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Dreams and Visions in Islamic Societies

Özgen Felek, Alexander D. Knysh

Publication Year: 2012

A wide-ranging consideration of the place of dreams and visions in Islamic societies from the premodern period to the present.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii

Note on Transliteration

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pp. ix


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pp. xi

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pp. 1-11

Writing in the early thirteenth century CE, the great Arab mystic Ibn [al-]˜Arab¥ (1165–1240) suggests that “The only reason God placed sleep in the animate world was so that everyone might . . . know that there is another world similar...

Part I: Dreams in Biographical, Historical, Theological, Poetical, and Oral Narratives, and on the Internet

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pp. 13-177

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1. Dreaming the Truth in the Sīra of Ibn Hishåm

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pp. 15-30

There are fifteen distinct dreams narrated in Ibn Hishåm’s (d. 213/828 or 218/833) redaction of the sīra work of Ibn Isḥāq (d. ca. 150/767), our earliest extant biography of the prophet Muḥammad.1 These dreams usually are narratives given...

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2. Dreaming Ḥanbalites: Dream-Tales in Prosopographical Dictionaries

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pp. 31-50

In Islam, like in many religious traditions, dreams are part and parcel of spiritual life. For centuries, Muslims have taken their dreams seriously, especially those Muslims who belonged to different mystical trends that found...

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3. Numinous Vision, Messianic Encounters: Typological Representations in a Version of the Prophet’s ḥadīth al-ru˘yå and in Visions and Dreams of the Hidden Imam

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pp. 51-76

Two of the most central and deeply placed phenomena encountered in Twelve Shīỉ hagiographical sources are visions and oneiric encounters.1 Initiatory, mystical, and occultist visions also have long played an integral...

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4. Dreaming the Elixir of Knowledge: How a Seventeenth-Century Poet from Herat Got His Name and Fame

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pp. 77-97

This chapter examines the narration of dreams as a key instrument of knowledge transmission in the training of an early seventeenth-century poet...

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5. Dreaming Ŏṣmåns: Of History and Meaning

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pp. 99-122

Ottoman historical consciousness as manifested in a distinct historiography appears surprisingly late. Heroic narratives of the rise of the House of...

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6. Sometimes a Dream Is Just a Dream: Inculcating a “Proper” Perspective on Dream Interpretation

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pp. 123-137

When reading through the spiritual discourses of the renowned Sufijurist Mawlånå Ashraf...

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7. Dreams Online: Contemporary Appearances of the Prophet in Dreams

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pp. 139-157

Although prophecy came to an end with the death of Muḥammad, the seal of the prophets, the Islamic community was not left without guidance. In his farewell sermon, the Prophet reportedly explained that as long as the people...

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8. Transforming Contexts of Dream Interpretation in Dubai

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pp. 159-177

In this chapter, I examine the shifting contexts of dream interpretation in Dubai over three generations, beginning with the generation that witnessed the pearling economies in the Arabian Gulf. I then compare it to the two generations...

Part II: Dreams in Sufi Literature

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pp. 179

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9. Dreams and Their Interpretation in Sufi Thought and Practice

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pp. 181-197

In 1636, Jean de Brébeuf—a Jesuit priest who was later canonized following his death at the hands of the Iroquois in 1649—wrote an account of the Huron Indians among whom he lived. Discussing their religious...

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10. Behind the Veil of the Unseen: Dreams and Dreaming in the Classical and Medieval Sufi Tradition

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pp. 199-213

As the now rather passé Victorian-era anthropologist E.B. Tylor famously stated, the very origin of religion itself is to be found in two universal human experiences: death and dreams.1 For Tylor it was these two basic experiences...

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11. Witnessing the Lights of the Heavenly Dominion: Dreams, Visions and the Mystical Exegeses of Shams al-Dīn al-Daylamī

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pp. 215-231

How does a human being “bound to the prison of body, come to know the divine”?1 In Dreaming in the Middle Ages, Kruger examines the development of medieval Christian dream literature and in particular, the emergence...

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12. Narrating Sight: Dreaming as Visual Training in Persianate Sufi Hagiography

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pp. 233-247

This chapter focuses on the fact that when we discuss dreams, the objects of our analyses are not psychic experiences but narratives that purport to relate such experiences. My particular concern here is with representations of dreams...

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13. (Re)creating Image and Identity: Dreams and Visions as a Means of Muråd III’s Self-Fashioning

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pp. 249-272

In the early 1990s, when professional tennis player Andre Agassi, with his long hair and flamboyant outfits, boasted “Image is everything!” he reminded us of the fact that we, as modern individuals, had already been preoccupied...

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14. The Visionaries of a Ṭarīqa: The Uwaysī Sufis of Shåhjahånåbåd

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pp. 273-296

One day, in the assembly of Shaykh Sayyid ¡asan, there was a discussion about the appearance of the ennobling vision of the Prophet. The Shaykh related...


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pp. 297-300


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pp. 301-322

E-ISBN-13: 9781438439952
E-ISBN-10: 1438439954
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438439938
Print-ISBN-10: 1438439938

Page Count: 334
Illustrations: 1 figure
Publication Year: 2012