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Introduction to Muslim Mysticism

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Islamic mysticism (ʿirfān) relies primarily on experiential knowledge to provide an understanding of God, the universe and the human being; and the relationship between them. This module introduces students to key historical figures and themes within the study of Islamic mysticism, familiarising them with not only the key concepts within the Islamic mystical discourse but also the foundational texts of Islamic spirituality as well as the different literary modes of expressing spiritual sentiment such as in poetry and art.

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    1. What is Irfān?

    • Intro to Muslim Mysticism
    This class introduces the module, provides the definition and divisions of ʿirfān, and discusses tawḥīd. It also considers the differences between Muslim philosophy and ethics, and ʿirfān. Finally, it explains the views of different groups of scholars towards ʿirfān.
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    2. The origins of Irfān

    • Intro to Muslim Mysticism
    This class defines and discusses the notions of Sharia, ṭarīqa and ḥaqīqa inʿirfān. It briefly analyses the different theories regarding the origins of Muslim mysticism, including those of the orientalists. Finally, it provides arguments refuting the theories of detractors of ʿirfān.
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    3. The History and Development of Irfān

    • Intro to Muslim Mysticism
    This class covers the development of ʿirfān from first century hijrī up until the fifth century. It discusses the main mystics of each century and their contributions to the science of ʿirfān.

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