Meeting the ever increasing interest in Islam and Sufism, this book is the first comprehensive study of Sufi Qur’anic commentaries and includes translations of many writings previously unavailable in English. It examines the shared hermeneutical assumptions of Sufi writers and the diversity in style of Sufi commentaries. Some of the assumptions analyzed are:
* the Qur’an is a multi-layered and ambiguous text open to endless interpretation
* the knowledge of deeper meanings of the Qur’an is attainable by means other than transmitted interpretations and rational thought
* the self is dynamic, moving through states and stations which result in different interpretations at different times.
The styles of Sufi commentaries are explored, which range from philosophical musings to popular preaching to literary narrative and poetry. Other commentaries from the classical period are also investigated to provide context in understanding Sufi approaches and exegetical styles.