The Shūdhiyya is a Sufi strand that flourished in the south-east region of al-Andalus, particularly in the area of Murcia, in the late 6th/12th century until the second half of the 7th/13th century. It thus extended from the second half of the Almohad period to the early Naṣrid period. The Shūdhiyya is named after the enigmatic figure, al-Shūdhī (fl. 6th/12th c.), a Sufi saint linked to Tlemcen. Nevertheless, the two main figures of the Shūdhiyya were the theologians and Sufis, Ibn al-Marʾa (d. 611/1214) and Ibn Aḥlā (d. 645/1247). Faced with the advance of Christian forces in the region of Murcia, Shūdhīs relocated to the nascent kingdom of Granada and to the central Islamicate world where, as followers of Ibn Sabʿīn (d. 669/1270), they were known as the Sabʿīniyya. The Shūdhiyya flourished in al-Andalus at roughly the same time that Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240) lived in al-Andalus. And, like Ibn ʿArabī, the Shūdhiyya ultimately came to be known for espousing the unity of existence although in a more radical, absolute way. Even though intellectual Sufism in al-Andalus is mostly associated with Ibn ʿArabī, his actual influence on his contemporaries in al-Andalus was rather scarce as he emigrated in his thirties to the East where he wrote his main works. However, in the field of intellectual Sufism, the Shūdhiyya was far more influential in al-Andalus than Ibn ʿArabī. Nevertheless, since the main representatives of the Andalusī Shūdhiyya did not relocate to the East, their works were not widely disseminated across the eastern and central Islamicate world and, consequently, except for Ibn al-Marʾa, most of their works are not known to be extant. Thus, the main witnesses are biographical and polemical literature. Despite the historical and intellectual relevance of the Shūdhiyya for the social, political and intellectual history of al-Andalus, only Massignon has devoted some attention to this Sufi strand. In this article the available sources on the Shūdhiyya in al-Andalus are surveyed and contextualized.
Even though Sufism in al-Andalus, particularly during the Almohad period, is mostly associated with the paramount figure of Ibn ʿArabī (560-638/1165-1240), his actual influence on his contemporaries in al-Andalus was rather scarce1 as he emigrated in his thirties to the East where he wrote his main body of work.2 Seen from al-Andalus during the third Taifa period, the Shūdhiyya was far more influential than Ibn ʿArabī in the field of intellectual Sufism – i.e., the intellectual activity based on unveilings gained through spiritual practices and resulting in a highly complex worldview of God, the cosmos and the human being at times using philosophical terminology –. Despite its relevance for the social, political and intellectual history of al-Andalus, the Shūdhiyya has received little scholarly attention, partly because of the paucity of sources. Still, the only remarkable reference on the Andalusī Shūdhiyya in western scholarship is provided by Louis Massignon, who summarily presented the Shūdhiyya in his passionate way in order to contextualize his depiction of Ibn Sabʿīn.3 In Arabic scholarship, we only have al-Taftāzānī’s article, “al-Madrasa al-shūdhiyya,” in which he gathered the extant information in primary sources edited up to his date.4 In addition, based partly on Massignon’s study of Ibn Sabʿīn and the Shūdhiyya, Guichard cautiously advanced the hypothesis that mystical and Sufi movements espousing waḥda beliefs in the east region of al-Andalus, and particularly in Murcia, may have played some role in the rise to power of the Hūdids leaded by al-Mutawakkil Muḥammad b. Yūsuf Ibn Hūd.5 The aim of this article is to critically survey the available sources on the Andalusī Shūdhiyya to provide a more detached view of this little known yet important Sufi strand, relevant for the intellectual, political and social history of al-Andalus, as Guichard had already pointed out.6
The Shūdhiyya is a Sufi strand that flourished during the Almohad and third Taifa periods in the region of Murcia in al-Andalus. It eventually expanded southwards in al-Andalus and to the central Islamicate world as a consequence of the oft-dubbed Christian Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. Together with Ibn ʿArabī’s intellectual Sufism associated with the so-called waḥdat al-wujūd, or unity of existence, the Shūdhiyya Sufi strand is the main representative of the wujūdī turn in Andalusī intellectual Sufism.7 The wujūdī or existential turn in intellectual Sufism encompasses the theoretical developments that took place during the Almohad period in al-Andalus. By the wujūdī turn, I refer to the process by which previous intuitions shared by a number of Sufis, sometimes expressed with the saying, “there is nothing in existence (wujūd) but God” (an expression believed to be coined by Maʿrūf al-Karkhī, d. 200/815-6), were imbued with philosophical terminology and ultimately culminated in the identification of God with wujūd, i.e., existence. Once God was identified with wujūd, the question on the actual relationship between the wujūds of God and creation arose. One possible answer is ‘unity’ or ‘oneness’ (waḥda), by which an array of doctrines that underscore a strong connection between the wujūd of God and the wujūd of creation, including waḥdat al-wujūd and waḥda muṭlaqa, is intended. In contrast with Ibn ʿArabī and his so-called waḥdat al-wujūd, the Shūdhiyya Sufi strand is mostly associated with the concept of waḥda muṭlaqa, or absolute unity.8
In waḥda muṭlaqa Sufism, God is the only real existence, while all existents other than God are delusions (awhām), with no real being in themselves.9 Ibn al-Khaṭīb describes waḥda muṭlaqa in the following terms:10
Its gist […] is that the Creator (al-Bārī), glorified and exalted may He be, is the union of what is apparent and hidden, [also] that there is nothing different from this, and that the multiplicity (taʿaddud) of this absolute reality, [of this] comprehensive existence (al-anniyya al-jāmiʿa) – which is the source (ʿayn) of every existence –, and [of this] entity (huwiyya) – which is the source of every entity – only occurs in the delusions (awhām) from place and time, difference, concealment and manifestation, pain and pleasure, and existence and nonexistence. They say: [all of] these, when you verify that they are delusions that are attributable to information from the mind and that there is nothing in the outward world, then when delusions are dropped, the overall universe and what is in it becomes one. And this one is God (al-Ḥaqq).
