Women Mystics and Sufi Shrines in India
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Series: Studies in Comparative Religion
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Series Editor’s Preface
Sufism, the richly diverse mystical-devotional dimension of Islamic religion, is one of the most popular and appealing fields of discourse and practice in both global spirituality and the comparative study of religion. This new book in the Studies in Comparative Religion series is the eighth to address some significant topic pertaining to Sufism, ...
In the summer of 1994 I traveled to India for the first time as a graduate M.A. student at the University of Washington. The journey came at the end of three years of studying Hindi and Urdu and was intended to improve my Hindi and Urdu speaking skills. ...
Many people and organizations have helped me in this lengthy endeavor. Funding for the initial research was made possible by grants and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the Charlotte Newcombe Foundation, and the University of California, Berkeley. ...
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Women’s Activities and Sufi Shrines–Some Perspectives
A number of ethnographic studies conducted since the late 1970s1 have suggested that there is a substantial gap between discourses about women’s participation in ritual life and women’s lived experiences in the world of Sufi shrines. While this issue has produced several promising studies of the role women play in contemporary Sufi praxis, ...
1. Perceptions of “Women’s Religion” in Colonial India
The attitude with which the author of this gazetteer approaches the subject of saint veneration approximates the views of many of the servants of the British colonial Raj, Muslim religious reformers, and Orientalist thinkers in nineteenth- and twentieth-century India. ...
Piri-muridi, which refers to the relationship between spiritual master (pir, shaikh)1 and disciple (murid), evokes a wider range of associations than most of the academic literature on Sufism would suggest. In fact the didactic and historical literature produced by Sufis and their observers since the eleventh century suggests that a variety of models of piri-muridi has long existed, ...
3. Singing and Reciting
In the late evening on this ninth of Rajab,3 a handful of close disciples from the Gudri Shah order are busy hanging richly decorated sheets from the courtyard walls of the khanaqah. A few men arrive bearing rolls of carpets—some of exquisite Persian design, others plainer, well-worn, and less conspicuous—and spread them on the dirt floor. ...
4. The Work of Petitioning
I first came to Bihar on July 4, 1996, determined to find out more about the existence of shrines erected solely for women in this state. With the help of a colleague, Dan Madigan, a young Jesuit priest working on his Ph.D. at Columbia University, I was able to get in touch with Father Paul Jackson, himself a Jesuit priest ...
Conclusion: Reconsidering Women’s Experiences at the Intersection of Discourse and Practice
The primary objective of this book, to investigate the discrepancies between prescriptions for and descriptions of women’s activities in the world of Sufi shrines, is not intended to convey a facile dichotomy of authority and challenge to that authority. Rather than assume a fundamental tension between two apparent opposites, discourse and practice, ...