Special Issue "Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 August 2021) | Viewed by 13514

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Milad Milani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University, Penrith NSW, 2751, Australia
Interests: History of religion; Philosophy of history; Sufism and Islam in the Persianate world; Mysticism; Hermeneutics; Religious Studies, Sufi Studies; Persian Studies
Dr. Zahra Taheri
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
The Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
Interests: Persian studies; Persian language and Literature; Sufi studies; ethics Studies
Dr. Aydogan Kars
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Philosophical, Monash University, Melbourne 3800, Australia
Interests: medieval Islam; Sufism; Islamic intellectual history; Islamic theology; mysticism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent studies have broadly captured the role and significance of women in the history of Sufism. These have also addressed particular issues in relation to gender, religion, society, culture, and politics within the context of Sufi history, with some focusing on case studies from various regions of the world, including the Near and Middle East, the Subcontinent, North Africa, Indonesia, and North America. There is, however, a greater need for a specialised study focusing on female mystics and the phenomenon of the divine feminine in Sufi experience.

This Special Issue calls for papers on the proposed topic drawing on classical and modern periods. Scholars are invited to approach the topic from their own field of expertise and disciplinary background. Focused areas of inquiry into subjectivity, literary and artistic productivity, and notable figures of importance are welcome.

The Special Issue invites contributors to consider:

  • The role of female mystics in Sufi circles;
  • The feminine element in Sufism;
  • Mysticism as feminine within Sufi context;
  • Feminine representation in Sufi art (including poetry and music);
  • Female mystics as spiritual guides and organizational leadership;
  • The divine feminine.