The main representative of the early Shūdhiyya period is the theologian and Sufi, Ibn Dihāq (or Ibn Dahhāq), also known as Ibn al-Marʾa (d. 611/1214).11 Born in Malaga, he became a disciple of the elusive al-Shūdhī (fl. 6th/12th century) in Tlemcen. During the last period of his life, Ibn al-Marʾa taught in Murcia where he attracted numerous students. After Ibn al-Marʾa, the Shūdhiyya became mainly associated with Ibn al-Marʾa’s disciple, the Sufi and theologian, Ibn Aḥlā, who eventually became the ruler of his hometown Lorca. After Ibn Aḥlā, the Shūdhiyya was accepted during the Hūdid administration in Murcia until the ultimate fall of Murcia to the Christians in 664/1266. In parallel, with the vassalage of Murcia to the Christians in 640/1243, a significant number of scholars in the region of Murcia emigrated to the Maghreb and the central Islamicate world. As a result, the Shūdhiyya spread eastwards, particularly through the philosopher and Sufi, Ibn Sabʿīn, and his disciples.12 Thus, the Shūdhiyya Sufi strand can be divided into three different periods: the early Shūdhiyya period associated with Ibn al-Marʾa; the middle Shūdhiyya period associated with Ibn Aḥlā and with the formative circles in al-Andalus of the philosopher and Sufi, Ibn Sabʿīn; and the late Shūdhiyya period associated with its dissemination in al-Andalus and in the central Islamicate world. During the late period in the central Islamicate world, the Shūdhiyya was better known as the Saʿbīniyya, i.e., the followers of Ibn Sabʿīn. In this article, I will only focus on the Shūdhiyya branch in al-Andalus, intentionally excluding the Saʿbīniyya.
Our current knowledge of this strand is rather limited, since it is tainted by the almost complete paucity of extant works by Shūdhī authors and the fact that some of our main sources, namely Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī (614-686/1217-1287), Ibn al-Zubayr (627-708/1230-1308), Abū Ḥayyān Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Jayyānī al-Gharnāṭī (654-745/1256-1344), Ibn Taymiyya (d. 728/1328), al-Dhahabī (d. 748/1348), Ibn Abī Ḥajala al-Tilimsānī (d. 776/1375) and Muhammad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sakhāwī (d. 902/1497), were the strand’s stark opponents. These polemical sources are deeply interconnected.
The two main extant sources providing historical and biographical information about the Shūdhiyya are Ibn al-Zubayr’s Ṣilat al-ṣila and al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-munbī, a heresiographical work against waḥda Sufism, which quotes many of the earlier sources now apparently lost.
In al-Andalus, the first known author to react to the Shūdhiyya was the traditionist, expert in Qurʾānic readings, philologist and historian, Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm Ibn al-Zubayr.13 In his youth, Ibn al-Zubayr met some leading members of the Shūdhiyya in Lorca and Murcia. Ibn al-Zubayr included their biographies in his biographical dictionary, Ṣilat al-ṣila. He was also the author of a polemical work against the Shūdhiyya entitled Radʿ al-jāhil ʿan ittisāf al-majāhil fī l-radd ʿalā l-Shūdhiyya wa-ibdāʾ ghawāʾilihā al-khafiyya14 and of an urjūza on the same topic, both seemingly lost.15 Ibn al-Zubayr was the strand’s leading adversary in al-Andalus to the point that he considered the Shūdhiyya to be infidels.16
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī follows Ibn al-Zubayr in his biographical work, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, where he quotes Ibn al-Zubayr’s biography devoted to Ibn Aḥlā,17 the central personality of the Shūdhiyya. Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī also gives some additional, relevant information about Ibn al-Zubayr in his biography about him in al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila.18 In both biographies, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī distances himself from Ibn al-Zubayr, to some extent, and gives some perspective.
In addition to Ibn al-Zubayr’s Ṣilat al-ṣila, the single, most important, extant source about the Shūdhiyya transmitting historical and biographical information is al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-munbī, a collection of quotations by previous authors against waḥda Sufis, i.e., the likes of Ibn ʿArabī. Many of al-Sakhāwī’s sources are now apparently lost, particularly those addressing the Shūdhiyya. Al-Sakhāwī’s two main sources regarding the Shūdhiyya, now lost, are Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī and Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī. Al-Sakhāwī only quoted Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī.
According to al-Sakhāwī,19 Quṭb al-Dīn Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-Qasṭallānī (614-686/1217-1287),20 an important traditionist and legist, as well as a practicing and well-informed Sufi,21 wrote at least two works against waḥda Sufism, namely Kitāb al-Irtibāṭ and Naṣīḥa ṣarīḥa min qarīḥa ṣaḥīḥa fī l-manʿ min al-daʿwā wa-shaṭḥ. Al-Qasṭallānī’s Naṣīḥa ṣarīḥa is extant and has already been edited,22 although in this work al-Qasṭallānī does not provide specific information about Shūdhī authors. It only lists some enraptured utterings (shaṭaḥāt) by Sufis of the classical period, like Abū Bakr al-Shiblī (d. 334/946). Al-Qasṭallānī’s main work regarding the Shūdhiyya is thus Kitāb al-Irtibāṭ, of which there are unfortunately no known extant copies and which is only known through al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-munbī and Taqī l-Dīn al-Fāsī al-Makkī’s (d. 832/1429) al-ʿIqd al-thamīn. The latter only quotes it regarding Ibn ʿArabī and Ibn Sabʿīn. Taqī l-Dīn al-Fāsī points out that al-Qasṭallānī devoted a work to waḥda Sufis covering from al-Ḥallāj to Ibn Sabʿīn.23
Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī is well known for strongly opposing Ibn Sabʿīn in Mecca. Al-Fāsī transmits Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s account of Ibn Sabʿīn’s beliefs.24 From this account, al-Qasṭallānī appears to be a reliable and fair source. His descriptions of Ibn Sabʿīn’s intellectual position are well-informed, clear and accurate. Even though he clearly rejects Ibn Sabʿīn’s views, his exposition does not seem to be affected by his disapproval of him. Thus, despite his polemical character, he appears to be a reliable source when it comes to authors against whom he is polemicizing.
The second main source of al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-munbī on the Shūdhiyya is the celebrated Qurʾānic commentator and grammarian, Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī. Athīr al-Dīn Abū Ḥayyān Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-Jayyānī al-Gharnāṭī (654-745/1256-1344)25 was a direct student of Ibn al-Zubayr in al-Andalus and, after leaving al-Andalus in 679/1280, of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī. Among many other works, Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī was the author of al-Nuḍār fī maslāt ʿan Nuḍār, a work now seeming lost but quoted by al-Sakhāwī, in which he addresses the Shūdhiyya. Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī transmits information in his al-Nuḍār from Ibn al-Zubayr’s Radʿ al-jāhil and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s Kitāb al-Irtibāṭ, as well as his personal experiences. Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī remarks that he had read parts of Ibn al-Zubayr’s Radʿ al-jāhil and that it was summarized by Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. ʿUmar b. Muḥammad al-Anṣārī al-Sabtī, known as Ibn al-Darrāj (d. 693/1294), in a work entitled Imāṭat al-adhiyya al-nāshiʾa min subāṭat al-Shūdhiyya,26 probably written before 679/1280, when Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī left al-Andalus.
