Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī and Early Islamic Mysticism

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The article analyzes some of the main teachings that are attributed to Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī (died ca 245/859-860), a prominent figure in the formative period of the Sufi tradition. These teachings are reflected in the many sayings that are ascribed to Ḏū l-Nūn in Sufi literature, in non-Sufi biographical dictionaries, and in several other medieval Islamic sources, all dating from the 4th/10th century onwards. The article demonstrates the historical problems related to the figure of Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī, and, in this context, particular attention is given to the occult tendencies that are attributed to him in various writings.

Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī and Early Islamic Mysticism

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6

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 27; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 9; al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ Baġdād VIII p. 397; ʿAlī b. Hibat Allāh b. Mākūlā al-Ikmāl fī rafʿ al-irtiyāb ʿan al-muʾtalif wa-l-muḫtalif fī l-asmāʾ wa-l-kunā wa-l-ansāb Beirut Dār iḥyāʾ al-turāṯ al-ʿarabī III p. 389; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 399 441-442 (where the month ḏū l-qaʿda is given for the year 245); ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Muḥammad al-Samʿānī al-Ansāb ed. ʿAbd Allāh ʿUmar al-Bārūdī Beirut Dār al-ǧinān 1988 I p. 96 (ḏū l-qaʿda 245; cf. ibid. p. 97 and Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Lubāb fī tahḏīb al-ansāb Beirut Dār Ṣādir 1980 I p. 35); ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. ʿAlī b. al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa ed. Maḥmūd Fāḫūrī Beirut Dār al-maʿrifa 1985 IV p. 321; id. al-Muntaẓam fī ta⁠ʾrīḫ al-mulūk wa-l-umam ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir ʿAṭā and Muṣṭafā ʿAbd al-Qādir ʿAṭā Beirut Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya 1992 XI p. 344; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 63-64; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 504; Ibn Ḫallikān Wafayāt al-aʿyān I p. 318 (ḏū l-qaʿda 245 in addition to the years 246 and 248); al-Ḏahabī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ al-islām XVIII p. 266 (ḏū l-qaʿda 245) 269-270 (245 the 2nd of ḏū l-qaʿda 246 and 248 are all mentioned); ʿAbd al-Wahhāb b. Aḥmad al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā Cairo Maktabat wa-maṭbaʿat Muṣṭafā l-Bābī l-Ḥalabī wa-awlādihi 1954 I p. 70; Ibn Taġrībirdī al-Nuǧūm al-zāhira II p. 383 (ḏū l-qaʿda 245); al-ʿAsqalānī Lisān al-mīzān II p. 437; Ibn al-Zayyāt al-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 235; Ǧāmī Nafaḥāt al-uns p. 36; Asín Palacios The Mystical Philosophy p. 168; J. Van Ess “Biobibliographische Notizen zur islamischen Theologie. 8. Der Kreis des Ḏū n-Nūn” Die Welt des Orients XII (1981) p. 100 102; cf. Sezgin GAS I p. 643 and C. Brockelmann Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur Leiden Brill 1943 I p. 214 (the Supplement) who both favor the year 246/861.

7

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 27 where based on Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Kindī’s lost work Kitāb al-Mawālī min ahl Miṣr / al-mawālī l-Miṣriyyīn Ḏū l-Nūn himself is said to have been a mawlā of Qurayš. See also al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 62 (where al-Kindī’s book is entitled Kitāb Aʿyān al-mawālī); al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 9; Ibn Mākūlā al-Ikmāl III p. 389; al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ Baġdād VIII p. 393 397 (where Ḏū l-Nūn’s father is said to have been a mawlā of a certain Isḥāq b. Muḥammad al-Anṣārī); Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 399 441; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 124; al-Ḏahabī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ al-Islām XVIII p. 266; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 315; id. al-Muntaẓam XI p. 346; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 59-60; Ibn Ḫallikān Wafayāt al-aʿyān I p. 315-316; al-ʿAsqalānī Lisān al-mīzān II p. 437; Ǧāmī Nafaḥāt al-uns p. 35; Smith “Ḏhu’l-Nūn”; Van Ess “Biobibliographische Notizen” p. 100.

