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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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Whips for the Wayfarers

Whips for the Wayfarers

(p.181) 20 Whips for the Wayfarers
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how hagiographies of God's friends are intertwined with processes for instrumentalizing the metaphysical, not only as technologies of pious self-discipline but also as state tools of cultural engineering and as means for individuals to deal with the radical spiritual uncertainties resulting from the bureaucratization of piety. Men like Ayatollah Haq Shenas, revered for their ascetic piety and held in awe for their marvelous powers, are known in Islamic tradition as “friends of God” or awliya' allah. The extraordinary piety and spectacular marvels of God's friends has long provided material for moral instruction and self-discipline. The chapter considers state attempts to combat deviant spirituality and how they have become entangled with nongovernmental efforts to promote Shiʻi mysticism through the production and dissemination of hagiographies of God's friends. It also discusses various forms of criticisms against hagiographies that trouble their instrumental deployments.

Keywords:   hagiographies, metaphysical, self-discipline, piety, friends of God, moral instruction, spirituality, mysticism

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