And last, there are a number of sources that are particularly relevant for specific Shūdhī authors, such al-Dhahabī and Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn for al-Shūdhī, and Ibn al-Abbār and Ibn Abī Ḥajala for Ibn Aḥlā. I will address these sources in their specific places.
Early Shūdhiyya Period
According to Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, as quoted by al-Sakhāwī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī,29 the strand advocating absolute unity (al-ṭāʾifa al-qāʾila bi-l-waḥda al-muṭlaqa) had its origins in a number of individuals who followed al-Ḥallāj’s (d. 309/922) teachings, once his works were disseminated. Al-Qasṭallānī points out that his group embraced a similar strategy to the Ismāʿīliyya: they adopted secrecy (kitmān), and requested a pledge (ʿahd) to whomever answered their invitation (daʿwa). A member of this secret group espousing Ḥallājian views, according to al-Qasṭallānī, was Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shūdhī, whom Ibn al-Marʾa encountered in Tlemcen and whom he took as his master. Ibn al-Marʾa would later bring al-Shūdhī’s Ḥallājian views to Murcia, from where the Shūdhiyya later spread. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī bases his account of the origins of the Shūdhiyya on the authority of Ibn al-Marʾa’s direct disciple, Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī.30
Even though the Shūdhiyya is named after the elusive Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shūdhī, the central figure of the early period is his disciple, Ibn al-Marʾa. I will first introduce Ibn al-Marʾa, since historical sources on al-Shūdhī are problematic and the issues around his figure may be better understood after some prior background on Ibn al-Marʾa.
Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm b. Yūsuf b. Muḥammad b. Dihāq (or Ibn Dahhāq) al-Awsī,31 known in his lifetime as Ibn al-Marʾa (d. 611/1214), was an Andalusī Ashʿarite theologian and Sufi born in Malaga during the first half of the 6th/12th century. He was also proficient in Qurʾānic commentary, ḥadīth, fiqh and history. Little is known about his early life. According to Ibn al-Khaṭīb, he earned his livelihood as a dealer in Malaga, thus possibly related to his family name, Dihāq, and connected with dihqān, ‘grandee’, ‘dealer’. In his youth, he studied in Fes with Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Ḥirzihim (d. 559/1164) and with al-Ghazālī’s (d. 505/1111) direct disciple, Abū l-Ḥasan al-Kinānī (d. 569/1174), known as Ibn Ḥunayn,32 with whom Ibn al-Marʾa studied the al-Muwaṭṭaʾ. Ibn Ḥirzihim and al-Kinānī thoroughly studied al-Ghazālī’s Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn, so it is likely that Ibn al-Marʾa studied it with them33 since he knew it by heart.34 Ibn al-Marʾa, whose main work is a commentary of al-Juwaynī’s (d. 478/1085) Kitāb al-Irshād, also probably studied this work in Fes, perhaps with Ibn Ḥirzihim or his student, Abū ʿAmr ʿUthmān b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Salālijī (b. c. 521/1127-8, d. 564/1169, 574/1179 or 594/1197-8),35 the author of al-ʿAqīda al-burhāniyya,36 a short summary of Kitāb al-Irshād.37 Thus, considering Ibn Ḥirzihim’s date of death, Ibn al-Marʾa was probably born before 540/1145, most likely circa 530/1135.
After his formative period in Fes, Ibn al-Marʾa returned to Malaga, where he remained the major part of his life teaching rational theology (ʿilm al-kalām) and participating in Sufi gatherings. There, he also attracted a large number of the ‘common’.38 In Malaga, he was the teacher of celebrated grammarian and scholar in the religious sciences, Sharaf al-Dīn Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad b. Abī al-Faḍl al-Sulamī al-Mursī (b. 570/1174, d. 655/1257)39 in 590/119440 – who mentions that Ibn al-Marʾa excelled in the Sufi sciences and had no peer in al-Andalus in the fields in which he was proficient – and Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Aḥmad Ibn Muḥriz (d. 655/1257).41 At some point after 590/1194, the situation in Malaga for Ibn al-Marʾa became strained. Ibn al-Zubayr remarks that some of Ibn al-Marʾa’s students in Malaga, such as Ibn al-Zubayr’s would-be teacher, Abū Bakr b. al-Murābiṭ (d. 658/1260), who would ultimately become the qāḍī of Malaga,42 distanced themselves from him after pointing to practices forbidden by the sacred Law connected with cosmological properties (khawāṣṣ), a possible reference to sīmiyāʾ.43 Nevertheless, there is no information that Ibn al-Marʾa was judged or persecuted in Malaga, only that some of his students distanced themselves from him.44
As a result of the increasingly difficult times in Malaga, Ibn al-Marʾa’s prior students in that city, namely Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī and Ibn Muḥriz, called him to Murcia, where he ultimately moved. Ibn al-Marʾa spent the last part of his life in Murcia, where he died in 611/1214. Considering that Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī left al-Andalus around 604/1207-845 and that Ibn al-Marʾa is said to have spent most of his life in Malaga, he probably moved to Murcia shortly before or around the turn of the century.
The 590s AH represented a difficult period in al-Andalus for philosophers and possibly intellectual Sufis. In 591/1195, the Almohad sultan, Yaʿqub al-Manṣūr (r. 580-595/1184-1198), exiled Ibn Rushd to Lucena on charges of studying philosophy and the sciences of the ancients.46 Other members of this group with shared intellectual interests were also indicted. Among these was Abū l-Rabīʿ al-Kafīf from Malaga. Apparently, he, or somebody with his unusual name, was also a direct disciple of Ibn al-ʿArīf (d. 536/1141) and a Sufi master.47 Abū l-Rabīʿ al-Kafīf, of whom there is no information in biographical dictionaries despite being a salient figure, would have been a very young disciple of the late Ibn al-ʿArīf and an old member of Ibn Rushd’s group, probably at least ten years older than the latter. Considering Ibn al-Marʾa’s interest in the work of Ibn al-ʿArīf and his common origin with Abū l-Rabīʿ al-Kafīf in Malaga, a possible master-disciple or teacher-student relation between both could be surmised. This might help explain Ibn al-Marʾa’s difficult position in the 590s AH in Malaga.
