Charity in Medieval Sufi Islam: Spiritual Dimensions
Keywords:Islam. Chishtī. Sufi Shailkhs. Malfūzāt. Zakāt. Sadaqa
The Early Chishti Sufi Shaikhs from thirteenth and fourteenth century Delhi made critical interventions in the religious lives of the Muslims in South Asia. They cultivated in their adherents the much-needed ethical vision and sensitivity towards the socially marginalized. Yet hardly any attention is paid to the pedagogy of these Sufis on religion and spirituality. Their discourses on their community are documented in their literary works like malfūzāt. Of late, malfūzāt have been studied as a literary genre for the unique processes of their making. But their didactic contents on Islam and their instructions to Sufi initiates have barely been examined. This lacuna stems on account of the usage of these religious texts as fillers for information lacking in court chronicles. The essay studies the pedagogy of the Early Chishtī Shaikhs and as they related to charity in medieval South Asia. It also examines the mechanisms deployed by them to cultivate a philanthropic vision in Muslims in the praxis of faith.
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