Varieties of American Sufism

Islam, Sufi Orders, and Authority in a Time of Transition

Edited by Elliott Bazzano & Marcia Hermansen

Subjects: Religion, American Studies
Paperback : 9781438477909, 302 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438477916, 302 pages, August 2020
Hardcover : 9781438477916, 302 pages, August 2020
Hardcover - Unavailable

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Table of contents


Marcia Hermansen

1. The Message in Our Time: Changing Faces and Identities of the Inayati Order in America
Geneviève Mercier-Dalphond

2. The Golden Sufi Center: A Non-Islamic Branch of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya
William Rory Dickson

3. The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship: Diverse Identities and Negotiated Spaces
Merin Shobhana Xavier

4. A Shadhiliyya Sufi Order in America: Traditional Islam Meets American Hippies
Elliott Bazzano

5. The Mevlevi Order of America
Simon Sorgenfrei

6. From the Balkans to America: The Alami Tariqa in Upstate New York
Julianne Hazen

7. "There is an 'I' deeper than me": The Ansari Qadiri Rifa'I Tariqa and Transcendence in America
Melinda Krokus

8. When the Divine Flood Reached New York: The Tijani Sufi Order among Black American Muslims in New York City
Rasul Miller


Participant-observation-based studies that explore a range of Sufi movements operating across the contemporary American religious landscape.


From Rumi poetry and Sufi dancing or whirling, to expressions of Africanicity and the forging of transnational bonds to remote locations in Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey, Varieties of American Sufism immerses the reader in diverse expressions of contemporary Sufi religiosity in the United States. It spans more than a century of political, cultural, and embodied relationships with Islam and Muslims. American encounters with mystical Islam were initiated by a romantic quest for Oriental wisdom, flourished in the embrace of Eastern teachings during the countercultural era of New Age religion, were concretized due to late twentieth-century possibilities of travel and immigration to and from Muslim societies, and are now diffused through an explosion of cyber religion in an age of globalization. This collection of in-depth, participant-observation-based studies challenges expectations of uniformity and continuity while provoking stimulating reflection on a range of issues relevant to contemporary Islamic Studies, American religions, multireligious belonging, and new religious movements.

Elliott Bazzano is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Le Moyne College. Marcia Hermansen, Professor of Theology and Director of Islamic World Studies at Loyola University Chicago, has written extensively on both South Asian and American Sufism, as well as trends in global Islam, including migration and gender studies.


"…this book is an important addition for any scholar or library looking for an overview of Sufism in America, based on the most up-to-date case studies." — Nova Religio

"The blend of approaches (historical, ethnographic, documentary, etc.) provides a spectrum of methodologies for the study of Sufism in America." — Martin Nguyen, author of Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination