Mysticism as Morality: The Case of Sufism

Journal of Religious Ethics 34 (2):253 - 286 (2006)


Sufism - spiritual practice, intellectual discipline, literary tradition, and social institutionhas played an integral role in the moral formation of Muslim society. Its aspiration toward a universal kindness to all creatures beyond the requirements of Islamic law has added a distinctly hypernomian dimension to the moral vision of Islam, as evidenced in a wide range of Sufi literature. The universal perspective of Sufism, fully rooted in Islamic revelation, yields a lived (and not just studied) ethics with the potential to view and embrace all creatures through a single ethical vision, regardless of religious or other affiliation. This side of Islam, both acknowledging and surpassing the outlook of the legal heritage, offers important insight into understanding the nature of Muslim society as both Islamic and metaIslamic in religious orientation. Sufism, still significant in today's Islamic world, thus offers important material for locating Islam as part of an international order with principles and standards that resonate deeply with the moral vision of Islam itself

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