12

On him see F. Rosenthal“Al-Kindī, Abū ʿUmar Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Tudjībī”EI2.

13

Al-KindīKitāb al-wulāt p. 453 (wa-haraba Ḏū l-Nūn b. Ibrāhīm al-Iḫmīmī ṯumma ra⁠ʾā an yarǧiʿa fa-raǧaʿa ilayhi fa-waqaʿa fī yadihi wa-aqarra bi-l-miḥna; and cf. the opposite expression on p. 451: fa-haraba kaṯīr min al-nās wa-muliʾat al-suǧūn mimman ankara l-miḥna); see also the version in Ibn Ḥaǧar al-ʿAsqalānī Rafʿ al-iṣr ʿan quḍāt Miṣr ed. ʿAlī Muḥammad ʿUmar Cairo Maktabat al-Ḫānǧī 1998 p. 404 (wa-mala⁠ʾa al-suǧūn mimman lam yuǧib; wa-haraba Ḏū l-Nūn al-Iḫmīmī ṯumma ǧāʾa fa-waḍaʿa yadahu fī yadihi wa-aǧāba); and cf. Van Ess “Biobibliographische Notizen” p. 99-100; id. Theologie und Gesellschaft III p. 478.

21

See also Melchert“The Transition” p. 65 and n. 89.

28

Ibn al-MulaqqinṬabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 227.

41

See Ibn al-Zayyātal-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 40.

50

See also Asín PalaciosThe Mystical Philosophy p. 168; Massignon Essay p. 143-144; Van Ess “Biobibliographische Notizen” p. 100; Annemarie Schimmel Mystical Dimensions Chapel Hill The University of North Carolina Press 1975 p. 45-46. On Ḏū l-Nūn’s insufficient knowledge in the field of Islamic theology (kalām) see al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 386.

53

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 34; see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 335 372; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 158 259. On the importance of zuhd see also al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 167 (bāb al-maʿrifa); Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 105-107 120 167 219; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 490 500; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 114-115 (= Arberry’s translation p. 88-89); al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 86-87 106. For various definitions of zuhd see al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 261; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 361; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 180. On asceticism in general see R. Gramlich Weltverzicht: Grundlagen and Weisen islamischer Askese Wiesbaden Harrassowitz 1997.

55

Al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 10 (lā taskunu l-ḥikma maʿida muliʾat ṭaʿāman); see also Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 431; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 84 110 165; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 119-120 (= Arberry’s translation p. 97-98) 124.

56

Al-SuhrawardīʿAwārif p. 343; al-Ghazālī Iḥyāʾ VIII p. 1495 (Kitāb Kasr al-šahwatayni); al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt I p. 72.

59

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 33; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 58 (bāb al-muǧāhada); Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 416 420; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 263 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 208); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 128; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Futūḥāt IV p. 518 521 (chapter 560); id. al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 163 170; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 127-128; see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 332 345 357; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 489 496.

61

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 30; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 59 (bāb al-ḫalwa wa-l-ʿuzla); al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 342 346 354-356 359 362 376-377; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 415 438; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 223; al-Ġazālī Iḥyāʾ VI p. 1049 (Kitāb Ādāb al-ʿuzlabāb 2); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 319-320 338; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 127-128; Ibn al-Mulaqqin Ṭabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 220; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 181.

63

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 28; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 352; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 250-251 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 200); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 124; Ǧāmī Nafaḥāt al-uns p. 37; see also al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 182 where the nafs is defined as an idol (ṣanam). On the nafs see also Van Ess Die Gedankenwelt des Ḥāriṯ al-Muḥāsibī index s.v. “nafs”; S. Sviri “The Self and its Transformation in Ṣūfism” in Self and Self-Transformation in the History of Religions eds D. Shulman and G.G. Stroumsa Oxford Oxford University Press 2002 p. 195-215; id. The Taste of Hidden Things: Images on the Sufi Path Inverness The Golden Sufi Center 1997 index s.v. “nafs”.

