The Uwaysis are Muslim mystics who look for instruction from the spirit of the dead or physically absent person. They take their name from Uways, a contemporary of the prophet Mohammad who is reputed to have communicated with him by telepathy. Julian Baldick, author of "Mystical Islam: An Introduction to Sufism", surveys the legend of Uways and the Uwaysi phenomenon as it is generally presented in Sufism, Islam's main mystical tradition. He examines the evolution and beliefs of the Uwaysi movement in 16th-century East Turkistan (now Xinjiang in China) and then discusses the little-known "History of the Uwaysis" by Ahmad of Uzgen, a collection of biographies almost always of people that never existed, that played a major role in the sect's development. Special attention is paid to its accounts of women mystics, and to its intricate combination of biblical motifs, shamanistic initiation rites, and Muslim, Christian and Buddhist legends. Baldick argues that an understanding of the Uwaysi sect illustrates paradoxes that lie at the heart of Islam.