God’s Unruly Friends: Libertine Sufis in Historical Perspective

From the thirteenth century onward, there was a marked upsurge in the number of itinerant bands of Muslim mendicants who roamed the countryside and a proliferation of solitary enraptured saints who inhabited liminal spaces around towns and villages. This talk will explore the history of these libertine dervishes as well as some of their beliefs and practices.



Ahmet T Karamustafa is Professor of History at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. His expertise is in the social and intellectual history of Sufism in particular and Islamic piety in general in the medieval and early modern periods. His publications include God’s Unruly Friends (University of Utah Press, 1994) and Sufism: The Formative Period (Edinburgh University Press & University of California Press, 2007). He is currently working on a book project titled Vernacular Islam: Everyday Muslim Religious Life in Medieval Anatolia as well as a monograph on the history of early medieval Sufism titled The Flowering of Sufism.


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