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  • Author or Editor: Arin Salamah-Qudsi x
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This article aims to introduce some inquiries concerning travel as a customary mode of ascetic life among early Sufis in the period between the third/ninth and sixth/twelfth centuries. Two prominent concepts are involved in this discussion: siyāḥa and safar. While safar was a general term that refers to a wide spectrum of traditions and customs included in the medieval Islamic culture of travel, the term siyāḥa indicated the custom of roving in solitude without provisions undertaken by some early ascetics and Sufis. The use of both terms over the course of the period under discussion was subjected to different shifts and developments in Sufi spheres. Critical censure against the early custom of siyāḥa was made essentially out of fear of ignoring the communal religious duties of Islam. Although siyāḥa seems to have been adopted by early ascetics, it was gradually replaced by Sufi authors and theoreticians with the term safar instead. After the fifth/eleventh century, the process of the “stabilization” of Sufi activities in particular spaces contributed to change the early Sufi principle in which spiritual progress was combined with, or even conditioned upon, spatial and physical mobility. However, individual cases in which the early ideal of siyāḥa was preserved should not be neglected.

In: Journal of Sufi Studies


Besides the analysis of one impact of al-Suhrawardī's teachings—his division of the Sufi path—there are other bases for assuming a more varied system of thought, one that runs counter his reputation as a moderate Sufi thinker. Through study of an unknown text of the author, a conclusion was reached that 'moderation' as related to Sufi authors is an evaluation that should be reconsidered. The specific discourse in the above text demonstrates rhetorical differences between long Sufi manuals and short epistles and treatises, most prominently manifest in the way the author reviews the highest and ultimate ranks of the Sufi path in terms of unity, and of immortality in Deity. Rereading al-Suhrawardī's writings reveals the author's talents for reaching into the mentality of the ordinary man, and flexibility when relating to problematic issues. This paper is one attempt in the direction of a wide-ranging study of what had long been considered 'moderate', 'official', and 'high' with in Classical Sufism.

In: Arabica


Although the relationship of mothers with their children is barely detailed in Sufi sources, those who were mystic in their own right as well as those who were merely mothers of renowned Sufis, often acted beyond the harmonious “iconic” images of mothering and motherhood. Mothers were not always the effective lightning trigger. Sometimes, mothers of renowned Sufis denied their sons free mobility, taking advantage of the principle of respect for their wishes and the seminal ideal of aqq al-wālida mentioned by Sufi biographers. In Sufi spheres, maternal uncles seem to have given reality to the ideal of supporting motherhood more effectively than mere mothers actually did.

This article was written as part of my post-doctoral research work for the years 2009/2010 sponsored by The Dangoor Program of Universal Monotheism at Bar Ilan University (Israel) under the supervision of Professor Binyamin Abrahamov. The word “classical” in the title refers to Fritz Meier’s classification of Sufism into three major stages: pre-classical Sufism (from the latter part of the second/eighth century to the beginning of the third/ninth century), classical Sufism that extends from the third/ninth century up to the fifth/eleventh century, and post-classical Sufism from about the end of the fifth/eleventh century onward. By the classical period, Sufism came to be “almost the entire battalion of the inner science” which had been “seen as a whole gained in homogeneity” [F. Meier, “The Mystic Path”, in The World of Islam: Faith, People, Culture, ed. Bernard Lewis (London, 1976), 118]. Furthermore, post-classical Sufism is basically distinguished by the higher values of visionary and occult experiences, the theory of a divine spark in man, and the Gnostic concept of the world’s emanation from God. In the course of the post-classical epoch, Sufism managed to gain wide popularity in contrast with its marginality in earlier epochs (See ibid., 120). This usage of the terminology differs slightly from other determinations invested by modern scholarship [See e.g., Tonaga Yasushi, “Sufism in the Past and Present”, Annals of Japan Association of Middle East Studies, 21 (2006): 12-13]. Sufism in its classical and early post-classical periods, according to Meier’s classification, is the main concern of the current paper.

In: Oriens


This article examines the representation of human beings’ redemption in Islamic tradition with a special focus on the Sufi perspective. This is done using Islamic scriptures and semantics. There is no homogenous Sufi perspective on the question of human redemption. However, it is still worthwhile to look for references to human redemption in Sufi discussions of the high state of unification. The human being plays an essential role in this experience, while their responsibility for others’ spiritual redemption becomes greater after returning to the normal state of being. Beside the individualistic experience of redemption, both Islam in general and taṣawwuf in particular hint at a form of collective deliverance from depravity.

In: The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy
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Al-Karmil: Dirāsāt fī al-Lugha al-Arabiyya wa-l-Adab (Al-Karmil: Studies in Arabic Language and Literature) is a double anonymous peer reviewed journal published since 1980 by the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Haifa. It provides a forum for the study of Arabic language and literature as well as Islamic civilization in general, from the pre-Islamic period to the present. Al-Karmil welcomes contributions in Arabic or in English.
الكرمل: دراسات في اللُّغة العربيّة والأدب مجلة سنوية مُحكَّمة تعتمد طريقة التحكيم المزدوج، تصدر منذ عام 0891 عن قسم اللُّغة العربية وآدابها في جامعة حيفا. توفر المجلة منبرًا لدراسات حول اللُّغة العربية وآدابها، وحول الحضارة الإسلامية بوجهٍ عام منذ عصر ما قبل الإسلام وحتى يومنا هذا. تُعنى مجلة الكرمل بنشر مقالاتٍ باللُّغة العربية أو باللُّغة الإنجليزية.
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