Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 3, No 1 (2007)

“Guest of the Inmost Heart”:Conceptions of the Divine Beloved among Early Sufi Women

Maria Massi Dakake
Issued Date: 19 Oct 2008


In the works of Sufi love mysticism, the Sufi seeker is often represented as a male lover in relation to God as the symbolically “feminine” Beloved. However, women themselves were not infrequently the practitioners of the mystical path in Islam, and it is clear from the words attributed to them that female Sufis developed their own image of the Divine Beloved as the symbolically masculine object of their female desire. In this paper, I examine short poetic pieces and sayings attributed to Sufi women in both hagiographical and biographical works in an attempt to identify a specifically feminine brand of Islamic “love” mysticism, reflecting a distinctly and traditionally female experience of loving and spiritual longing.

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DOI: 10.1558/cis.v3i1.72

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