Dr. Milad Milani
Dr. Zahra Taheri
Dr. Aydogan Kars
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sufism
  • Globalism
  • history
  • culture
  • art
  • mystical experience
  • divine feminine
  • female mystics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Gender Reconfigurations and Family Ideology in Abdul Rauf Felpete’s Latin American Haqqaniyya
Religions 2022, 13(3), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13030238 - 10 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1359
Abstract
This article discusses the ideas about gender contained in the Enseñanzas Sufíes Para Los Tiempos Actuales, a text by Abdul Rauf Felpete, the leader of the Naqshbandiyya Haqqaniyya in Latin America, probably the largest Sufi group in the continent. I analyse these [...] Read more.
This article discusses the ideas about gender contained in the Enseñanzas Sufíes Para Los Tiempos Actuales, a text by Abdul Rauf Felpete, the leader of the Naqshbandiyya Haqqaniyya in Latin America, probably the largest Sufi group in the continent. I analyse these ideas against the backdrop context in which they were produced: on the one hand, a conservative Sufi Islamic frame inspired by Nazim al-Haqqani’s ideas, and on the other, an Argentinian society that was incurring profound gender-related societal changes at the time when the shaykh delivered the sermons contained in the book. This historical moment was characterised by a growing feminist and LGTBQ+ activism and the arrival of a progressive government in Argentina, which over time, positioned this Latin American country in the vanguard of gender and sexual equality rights in the Spanish speaking world. In this context, Rauf Felpete proposes a gender model inspired in a Haqqani form of Islamic conservatism as a remedy to address what he perceives as the threat of civilizational decadence brought about by these changes. I discuss Rauf Felpete’s family ideology, a set of moral norms based on gender determinism and pronatalism, articulated through two key concepts, first, domesticity, understood as a way to regulate female behaviour and, second, motherhood, viewed as a Godly ordained natural instinct. In order to put into practice these gender norms, the devout Haqqani is called to move to the countryside; rural communes are presented as the only possible way of living a pious and authentically Islamic life, a mode of living that implies profound reconfigurations of gender (and of lifestyle, more generally) for his Latin American followers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
Article
The Economics of Female Piety in Early Sufism
Religions 2021, 12(9), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090760 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1573
Abstract
This paper examines the economics of female piety between the third/ninth and sixth/twelfth centuries. It traces Sufi approaches to poverty and working for a living (kasb) as well as kasb’s intersection with marriage and women. Rereading Sufi and non-Sufi biographies [...] Read more.
This paper examines the economics of female piety between the third/ninth and sixth/twelfth centuries. It traces Sufi approaches to poverty and working for a living (kasb) as well as kasb’s intersection with marriage and women. Rereading Sufi and non-Sufi biographies and historiographies reveals that there were wealthy women who initiated marriage with renowned Sufis to gain spiritual blessings, and others who financially supported their husbands. While the piety of male Sufis was usually asserted through material poverty, the piety of female mystics was asserted through wealth and almsgiving. This paper examines this piety through different female kinships—whether mothers, wives or sisters. Similar to the spousal support of wives for their husbands, sisters very often acted as an impressive backup system for their Sufi brothers. Mothers, however, effected a great socio-religious impact through the cherished principles of a mother’s right to control her son and a son’s duty to venerate his mother. This devotion was often constraining financially and Sufis needed to pay attention to the financial implications while still pursuing progress on the Sufi path. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
Article
The Feminine in the Poetry of Yunus Emre: A Case Study in the Hierophanic Dialectics of Mystical Islamic Experience
Religions 2021, 12(9), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090727 - 06 Sep 2021
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Abstract
This article is about the most important Turkish Sufi poet and, more specifically, about the presence and the pragmatics of ‘the Feminine’ in his experience—inasmuch as the latter is reflected in his work. To be sure, this is a case study, in the [...] Read more.
This article is about the most important Turkish Sufi poet and, more specifically, about the presence and the pragmatics of ‘the Feminine’ in his experience—inasmuch as the latter is reflected in his work. To be sure, this is a case study, in the sense that it aspires to provide only an idea as to how ‘the Feminine’ pervades Sufi hierophanics/religion, and also in the sense that it does not assume to be a comprehensive and exhaustive discussion—not even of Yunus Emre himself. Select(ed) poems of Yunus Emre are explored in the methodological light of what Mircea Eliade has dubbed ‘hierophanic dialectics’, and what Catherine Clément and Julia Kristeva regard as ‘the Feminine’ in relation to the sacred/religious from the perspective of social anthropology and psychoanalysis. In the poetry of Yunus Emre ‘the Feminine’ turns out to be the subtle yet decisive challenge, opposition, and subversion that, on the one hand, negates symbolic Islam and, on the other, affirms imaginary Islam in the name of the Islamic real—to evoke the terminology of Jacques Lacan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
Article
An Inquiry into the Nature of the Female Mystic and the Divine Feminine in Sufi Experience
Religions 2021, 12(8), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080610 - 06 Aug 2021
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Abstract
This article is an inquiry into the nature of the female mystic and the divine feminine in Sufi experience. It considers this experience in the general sense with regard to the Sufi tradition, but in its analysis, the article primarily draws on examples [...] Read more.
This article is an inquiry into the nature of the female mystic and the divine feminine in Sufi experience. It considers this experience in the general sense with regard to the Sufi tradition, but in its analysis, the article primarily draws on examples from the classical period of Sufi history. Based on an analysis of the thought of key Sufi figures from that period, the assertion is made that the ground of the sacred is female and, as such, the basis of mystical experience is feminine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
Article
Sufism and the Sacred Feminine in Lombok, Indonesia: Situating Spirit Queen Dewi Anjani and Female Saints in Nahdlatul Wathan
Religions 2021, 12(8), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080563 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2665
Abstract
This article is a feminist ethnographic exploration of how ‘indigenous’ notions of a ‘sacred feminine’ shape Sufi praxis on the island of Lombok in the eastern part of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. I demonstrate through long-term immersive anthropological fieldwork how in her indigenous [...] Read more.
This article is a feminist ethnographic exploration of how ‘indigenous’ notions of a ‘sacred feminine’ shape Sufi praxis on the island of Lombok in the eastern part of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. I demonstrate through long-term immersive anthropological fieldwork how in her indigenous form as Dewi Anjani ‘Spirit Queen of Jinn’ and as ‘Holy Saint of Allah’ who rules Lombok from Mount Rinjani, together with a living female saint and Murshida with whom she shares sacred kinship, these feminine beings shape the kind of Sufi praxis that has formed in the largest local Islamic organization in Lombok, Nahdlatul Wathan, and its Sufi order, Hizib Nahdlatul Wathan. Arguments are situated in a Sufi feminist standpoint, revealing how an active integration of indigeneity into understandings of mystical experience gives meaning to the sacred feminine in aspects of Sufi praxis in both complementary and hierarchical ways without challenging Islamic gender constructs that reproduce patriarchal expressions of Sufism and Islam. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)

Other

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Essay
Goddess of the Orient: Exploring the Relationship between the Persian Goddess Anahita and the Sufi Journey to Mount Qaf
Religions 2021, 12(9), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090704 - 30 Aug 2021
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Abstract
This paper explores the possible connections between the Persian Goddess Aredvi Sura Anahita and Sufi cosmology. How can we trace images, symbols and functions of the goddess in the symbolic journey to Mount Qaf in Sufism? The research question was posed by the [...] Read more.
This paper explores the possible connections between the Persian Goddess Aredvi Sura Anahita and Sufi cosmology. How can we trace images, symbols and functions of the goddess in the symbolic journey to Mount Qaf in Sufism? The research question was posed by the author after a collision of mystical experiences and dreams with the figure of Anahita while being on the Sufi path. The paper offers a linguistic, scriptural and hermeneutic analysis of Anahita in the Avesta and her role in Zoroastrian cosmology, while looking at the symbolic importance of Mount Qaf and the figure of Khezr in Sufism. The comparative study draws on the work of Henry Corbin and Shahab al-Din Sohrawardi to explore the threads between these two ancient Persian traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Female Mystics and the Divine Feminine in the Global Sufi Experience)
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