65

Al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 234; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 83 (bāb muḫālafat al-nafs) 157 (bāb al-ṣuḥba); al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 382; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 416 419-420; al-Ġazālī Iḥyāʾ V p. 968 (Kitāb Ādāb al-ulfabāb 2); al-Bustī al-ʿUzla p. 96; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 125 130 132-133.

66

Al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 58 (bāb al-muǧāhada: mā aʿazza Llāh ʿabdan bi-ʿizz huwa aʿazz lahu min an yadullahu ʿalā ḏull nafsihi wa-mā aḏalla Llāh ʿabdan bi-ḏull huwa aḏall lahu min an yaḥǧubahu ʿan ḏull nafsihi); see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 374; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 415; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 125-126; Ibn ʿAǧība Īqāẓ al-himam p. 626; Ǧāmī Nafaḥāt al-uns p. 37.

67

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 30 32; cf. al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 359 395. On iḫlāṣ see also ibid. p. 332 361-362 374 378; X p. 243; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 112 (bāb al-iḫlāṣ); al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 87; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 428-430; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 130; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 489 499; al-Makkī Qūt al-qulūb III p. 98 (cf. al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 77); Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 87 114-115 127-128 166-167; id. al-Futūḥāt IV p. 518 (chapter 560).

68

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 32 (al-ṣidq sayf Allāh fī arḍihi mā wuḍiʿa ʿalā šayʾ illā qaṭaʿahu); see also al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 288; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 114 (bāb al-ṣidq); al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 395; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 126 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 101); al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 544; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 125; Ibn al-Mulaqqin Ṭabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 220. On ṣidq and those who possess it (ṣādiq plural: ṣādiqūn; ṣiddīq plural: ṣiddīqūn) see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 338 340-341 345 347 349-351 354 356 359 378 380 384 394; al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 77 (and cf. al-Makkī Qūt al-qulūb III p. 98); al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ Baġdād VIII p. 394; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 407 424 428-430; al-Ġazālī Iḥyāʾ XIV p. 2727 (Kitāb al-Niyya wa-l-iḫlāṣ wa-l-ṣidqbāb 3); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 128-129; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 494 497; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 317 338; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 164 168 181 198 264 271 274; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 110; Ibn al-Mulaqqin Ṭabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 220.

70

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 28 ([. . .] iyyāka takūna bi-l-maʿrifa muddaʿiyan aw takūna bi-l-zuhd muḥtarifan aw takūna bi-l-ʿibāda mutaʿalliqan); cf. al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 350; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 433; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 351 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 274); al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt I p. 70. On false claims to mystical knowledge and mystical achievements (iddiʿāʾdaʿwā) see also al-Sulamī Ṭabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 31; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 172 (bāb al-maḥabba); al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 353; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126-127 131; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 95 136 155 164 171; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 503-504.

77

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 29-30; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 368-369; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 253; Ibn ʿAǧība Īqāẓ al-himam p. 505. On the importance of tawāḍuʿ see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 362 376; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 412 420 430; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Futūḥāt IV p. 512-513 (chapter 560); id. al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 115-116 163; al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt I p. 71.

79

See al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 80; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 341-342 366; al-Kalābāḏī al-Taʿarruf p. 120; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 511; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 414 416; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 124-125 130; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 130 251. A closely related concept is qunūʿ/qanāʿa (satisfaction); see al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 335; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 87-88 (bāb al-qanāʿa); al-Kalābāḏī al-Taʿarruf p. 170; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 277; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 421; al-Bustī al-ʿUzla p. 22; Ibn Abī l-Ḥadīd Šarḥ nahǧ al-balāġa XI p. 199; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 131.

80

Al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 99 (bāb al-ṣabr); al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 332 336 345 350 356 362-363; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 415-416 434 438; al-Qurṭubī al-Ǧāmiʿ II p. 174 (al-Baqara 155); XX p. 161 (al-ʿĀdiyāt 6); al-Ġazālī Iḥyāʾ XIII p. 2408 (Kitāb al-Faqr wa-l-zuhd); Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 111-112 215.

84

Al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 88 (ḥubb Allāh al-ṣāfī llaḏī lā kudra fīhi suqūṭ al-maḥabba ʿan al-qalb wa-l-ǧawāriḥ ḥattā lā yakūna fīhā l-maḥabba wa-takūna l-ašyāʾ bi-Llāh wa-li-Llāh fa-ḏālika l-muḥibb li-Llāh); cf. Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 247.

