Living Sufism in North America
William Rory Dickson
SUNY Press 2015
Offers an overview of Sufism in North America.
In this book, William Rory Dickson explores Sufism as a developing tradition in North America, one that exists in diverse and beguiling forms. Sufism’s broad-minded traditions of philosophy, poetry, and spiritual practice infused Islamic civilization for centuries and drew the attention of interested Westerners. By the early twentieth century, Sufism was being practiced in North America. Today’s North American Sufism can appear either explicitly Islamic or seemingly devoid of Islamic religiosity. Dickson provides indispensable background on Sufism’s relation to Islamic orthodoxy and to Western esoteric traditions, and its historical development in North America. The book goes on to chart the directions that North American Sufism is currently taking, directions largely chosen by Sufi leaders. The views of ten North American Sufi leaders are explored in depth and their perspectives on Islam, authority, gender, and tradition are put in conversation with one another. A more detailed picture of North American Sufism emerges, challenging previous scholarly classifications of Sufi groups, and highlighting Sufism’s fluidity, diversity, and dynamism.
“Living Sufism in North America is the first book of its kind to bridge the gap between Sufi studies and the study of North American contemporary religious movements. As such, it is a comprehensive, pioneering work of potential interest to a wide array of scholars in the field of contemporary religion.” — Patrick Laude, author of Pathways to an Inner Islam: Massignon, Corbin, Guenon, and Schuon
William Rory Dickson is Assistant Professor of Islamic Religion and Culture at the University of Winnipeg.