By Amira Mittermaier

Goals that subject explores the social and fabric lifetime of desires in modern Cairo. Amira Mittermaier courses the reader via landscapes of the mind's eye that characteristic Muslim dream interpreters who draw on Freud, reformists who push aside all varieties of divination as superstition, a Sufi devotional crew that retains a diary of desires on the topic of its shaykh, and usual believers who communicate of relocating encounters with the Prophet Muhammad. In shut discussion together with her Egyptian interlocutors, Islamic textual traditions, and Western theorists, Mittermaier teases out the dream's moral, political, and non secular implications. Her booklet is a provocative exam of the way present-day Muslims come across and have interaction the Divine that provides a special standpoint at the Islamic Revival. desires That topic opens up new areas for an anthropology of the mind's eye, inviting us to reconsider either the imagined and the genuine.

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Seeking help through anyone else (al-tawassul) is not permitted. . Writing letters to someone like that is idolatry (shirk). . Luckily it has gotten less, the problem of people writing letters. One or two centuries ago people used to do it much more. Now they understand better. Because of science (`ilm) their minds are enlightened (yastanïr al-`uqül). And of course the mind tells you that it’s wrong. That he’s dead. That he won’t solve your problems for you. Dream Trouble / 37 From a reformist point of view, the dead, including the Prophet and the awliyä´, are truly dead; mutual visits and conversations between the dead and the living are impossible.

When I was around, he would either play the role of a fatherly teacher or simply ignore me. I spent numerous days and evenings at the shrine, where I spoke to many of the people who visit Shaykh Nabil to seek his advice and to get their dreams interpreted. On one occasion, a woman invited me to come along to meet “her shaykh”—Shaykh Qusi. Shaykh Qusi is a cosmopolitan and highly educated spiritual leader. The first time I met him, I was immediately struck by his charismatic aura. Yet even though he is revered as a living saint and treated with much admiration and awe, the shaykh instantly put me at ease.

A family friend in Luxor predicted that Sufis would share with me only theoretical insights into the importance of dream-visions without saying whether they themselves see dreams of this kind. Dreams constantly seemed suspended between secrecy and everyone having a story to tell. Fluctuating between revelation and concealment, they were both omnipresent and entirely evasive. 36 As the following chapters repeatedly return to these four key interlocutors, I would like to introduce them briefly. Shaykh Nabil, skinny and feisty, is the protagonist of chapter 2 but is present throughout the book.

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