86

Al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 449 (qāla Ḏū l-Nūn raḥimahu Llāh lammā arāda an yasqiyahum min ka⁠ʾs maḥabbatihi ḏawwaqahum min laḏāḏatihi wa-alʿaqahum min ḥalāwatihi). For the image of drinking particularly from the cup of love passionate love (ʿišq) or mystical certitude ( yaqīn) see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 336 341-342 358 369-370 380 385 391; al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ Baġdād VIII p. 394; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 407 417; al-Naysābūrī ʿUqalāʾ al-maǧānīn p. 127; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 508; al-Ġazālī Iḥyāʾ XI p. 2092 (Kitāb al-Tawba); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Futūḥāt II p. 346 (chapter 178); id. al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 91 179 206 216 248 270-271; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 355 407-408 429; al-Yāfiʿī Rawḍ al-rayāḥīn p. 31-32 156 218-219; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 491 494 498; Ibn al-Zayyāt al-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 238-239; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 76 78.

89

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 30-31; al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 445; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 339 344-345 347 368-369 383 390; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 434-440; Ibn al-Mulaqqin Ṭabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 222-223; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 320; Ibn Baškuwāl al-Ṣila p. 653; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 85-86 133 135 179 186 195-197 206 215 230 238-239 250 261 270-271; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 96-97. For additional sayings which treat of love and longing see also al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 10; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 341-343 348-349 353 357 371-372 375 378-379 393-394; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 407 414 431; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 272; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 495; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 89.

91

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 32 (cf. al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 359) 33; see also al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 97; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 342-343 377 395; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 413-415 425; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126 129-131; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 130-132 253; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 130 181.

92

See also MassignonEssay p. 143; Schimmel Mystical Dimensions p. 6 43.

93

See al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 161 (bāb aḥwālihim ʿinda l-ḫurūǧ min al-dunyā: wa-qīla li-Ḏī l-Nūn al-Miṣrī ʿinda mawtihi mā taštahī qāla an aʿrifahu qabla mawti bi-laḥẓa); see also Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 400; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 134; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 84; Ibn al-Mulaqqin Ṭabaqāt al-awliyāʾ p. 222.

104

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 29; cf. al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 94; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 41 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 36); ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126; and see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ I p. 22; IX p. 353 (where the term al-muḥaqqiqīn “those who have attained the truth” is found) 373 (ahl al-ḥaqāʾiq “those who possess the truths”); Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 415; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 242; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 501.

113

See for example Asín PalaciosThe Mystical Philosophy p. 166; Massignon Essay p. 80 145 153; id. The Passion of al-Hajjāj: Mystic and Martyr of Islam transl. H. Mason Princeton Princeton University Press 1982 p. 342; see also Nicholson “A Historical Enquiry” p. 324 330 (“The man who above all others gave to the Ṣúfí doctrine its permanent shape was Dhu’l-Nún al-Miṣrí”); Melchert “The Transition” p. 51 57.

122

See Smith“Ḏhu’l-Nūn”EI2.

123

Al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 37 (wa-suʾila Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī ʿan al-ʿārif fa-qāla kāna hāhunā fa-ḏahaba); and see al-Ǧunayd’s interpretation of this saying in ibid. p. 168 (bāb al-maʿrifa); see also al-Kalābāḏī al-Taʿarruf p. 156; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 148-149. On the alternating nature of the states (iḫtilāf al-aḥwāl) and the mystic’s need for God’s grace see also Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 419.

125

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 34 (inna al-ʿārif lā yalzamu ḥāla wāḥida innamā yalzamu rabbahu fī l-ḥālāt kullihā); cf. al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 351 373 395; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 126; al-Ḏahabī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ al-islām XVIII p. 269; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 317; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 148 162; al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt I p. 71-72; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 139.