From his extant works, we can argue that Ibn al-Marʾa was mainly an intellectual Sufi and an Ashʿarite theologian, who at times resorted to philosophical terminology. Nevertheless, in his work, he keeps both fields neatly separate and distinct. As a Sufi, Ibn al-Marʾa authored a commentary of Ibn al-ʿArīf’s Maḥāsin al-majālis, entitled Kitāb al-Qawānīn, a work which mostly deals with Sufi spiritual psychology from an Ashʿarite standpoint.48 As a theologian, he is the author of two important works: a lengthy commentary of al-Juwaynī’s (d. 478/1085) Kitāb al-Irshād, entitled Nukat al-Irshād fī l-ittiqād in four parts, and a short, recently edited Sharḥ asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā.49 Both works show a strong Ashʿarite approach with no noticeable Sufi elements. In Nukat al-Irshād, Ibn al-Marʾa repeatedly quotes the main representatives of the Ashʿarite school, namely al-Ashʿarī (d. 324/935-6), al-Bāqillānī (d. 403/1013), Ibn Fūrak (d. 406/1015), al-Isfarāyīnī (d. 418/1027), and, of course, al-Juwaynī; while he also engages and argues with the Muʿtazila. In addition to the above, Ibn al-Marʾa is also the author of a work on consensus (ijmāʿ), which apparently has not come down to us.
Early on, Ibn al-Marʾa was associated with the school of the waḥda muṭlaqa and distinguished from Ibn ʿArabī. In the classification of those seeking God (muhibbūn) in Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s Rawḍat al-taʿrīf, the author lists Ibn al-Marʾa among the Sufis of the waḥda muṭlaqa school, while he links Ibn ʿArabī to a different group of Sufis, whom he calls al-mutammimūn, i.e., those seeking perfection. The al-mutammimūn include Andalusī Sufis of the Almoravid period, namely Ibn Barrajān (d. 536/1141), Ibn al-ʿArīf and Ibn Qasī (d. 546/1151), and waḥda Sufis, such as Ibn al-Fāriḍ (d. 632/1235) and Ibn Sawdakīn (d. 646/1248). In his survey of the waḥda muṭlaqa school in Rawḍat al-taʿrīf, Ibn al-Khaṭīb only cites Ibn al-Marʾa by name, without providing any text by the latter or attributing any specific doctrine to him.50 In other extant refutations of waḥda Sufism such as Ibn Abī Ḥajala’s Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ, i.e., the concluding section of his Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ, – which mainly follows Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s Rawḍat al-taʿrīf on the Shūdhiyya – and al-Sakhāwī’s al-Qawl al-munbī, Ibn al-Marʾa is also only cited by name as the link between al-Shūdhī and Ibn Aḥlā, but none of his poetry or other texts are quoted.
However, the historian, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn (d. 808/1406), in order to provide an understanding of the Sufi school espousing absolute unity (waḥda muṭlaqa) and distinguishing Ibn al-Marʾa from Sufis such as Ibn ʿArabī, provides a short account of Ibn al-Marʾa’s views in his al-Muqaddima.51
Rosenthal’s translation of this section (with my own minor changes) is as follows:52
Other [Sufis] turned to affirming absolute oneness (al-waḥda al-muṭlaqa). This is a theory (even) stranger than the first one [sc. the theory of divine Self-disclosure (tajallī)] to understand in its implications and details. They believe that existence (wujūd) possesses powers (quwan) in its particularizations (tafāṣīl) that bring the realities, forms, and matters of the existing things (mawjūdāt) into being. The elements come into being through the powers that are in them. The same is the case with their matter, which has in itself a power that has brought about its existence. Composite things contain such powers implicit in the power that brought about [their] composition. For instance, the mineral power contains the powers of the elements of matter and, in addition, the mineral power. The animal power contains the mineral power and, in addition, its own power. The same is the case with the human power as compared to animal power. The firmament contains the human power and something in addition. The same applies to the spiritual essences.
Now, the power combining everything without any particularization (tafṣīl) is the divine power (al-quwwa al-ilahiyya). It is the power distributed over all existing things, whether they are universal or particular, combining and comprising them in every aspect, with regard to appearance and hiddenness and with regard to form and matter. Everything is one. [Oneness] is identical with the divine essence. In reality, [the divine essence] is one and simple. The thing that divides it is the way [we] look at it (al-iʿtibār huwa al-mufaṣṣil lahā). For instance, as to the relationship of humanity to animality, it is clear that the former is included under the latter and comes into being when it comes into being. At times, [the Sufis] represent the relationship as that of genus to species, [which exists] in every existing thing, as we have mentioned. Or, they represent it as that of the universal to the particular, according to the theory of ideas (mithāl). At any rate, they always try to get away from any thought of composition (tarkīb) or manifoldness (kuthra). They think that [manifoldness] is brought about by fancy (wahm) and imagination (khayāl).
It appears from the discussion of Ibn Dihāq [sc. Ibn al-Marʾa], who explains this [Sufi] theory, that what the [Sufis] say about oneness is actually similar to what the philosophers say about colours, namely, that their existence is dependent (mashrūṭ) upon light (ḍawʾ). When there is no light, no colours whatever exist. Thus, the [Sufis] think that all existing sensibilia are dependent upon the existence of some [faculty of] sensual perception (al-mudrik al-ḥissī) and, in fact, that all existing intelligibilia and objects of imagination are dependent upon the existence of some [faculty of] intellectual perception. Thus, every particular existence (al-wujūd al-mufaṣṣal) is dependent upon the existence of the human perceiver (al-mudrik al-basharī). If we assume that no human being perceiver exists, there would be no particularization in existence. Existence would be simple and one.
Thus, heat and cold, solidity and softness, and, indeed, earth, water, fire, heaven, and the stars exist only because the senses perceiving them exist, because particularization that does not exist in existence is produced in the perceiver. It exists only in the faculties of perception. If there were no faculties of perception to create distinctions, there would be no particularization, but just one single perception, namely, the ‘I’ and nothing else. They consider this comparable to the condition of a sleeper. When he sleeps and has no external sense perception, he loses in that condition all [perception of] sensibilia, with the exception of the things that the imagination particularizes for him. They continued by saying that a person who is awake likewise experiences particularized perceptions only through the type of human perception [that exists] in him. If he had not his faculty of perception, there would be no particularization. This is what the [Sufis] mean when they say ‘imaginary’ (wahm). They do not mean ‘imaginary’ as a part of the ensemble of the human faculties of perceptions.
