The Book of Illumination <I>Including</I> The Sign of Success on the Spiritual Path: Kitab al-Tanwir fi Isqat al-Tadbir Paperback – Apr 1 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Though written by a medieval Sufi master in North Africa in the late 13th century, this classic Islamic text is as relevant today as ever, arguing as it does that human selfishness and consumption can kill the soul. Kugle, who teaches at Swarthmore, suggests that a rough English translation of the title might be The Book of Illumination for Desisting from Selfish Calculation, because the text "invites us gently on a journey into self-critique, in order to reduce our needs and restrain our craving." Shaykh Ibn 'Ata' Allah offers a surprisingly practical text, one that distinguishes between saving and hoarding, for example, or exhorts readers to cleave to God and community rather than relying only on themselves. But he does this in profoundly theological ways, emphasizing the ephemeral and frail nature of humanity when compared to God's benevolent power. As with many Sufi mystical texts, this one can sometimes seem difficult to understand or rife with paradox. However, readers will be rewarded by a message of humility, devotion and economy that is both timeless and timely.
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About the Author
Scott Kugle is a professor at Swarthmore College.