Comparative Islamic Studies, Vol 5, No 2 (2009)

The Relationship between Seeker and Spiritual Guide as portrayed in contemporary Western Sufi Autobiographies

Kate Zebiri
Issued Date: 25 Oct 2011


This article aims to explore the Shaykh-murīd (disciple) or teacher-pupil relationship as portrayed in Western Sufi life writing in recent decades, observing elements of continuity and discontinuity with classical Sufism. Additionally, it traces the influence on the texts of certain developments in religiosity in contemporary Western societies, especially New Age understandings of religious authority. Studying these works will provide an insight into the diversity of expressions of contemporary Sufism, while shedding light on a phenomenon which seems to fly in the face of contemporary social and religious trends which deemphasize external authority and promote the authority of the self or individual autonomy.

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DOI: 10.1558/cis.v5i2.297

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