The Journeys of a Taymiyyan Sufi

Sufism through the Eyes of ʿImād al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Wāsiṭī (d. 711/1311)


The Journeys of a Taymiyyan Sufi explores the life and teachings of ʿImād al-Dīn Aḥmad al-Wāsiṭī (d. 711/1311), a little-known Ḥanbalī Sufi master from the circle of Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328). The first part of this book follows al-Wāsiṭī’s physical journey in search of spiritual guidance through a critical study of his autobiographical writings. This provides unique insights into the Rifāʿiyya, the Shādhiliyya, and the school of Ibn ʿArabī, several manifestations of Sufism that he encountered as he travelled from Wāsiṭ to Baghdad, Alexandria, and Cairo. Part I closes with his final destination, Damascus, where his membership of Ibn Taymiyya’s circle and his role as a Sufi teacher is closely examined.

The second part focuses on al-Wāsiṭī’s spiritual journey through a study of his Sufi writings, which convey the distinct type of traditionalist Sufism that he taught in early eighth/fourteenth-century Damascus. Besides providing an overview of the spiritual path unto God from beginning to end as he formulated it, this reveals an exceptional interplay between Sufi theory and traditionalist theology.
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Arjan Post, Ph.D (2017), is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at KU Leuven. He has published an edition and translation of a book by the Moroccan Sufi Ibn ʿAjība (Fons Vitae, 2015) and several articles related to Sufism in Ibn Taymiyya’s circle.
Part I. The Physical Journey (al-Riḥla)
Introduction: al-Wāsiṭī’s Biography
Chapter 1. Leaving Home, Bastion of the Spectacular Rifāʿīs
Chapter 2. Scholastic Sufism of the Alexandrian Shādhiliyya
Chapter 3. The Final Steps: From Heretics to the Saved Sect
Part II. The Spiritual Journey (al-Sulūk)
Introduction: Sulūk as Sufism
Chapter 4. Traditionalist Sufism: Outlining the Foundations of the Journey
Chapter 5. Progressing Towards the Beloved Through the Degrees of Witnessing
All interested in medieval Sufism and the Ḥanbalī school, in particular during the early Ilkhanid/Mamluk period, and anyone interested in Ibn Taymiyya and his circle.
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