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Topic : Sufism
You are required to write one essay of 3,000 words, excluding bibliography, on any one of the following titles:
1.Wahdat al-wujud is one of the most important yet controversial topics of Sufi metaphysics. How has it been received by scholars? What are some of the competing heterodox and orthodox interpretations of the doctrine. Which of these appear more plausible of Ibn ‘Arabi’s writings?
2.Select a notable scholar of Sufism from Islamic history with the approval of your tutor. Discuss critically their contributions to Islam generally and Sufism more specifically. Consider one of their works (or a section if the work is large) to evaluate their conceptual contributions to Sufism.
3.“Sufism is the spiritual heart of Islam.” What are the merits and demerits of this claim? In your essay, you should consider early Islamic history and the emergence of Sufism. You should also address the nature of Sufi practices and concepts from later history.
4.‘Were Sufi movements historically apolitical?’ Consider the utilisation of Sufism by contemporary governments to promote apolitical religiosity, and contrast these with contemporary/historical examples demonstrating Sufi political activism.
5.Compare and contrast the Sufi tradition in Islam to one other mystical tradition from another religion. Highlight the convergences and points of departure in their methods, approaches and general philosophies and epistemologies.
6.Critically analyze esoteric approaches to Quranic interpretation (tafsir ishari), highlighting the similarities and differences with more conventional hermeneutical methods of Quranic interpretation. Explore the esoteric approach to the Quran, demonstrating how this interpretive approach has led to different readings of particular verses, and why some deem this to be a problematic approach. Consider focusing on particular ayat to demonstrate this.
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