The Sufi and the Friar

A Mystical Encounter of Two Men of God in the Abode of Islam

By Minlib Dallh

Subjects: Comparative Religion, Sufism, Christianity
Paperback : 9781438466187, 214 pages, July 2018
Hardcover : 9781438466170, 214 pages, September 2017

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Note on Transliteration and Style

I. The Abode of Islam (dār al Islam)
II. The Religious Other in the Postmodern World

1. Serge de Beaurecueil, OP (1917 - 2005) : A Life Curve
I. A wounded Privilege
II. Le Saulchoir: A Rebirth of Dominican Scholarship
III. The French Dominican Friars in Cairo
IV. At the IDEO

2. De Beaurecueil: Heeding Anṣārī’s Call
I. A Journey to Afghanistan, a Promise Land
II. Born Under the Ghaznavi Rule (977- 1186)
III. Anṣārī: a Controversial Sufi Master (or Shaykh)

3. De Beaurecueil:  A Premier Scholar of Anṣārī's Works
I. The Corpus Attributed to Anṣārī
II.  The Munājāt or Cris du Coeur

4. De Beaurecueil’s Pastoral Mysticism in Kabul
I. In the Footsteps of Jesus: Charles de Foucauld and de Beaurecueil
II. A Priest of Non-Christians
III. My Children of Kabul


An investigation of the spiritual encounter between a twentieth-century Dominican friar and an eleventh-century Afghani Sufi master.


This book explores the profound spiritual encounter between Serge de Beaurecueil (1917–2005), a twentieth-century French Dominican friar and Christian mystic, and the eleventh-century Ḥanbalī Sufi master Khwāja 'Abdullāh Anṣārī of Herāt (1006–1089). De Beaurecueil lived much of his Christian discipleship in Cairo and Afghanistan, where he became the foremost expert on the life and thought of Anṣārī. His mystical conversation and scholarly engagement with Anṣārī, his experience of Islamic hospitality, and the transformation of his own practical spirituality or praxis mystica through his experience of dwelling in the abode of Islam provide us with not only a magnificent and luminous meditation on the hidden and abiding presence of God among Muslims but also a contemplation on the quandary of genuine engagement with and openness to the religious other.

Minlib Dallh is a Fellow in the Study of Love in Religion at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford.


"To place a French Dominican friar who died in 2005 and a Sufi who died in 1089 in juxtaposition in the same book is not the most obvious path in comparative religious scholarship. Yet Dallh has not only done precisely that, but he has also produced a brilliant monograph in the process which makes for a fascinating read. Dallh's work exhibits painstaking scholarship which illuminates two notable figures in Christianity and Islam respectively and makes an original contribution to the study of these two great faith traditions." — Ian Richard Netton, author of Islam, Christianity and Tradition: A Comparative Exploration