Seven Doors to Islam: Spirituality and the Religious Life of Muslims

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University of California Press, Jul 17, 1996 - Religion - 317 pages
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Seven Doors to Islam reveals the religious worldview and spiritual tradition of the world's one billion Muslims. Spanning the breadth of Islamic civilization from Morocco to Indonesia, this book demonstrates how Muslims have used the literary and visual arts in all their richness and diversity to communicate religious values. Each of the seven chapters opens a "door" that leads progressively closer to the very heart of Islam, from the foundational revelation in the Qur'an to the transcendent experience of the Sufi mystics. However, unlike most studies of Islam, which see spirituality as the concern of a minority of mystical seekers, Seven Doors demonstrates its central role in every aspect of the Islamic tradition.
 

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Contents

Painting and the Decorative Arts
133
COMMUNITY SOCIETY INSTITUTIONS AND PATRONAGE
141
Money and Power
143
Institutional Texts
150
Private Discipline
157
Patronage and Arts
162
Building Community
166
Spirituality of Artist and Patron
173

Seeing the Word
25
DEVOTION RITUAL AND PERSONAL PRAYER
33
From the Pulpit
38
Art and Architecture
42
Devotion beyond Duty
50
Rites of Passage
54
Sermons for Every Occasion
61
Art and Architecture
63
Individual Life Stories
76
Collected Lives
81
Wisdom Literature
86
Pointers for the Powerful
87
Morals for the Masses
90
Encountering the Exemplars
93
Visual Arts as Education
95
Metaphor
111
Allegory
112
Principal Poetic Forms
114
Lyric Poetry
116
Arabesque and Aesthetics
123
Visual Symbolism
126
Architectural Symbolism
130
From the Great Teachers
183
Between Sermon and Seminar
184
Borrowed Notes
186
Keeping in Touch
192
Required Reading for Mystics
196
Mystical Geography
203
Languages of the Spirit
210
Heart Speaks to Heart
221
Soul on Pilgrimage
222
Narrative and Imagination
229
Muhammad as Mystical Model
233
Beyond Storytelling
236
Saying the Unsayable
237
Explaining the Unexplainable
244
Evaluating Experience
249
Traveling Companions
251
JOSEPH OF THE SEVEN DOORS
257
Notes
271
Select Glossary
297
Index of Quranic Citations
309
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About the author (1996)

John Renard is the author of In the Footsteps of Muhammed: Understanding Islamic Experience (1992), Islam and the Heroic Image: Themes in Literature and the Visual Arts (1993), and All the King's Falcons: Rumi on Prophets and Revelation (1994). He is Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University.

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