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Vernon Schubel 

Religion 80 (SPRING 1999)
Seminar on Sufism

Vernon Schubel

Office Hours M 9:30-12:30

Ascension 120

Tuesday 7:00 PM

PBX 5801 / E-Mail SCHUBEL

Ascension 311

The Course:

Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, is one of the most important manifestations of Islamic piety. The Sufi tradition has been the source of some of the greatest literature produced in the Islamic world. The belief in the awliyah-i Allah (Friends of God) is common to most of the Muslim world. Sufi orders (tariqahs) have long been important institutions in the Muslim world, transcending ethnic, linguistic, and national differences. This seminar provides an opportunity to engage in the close reading of some of the most important recent scholarship on the topic of Sufism. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources and will examine the phenomenon of Sufism both as a religious and a socio-cultural phenomenon from a number of different perspectives.


(1) Class attendance and completion of assigned readings. This is a seminar and all students will be expected to attend all classes. Unexcused absences will result in a lowering of one's grade.

(2) Participation in class discussion. 20%.

(3) Weekly reaction essays. Students will turn in a 2-3 page typed and double-spaced paper at the beginning of each class meeting focusing on issues raised in the reading assigned for that week. Of the 12 assigned papers I will drop the two lowest grades. However, all 12 papers must be turned in. A grade of
zero will be figured in for any paper that is not turned in and that grade will not be dropped. You have been warned! 60%.

(4) A typed and double-spaced 5 to 6 page final essay to be turned in on the last day of classes. There will be no regularly assigned reaction paper on that week. 20%.

There is no final exam in this class.

Required Texts:

The following texts are available for purchase in the Bookstore.

Sells, Michael, ed, Early Islamic Mysticism.
Ernst, Carl, The Shambala Guide to Sufism
Ruzbihan Baqli, The Unveiling of Secrets
Shaikh Baduddruddin, Inspirations on the Path of Blame.
Martin Lings, A Sufi Saint of the 20th Century.
Katherine Ewing, Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis and Islam.
Laleh Bakhtiyar, Sufi Women of America: Angels in the Making.

Course Readings:

January 19: Introduction and general discussion. Film: I am Muslim, I am Sufi.

January 26: Ernst, The Shambala Guide to Sufism, pp. 1-120.

February 2: Ernst, pp. 120-228

February 9: Sells, Early Islamic Mysticism, pp. 1-96

February 16: Sells, pp. 97-211.

February 23: Sells, pp. 212-320

March 2: Ruzbihan Baqli, The Unveiling of Secrets.

March 23 Shaikh Badrddihn, Inspirations on the Path of Blame, pp. 1-68.

March 30: Shaikh Badruddin, pp. 70-152.

April 6: Lings, A Sufi Saint of the 20th Century, pp. 9-117.

April 13: Lings, pp. 121-228

April 20: Ewing, Arguing Sainthood, pp. 1-162.

April 27: Ewing, pp. 163-270.

May 4: Bakhtiar, Sufi Women of America. FINAL ESSAY DUE.