoman era. By examining his discussion on the unification of the mystic with the “First Intellect” (al-ʿaql al-awwal), as is exhibited in a section of his metaphysical masterpiece Miṣbāḥ al-uns bayna l-maʿqūl wa-l-mašhūd (“Lamp of the Intimacy between the Intellected and the Contemplated”), the present study illustrates anthropocentric features of this Ottoman intellectual’s mystico-philosophical theory of human perfection.

Mohamed Ahmed

Sufism in Tunisia: Features of Stability and Change

This article represents an anthropological attempt to understand and reveal the features of Stability and change within Sufism phenomenon in Tunisia, and a trial to clarify the reasons for the emergence of Sufi movements in the North Africa region and to shed light on public perception of saints and sites. It also shows that the purpose of anthropological concern in religious phenomenon in this particular time, and the need of the Tunisian citizen to a spiritual dimension more than ever in order to achieve their psychological and cultural balance under the influence of globalization and the structural changes known by arab socioties. A great part of this anthropological analysis is to focus on the challenges faced by the institution of the shrine in Tunisia through the contemporary period till the Tunisian revolution in 2011, Tunisia which was the first country to be rocked by an Arab Spring uprising.


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