This is a short exposition of their opinion, as gathered from the discussion of Ibn Dihāq [sc. Ibn al-Marʾa]. It is most erroneous. We know for certain that a country which we have quitted on our travels or to which we are traveling, exists, despite the fact that we do not see it any more. We also have definite knowledge of the existence of heaven that overlooks [everything], and of the stars, and of all the other things that are remote from us. Man knows these things for certain. No one would deny to himself [the existence of] certain knowledge. In addition, competent (muḥaqqiq) recent Sufis say that during the removal [of the veil], the Sufi novice often has a feeling of the oneness [of existence]. Sufis call that the station of ‘combination’ (jamʿ). But then, he progresses to distinguishing between existent things. That is considered by the Sufis the station of ‘differentiation’ (farq). That is the station of the competent gnostic (al-ʿārif al-muḥaqqiq). The [Sufis] believe that the novice cannot avoid the ravine of ‘combination’, and this ravine causes difficulties for him because there is danger that he might be arrested at it and his enterprise thus come to naught.
The above beliefs that Ibn Khaldūn attributes to Ibn al-Marʾa are not present in the latter’s woks. In his commentary to Maḥāsin al-majālis and in his Nukat al-Irshād, both still in manuscript form,53 Ibn al-Marʾa uses the contrasting terms, wujūd muṭlaq, or ‘absolute existence’ associated with God, and wujūd muqayyad, or ‘limited existence’ associated with beings other than God.54 Such terminology was common in al-Andalus during the Almohad period, since Ibn Tūmart (d. 524/1130) uses it.55 For Ibn al-Marʾa, as in his extant texts, this distinction exists in reality and is perceived by the intellect,56 not posited by it.
Ibn al-Marʾa is a theologian who uses the wujūd muṭlaq and wujūd muqayyad terminology in a theological sense, not a philosophical one. Ibn al-Marʾa uses ‘existence’ (wujūd) as a synonym for ‘existent’ (mawjūd),57 so that wujūd muṭlaq becomes the absolute existent, i.e., God, while wujūd muqayyad refers to any limited existent, i.e., any created being. It is important to stress that, for Ibn al-Marʾa, limited existence (wujūd muqayyad) is not a limitation of absolute existence, i.e., the existence particular to God, since God’s existence – i.e., God’s being – cannot be divided or limited, as limitation entails either a similarity, a contrariety or a difference with other limited existents. Consequently, a limited thing becomes a genus, whereas God has no resemblance whatsoever or a differentia so as to fall within a genus.58 For Ibn al-Marʾa, the term ‘limited existence’ translates as ‘limited existent’ and is simply a description of existents other than God. It does not connote any relationship between the existences of God and created beings.
Moreover, Ibn al-Marʾa strongly distinguishes between God and creation. In his discussion on whether there is an identity between the name (ism) and the named (musammā) regarding the names of God, he identifies name and named when it comes to the names of the Essence of God. However, he strongly distinguishes the name and the named regarding the names of action, such as in the name, ‘the Creator’ (al-Khāliq). In this case, the name, i.e., creation (khalq), is different from the named, i.e., God as Creator,59 so that Creator and creation are essentially different. In addition, Ibn al-Marʾa is rather harsh regarding ittiḥādī and ḥulūlī doctrines, which he identifies with the views of Christians and Qarmatians.60 In Ibn al-Marʾa’s view, God does not enter creation, contrary to what happens in ḥulūl; nor does He exit it, since this would entail being limited by time and space and becoming a created being Himself.61
Even though Ibn al-Marʾa is an Ashʿarī theologian and Sufi with no apparent waḥda leanings and clearly distinguishes between God and creation, in some instances in Nukat al-Irshād he discusses some Sufi views as a theologian regarding the relationship between divine and created existences. For instance, when Ibn al-Marʾa criticizes those who view attributes originated-in-time (ḥudūth) of bodies as effused from God, thus mixing originated-in-time and eternal attributes, he discusses a rewording of the famous Sufi saying, ‘God was alone before creation, and He is now as He was’, which he attributes to al-Junayd (d. ca. 298/910). Ibn al-Marʾa summarizes this position with the otherwise unknown Sufi saying attributed to an ʿārif, ‘His existence is close to my existence through Him’ (wujūduhu ʿinda wujūdī bihi).62 Ibn al-Marʾa rephrases this saying as ‘Creation comes into existence through Him and that through creation the Lord is known’ and points out that its meaning is correct. In the context of his rational scholastic theology in Nukat al-Irshād, which sharply distinguishes between God and creation, this puzzling Sufi saying may be the closest statement to some sort of waḥda, although Ibn al-Marʾa’s interpretation of this saying clearly distinguishes between divine and created existences. Ibn al-Marʾa’s interpretation, rather than making a waḥda Sufi of him, places him within the long Andalusī tradition of iʿtibārism,63 which entertains the idea that God is known through creation.64
In addition, as a Sufi, when Ibn al-Marʾa comments Maḥāsin al-majālis on the attainment of the spiritual goal, he paraphrases Ibn al-ʿArīf’s text almost verbatim65 and uses the same terminology employed by Ibn al-ʿArīf based on contemplation and witnessing:66
So all these stations (maqāmāt) already mentioned are the dwellings (manāzil) of the people of the Law, the wayfarers to the source of reality (ʿayn al-ḥaqīqa). As long as they remain in the path enfolded by stations and allotments, they have not arrived. When they witness (shahidū) the source of reality, their souls become concealed from them and their allotments vanish. These are the states (aḥwāl) [sc. the states associated with the stations] of the wayfarers until what was not by its being becomes annihilated (ḥattā yafnā mā lam yakun bi-kawnihi),67 he [i.e., the wayfarer] has no experience of his soul and he does not see (yarā) himself – even if he is second –; and [until the One] who does not cease to be remains (yabqā); and He is God (al-Ḥaqq) and does not cease to be. So when he has experience of Him and is heedless of any other than Him, he has arrived.
Ibn al-Marʾa follows Ibn al-ʿArīf closely and shares his terminology. The attainment of true reality is explained in terms of contemplation, vision and heedlessness from the world. The vocabulary they both employ falls within what would later be called waḥdat al-shuhūd, or unity of witnessing, where waḥda is only an experience and does not entail real existential unity between God and creation.
