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Religion in the Egyptian Novel$
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Christina Phillips

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417068

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417068.001.0001

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Mystical Dimensions

Mystical Dimensions

(p.189) 7 Mystical Dimensions
Religion in the Egyptian Novel

Christina Phillips

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores Sufi dialogues in works by Najib Mahfuz. It begins by revisiting Mahfuz’s trilogy, rereading Kamal’s infatuation with ʿAyda in terms of the Sufi’s love affair with God. It explains the turn to Sufism post-1967 in terms of Sufism’s symbolism and identity as marginalised discourse and of certain overlaps in Sufi vision and the new literary sensibility before exploring in detail the mystical content of two further works by Mahfuz. Hikayat Haratina (1975) is read as an inversion of the Sufi path and exploration of mysticism as a solution to social ills and metaphysical angst, and Asdaʾ al-Sirat al-Dhatiyya (1995) is read as a reimagining of spiritual autobiography and embodiment of the limits and possibilities of Islamic mysticism. The structure, language and intertextual dialogue with Sufi writing in these two works are considered as ways of challenging unitary discourse and communicating postmodern themes.

Keywords:   Najib Mahfuz, Sufism, Sufi vision, Islamic mysticism, Intertextuality spiritual autobiography

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