The Intellectual Tradition of Sufism and Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘


  • Earle Waugh University of Alberta



Sufism, intellectual traditions, Islamic philosophy, Arab-American intellectuals


While the public perception of Islam is currently dominated by fundamentalist and jihadist ideologies, American Islamic scholarship is not so defined. Rather there are important milestones that speak of broader and deeper awarenesses. One of those milestones is the life of Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘. This article examines his contributions in an attempt to interrogate an alternative vision of Islam. We also wish to note his allegiance to an intellectual tradition that reaches much further back in Islamic history than the rather recent Islamist movement; it is Intellectual Sufism. Drawing from a rich vein of religious philosophy, Abu-Rabi‘ stands as a significant figure within recent Arab-American intellectual culture of our time. We examine some aspects of that tradition here.


Abu-Rabi‘, Ibrahim. 1996. History of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Seyyed Hosein Nasr and Oliver Leaman. London: Routledge.

_____. 2008. Spiritual Dimensions of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s Risale-i Nur. Edited with introduction. Albany: State University of New York.

Chittick, William C. 2012. In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought. Edited by Mohammed Rustom, Atif Khalil and Kazuyo Murata. Albany: State University of New York.

Rahman, Fazlur. 2002. Islam. 2nd edition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Ibn al-Sabbagh. 1993. The Mystical Teachings of al-Shadhili. Translated by Elmer H. Douglas, edited with introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi‘. Albany: State University of New York.



How to Cite

Waugh, E. (2013). The Intellectual Tradition of Sufism and Ibrahim Abu-Rabi‘. Religious Studies and Theology, 32(1), 23–29.