Elements of Sufism in the Philosophy of the Inayati Order: An Examination of the Lectures and Writings of Hazrat Inayat-Khan and Zia Inayat-Khan

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-4646-3428
Field, Keenan, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Nair, Shankar, Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Andruss, Jessica, Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This thesis is a textual and ethnographic study of a number of lectures given and books written by Hazrat and Zia Inayat Khan, two pirs of the Inayati Order. The underlying purpose of this thesis is to push back against academic assessments that simultaneously deemphasized the Sufi and Islamic elements of the Inayatian tradition and highlighted the order's Universalist characteristics and eclectic ritual practices. In this thesis I take a critical approach to examining the language used by these two religious leaders, showing the ways that traditional Chishti Sufi beliefs have been translated or re-imagined for Western students as well as observing how this philosophy is being taught today. In undertaking these efforts I shed new light on the Sufi elements that have been largely ignored by academics and show how the Inayati Orders messaging aligns with its predecessors and can be viewed as a reasonable expansion of an ever growing and shifting religious tradition. Further, I undertake a short ethnographic study that examines the Order's demographic makeup and shows how Inayati leadership presents these teachings in the modern day (2019), work that has not been undertaken previously.

MA (Master of Arts)
Western Sufism, Inayat Khan, Inayatiyya
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