Dreams, Sufism, and Sainthood: The Visionary Career of Muhammad al-Zawâwî

TitleDreams, Sufism, and Sainthood: The Visionary Career of Muhammad al-Zawâwî
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsKatz JG
Series TitleStudies in the History of Religions
PublisherE.J. Brill
CityLeiden and New York
ISBN NumberCloth: 9789004105997; ebook: 9789004378926

Based on Muhammad al-Zawâwî's extraordinary diary of 109 dream conversations with the Prophet Muhammad, this study provides a rare, intimate view of 15th-century North African Muslim life.
The study reconstructs Zawâwî's lifestory over a critical ten-year period and examines his career as a sufi in the historical context of North Africa and Mamluk Cairo. Psychological aspects of Zawâwî's religious experience are thoroughly explored.
The concluding chapter provides an introduction to the role of dreams and visions in medieval Islam. Particular attention is paid to the way Zawâwî and his successors used their visions to legitimate claims to being awliya', or living saints.


“ ...Katz makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the development of Sufi thought.” Jamil M. Abun-Nasr, The Maghreb Review, 1997.
“Katz has opened an impressive window into a phenomenon rarely broached in Western religious life...Al-Zawāwī should be pleased that, with Katz's aid, he has now reached an audience befitting his own highly prized state: a walī truly for the world.'” Earle H. Waugh, History of Religions, 1998.
“ ...an informative and often insightful treatment of this subject.” Carl Olson, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 1997.