Sara Sviri studied Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and currently holds the Catherine Lewis Lectureship in medieval studies at University College, London. In this accessible and illuminating overview of Sufism, she delivers many insights into some of the major emphases of the Naqshbandi order namely psychology, dreams, ethics, and etiquette.
Sufis characterize themselves as children of the moment able to taste all the treats of the banquet that is set before them right now. They also see the heart as "that organ in which the Divine mysteries are hidden, and where the mystical journey takes place." Sviri reveals that discipline and effort are important qualities on the Sufi path as the individual actualizes the different "stages" and "stations" of the spiritual journey. She quotes Abu Ali ad-Daqqaq: "He who embellishes his exterior with effort, God graces his interior with vision."
The author presents her special take on adab Sufi prescriptions for the right conduct in various situations. This civil way of living includes generosity, putting others first, being hospitable, refraining from passing harsh judgment on others, service, and perseverance. The practice of adab can lead to rida, a state of "contented resignation." This paperback presents a cogent and most wondrous interpretation of Sufi mysticism.