The Sufi Path of Love

The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi

By William C. Chittick

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Islam
Paperback : 9780873957243, 448 pages, June 1984
Hardcover : 9780873957236, 448 pages, June 1984

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Table of contents

List of Abbreviations



The Life
The Works
The Teachings
Three Dimensions of Sufism
The Plan of the Book
The Translations




A. Seeing Things As They Are


1. Form and Meaning
2. Existence and Nonexistence
3. The Illusion of Dichotomy
4. "The Science of Religions"


B. Spirit, Heart, and Intellect


1. The Spirit
2. The Levels of the Spirit
3. The Ego and the Intellect
4. The Universal Intellect and the Partial Intellect
5. The Heart
6. Interrelationships


C. God and the World


1. The Essence, Attributes, and Acts
2. Gentleness and Severity
3. The Reason for Creation
4. Opposites
5. Good and Evil
6. Heedlessness and the Existence of the World


D. Man


1. The Trust
2. The Goal of Creation and the Intellect
3. The Covenant of Alast
4. The Descent and Reascent of the Spirit
5. Adam and Iblis
6. Man's Place among the Creatures
7. Angel vs. Satan: Intellect vs. Ego
8. The Return to God
9. Congeneity
10. The Touchstones
11. Death and Resurrection




A. Doubters and Deniers


1. The Blindness of the Deniers
2. Fatalism and Free Choice


B. The Prophets and Saints


1. The Need for a Guide
2. Imitative Knowledge and Realized Knowledge
3. The Role of the Saints
4. The Shaykh
5. The Mirror of God
6. Rejecting the Prophets and Saints
7. Fales Masters


C. The Discipline of the Way


1. Spiritual Warfare
2. Remembrance of God
3. Man's Effort and God's Grace
4. Men and Women




A. Naughting the Self


1. Selfhood and Selflessness
2. Existence and Nonexistence
3. Annihilation and Subsistence
4. Affirmation and Negation: The Shahadah
5. Death and Rebirth
6. Poverty, Sufism, and Dervishhood
7. I am God"


B. Love


1. God As Love and Beyond Love
2. The World As Created by Love
3. The World As Maintained by Love
4. Love and Beauty: True and Derivative
5. Need and Aspiration
6. The Religion of Love
7. Love and the Intellect
8. Bewilderment and Madness


C. Separation and Union


1. Separation and Suffering
2. Union and Joy


D. Imagination and Thought


1. Imagination and the Created Order
2. Escaping Imagination
3. The Image Is All
4. Beyond the Image


E. Poesy and Imagery


1. Creation and Speech
2. The Worth of Poetry
3. Understanding Poetry and Speech
4. Interpretation of Imagery


F. The Garden of Spring

G. The Heart-Ravishing Beloved


1. The Witness
2. Vision of the Face


a. Vision
b. The Face
c. The Tresses
d. The Kiss


3. Jealousy


a. Smashing Idols
b. Maintaining Veils


H. Winedrinking and Revelry


1. Wine


a. The Cup
b. The Saki
c. The Ruins
d. The Drinking Companions
e. The Dregs


2. Intoxication and Sobriety
3. Winesickness
4. The Sama'
5. The Revelry of the Spirit


I. The Beloved's Beloved


1. Love's Call
2. Love's Messenger



Appendix: Notes on the Translations

Selected Bibliography

Index of Sources

General Index

Index of Koranic Quotations and Prophetic Sayings


This is the most accessible work in English on the greatest mystical poet of Islam, providing a survey of the basic Sufi and Islamic doctrines concerning God and the world, the role of man in the cosmos, the need for religion, man's ultimate becoming, the states and stations of the mystical ascent to God, and the means whereby literature employs symbols to express "unseen" realities. William Chittick translates into English for the first time certain aspects of Rumi's work. He selects and rearranges Rumi's poetry and prose in order to leave aside unnecessary complications characteristic of other English translations and to present Rumi's ideas in an orderly fashion, yet in his own words. Thorough, nontechnical introductions to each chapter, and selections that gradually present a greater variety of terms and images, make this work easily accessible to those interested in the spirituality of any tradition.


"I consider this work to be of great importance in the field of Islamics in particular and of the humanities in general. It is superbly conceived and guides the reader through the theory, practice, and mystical realization of Rumi's thinking...I can think of no better way for a Westerner, and nowadays for a Westernized Muslim, to get to know the deeper aspects of the Islamic faith than through a work such as this. As far as I am aware of, it is the first work of its kind, providing the reader with a complete exposition of Rumi's fundamental notions through Rumi's own words. No one else has done this with the thoroughness and meticulousness shown by Chittick." — Victor Danner, Indiana University