The spiritual culture of food: Eating customs in early sufism

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Studying food culture in early Sufism has been paid little scholarly attention, though it is able to afford us a way of reconstructing one of the pillars of early Sufi practice. This paper examines two aspects of Sufi food culture-individual and communal 'food fashions' with a special focus on 4th/10th-century Sufism. The exploration of early Sufi social relations is closely bound up with the food culture and eating manners of early Sufis. This profoundly social activity played a large role in forming and transforming collective Sufi identity. Al-Makkī's Qūt al-qulūb gains a special reference being the most important textbook on eating customs in the period under investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-436
Number of pages18
JournalActa Orientalia
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest


  • Abū Tālib al-Makkī's Qūt al-qulūb
  • Anthropology of food
  • Early Sufis
  • Hagiographies
  • Sufi banquets
  • Sufi literature
  • Sufi manners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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