Margaret Smith (author)

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Margaret Smith (1884–1970) was a scholar writing on early Christian and Muslim mysticism,[1] presenting a view from an open-minded Christian perspective. Smith was the first westerner to chronicle the life of the Sufi mystic Rábi'a of Basra, and compiled brief histories of other Sufi teachers and their doctrines, translating Arabic and Persian texts into English.

Smith counted among her mentors Thomas Walker Arnold, Alfred Guillaume, R. A. Nicholson, and Louis Massignon.


In the 1970s four of Smith's works — by then hard to come by — were reprinted in Amsterdam, by the Philo Press in arrangement with The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London.

  • An Early Mystic of Baghdad: Al-Muhasibi, ca 781-875 A.D. Master of primitive Islamic mysticism and precursor of the great Muslim Mystics, 1935
  • An Introduction to the History of Mysticism, 1930
  • Rabi'a the Mystic and Her Fellow-Saints in Islam. Being the life and teachings of Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya al-Qaysiyya of Basra, Sufi saint, ca A.H. 99-185, A.D.717-801. Together with an account of the place of the women in Islam and with a survey of sources, references, a concise bibliography and indexes, 1928
  • Studies in Early Mysticism in the Near and Middle East. Being an account of the rise and development of Christian mysticism up to the seventh century, of the subsequent development in Islam, known as Sufism, and of the relationship between Christian and Islamic mysticism. With references, a bibliography and two indexes, 1931.


  1. ^ Smith, Margaret (30 July 2001). Muslim Women Mystics: The Life and Work of Rabi'a and Other Women Mystics in Islam. ISBN 1851682503.

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