128

See al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 119 (bāb al-ḏikr: man ḏakara Llāh taʿālā ḏikran ʿalā l-ḥaqīqa nasiya fī ǧanb ḏikrihi kull šayʾ wa-ḥafiẓa Llāh taʿālā ʿalayhi kull šayʾ wa-kāna lahu ʿiwaḍan ʿan kull šayʾ) 120 ([. . .] samiʿtu Ḏā l-Nūn al-Miṣrī wa-sa⁠ʾaltuhu ʿan al-ḏikr fa-qāla ġaybat al-ḏākir ʿan al-ḏikr [. . .]). See also al-Ḫaṭīb al-Baġdādī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ Baġdād VIII p. 396; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 410 421 425; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 131; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 120-121.

135

See al-Qušayrīal-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 196; al-Huǧwīrī Kašf al-maḥǧūb p. 285 (= Nicholson’s translation p. 226); Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 176-177; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 192; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 119 (= Arberry’s translation p. 96-97); al-Yāfiʿī Rawḍ al-rayāḥīn p. 124; Ibn al-Zayyāt al-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 240. On firāsa (physiognomy) in the sayings attributed to Ḏū l-Nūn and in the anecdotes related to him see al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 359 364; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 424; Ibn al-Aṯīr al-Muḫtār I p. 499; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 208.

140

Contrary to Nicholson“A Historical Enquiry” p. 314 and Asín Palacios The Mystical Philosophy p. 166; cf. Schimmel Mystical Dimensions p. 44.

146

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 29 ([. . .] samiʿtu Ḏā l-Nūn wa-suʾila ʿan al-maḥabba qāla an tuḥibba mā aḥabba Llāh wa-tubġiḍa mā abġaḍa Llāh wa-tafʿala l-ḫayr kullahu wa-tarfuḍa kull mā yašġalu ʿan Allāh wa-allā taḫāfa fī Llāh lawmat lāʾim maʿa l-ʿaṭf li-l-muʾminīna wa-l-ġilẓa ʿalā l-kāfirīna wa-ttibāʿ rasūl Allāh ṣallā Llāh ʿalayhi wa-sallama fī l-dīn); see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 392 394; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 136.

147

Al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 30 ([. . .] samiʿtu Ḏā l-Nūn yaqūlu min ʿalāmāt al-maḥabba li-Llāh mutābaʿat ḥabīb Allāh fī aḫlāqihi wa-afʿālihi wa-amrihi wa-sunanihi); see also al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 10; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 427; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 125; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 134. On the importance of following the prophetic sunna of obeying God’s commandments (ṭāʿa) and avoiding acts of legal disobedience (maʿṣiya plural: maʿāṣī; or muḫālafa plural: muḫālafāt) see also al-Sulamī Ṭabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 33; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 58 (bāb al-muǧāhada) 99 (bāb al-ṣabr); see also al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ IX p. 338 340-341 343 349-350 372-373 377 380 387 392-394; al-Bustī al-ʿUzla p. 22; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 408 412 414-415; ʿAṭṭār Taḏkirat al-awliyāʾ I p. 125 128-129; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Futūḥāt IV p. 512-513 (chapter 560); id. al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 168-169; Ibn al-Ǧawzī Ṣifat al-ṣafwa IV p. 338 431; al-Yāfiʿī Rawḍ al-rayāḥīn p. 40; Ibn al-Zayyāt al-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 235; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 125.

149

See al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 61; see also al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 61 (bāb al-taqwā) 167 (bāb al-maʿrifa); al-Kalābāḏī al-Taʿarruf p. 73; al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 550; Ibn al-Zayyāt al-Kawākib al-sayyāra p. 234; and cf. al-Sarrāǧ al-Lumaʿ p. 145.

152

Al-Sarrāǧal-Lumaʿ p. 61; al-Qušayrī al-Risāla l-Qušayriyya p. 167 (bāb al-maʿrifa); al-Suhrawardī ʿAwārif p. 550; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 150.

153

See for example al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 34; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ X p. 241; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 422 425-427 429; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 68 158-159; al-Šaʿrānī al-Ṭabaqāt I p. 70-71.

