Sufism, Language, and the Religious Margins in Central Asia, 1400-1900
Ṭabaqāt al-ṣūfiyya de Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, Muḥammad b. Ḥusayn al-Sulamī (325/937-412/1021)
Edited by Jean-Jacques Thibon
Dans Les générations des Soufis Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī (m. 1021), maître soufi de Nishapur, traditionniste šāfiʿite et historien, collecte l’enseignement de cent cinq maîtres soufis qui vécurent entre le 2e/8e et le 4e/10e siècles. Pour chacun d’eux, Sulamī propose une courte notice biographique et un ensemble de citations représentatives de son enseignement. Il rend ainsi compte de la diversité des approches de la voie spirituelle et de l’unité de ses principes. Cet ouvrage, l’un des plus anciens de ce type, rassemble le socle doctrinal sur lequel s’élabora le soufisme médiéval. Référence incontournable, il eut une influence considérable sur toute la littérature du soufisme et même l’historiographie. Cette traduction est la première en langue européenne d’un ouvrage de ce type.
Mystical Islam and Cross-Cultural Exchange in the Modern World
Edited by Jamal Malik and Saeed Zarrabi-Zadeh
The volume challenges the enduring Orientalist binary coding of East-versus-West and argues instead for a more mutual process of cultural plaiting and shared tradition. By highlighting amendments, adaptations and expansions of Sufi semantics during the last centuries, it also questions the persistent perception of Sufism in its post-classical epoch as a corrupt imitation of the legacy of the great Sufis of the past.
Edited by Sebastian Günther and Dorothee Pielow
Modern scholars have been interested in the great Persian Sufi martyr ʿAyn al-Quḍāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131) for over six decades. Despite this fact, many aspects of his life and thought still remain terra incognita. Our knowledge of the circumstances surrounding his death is a case-in-point. Although we have a fairly good understanding of the factors which led to ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s demise, there are other “causes” which simultaneously complement and problematize this understanding. Chief amongst these are the underlying reasons for ʿAyn al-Quḍāt’s critique of the Seljuk government, as well as something which ʿAyn al-Quḍāt saw as a more subtle cause for his death several years before his anticipated state execution.
This article reevaluates Rūmī’s approach to divine union in the light of the larger institutional and normative context that orchestrates it. Via key terms “spiritual companionship” [ṣuḥba] and normative Sufi “conduct” [adab], I situate Rūmī within the Khurasanian Sufi milieu wherein divine union was perceived as a communicative and communal process whereby the existentiating divine mercy overflows to, and reflects from, embodied companions. Not only Rūmī’s, but also Farīd al-Dīn ʿAṭṭār’s approach to divine union can be better appreciated in this normative Sufi setting where the perfection of human soul, body, speech, and agency coincide with an apophatic communion of companions.
Literal or Metaphorical?
Mansure Rahmani, Ahad Faramarz Gharamaleki and Hassan Arif
Journey (safar) is strongly relevant to Sufism and mysticism. It has been considered as a paradigm for the various stages of spiritual transition. The problem addressed in this study concerns different uses of the word for analysis of the process of its conversion into a mystical term, and the criticism of this process. Sufis used the term journey in its literal meaning because of its important role in achieving mystical goals, utilizing it as a metaphor for death, life and the transition of one’s states influenced by religious sources. Journey as a metaphor for transition of one’s states was considered literal by the method of the “metaphysicalization” of sensual concepts. This new literal use of journey came to be employed as a paradigm to order the process of the mystical path. As such, the method of the metaphysicalization of sensual concepts needs linguistic arguments, as it cannot be applied to all words.
The ring analogy is generally associated with Ibn ʿArabī and his Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam. However, al-Ḥakīm al-Tirmidhī uses this same analogy as a way of expressing various aspects of walāya within his original and multi-layered doctrine of the concept. The present article’s understanding of Tirmidhī’s ring analogy and its relationship to his doctrine of walāya builds upon the work of Radtke and others who have sought to explain the major features of Tirmidhī’s doctrine. The use of the ring analogy by Tirmidhī and Ibn ʿArabī after him leads us to posit a shared mode of thought and expression that helps situate and elucidate Ibn ʿArabī’s esoteric doctrine of walāya within a framework developed by Tirmidhī.
Universal Mercy as a Case Study
This article reflects on some methodological issues in the study of tafsīr, taking the dissemination of the ideas of Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) on the non-perpetuity of the chastisement of Hell in Sufi tafsīr as a case study. I show that Ibn ʿArabī’s ideas on the issue were hardly adopted by later Sufi commentators on the Qurʾān. I investigate whether just as its exoteric counterpart, and despite the claim of Sufi tafsīr being rooted in ‘experience’ and thus being more ‘original’, Sufi tafsīr is ‘genealogical’ and is thus more conservative in its content. Although the Sufi genre of tafsīr generally seems more willing to include Sufi sayings and ideas from outside the boundaries of the genre, this does not make it adaptive of the non-mainstream ideas of Ibn ʿArabī on Hell proposed outside the genre. This brings up some considerations on the use and usability of tafsīr as a source of intellectual history.