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In the West, Islam has replaced Communism as the new bugbear, while Sufism, Islam’s mystical dimension, is often dismissed as the delusions of an irrational and backward people. Ken Lizzio corrects such misperceptions in this firsthand account of the year he spent in 1991 living with the head of the Naqshbandis, Afghanistan’s largest Sufi order. He presents the order in all its dimensions—social, economic, political, and spiritual—at a pivotal moment in history. He also gives a rare glimpse of everyday life in an Afghan Sufi school and of how the school has coped with the upheavals in its country. Poignantly, the Naqshbandi way of life faces threats to its very existence. One threat lies in the creeping secularization of Islamic society, another in the dismissal of Sufism by various fundamentalist Islamic sects claiming the franchise on truth. But historically, Lizzio points out, Sufism has always been Islam’s wellspring for spiritual revival. And because Sufis deal in matters that transcend time and cultures, they help outsiders understand not only the true nature of Islam, but the deeper meaning of all religions. The sound of that meaning echoes throughout this eloquent and fascinating memoir.
What is Sufism? Contemporary views vary tremendously, even among Sufis themselves. Contemporary Sufism: Piety, Politics, and Popular Culture brings to light the religious frameworks that shape the views of Sufism’s friends, adversaries, admirers, and detractors and, in the process, helps readers better understand the diversity of contemporary Sufism, the pressures and cultural openings to which it responds, and the many divergent opinions about contemporary Sufism’s relationship to Islam. The three main themes: piety, politics, and popular culture are explored in relation to the Islamic and Western contexts that shape them, as well as to the historical conditions that frame contemporary debates. This book is split into three parts: • Sufism and anti-Sufism in contemporary contexts; • Contemporary Sufism in the West: Poetic influences and popular manifestations; • Gendering Sufism: Tradition and transformation. This book will fascinate anyone interested in the challenges of contemporary Sufism as well as its relationship to Islam, gender, and the West. It offers an ideal starting point from which undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers and lecturers can explore Sufism today.
The collection proposes inventive research strategies for the study of the affective and fluctuating dimensions of cultural life. It presents studies of nightclubs, YouTube memes, political provocations, heritage sites, blogging, education development, and haunting memories.
"This book provides the first ever overview of the history and development of Islam in Afghanistan. It covers every era from the conversion of Afghanistan through the medieval and early modern periods to the present day. Based on primary sources in Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Urdu and Uzbek, its depth and scope of coverage is unrivalled by any existing publication on Afghanistan. As well as state-sponsored religion, the chapters cover such issues as the rise of Sufism, Sharia, women's religiosity, transnational Islamism and the Taliban. Islam has been one of the most influential social and political forces in Afghan history. Providing idioms and organizations for both anti-state and anti-foreign mobilization, Islam has proven to be a vital socio-political resource in modern Afghanistan. Even as it has been deployed as the national cement of a multi-ethnic 'Emirate' and then 'Islamic Republic,' Islam has been no less a destabilizing force in dividing Afghan society. Yet despite the universal scholarly recognition of the centrality of Islam to Afghan history, its developmental trajectories have received relatively little sustained attention outside monographs and essays devoted to particular moments or movements. To help develop a more comprehensive, comparative and developmental picture of Afghanistan's Islam from the eighth century to the present, this edited volume brings together specialists on different periods, regions and languages. Each chapter forms a case study 'snapshot' of the Islamic beliefs, practices, institutions and authorities of a particular time and place in Afghanistan"--Provided by publishe
Experience the majesty and terror of the Gold Rush firsthand While the seminal California Gold Rush of 1849 produced numerous firsthand diaries and accounts, Joseph Goldsborough Bruff’s—widely regarded as the best and most accurate—provides the basis of this narrative reimagining of a quintessential American legend. Ken Lizzio traces the pioneer’s thrilling adventure from the first rumors of gold, through his crossing of the frontier, all the way to his incredible survival and escape to a prosperous life back east. This is the first book to create a narrative of Bruff’s journey from his meticulously written and preserved diary. And with more than fifty of Bruff’s original pencil sketches and paintings, Forty-Niner provides a new, immersive vision of one of America’s most fabled eras. The American Grit series brings you true tales of endurance, survival, and ingenuity from the annals of American history. These books focus on the trials of remarkable individuals with an emphasis on rich primary source material and artwork.
Experience the majesty and terror of the Gold Rush firsthand
The dramatic story of outlaws and vigilantes on the American frontier invariably calls to mind the Wild West of the latter nineteenth century. Yet, there was an earlier frontier, Illinois, that was every bit as wild and lawless as Dodge City or Tombstone. Between 1835 and 1850 several hundred outlaws and desperadoes descended on the prairie state, holding up stagecoaches, robbing homes and individuals, rustling cattle and horses, counterfeiting, murdering, and terrorizing residents with virtual impunity. In a state that was mostly wilderness, outlaws went undetected for years, often masquerading as law-abiding farmers and merchants while preying on isolated settlers and passing emigrants. If it was hard to detect the pirates, it was harder still to capture them and bring them to justice. With law enforcement incapable of checking outlaws, frustrated citizens eventually took matters into their own hands, administering frontier justice—vigilantism. Posses were formed; outlaws were swept from their lairs and whipped, shot, or hanged. Sometimes the miscreants got their just desserts; other times, the use of public tribunals to enact personal vendettas led to abuses, even chaos. Pirates of the Prairie brings the story of these wild times to life.

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