In short, from his own work, Ibn al-Marʾa appears to be a fully-fledged Ashʿarite theologian of the Almohad period and a Sufi mainly concerned with spiritual psychology. However, despite his frequent use of the term wujūd, there are no elements in his extant works allowing us to classify him as a waḥda Sufi. At most, his statement that God is known through creation would place him in the tradition of Andalusī iʿtibārism. Nevertheless, his use of the terms wujūd muṭlaq and wujūd muqayyad links him with developments in Andalusī Sufism along waḥda lines, to which, nonetheless, Ibn al-Marʾa remains alien, at least as from his extant works.
Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant works can be explained considering the intellectual circles in Malaga and Fes that he frequented during his formative period. Nevertheless, he is known as the disciple of Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shūdhī (fl. 6th/12th century),68 despite the fact that al-Shūdhī is not mentioned as Ibn al-Marʾa’s teacher in the biographies devoted to him and written in al-Andalus. Currently, al-Shūdhī is presented as a qāḍī from Seville who fled al-Andalus from being persecuted as an heretic69 and settled in Tlemcen to pursue the life of a gyrovague Sufi wandering around the markets of Tlemcen. He is known in Tlemcen as al-Ḥalwī, after whom a mosque was built in the city.70
Very little is known about the elusive al-Shūdhī, whose persona has acquired some mythical traits considering the hagiographical character of the accounts about him. Based on the extant biographical sources, al-Shūdhī seems a one-disciple master, since there is no other disciple recorded in sources. The most reliable information about him is only transmitted by Ibn al-Marʾa or on his authority. There are two primary sources that mention al-Shūdhī.
The main account about al-Shūdhī is transmitted by al-Dhahabī in his Siyar aʿlām al-nubalāʾ.71 In his biography devoted to Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Sulamī al-Mursī, Ibn al-Marʾa’s close disciple in Malaga and who later called him to Murcia as mentioned above, al-Dhahabī provides an account by Ibn al-Marʾa of his meeting with al-Shūdhī in Tlemcen. Al-Dhahabī points out that the source of this information is Yāqūt,72 i.e., Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī (d. 626/1129), the author of the Muʿjam al-udabbāʾ, who got this information personally from al-Mursī in Damascus, and himself from Ibn al-Marʾa. However, the biography devoted to al-Mursī in the edited version of Yāqūt’s Muʿjam does not contain such account by Ibn al-Marʾa; nor it is found anywhere else in the edition of Yāqūt’s book.73
The account of the meeting between Ibn al-Marʾa and al-Shūdhī seemingly aims to reinforce a notable place for Ibn al-Marʾa in the field of Qurʾānic commentary and the Sufi sciences from which al-Mursī would have benefitted. It contains very little biographical information about al-Shūdhī other than their meeting in Tlemcen. Al-Shūdhī is described as an elusive, poor man of short height who avoided being seen praying. The period in which the meeting took place is not provided. Nevertheless, the verb that al-Dhahabī uses to present the relationship between Ibn al-Marʾa and al-Shūdhī – ‘studied with’ (qaraʾa ʿalā), i.e., Ibn al-Marʾa studied with al-Shūdhī – and the context74 introducing his account suggest that it took place during Ibn al-Marʾa’s late youth or early maturity, probably after his formative period in Fes, thus around the 550s AH or early 560s AH.
The account is intended to frame the relationship between al-Shūdhī and Ibn al-Marʾa as one based on the transmission of knowledge, which is exclusively envisioned here as the correct spiritual interpretation of the Qurʾān. Upon their initial meeting, al-Shūdhī pointed out to Ibn al-Marʾa that, without studying the sciences (ʿulūm), Ibn al-Marʾa’s soul amounted to nothing, despite Ibn al-Marʾa’s experience of some photisms. Ibn al-Marʾa answered, as an indication of his proficiency in the religious sciences, that he knew the Qurʾān by heart with the different transmissions (riwāyāt) of its methods of recitation. Nevertheless, al-Shūdhī, answering back, identified the sciences exclusively with the knowledge of the real spiritual meaning (taʾwīl bi-l-ḥaqīqa) of the Qurʾān. Al-Shūdhī, he continues, had studied the religious sciences for forty years and then decided to commit himself exclusively to knowledge graciously granted by God. Thus, the relationship between al-Shūdhī and Ibn al-Marʾa was based on the transmission of the real interpretation (taʾwīl) of the Qurʾān gained through gracious inspiration. This account also points out that al-Shūdhī stated that, by the time of his meeting with Ibn al-Marʾa, he was a hundred and ten years old and that, in case the pole (quṭb) of the time – an unidentified Ibn Ashqar – would die before him, al-Shūdhī would become the pole. If this account is true, al-Shūdhī was a Sufi within Ibn Barrajān’s and al-Ghazālī’s generation.
A second and problematic source on al-Shūdhī, with part of its information allegedly transmitted based on the authority of Ibn al-Marʾa, is Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn’s (d. 780/1378-9) local history of Tlemcen, Bughyat al-ruwwād.75 Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, the brother of the famous historian, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn, wrote his history of Tlemcen during his stay in the city between 776/1374-5 and 780/1378-9 when he was assassinated.76
In Bughyat al-ruwwād, Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn most likely conflates different accounts about at least two different Sufis: Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shūdhī and the later Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥalwī (fl. mid-7th/13th century), a local saint in Tlemcen and possibly of Andalusī origin, after whom the Sid El Haloui mosque in Tlemcen was named. Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn combines news from different informants and textual sources of hagiographical character and regards Ibn al-Marʾa (Ibn Dihāq) as the eponymous of any disciple appearing in anecdotes of the conflated al-Shūdhī/al-Ḥalwī.77 According to Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, on the authority of Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Ābilī,78 apparently Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Shūdhī al-Ishbīlī known as al-Ḥalwī was a judge (qāḍī) based in Seville who fled al-Andalus by the end of the rule of the Almohads (ākhir dawlat banī ʿAbd al-Muʾmin).79 This probably refers to the period between 625/1228, when al-Mutawakkil ʿalā Allāh Muḥammad b. Yūsuf b. Hūd (d. 635/1238) seized control over al-Andalus from the Almohads, and 646/1248, when Seville fell to Ferdinand III of Castile (d. 1252). Thus, al-Ḥalwī arrived in Tlemcen at least twenty years after the death of Ibn al-Marʾa. Consequently, al-Ḥalwī could not have been Ibn al-Marʾa’s teacher. In addition, there are no reports of a judge in Seville by the name of al-Shūdhī. In any case, al-Ḥalwī’s fleeing from al-Andalus would not be connected with any kind of ideological persecution in Seville as an alleged heretic espousing waḥda beliefs, as the conflation of al-Shūdhī and al-Ḥalwī may suggest, but with the so-called Reconquista and the deteriorating situation in Seville.
Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn’s biography of al-Shūdhī/al-Ḥalwī also contains an account of the meeting between Ibn al-Marʾa and al-Shūdhī/al-Ḥalwī, framed within a narrative with hagiographical purposes.80 In this account, the rather private character of al-Shūdhī in al-Dhahabī’s narrative contrasts with al-Shūdhī/al-Ḥalwī showing clear signs of sanctity. In addition, Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn points out that Ibn al-Marʾa met al-Shūdhī when he travelled from Murcia to Tlemcen to visit his aunt and that he spent two years under al-Shūdhī’s direction. It is very likely that the reference to Murcia would be an interpolation that has slipped into the transmission of this account, perhaps by Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn himself, since Ibn al-Marʾa was connected with Murcia only late in life, when his disciples already acknowledged him as a proficient Sufi.
In addition to the previous sources, al-Sakhāwī, quoting Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī, points out that Ibn al-Marʾa studied theology (ʿilm al-kalām) with al-Shūdhī.81
As to al-Shūdhī’s extant writings, there is only a short poem attributed to him containing references to wujūd, i.e., existence, quoted in all the sources considered above:
The first source to transmit this poem is Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī on the authority of Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī, as quoted by al-Sakhāwī. It is also quoted by al-Dhahabī, also on the authority of Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī. In addition, Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn also includes it in Bughyat al-ruwwād, although he does not state his source.82
There is also a reference to an al-Sūdī, arguably, al-Shūdhī, as an authority mentioned in Kashf al-rān, a work on the zāyrja, in which al-Sūdī is mentioned together with other Shūdhī Sufis, the main one being Ibn Sabʿīn.83 In addition, I have not been able to identify any quotations or references to al-Shūdhī in Ibn al-Marʾa’s work. Considering the paucity of sources, we cannot know al-Shūdhī’s actual beliefs; however, his name, as the above poem shows, is linked to the concept of wujūd, particularly in the Ibn Sabʿīn school.84
In short, the historicity of al-Shūdhī seems difficult to be denied, since apparently Ibn al-Marʾa himself informed his disciple Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī about him, while al-Mursī was the direct source for Yāqūt/al-Dhahabī’s account. In this sense, the account transmitted by al-Dhahabī seems the most reliable as it is based on direct information provided by Ibn al-Marʾa’s close disciple, al-Mursī. From the collation of available sources, al-Shūdhī seems to represent the sudden appearance of an otherwise unknown saint, whom Ibn al-Marʾa met in Tlemcen during the latter part of his formative period around the 550s AH or early 560s AH. Ibn al-Marʾa may have been the disciple of al-Shūdhī during a rather short period of his life, perhaps the two years mentioned by Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn. It is very likely that al-Shūdhī’s teachings would be focused on the spiritual interpretation of the Qurʾān, either by transmitting spiritual practices so as to enable Ibn al-Marʾa to directly grasp such meanings by himself, or by transmitting his own interpretation to him. In any case, al-Shūdhī seems to have died or been banished shortly after the period during which Ibn al-Marʾa met with him in Tlemcen. There are no reports of frequent trips by Ibn al-Marʾa to meet his master in Tlemcen or of Ibn al-Marʾa’s disciples traveling to Tlemcen to learn from al-Shūdhī. In fact, there are no further reports of any meetings with al-Shūdhī by anybody except the one by Ibn al-Marʾa. An additional indication of al-Shūdhī having died or being banished after teaching Ibn al-Marʾa is the conflation of his persona with al-Ḥalwī in Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn’s account. Considering the fame of the madhhab al-Shūdhī, i.e., the Shūdhiyya Sufi strand, after Ibn Aḥlā and Ibn Sabʿīn, it is very likely that either Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn or his sources sought news from al-Shūdhī in local accounts in Tlemcen and, not finding any, they ended up filling the gap by fusing al-Shūdhī with the local saint al-Ḥalwī, apparently a qāḍī from Seville arriving in Tlemcen after Ibn al-Marʾa had already died.
Early Shūdhiyya and waḥda muṭlaqa
The current state of research shows an evident and puzzling contrast between Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant work and his classification as an author with waḥda muṭlaqa leanings by later scholars, such as Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn.
Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, as quoted by al-Sakhāwī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī, points out, on the authority of Ibn al-Marʾa’s direct disciple, Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī, that al-Shūdhī and Ibn al-Marʾa espoused the belief in waḥda muṭlaqa, and that al-Shūdhī belonged to a secret group inspired by Ḥallājian views. These assertions are not supported by Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant work. As noted above, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī appears to be a reliable source, despite his polemic character. He remarks that he knew Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī personally.85 This was clearly so, since Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī is listed as one of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s teachers, with whom he studied Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim.86 In addition, Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī was certainly Ibn al-Marʾa’s close disciple87 with first-hand knowledge of him.88 Consequently, there is no salient reason to deny the veracity of al-Qasṭallānī’s statement, other than maybe the possibility of errors inadvertently introduced by Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī or al-Sakhāwī, or in the manuscript tradition. Thus, considering Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s reliable account, it cannot be ruled out that Ibn al-Marʾa would have a more public profile as an Ashʿarite theologian and Sufi master teaching ethical Sufism, and an esoteric, exclusively oral teaching transmitting al-Shūdhī’s views based on earlier elaborations of waḥda muṭlaqa.
As to ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn, his exposition of Ibn al-Marʾa’s views upholding waḥda muṭlaqa has no clear sources. It is not based on any known text authored by Ibn al-Marʾa or by later authors. One possibility to trace its origin is al-Shūdhī’s poem. This poem was transmitted in the east by Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī to Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī and was later transmitted by other eastern authors, such as Yāqūt and al-Dhahabī. In fact, to my knowledge, before Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, there are no transmissions of this poem in the west. Authors such as Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn al-Khaṭīb, or Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī do not quote it. This suggests that Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn took it from an eastern source, maybe through al-Ābilī, since he quotes al-Ābilī as his source about al-Shūdhī and Ibn al-Marʾa in Tlemcen. Even though the news transmitted by Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn on the alleged authority of al-Ābilī are hagiographical and spurious, al-Ābilī may be the one who transmitted al-Shūdhī’s poem to the brothers ʿAbd al-Raḥmān and Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn. As noted above, al-Ābilī was the teacher of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn in his youth, so he might have been Yaḥyā’s teacher too, since Yaḥyā was only two years younger that his brother, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān. In addition, al-Ābilī was indirectly connected with Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, since al-Ābilī transmits a saying by al-Qasṭallānī.89 Be that as it may, Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn was exposed to an eastern source, from which he took al-Shūdhī’s poem. This source may have been the same on which ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn based his exposition of Ibn al-Marʾa’s alleged waḥda views.
