Close readings of 9 contemporary Arab novelists who use Sufism as a literary strategySufi characters – saints, dervishes, wanderers – occur regularly in modern Arabic literature. A select group of novelists interrogates Sufism as a system of thought and language. In the work of writers like Naguib Mahfouz, Gamal Al-Ghitany, Taher Ouettar, Ibrahim Al-Koni, Mahmud Al-Mas’adi and Tayeb Salih we see a strong intertextual relationship with the Sufi masters of the past, including Al-Hallaj, Ibn Arabi, Al-Niffari and Al-Suhrawardi. This relationship interrogates the limits of the creative self, individuality, rationality and all the possibilities offered by literature. In this dialogue with the mystical heritage, these novelists seek a way of preserving a self under siege from the overwhelming forces of oppression and reaction that characterised the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Sufism in the Contemporary Arabic Novel
Subjects: Language & Literature, Religion