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Gabe Weiland: Islamic Architecture and Spirituality

Many concepts of Sufi practice and spirituality are embodied in Muslim architecture and architectural forms. Typically, the gradient progression from a symbolic standpoint is from a multiplicity of forms all coming together towards a single point of unity. In Sufism, the goal is Ihsan, and the Sufis must seek closeness and unity with God. There(…)

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Gabe Weiland: Rumi, Hafez, and Sa’idi

Rumi, Hafez and Sa’idi reflect many of the same Sufi concepts in their poetry; however, each has his own unique sense of artful expression with which he is personally able to convey a mystical message. In terms of their varying degrees of esotericism, Rumi seems to be the most accessible of the three major Sufi(…)

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Gabe Weiland: Rumi

Gabe Weiland: Rumi

      Throughout Rumi’s poems, one can notice several recurring themes related to Sufi ideology and practices. Notably, the importance of divine love, and the description of Sufis as lovers are prevalent themes in Rumi’s writings. Similarly, the usage of metaphors such as wine and drunkenness for the divine intoxication experienced by Sufi’s is(…)

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Gabe Weiland: Sufism in the Modern Day

In Sufis and Anti-Sufis, Sirriyeh points out the now-defunct hypothesis which had tried to claim that Sufi tariqas would be eliminated by the advent of Islamic modernism and European influence: [Tariqas were] “ready to be forced out of existence with the growing strength of the modernists”. However,  Sirriyeh also points out the inaccuracy of this prediction,(…)

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gabe weiland, Founding Principles

The historical development of Sufism arose from the perceived sense of a spiritual loss throughout the Muslim world as the age of prophecy faded into history. As a result, the importance of shaykhs and the doctrinal practices they preached became more important (Geoffroy, 99). In the 11th and 12th centuries, Sufism was strengthened as it(…)

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The importance of Sufi mentors

In Sufism, there is an emphasis on spiritual guidance as a means of progressing on one’s spiritual path towards intimacy with God. Before one can become truly enlightened, it is a necessity to follow the path of a murshid (142). In particular, these guides are called shaykh‘s by Sufi followers: “The shaykh is a doctor of(…)

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Gabe Weiland, Sufi origins

Sufism rose out of an ascetic movement of renunciation (zuhd) which followed in the perceived example of the prophets. Politically, Islamic asceticism emerged as a response to the excess and grandeur of the Umayyad dynasty and the usurpation of Hasan, who was believed by many to be the rightful spiritual authority (Geofrroy, 65). The concept(…)

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Gabe Weiland: Political Islam

Gabe Weiland: Political Islam

Mahmoud Taha posited the highly controversial theory that there are primary and subsidiary verses within the Qur’an. His opinions have great political implications as well as exegetical ones. In particular, Taha focuses his analysis to illuminate what he believes is the dual message of the Qur’an. Furthermore, he argues that many mistakenly believe that the(…)

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Gabe Weiland: The Hajj and the Islamic community

Gabe Weiland: The Hajj and the Islamic community

     It is stated in the Qur’an that for each nation there is a specific ritual practice which has been ordained by God, for which the Hajj has been relegated to the Muslims (22:67). In many ways, the Muslim Hajj serves as the ideal means of creating a communal sense of international solidarity between(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Justice and Forgiveness

Gabriel Weiland: Justice and Forgiveness

God’s mercy and forgiveness are frequently offered by the Qur’an in myriad cases of wrongdoing and in some verses forgiveness may even seem to supersede the need for punishment in relation to certain crimes. Indeed, God is referenced as not wishing to exact excessive harm against his servants on earth, but merely have them show(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Eschatology and the Qur’an

Gabriel Weiland: Eschatology and the Qur’an

Qur’anic eschatology centers itself firmly around the apocalyptic Day of Judgement. Symbolically, it represents the obvious divide between life and death, but also carries with it the moral content of human life. It is a point of no return, whereby no further individual efforts or intercession with God will be permitted. The status of each(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Qur’anic Structure

Gabriel Weiland: Qur’anic Structure

The enigmatic structure of the Qur’an can make it appear somewhat inscrutable for those who have not been steeped in the text culturally. Of course, the Qur’an is not organized chronologically, or with any specific narrative pattern, thus leaving it as a text with no clear beginning, middle or end. This style has been described(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Exegesis

Gabriel Weiland: Exegesis

There are many different approaches to Qur’anic exegesis. Many of the basic, accepted practices of exegesis are summed up in the writings of the famous exegete Al-Qurtubi. Al-Qurtubi emphasises the purity and sincerity required in Qur’anic interpretation, whereby personal bias and hypocrisy must be set aside in favor of devotion to the true meaning of(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Theology and the Qur’an

Gabriel Weiland: Theology and the Qur’an

Gabriel Weiland   Systematic theological study of the Qur’an is extremely difficult, as is the study of any highly esoteric subject. The Qur’an itself is steeped in mystery, relying on certain indeterminate concepts which go undefined explicitly within the Qur’an and require deeper analysis to be understood. However, as we learned from the Haleem excerpt,(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Islamic Art (focus on Safavi/Sufi art)

Gabriel Weiland: Islamic Art (focus on Safavi/Sufi art)

In many cases, Islamic art serves to highlight the importance of dissolution of the self, which is tantamount to the Muslim principle of surrender. The artists themselves are often effaced within their own artistic expression. They become lost as a result of the geometric perfection of their works, which present themselves in opposition to iconic(…)

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Gabriel Weiland: Link between form, theology and spirituality in Islam

Gabriel Weiland: Link between form, theology and spirituality in Islam

The link between form in Islamic art, theology and divine spirituality is highly intrinsic. Because of Islam’s iconoclastic roots, the art of the Islamic world is made to be impersonal, manifesting itself in the perfection of geometrical patterns and crystalline shapes. The Islamic garden is a perfect example of this link between perfect geometric simplicity(…)

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