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The Popularisation of Sufism in Ayyubid and Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1325$
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Nathan Hofer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694211

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694211.001.0001

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The Regional Context of Upper-Egyptian Sufism

The Regional Context of Upper-Egyptian Sufism

(p.181) 7 The Regional Context of Upper-Egyptian Sufism
The Popularisation of Sufism in Ayyubid and Mamluk Egypt, 1173-1325

Nathan Hofer

Edinburgh University Press

The first Sufis in Upper Egypt appear in the historical record at the end of the Fatimid period.1 By the early Mamluk era the region’s towns and villages boasted some of the most famous and enduring personalities of medieval Egyptian Sufism. But despite their prominence in medieval Arabic sources, these Sufis have received almost no attention in studies of Sufism or in Mamluk studies more broadly. There is no monograph in a European language on Upper-Egyptian Sufism. Apart from a few studies in Arabic there are only a handful of articles on the subject.2 This state of affairs is regrettable, although perhaps not surprising given that these Sufis left very little in the way of literature or enduring social formations. The most important source for Sufism in Upper Egypt during this period is Ibn Nūª al-Qū‚ī’s (d.708/1308) al-Waªīd fī sulūk ahl al-tawªīd (‘The Unique Guide Concerning the Comportment of the People of Unity’). This text is a large compendium of diverse biographical and doctrinal material, the publication of which is a major desideratum for the study of medieval Sufism.3 And as far as I know the existence of Sufi-related manuscripts at the shrines and mosques of Upper Egypt has not been explored. Thus, other than Denis Gril’s preliminary studies, without which my work here would have been impossible, the subject of Upper-Egyptian Sufism is mostly terra incognita.

Keywords:   Upper Egypt, Fatimid period, Mamluk era, Sufism, , Luxor, Qinā, Isnā, Manfalū†, Wertrational

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