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Two Who Attained: Twentieth-Century Sufi Saints: Fatima Al-Yashrutiyya & Shaykh Ahmad Al-'Alawiby Leslie Cadavid
Synopses & Reviews
This is a work that offers rare glimpses of two twentieth century Sufi saints: the eminent Shaykh al-Alawi and the lesser known woman saint, Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, both of the Shadhili Sufi order. Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, the daughter of the great Shaykh al-Yashrutiyy of Acre, was self-educated and one of very few Muslim women of the early twentieth century who wrote at all, much less writing about her personal life and the Sufi Path she followed. As such, access to her work in English is a rare treat. Her spirituality was without compromise: “Those who follow the path of knowledge, and wish to unite with God most high, travel to him as a lightening bolt, without turning towards what emanates from Him of phenomena, nor fearing that which they are approaching.” Of the Shaykh al-Alawi’s profound corpus of prose and poetry, the present work includes rare texts such as a defense of the invocation of the Divine Name of God (Allah) and extracts from his Diwan.
It is of particular interest that the life and writings of Shaikh Al Alawi was pivotal in the spiritual life of Thomas Merton who invited a representative of this Algerian Sufi Saint to visit the monks of Gethsemane. For the last two years of Merton's life he lectured every Sunday night to the novices at the Monastery. The subject was Sufism. The spiritual image and presence of Shaikh Al Alawi came to be what Merton was after in himself.
The selections of this book are taken from two Muslim authors of the twentieth century who represent Islam in its esoteric deminsion. Both are regarded as Saints by the Muslims of today. The reader will be given a taste of the world of Sufi brotherhoods - in this case the Shadhili tradition...in different modes and at different levels but with an underlying theme of concentration on the oneness of God.
Both of these saints witnessed their traditional world begin to fall apart. Both were beacons of light to those who clung to the Path (Sufi practices) in spite of the trials of the modern world. Both proved that the Shadhili Sufi order was still very much alive in the Twentieth Century.
Rare glimpses of two 20th-century Sufi saints are offered in this work: the eminent Shaykh al-Alawi and the lesser-known woman saint Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, both of whom continued on the Sufi path even as they watched their world crumble. Shaykh al-Alawi's influence was pivotal to the spiritual development of Thomas Merton, who looked to al-Alawi's writings and teachings in his own practice. Fatima al-Yashrutiyya is a rare example of a literate Muslim woman living a public spiritual life. Readers will see a new side of the Sufi Path from her uncompromising viewpoint, and can catch an uncommon glimpse of life in the early 20th century for a spiritual seeker, writer, and self-educated woman in the Muslim world. These essays represent Islam in its esoteric dimension and raise issues of regional unrest and colonial intervention that are still relevant. Through the words of these two saints the world of the Sufi brotherhood is opened, revealing an underlying theme of the oneness of Allah.
About the Author
Leslie Cadavid has been working with the Arabic language since the age of 16. She attended London Universitys School of Oriental and African Studies, majoring in classical Arabic and Islamic art, and then Indiana University, majoring in near Eastern languages and cultures. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
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Religion » Islam » Sufism