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Sufism, Black and White

A Critical Edition of Kitāb al-Bayāḍ wa-l-Sawād by Abū l-Ḥasan al-Sīrjānī (d. ca.470/1077)


Edited by Bilal Orfali and Nada Saab

This critical Arabic text edition of K. al-Bayāḍ wa-l-sawād min khaṣāʾiṣ ḥikam al-ʿibād fī naʿt al-murīd wa-l-murād ("The Black and White in the Words of Wisdom by Bondsmen Describing the Seeker and the Mystic Quest"), a substantial handbook of early Sufism by Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan al-Sīrjānī (d. ca. 470/1077), is based on three manuscripts and is introduced by a detailed analytical study of the author and his work. The work is written in the tone of a guiding Sufi master and collects the mystical tradition of early Sufis in the form of anecdotes and concise aphorisms to instill guiding wisdom into the hearts of aspiring Sufi adepts. K. al-Bayāḍ wa-l-sawād forms an integral part of Sufi literature and is an essential source for the intellectual history of Islam until the middle of the 5th/11th century.

Aydogan Kars

in the companionship of peer wayfarers. As Rūmī puts in the Mas̱navī : If you are a man of pilgrimage, seek a pilgrim as your companion, Whether they be a Hindu, Turkoman, or ʿArab. Do not look at their figure and color, Look at their determination and intention. If they are “black,” yet they are

Aiyub Palmer

commensurate with what he must execute concerning the affair of his prophethood as it applies to all the people of the earth. So, his portion of his saying, may God bless him and grant him peace, ‘I was sent to the red and the black’ and God’s saying, most high, ‘We did not send you except to all mankind,’ is

Sufis and Coffee Consumption

Religio-Legal and Historical Aspects of a Controversy in the Late Mamluk and Early Ottoman Periods

Hatim Mahamid and Chaim Nissim

of the pious” ( sharab al-ṣāliḥīn) , and said: “Coffee is as permitted as pure milk, there is no difference save for its black hue.” 38 These expressions reached the extremes of revelation or belief in mystical power and miracles ( karāmāt ). The Ḥanbali scholar, al-Jazīrī (d. ca. 977/1569–70) lived

Wisdom in Controversy

Paradox and the Paradoxical in Sayings of Abū Yazīd al-Bisṭāmī (d. 234/848 or 261/875)

Annabel Keeler

-Majmaʿ al-Thaqāfī, 1999). 16 Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAli b. Ḥasan al-Sīrjānī, Kitāb al-Bayāḍ wa-l-Sawād , ed. Mohsen Pourmokhtar and Nasrollah Pourjavady (Tehran: Iranian Institute of Philosophy and Free University of Berlin, 2011); ed. Bilal Orfali and Nada Saab and published as Sufism Black and White: a Critical

Pieter Coppens

eschatological aḥādīth , and refers to a river in which the inhabitants of Hell are washed clean from the black marks of the burning in Hell before they enter Paradise. Cf. Lange, Justice and Punishment , 147. 32 See Q50:30, The day that God says to Jahannam “Are you filled” and Jahannam answers “Is there

Alexander Knysh

Sufism, Black and White: A Critical Edition of Kitāb al-Bayāḍ wa-l-Sawād by Abū l-Ḥasan al-Sīrjānī (d. ca. 470/1077) . Islamic History and Civilization: Studies and Texts, vol. 94. Leiden: Brill, 2012. x + 59 pages (English) and 510 pages (Arabic); index of Qurʾānic verses, index of ḥadīth

Robert Rozehnal

first stop for Sufi pilgrims en route to the nearby shrine in Sehwan Sharif. As they have each night for the past 250 years, Sufi musicians, dressed in black, play the lute ( dambuur ) as they sing the saint’s Sindhi poetry in high falsetto voices. While such performances continue to attract devotees to

Herman L. Beck

, South Kalimantan. He discusses the Muslims who are led astray by the mysticism of the unity of being. He gives the example of, what he calls, a tukang sihir , a ‘specialist in black magic’ (Ar.: siḥr ), who confuses people by stating: ‘God has become me and I have become a part of God. God is in my

The Presence of Poetry, the Poetry of Presence

Meditations on Arabic Sufi Poetry Performance and Ritual in Contemporary Dakar

Oludamini Ogunnaike

posses an art other than the art of the poets Poetry is like a black cloud; I am like the moon hidden behind its veil. Do not call the black cloud the luminous moon in the sky 42 These verses highlight another prominent aspect of these Sufi theories of poetry—poetry is meant to point beyond