Readings from the Mystics of Islam


Readings from the Mystics of Islam is an anthology of writings from Islamic mysticism’s greatest masters of wisdom, translated and edited by Margaret Smith, the renowned scholar of Sufism. Ranging from the beginnings of Sufism in the 8th century to the modern era, the selections include jewels of mystical thought and experience from Rabia, al-Hallaj, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Hafiz, among others.

  • Paperback
  • 978-1879708099
  • 120

Product Description

“If men wish to draw near to God, they must seek Him in the hearts of men. They should speak well of all men, whether present or absent, and if they themselves seek to be a light to guide others, then like the sun, they must show the same face to all. To bring joy to a single heart is better than to build many shrines for worship, and to enslave one soul by kindness is worth more than the setting free of a thousand slaves. The (true saint) sits in the midst of his fellow men, and rises up and eats and sleeps and buys and sells and gives and takes in the bazaars among other people, and marries and has social intercourse with other folk, and never for an instant forgets God.” — Readings from the Mystics of Islam (trans. Margaret Smith).

Margaret Smith

Margaret Smith, a distinguished orientalist scholar of Sufism, obtained her Doctorate from the University of London, and is the author of several books on the subject of mysticism in Islam. Smith’s work on female Sufis influenced the German orientalist Annemarie Schimmel, who referenced her in her work on gender and Sufism, My Soul is a Woman. Smith succeeded in bringing attention to the overlooked role of women mystics in Islam, being referenced by future writers such as Schimmel and Sachiko Murata.


  • In the 1970s four of Smith’s works — by then hard to come by — were reprinted in Amsterdam, by Philo Press in arrangement with The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London.
  • Rabi’a the Mystic and Her Fellow-Saints in Islam. Being the life and teachings of Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya of Basra, Sufi saint, ca A.H. 99-185, A.D.717-801. Together with an account of the place of the women in Islam and with a survey of sources, references, a concise bibliography and indexes, 1928
  •  An Introduction to the History of Mysticism: From the oldest elements of mysticism in the Old Testament and in Judaism through classical times and the Orient up to the nineteenth century, 1930
  • Studies in Early Mysticism in the Near and Middle East. Being an account of the rise and development of Christian mysticism up to the seventh century, of the subsequent development in Islam, known as Sufism, and of the relationship between Christian and Islamic mysticism. With references, a bibliography and two indexes, 1931
  • An Early Mystic of Baghdad: Al-Muhasibi, ca 781-875 A.D. Master of primitive Islamic mysticism and precursor of the great Muslim Mystics, 1935
  • Her work Rabi’a the Mystic was reprinted by Oneworld as Muslim Women Mystics: The Life and Work of Rabi’a and Other Women Mystics in Islam in 2001. Her book Studies in Early Mysticism in the Near and Middle East was also reprinted by Oneworld.

Her other works include:

– The Persian Mystics: ‘Attar, 1932, E.P. Dutton and Company
– Readings from the mystics of Islam; translations from the Arabic and Persian, together with a short account of the history and doctrines of Sufism and brief biographical notes on each Sufi writer, 1950, Luzac and Company
– The Sufi Path of Love: An Anthology of Sufism, 1954, Luzac and Company
– Al-Ghazali: The Mystic: A Study of the Life and Personality of Abu Hamid Muhammad Tusi al-Ghazali, together with an account of his Mystical Teaching and an estimate of his place in the History of Islamic Mysticism, 1944


Illuminating passages from some of the great mystics of Sufism.
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