Intuitive Instructional Speech in Sufism: A Study of the Sohbet in the Naqshbandi Order

Newcastle upon Tyre: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2022)
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Abstract

The Sufi tradition remains one of the most mysterious and least understood systems of self-realization. This book demystifies the practice of the sohbet—an ad hoc discourse—as the central instructional tool in the globally influential Naqshbandi-Haqqani Order. It approaches the practice using categories of improvised music to establish a framework for analyzation. Its ritualized formal structure, illustrated via selected talks of Shaykh Nazim Adil al-Haqqani, discloses the underlying—and assumingly primary—function to provoke prolonged states of raised awareness in listeners and condition their sympathetic nervous system. In an extensive discussion based on several years of field research in Cyprus, the book relates this intention to similar practices in other traditional knowledge systems by proposing psychophysical interpretations based on psychology, biochemistry, neuroscience, or quantum physics. It will appeal to scholars and students of Sufism, Islamic studies, and comparative religion, as well as those interested in performance studies and improvised music, interpersonal communication, and education.

Author's Profile

Martin A. M. Gansinger
Al-Akhawayn University

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