By Kenneth S Avery

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Extra resources for A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama : Listening and Altered States (Routledgecurzon Sufi Series)

Example text

The fourth rule continues this theme, arguing that restraining oneself from ecstatic activity or from weeping is acceptable, but so is dancing and weeping, provided there is no deception or pretence in these activities. The tearing of garments, however, is not acceptable unless it is done involuntarily. One reason for this prohibition is that the act of tearing garments is wasteful of precious cloth, yet if tearing yields pieces of cloth which can be used for mending other garments, then it is acceptable!

Sarraj concludes that what is important is the heart’s encountering the strong emotion or ecstasy of sacred recollection. It is reawakening the secreted knowledge of the ‘day of Alast’, or the evoking of essential truths which causes ecstasy and burning of the heart. 10), various topics mentioned earlier are given further elaboration. The main subject taken up later in this chapter concerns the transformation which listeners undergo on hearing poetry. In Chapter 9 Sarraj mentioned a type of projection taking place from the Sufi’s ‘momentary state of mind’ onto the particular sounds or words being heard.

4). This is a difficult passage in Sarraj’s text, but it seems that he is alluding to some sort of reawakening of hidden knowledge. 172). ” This dhikr was secreted in their hearts . . So when they heard the (Sefc ) dhikr, the secret things of their hearts appeared, and they were ravished . ’25 As well as the allusion to hidden knowledge, there may also be a reference here to notions very similar to the archetypes of neo-Platonist philosophy. Titus Burckhardt argues that dhikr can 22 SAMFW IN EARLY SUFI LITERATURE mean ‘memory’ in the neo-Platonist sense of reflected knowledge of archetypes, and also the traditional ‘mention’.

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