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Words of Experience

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Carl W. Ernst devoted his academic life to translating Islam, linguistically and culturally, typically within the intellectual context of Religious Studies. His work has focused on how Islamic concepts have travelled across time and space, and his influence on Islamic Studies and Religious Studies is far-reaching. This volume features contributions from long-standing colleagues, scholars whose own work has built on Ernst’s contributions, and former students. It looks at themes in Islamic Studies that Ernst has addressed and expands on his major contributions.

Essays in this volume touch nearly every major element in Islamic Studies – from the Qur’an to Sufism, Islamophobia to South Asian Islam, historical and contemporary praxis, music and more. This collection demonstrates one core tenet of Ernst’s work, specifically the argument that Islam is not rooted in one place, time or language, but is a vast network, routed through myriad places, times and languages.

Published: Mar 24, 2021

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, Brannon Wheeler
A Shaykh for All Occasions Bruce Lawrence
Chapter 1
Is Islam a "Religion"? Contesting Din-Religion Equivalence in Twentieth Century Islamist Discourse Brannon Ingram
Chapter 2
Muslim Writings on Hinduism in Colonial India Ali Mian
Chapter 3
Sons of the Green Light: Khidr and Sufism in the Ansaru Allah Community/Nubian Islamic Hebrews Michael Knight
Chapter 4
Religion, Islam, Hinduism, Sufism and Yoga Joy Laine, James Laine
Chapter 5
Ascension Visions of Sufi Masters: The Rhetoric of Authority in Visionary Experiences of Ibn Abī Jamra ( 699/1300) and Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 606/1209) Frederick Colby
Chapter 6
"It's in the Bones": Muslim Pathologies and the Problem of Representation in Disgraced Samah Choudhury
Chapter 7
Sufism's Ambivalent Publics Katherine Ewing
Chapter 8
Sufi Cyberscapes: The Inayati Order in the Virtual Ecosystem of American Islam Robert Rozehnal
Chapter 9
Carl Ernst's Methodology of Sufi Studies F. Cangüzel Zülfikar
Chapter 10
Translation, Travel, Transfiguration and the Practice of Scholarship in the Study of Religion Brannon Wheeler
Chapter 11
Negotiating the State and the Persianate: Carl Ernst's Living Legacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Candace Mixon
Chapter 12
Writing, Doing and Performing the Future of Islamic Studies: The Practical Example of Carl W. Ernst Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst
Chapter 13
Epistemic Authority and a Just World: Remaking Islamic Studies through Collaborative Practices Katie Merriman
Chapter 14
Afterword Carl Ernst
End Matter
Index Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, Brannon Wheeler


Not only is the legacy and influence of Carl Ernst a formidable one for the field that deserves attention and serious consideration, but the majority of contributors build from his insights and methods to develop important lines of inquiry in their own right. Almost anyone in Islamic Studies would find this work important and compelling, and individual contributions clearly have resonance beyond this group in the fields of South Asian Studies, Persian Studies, Virtual Religion, American Religion, Sufism, and the academic study of religion.
Anna Bigelow, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Stanford University, USA