Sufi Castigator investigates the writings of Ahmad Kasravi, one of the foremost intellectuals in Iran. It studies his work within the context of Sufism in modern Iran and mystical Persian literature and includes translations of Kasravi’s writings.
Kasravi provides a fascinating topic for those with interests in Sufism and Iranian studies as he attempted to produce a form of Iranian identity that he believed was compatible with the modern age and Iranian nationalism. His stress on reason and the de-mystification of religion caused him to repudiate Sufism and much of the Sufi literary heritage as backwards and believed it a reason for the weakness of modern Iran. Kasravi’s historical observations were weak, and his writings indicate that he was working towards pre-determined conclusions. However, his works are of significance because they contributed to a major discussion in the 1930s to 1940s about the ideal image and identity that Iranians should adopt. Despite the academic weaknesses of Kasravi’s works he had a profound effect on the next generation of thinkers.
Sufi Castigator is stimulating and meticulously researched book and includes two lengthy translations of Kasravi’s works, Sufism and What does Hafez Say? and will appeal to scholars of middle eastern studies.
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Lloyd Ridgeon lectures in Islamic Studies at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include Sufism, Islamic theology and history, modern Iranian politics and culture, Iranian cinema and literature. He is the author of Aziz Nasafi, and he has recently edited a reader entitled Modern Politics and Religion in Iran.
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