Sufism, State, and Society in Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1309 公开

Hofer, Nathan Charles (2011)

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Sufism, State, and Society in Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1309
By Nathan C. Hofer

This dissertation is a social and religious history of four different groups of Sufis in medieval Egypt. The late twelfth through the early fourteenth centuries witnessed a remarkably creative episode in the religious history of Egypt, which was home to a variety of Sufi groups and charismatic Sufi masters. Specifically, the dissertation closely examines the state-sponsored Sufis of the khanqah Sa‘id al-Su‘ada in Cairo, the nascent state-sanctioned Shadhili ya brotherhood in Alexandria and Cairo, the non-state-sanctioned Sufis of Upper Egypt, and finally, the subaltern Jewish Sufis of Fustat. While scholars have examined these Sufi groups individually, this dissertation will be the first study to place them together within a larger context and coherent theoretical framework. Using the terminology of institutions and organizations, the argument of the dissertation is that this period was characterized by increasingly organized forms of Sufism. Central to this argument is detailing the institutionalized doctrines, practices, organizational goals, and conceptions of authority for each group. In addition, the dissertation emphasizes the socio-political position of these Sufis and how that positionality helped shape the pursuit of their goals. This will offer a richer and more precise understanding of how these groups operated in their social and political contexts. Finally, it is argued that in pursuing their specific goals, these Sufis directly and indirectly created the conditions that popularized Sufism among large segments of the population all over medieval Egypt.

Sufism, State, and Society in Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1309
Nathan C. Hofer
M.A., Emory University, 2005
B.A., Arizona State University, 2003
Advisor: David Blumenthal, Ph.D.
Advisor: Vincent Cornell, Ph.D.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
in the Graduate Division of Religion
Jewish Religious Cultures

Table of Contents



Four Groups of Sufis...1
Sufism in Egypt before 1173...8
The Contour and Content of This Study...16
Institutions, Institutionalization, and Organizations...21


State-Sponsored Sufism: The Sufis of the khanqah Sa'id al-Su'ada'...41
The khanqah in Egypt...47
Sa'id al-Su'ada'...53
The Office of Shaykh al-Shuyukh...57
Summary and Conclusions...80


State-Sanctioned Sufism: Ibn 'At a Allah al-Iskandari and the Nascent Shadhiliya...92
The Early Shadhiliya: A Brief Sketch...99
The Hagiographical Image of al-Shadhili...104
Saintly Authority...108
Juridical Authority...120
Political Reciprocity...128
Authorizing Practices...136
Summary and Conclusions...145


Non-State-Sanctioned Sufism: The Independent Sufis of Upper Egypt...151
Five Upper-Egyptian Sufis...160
The Social Context of Upper Egypt...168
"Anti-Establishment" Sufis...179
Enforcement of Sunni Norms...185
Monitoring Communal Boundaries...192
The Socio-Political Subtext of Sufi Miracles...198
Summary and Conclusions...208


Subaltern Sufism: Abraham Maimonides and the Pietists of Fustat...215
The Nature of the Pietist Movement...228
The Structure of the Pietist Movement...255
The Return of Prophecy...267
Summary and Conclusions...275


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