Monday, May 29, 2023

New book covers Traditionalist influence on contemporary European Sufism

Just published: Francesco Piraino, Le soufisme en Europe. Islam, ésotérisme et new age (Sufism in Europe: Islam, esotericism and the new age), Tunis: IRMC, €35, soon to be available also in English translation.

According to the abstract,

Sufism... is undergoing a phase of expansion in the twenty-first century, guided by charismatic masters who are renewing their message, attracting new disciples and transcending their original cultural-geographical frameworks. This book describes the development of Sufism in Western Europe, particularly in France and Italy, through extended empirical research based on participant observation in four Sufi brotherhoods in Paris and Milan: the ʿAlāwiyya, the Būdshîshiyya, the Naqshbandiyya-Ḥaqqāniyya and the Aḥmadiyya-Idrîsiyya Shādhiliyya.... the author shows the tension present in contemporary Sufism between... mysticism centred on direct experience of the divine which enables a measure of creativity, and... the tradition based on the sacred texts which reproduces Islamic structures and moral order. It also describes the various forms of hybridization between the Islamic Sufi tradition, Western esoteric discourse, particularly Guénonian Traditionalist, and New Age discourse; hybridizations which often lead to the creation of new rituals, doctrines and organizational structures, and which give rise to a variety of universalist discourses. Finally, the book discusses the different political positions taken by Sufism in Europe, including indifference due to imminent eschatological expectations, civic engagement and metapolitical elitism.

With a foreword by Mark Sedgwick.