This introduction discusses the congruence of Qur'anic narratives of the creation of Adam's human body, Sufi understandings of these scriptural images, and modern social theory's conceptualization of the body. It notes that Sufism is Islamic mysticism, comparable to the mystical substreams of other religious traditions but also distinct from them in many ways. The chapter aims not just to understand God, like theological discourse, or to obey God, like legal discourse, but also to love and be loved by God. It explains that as an Islamic discourse that centers upon love and intention, both states of the heart, Sufism aims to get beneath the skin of human existence, beneath its routine and rules. The chapter notes that Sufism, as Islamic mystical discourse, tries to get beneath this skin to a deeper knowledge of human behavior and explains that our skins, as the children of Adam, both hide and reveal what is inside while giving the body an appearance to the outside world.
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