Sufism in the age of globalization

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In the closing decades of the twentieth century humanity embarked on a new phase in its history, namely the age of globalization. At its root lies the technological revolution in communications, which eliminates traditional limitations of time and space. Information, capital, and people flow with increasing ease and speed across the globe, while facing diminishing geographical or territorial restrictions. This compression of the world - in Roland Robertson’s metaphor - is articulated through extending supra-local and supra-national social and cultural networks and through the growing awareness that we all inhabit one world. The ongoing scholarly and public debate about the place of Islam in the emerging global reality is overshadowed by its fundamentalist brand, and by the international terror campaign carried out in its name. Still, contrary to the impression often given by the mass media, there are also other, more moderate, faces to Islam. One of these, on which the present article focuses, is Sufism, which denotes Islam’s mystical aspect. It is as old as Islam itself, and throughout history it has satisfied the ethical and emotional needs of the spiritual elites and the masses alike. More recently, Sufis - and mystics in general - have had to cope with the complex realities of the modern state, rational-scientific modes of thought, secularism, and militant fundamentalism. Globalization intensifies the attack of these formidable forces on Sufism, but also provides it with new means to overcome their multiple challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Sufism
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781139087599
ISBN (Print)9781107018303
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Lloyd Ridgeon 2015.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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