, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 409-421
Date: 13 Sep 2006

Intimate Exteriority: Sufi Space as Sanctuary for Injured Subjectivities in Turkey

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O marvel! A garden in the heart of flames!

My heart has become bearer of all forms:

A pasture for gazelles, and an abbey for monks,

A temple for idols, and Mecca for the pious,

Tablet for the Torah, and a page of the Quran.

My religion is that of Love:

Whatever way Love’s Camel may take,

That is my path, that’s my destiny.

Ibn Arabi (1961, p. 43)

When it comes to mental health and spirituality in the Muslim world, Tasawwuf, or Sufism as it is called in the West, stands as an automatic and obvious point of reference. It is true, of course, that Sufism has become a loose tag over time, used and abused in a vast range of meanings and applications. So much so that one could raise the objection that it signifies too wide a range of thought and practices across various Muslim societies (say from North Africa to India), to be a useful concept. But it is also possible to turn this problem around, and suggest that fluidity, that proverbial elusiveness so associated with Sufism,

There is a recurrent theme ...

Sadeq Rahimi is a CIHR Research Fellow at the Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. He is trained in research and clinical work in Montreal, Canada; where he received a Ph.D. in Transcultural Psychiatry, and Psychoanalytic Training in Child and Adolescent Therapy, and where he worked as a clinician in Cultural Psychiatry in The Montreal Children’s and Jewish General hospitals. His main research interest has been the relationship between identity and mental health, a line of inquiry which has gradually evolved into his current work on political subjectivity, psychosis and meaning.