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This book combines scholarly research into certain aspect of Sufi doctrines and history with a penetrating account of the spiritual and metaphysical message and significance of Sufism as a living spiritual tradition. In an original discussion, unlike anything that has appeared before in studies of Sufism, the author places special accent on the pertinence of Sufi teachings to the most acute contemporary problems. The book addresses itself to both the ever-increasing Western public interested in Sufism and to the Western-educated Muslim interested in his own spiritual heritage. Dr. Nasr draws on his intimate knowledge of the Sufi literature in Arabic and Persian as well as his first-hand knowledge of Sufi tradition itself to produce this further volume in his numerous studies on the different facets of Islam.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr was born in Tehran where he received his early education. He later studied in the U. S.A. , graduating with honors in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and receiving his M. A. and Ph. D. from Harvard University, where he studied the History of Science and Learning with special concentration on Islamic science and philosophy. Since 1958 he has been teaching at Tehran University, where he is now Professor of the History of Science and Philosophy. In 1962 he was visiting lecturer at Harvard University and he also taught there during the summer of 1965. During 1964–5 he was the first holder of the Aga Khan Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Nasr has lectured throughout America, Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Australia. He is the author of more than a dozen books and numerous articles, and his works have appeared in over ten languages.