Living Sufism





To expound the teachings of Sufism fully one must give at least an outline of Sufi doctrine, which includes a metaphysics about the principle and nature of things, a cosmology concerning the structure of the Universe and its multiple states of being, a traditional psychology about the structure of the human soul to which is attached a psychotherapy of the profoundest order compared to which modern psychotherapy is but a caricature, and finally an eschatology concerning the final end of man and of the Universe and man’s posthumous becoming. The elucidation of the teachings of Sufism would include, moreover, a discussion of the spiritual methods, their manner of administration and the way in which they take root in the very substance of the soul of the disciple. It would also involve a discussion of the relation between master and disciple and of the spiritual virtues, which are engendered in the soul of the disciple through the alchemy performed upon his soul by the master. Living Sufism combines scholarly research into all these aspects of Sufi doctrines and history with a penetrating account of the spiritual and metaphysical message and significance of Sufism as a living spiritual tradition. In an original discussion, the author places special accent on the relevance of Sufi teachings to contemporary problems. The book is written for both the ever-increasing western public interested in Sufism and for the Western educated Muslim interested in his own spiritual heritage. Dr. Nasr draws on his intimate knowledge of Sufi literature in Arabic and Persian as well as his first-hand knowledge of the Sufi tradition.


Seyyed Hossein Nasr

(b. 1933)

Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Tehran, where he received his early education. He studied in the West and gained his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MA and PhD from Harvard University, where he studied the History of Science and Learning with special concentration on Islamic science and philosophy. In 1958, he returned to Iran to teach at Tehran University, where he was Professor of the History of Science and Philosophy. In 1962 he was visiting lecturer at Harvard University, and he taught there during the summer of 1965. During 1964-65, he was the first holder of the Agha Khan Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He also served as Vice Chancellor of Tehran University and Chancellor of the Arya-Mehr University of Technology in Iran. He was the founder and first President of the Iranian Academy of Philosophy and is presently University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University, Washington D. C. and President of the Foundation for Traditional Studies. Professor Nasr has lectured in America, Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Australia and was the first Muslim Scholar to deliver the Gifford Lectures. He is the author of over twenty-five books and five hundred articles in Persian, English, Arabic and French. His works have appeared in more than ten languages. His important contribution is three generations of scholars he has trained in the course of his fifty-year scholarly career in Iran and the West.


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