A Psychology of Early Sufi Samā`: Listening and Altered States

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Routledge, 2004 M08 5 - 256 pages

Avery explores the psychology of altered states among the early Sufis. It examines samā` - listening to ritual recitation, music and certain other aural phenomena - and its effect in inducing unusual states of consciousness and behaviours. The focus is on the earliest personalities of the Islamic mystical tradition, as mediated by texts from the tenth to the twelfth centuries C.E. These unusual states are interpreted in the light of current research in Western psychology, and also in terms of their integration into historical Islamic culture.

A Psychology of Early Sufi Samā` provides new insights into the work of five Sufi authors, and a fresh approach to the relation between historical accounts of altered states and current psychological thinking.

 

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Contents

an overview
10
The language of sama and other key concepts
55
The psychology of sama Part 1
85
The psychology of sama Part 2
139
The psychology of sama according
150
The Sufis explanations of their altered state
159
The ritual behaviour and etiquette of sama
175
The paradigmatic experience of two ecstatics
193
Conclusions
220
Bibliography
226
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Kenneth S. Avery is a specialist in Sufi studies and Persian literature. He is a musician and a recent Ph.D. graduate in Islamic Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia

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