156

See al-SulamīṬabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya p. 28; al-Iṣfahānī Ḥilyat al-awliyāʾ X p. 3-4; Ibn ʿAsākir Ta⁠ʾrīḫ madīnat Dimašq XVII p. 398; al-Ḏahabī Ta⁠ʾrīḫ al-Islām XVIII p. 265-266; Ibn al-ʿArabī al-Kawkab al-durrī p. 67-72 81 230 260-261; al-Suyūṭī al-Maknūn p. 235-241. He may have picked up some of these ḥadīṯs in his travels through Syria perhaps during his visit to Damascus; see Van Ess “Biobibliographische Notizen” p. 99 n. 1; see also Sezgin GAS I p. 643-644. Although Ḏū l-Nūn transmitted ḥadīṯs which go back to Mālik b. Anas and may have even adhered to the Mālikī school of law (see Böwering The Mystical Vision p. 66) the claim that Ḏū l-Nūn was one of the transmitters of Mālik’s Muwaṭṭa⁠ʾ (see for example Ibn Ḫallikān Wafayāt al-aʿyān I p. 315) is an exaggeration. It is likewise doubtful whether Ḏū l-Nūn actually studied with Mālik himself as certain scholars state (see Ǧāmī Nafaḥāt al-uns p. 35; Nicholson “A Historical Enquiry” p. 311; Asín Palacios The Mystical Philosophy p. 167).

163

On his visit there see Ch. Pellat“al-Masʿūdī”EI2 VI p. 785. According to Pellat al-Masʿūdī who had travelled quite a lot spent the last years of his life in al-Fusṭāṭ.

165

See Ibn Umayl al-TamīmīKitāb al-Māʾ al-waraqī p. 58 (= Sezgin et al. (eds) Ibn Umayl p. 66); see also M. Ullmann Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam Leiden Brill 1972 p. 196; Strohmaier “Ibn Umayl” EI2. On Ibn Umayl himself see also Ullmann Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften p. 217-220; Sezgin GAS IV p. 283-288; Sezgin et al. (eds) Ibn Umayl; Starr “Towards a Context for Ibn Umayl” p. 61-77 and the references given there. On the figure of Ǧābir b. Ḥayyān and the Shiite-Ismāʿīlī alchemical corpus attributed to him see Kraus Jābir ibn Ḥayyān: contribution à l’histoire des idées scientifiques dans l’Islam. Volume I: Le corpus des écrits jābiriens Cairo Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 1943; id. Jābir ibn Ḥayyān II; P. Kraus [M. Plessner] “Djābir b. Ḥayyān” EI2; P. Lory Alchimie et mystique en terre d’Islam Gallimard 1989 especially p. 47-125.

168

Ibn al-Nadīmal-Fihrist p. 358 (Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī wa-huwa Abū l-Fayḍ Ḏū l-Nūn b. Ibrāhīm wa-kāna mutaṣawwif wa-lahu aṯar fī l-ṣanʿa wa-kutub muṣannafa fa-min kutubihi kitāb al-rukn al-akbar kitāb al-ṯiqa fī l-ṣanʿa).

169

See Ibn al-Nadīmal-Fihrist p. 359 ([. . .] ʿUṯmān b. Suwayd Abū Ḥarā [sic] l-Iḫmīmī min Iḫmīm qarya min qurā Miṣr wa-kāna muqaddaman fī ṣināʿat al-kīmiyāʾ wa-ra⁠ʾsan fīhā [. . .]). See also Ismāʿīl Bāšā l-Baġdādī l-Bābānī Hadiyyat al-ʿārifīn asmāʾ al-muʾallifīn wa-āṯār al-muṣannifīn Beirut Dār iḥyāʾ al-turāṯ al-ʿarabī (a reprint of the 1951 Istanbul edition) I p. 652 where it is stated that Abū Ḥarrī ʿUṯmān b. Suwaydā [sic] died around the year 298[/910-911]; and see Kraus Jābir ibn Ḥayyān I p. lxiii who suggests that ʿUṯmān b. Suwayd lived in the second half of the 3rd/9th century. For the date in which Ibn al-Nadīm completed his Fihrist see J.W. Fück “Ibn al-Nadīm” EI2 III p. 895. On the name Ḥarrī see Ibn Mākūlā al-Ikmāl II p. 83.

