The production of printed books in the Muslim world is a story that encompasses an array of actors, spanning centuries, and taking place in remote, yet connected locales. This thesis provides an intellectual history of Ṣūfī print production of Islamicate mystical works in the nineteenth-twentieth centuries by examining three overlapping genres: poetry, Ṣūfī histories (hagiography), and litanies (aḥzāb). Texts such as the Dīwān of devotional poetry by Ibn al-Fāriḍ (d. 632/1234), the litany of Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī (d. 656/1258), Ḥizb al-baḥr, and Rashaḥāt ʿayn al-ḥayāt, a history of the Naqshbandiyya order by Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī (d. 940/1533), make up a mosaic of Ṣūfī texts that attracted the interests of printers, publishers, and the community of readers in Cairo, Istanbul, and Lucknow. By looking at the material and intellectual legacies of Ibn al-Fāriḍ, Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shādhilī and Fakhr al-Dīn ʿAlī, this thesis establishes the vibrant involvement of Ṣūfī groups in book culture from the medieval period to the age of print. Additionally, it investigates in what ways texts survive through the interest of Ṣūfī editors to print these particular texts; how they choose to present the material on the printed age; and how ideas move in society to the modern period. I attempt to piece together the story of the printed book and the interconnected afterlives of the author, editors, and publishers. This is done in order to understand how these various actors shaped and were, in turn, shaped by the production, distribution, reception, and survival of texts.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Arab & Islamic Civilizations Department

Degree Name

MA in Arabic Studies

Graduation Date

Winter 1-31-2022

Submission Date


First Advisor

Ahmad Khan

Committee Member 1

Nelly Hanna

Committee Member 2

Kathryn Schwartz


158 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item