Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

A Comparison Between European Mystics in the 14th Century and Sumatran Sufis in the 16th-17th Centuries


This study offers a comparative examination of the mysticism practiced by European spiritual thinkers in the 14th century and Sumatran Sufis in the 16th to 17th centuries, revealing striking inter-cultural similarities in their spiritual quests secluded from the urban tumult. These mystics, though divided by geographic and temporal distances, engaged profoundly with religious metaphysics, passionately expressing their spiritual explorations through sermons, literary compositions, and poetry. Central to their discourse was the relationship between the individual and the divine, with a particular focus on the soul’s crucial role in seeking spiritual fulfillment. The investigation highlights how these mystics from both the East and West tackled similar existential queries and embraced comparable methods of religious contemplation, which reflects a universal quest for understanding the divine essence. Recurring themes include the nature of divine love, the pursuit of spiritual authenticity, and the soul’s transcendental experiences, underscoring a shared narrative across these diverse cultural backdrops. The narrative of Mansûr al-Hallâj, a Persian mystic executed for his beliefs, exemplifies the extreme consequences faced by such profound thinkers, illustrating how deep spiritual commitment could lead to both profound admiration and severe persecution. Moreover, this analysis considers how these mystics were received within their societies—some were hailed as pioneers of thought, while others were condemned and executed as heretics by prevailing religious authorities. This contrast provides deeper insight into the complex dynamics between individual mystics and the broader societal and religious structures that either embraced or rejected their unconventional ideas. By providing a detailed comparative analysis, the study aims to enrich our understanding of mysticism as a bridge linking personal religious experience with the wider theological debates of the times. It contributes to a greater appreciation of the role of mystics in shaping religious thought across different historical and cultural contexts. This enriched narrative not only deepens our historical understanding of mystical traditions but also highlights the enduring dialogue between personal spiritual journeys and established religious doctrines.


mysticism, mystics, Sufis, the Ultimate, the Beguines



Download data is not yet available.