170

See M. Plessner“The Place of the Turba Philosophorum in the Development of Alchemy”Isis 45/4 (1954) p. 333-334; see also P. Kingsley Ancient Philosophy Mystery and Magic. Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition Oxford Clarendon Press 1995 p. 58-59 389-390.

177

On him see UllmannDie Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften p. 232-233.

178

Ibid. p. 235-237 391-392.

179

See A. Dietrich“al-Būnī”EI2.

181

On him see G. Strohmaier“al-Djildakī”EI2; Ullmann Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften p. 237-242; id. Katalog der arabischen alchemistischen Handschriften der Chester Beatty Library Wiesbaden Otto Harrassowitz 1974 I p. 37-42 and index s.v. “Ḏū l-Nūn al-Miṣrī”.

182

UllmannDie Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften p. 235; id. Katalog p. 80-83.

187

See Nicholson“A Historical Enquiry” p. 311-315 especially ibid. p. 313: “It is now clear that Dhu’l-Nún was an alchemist and magician but we must remember that at this time magic and alchemy [. . .] had long been associated with theurgy and theosophy” and p. 315: “An ascetic philosopher and theurgist living in the ninth century among the Christian Copts [. . .] such was Dhu’l-Nún al-Miṣrí from whom [. . .] the Ṣúfí theosophy is mainly derived”. See also the expression “theosophical mysticism of the Ṣúfis” in relation to Ḏū l-Nūn in ibid. p. 316.

188

Asín PalaciosThe Mystical Philosophy p. 166.

189

Ibid. p. 165 166.

191

See Asín PalaciosThe Mystical Philosophy p. 40 87 128 174. Note that like Nicholson Asín Palacios too uses the term “theurgy” in relation to Ḏū l-Nūn; see ibid. p. 87 128.

195

See for example M. Smith“Ḏhu’l-Nūn”EI2: “He made some study of medicine and also of alchemy and magic and he must have been influenced by Hellenistic teaching”; Melchert “The Transition” p. 57 (cf. S. Sviri “Sufism: Reconsidering Terms Definitions and Processes in the Formative Period of Islamic Mysticism” in Les Maîtres soufis et leurs disciples. IIIe-Ve siècles de l’hégire (IXe-XIe s.). Enseignement formation et transmission eds G. Gobillot and J.J. Thibon Beirut Presses de l’Ifpo 2012 p. 17-34); Kingsley Ancient Philosophy p. 389-391; Mojaddedi “Dhū l-Nūn”; cf. Böwering The Mystical Vision p. 54.

199

See Ibn al-ʿArabīal-Kawkab al-durrī p. 243-244 (qāla ʿAbd al-Wahhāb b. ʿAbd al-Bāqī l-Bāḫīnsī (?) al-Abharī qāla samiʿtu l-Ḥasan b. Naṣr Muḥammad b. ʿAlī l-muqriʾ bi-Ṭarsūs qāla samiʿtu ʿUmar b. al-Ḥammāl wa-qāla li-Abī ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Ǧalāʾ wa-anā ḥāḍir yā Abā ʿAbd Allāh kāna Ḏū l-Nūn yaʿmalu l-kīmiyāʾ fa-qāla lahu Abū ʿAbd Allāh naʿam wa-lākinnahu kīmiyāʾī kīmiyāʾ Ṣubayḥ al-Aswad fa-qāla lahu ʿUmar wa-man Ṣubayḥ al-Aswad qāla insān ṣallā l-ʿatama bi-Baġdād wa-l-ġadāt bi-Makka).

200

See Plessner“The Place of the Turba Philosophorum” p. 334; Kingsley Ancient Philosophy p. 59 389 and the references given there; see also the refernces in B. Bitton-Ashkelony “Counseling through Enigmas: Monastic Leadership and Linguistic Techniques in Sixth-Century Gaza” in The Poetics of Grammar and the Metaphysics of Sound and Sign eds S. La Porta and D. Shulman Leiden Brill 2007 p. 189.

208

See for example H. HalmKosmologie und Heilslehre der frühen Ismāʿīlīya: eine Studie zur islamischen GnosisWiesbadenFranz Steiner1978.

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