The framework for this discussion is beautifully summarized in the early Qur’anic sura of the “Morning Light” (Duha, 93:1-11). How do we overcome the natural dualistic impression of life as an arbitrary series of “good” and “bad” events? And how can we communicate to others our dawning recognition of the larger context or direction of that process? Finally, what are the distinctive conditions for effective spiritual communication of this realization? The exploration of these foundational questions highlights and helps to illuminate the central role of stories and storytelling throughout the Sufi tradition (and its many spiritual counterparts).
Professor James Morris (Boston College) has taught Islamic and comparative religious studies at the Universities of Exeter, Princeton, Oberlin, and the Sorbonne, and lectures widely on Sufism, the Islamic humanities, Islamic philosophy, the Qur’an, and Shiite thought. Recent books include Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit (2007); The Reflective Heart: Discovering Spiritual Intelligence in Ibn ‘Arabi’s ‘Meccan Illuminations’ (2005); Orientations: Islamic Thought in a World Civilisation (2004); and Ibn ‘Arabi’s The Meccan Revelations (Pir Press, 2003).