Jihad in Premodern Sufi Writings

  • Harry S Neale

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Harry S. Neale
    Pages 1-14
  3. Harry S. Neale
    Pages 15-34
  4. Harry S. Neale
    Pages 35-46
  5. Harry S. Neale
    Pages 57-73
  6. Harry S. Neale
    Pages 123-131
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 133-168

About this book


This book is the only comprehensive study in a European language that analyzes how Sufi treatises, Qur’anic commentary, letters, hagiography, and poetry define and depict jihad. Harry S. Neale analyzes Sufi jihad discourse in Arabic and Persian texts composed between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries, providing access to many writings that have hitherto been unavailable in English. Despite the diversity of practice within Sufism that existed throughout the premodern period, Sufi writings consistently promulgated a complementary understanding of jihad as both a spiritual and military endeavor. Neale discusses the disparity between contemporary academic Sufi jihad discourse in European languages, which generally presents Sufis as peaceful mystics, and contemporary academic writing in Arabic that depicts Sufis as exemplary warriors who combine spiritual discipline with martial zeal. The book concludes that historically, Sufi writings never espoused a purely spiritual interpretation of the doctrine of jihad.


Sufism Jihad Islam History Greater jihad Lesser jihad hagiography

Authors and affiliations

  • Harry S Neale
    • 1
  1. 1.OaklandUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-56748-2
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-56155-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site