In short, even though Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant work do not allow us to sustain that he held waḥda muṭlaqa views, this cannot be completely ruled out in light of the personal information transmitted by Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī, Ibn al-Marʾa’s direct disciple.
Middle Shūdhiyya Period
The second Shūdhiyya period begins with the turn of the century or shortly thereafter when Ibn al-Marʾa moved to Murcia, attracting a large following of the ʿāmma, i.e., those who did not belong to the class of the learned. However, Ibn al-Marʾa’s teachings also reached the class of the ulema in the south-east region of al-Andalus. Nevertheless, tracing the students of a controversial figure, or those seen as such, as in his case, is difficult because such teachers tend not to be included in biographical works. Among the class of the learned, in addition to Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī who left al-Andalus in 604/1207-8, Ibn al-Marʾa’s two known students in Malaga – the traditionist and man of letters, Abū Bakr b. Muḥriz, and the qāḍī of Guadix and Malaga, Abū Bakr b. al-Murābiṭ born in Orihuela – became important ulema in Valencia and the south-east region of al-Andalus. After Castilian forces entered Murcia and reduced the city to vassalage, both moved to Orihuela were they became members of the so-called Wizāra ʿIṣāmiyya, although ultimately Ibn al-Murābiṭ moved to Malaga and Ibn Muḥriz to Marrakesh and Bejaya, where he died.
In addition to the theologian and Sufi, Ibn Aḥlā, who will be considered in some detail below, two other students of Ibn al-Marʾa in Murcia are listed in biographical literature, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Waṣla in Murcia90 and Abū Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq b. Barṭuluh.91 There are no further occurrences of both names, as such, in early sources, and, in fact, there are no other mentions of any other Ibn Waṣla in Arabic names. Regarding Ibn Waṣla, since the digraph bāʾ rāʾ can be mistaken for a wāw in manuscripts, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Waṣla may easily be a misreading of Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Barṭuluh, since misreading the digraph bāʾ rāʾ for a wāw, both would then only differ because of the stroke distinguishing a ṣād from a ṭāʾ. Thus, it is possible that both names refer to the same individual, the well-known qāḍī and preacher of Murcia, Abū Muḥammad Ibn Barṭuluh, i.e., Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Barṭuluh (580-661/1184-1263),92 who emigrated to Bejaya and Tunis after 640/1242-3. Nevertheless, in the biographies devoted to Abū Muḥammad Ibn Barṭuluh, Ibn al-Marʾa does not appear as his teacher.
With respect to Abū Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq b. Barṭuluh, he may be Abū Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Barṭuluh as well. We can surmise that Ibn Barṭuluh was widely known in Bejaya and Tunis as simply, Abū Muḥammad, and that later Tunisian scholars, such as Ibn Farḥūn in his Dībāj, tried to tentatively supplement his name; consequently, Abū Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Barṭuluh could become Abū Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Ḥaqq b. Barṭuluh. Abū Muḥammad Ibn Barṭuluh brought the letter by the ruler of Mecca, Abū Numayy Muḥammad (r. 652-701/1254-1301), with the allegiance (bayʿa) paid to the Ḥafṣid ruler, Muḥammad I al-Mustanṣir (r. 647-675/1249-1277),93 after Abū Numayy followed the suggestion by Ibn Sabʿīn. Be that as it may, Ibn al-Marʾa’s known students were among the key scholars of the south-east region of al-Andalus and, particularly, the area of Murcia.94
Al-Ghubrīnī mentions an additional student, Abū ʿUthmān Saʿīd b. ʿAbd Allāh, known as al-Jamal, although it is not clear whether he studied with Ibn al-Marʾa in Malaga or Murcia. Al-Jamal is described as a learned scholar on the principles of religion and jurisprudence and as a pious Sufi based in Bejaya.95
Among the direct disciples of Ibn al-Marʾa in Murcia with Shūdhī tendencies, biographical dictionaries single out the theologian and Sufi, Ibn Aḥlā, that is, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Ibn Aḥlā al-Anṣārī (580-645/1184-5-1247) from Lorca, south-west of Murcia. Ibn Aḥlā eventually became the most renowned figure of the second Shūdhiyya period,96 although Ibn Aḥlā and his followers referred to their Sufi strand as madhhab al-taḥqīq, i.e., the school of verification.97 With Ibn Aḥlā, the Shūdhiyya gained visibility in al-Andalus as a defined Sufi strand with a distinct set of beliefs and a wide following, ultimately resulting in Ibn Aḥlā’s accession to power in the area of Lorca during the third Taifa period.
Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca took place in the context of the fall of the Almohad dominion over al-Andalus and the rapidly advancing Christian conquest. After the collapse of the Almohads in the Iberian Peninsula in 625/1228, al-Mutawakkil Muḥammad b. Yūsuf Ibn Hūd took over the rule of al-Andalus, except for the region of Valencia under the rule of Zayyān b. Mardanīsh (d. 668/1269-70). With the assassination of Ibn Hūd in Almeria in 635/1238, ʿAzīz b. Khaṭṭāb (d. 636/1239),98 a member of the local patriciate with important positions in the Hūdid administration, ruled the Taifa of Murcia for a few months during the year 636/1238 before Zayyān b. Mardanīsh, who had lost Valencia to James I of Aragon, seized power in Murcia, also for a short time. As a consequence of the assassination of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd and the chaos that ensued, Orihuela and Lorca became independent cities ruled by local patriciates. In the case of Orihuela, a short-lived semi-independent republic of letters known as the Wizāra ʿIṣāmiyya,99 ruled by the former governor of Orihuela under Ibn Hūd, Abū Jaʿfar b. ʿIsām, attracted scholars and learned secretaries of the Hūdid administration, many of whom had Sufi inclinations, including students of Ibn al-Marʾa such as Ibn Muḥriz. In parallel, Lorca became a center of Shūdhī transmission and learning under Ibn Aḥlā after he opposed the city of Murcia’s vassalage to Castilian forces in 640/1243 under the treaty of Alcaraz. Violent clashes in Lorca and Murcia should have taken place shortly before, since in 1242 slaves from Murcia and Lorca were sold in Mallorca. In the bordering area between the short-lived vassal emirate of Murcia initially ruled by al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd’s uncle, Bahāʾ al-Dawla Muḥammad b. Hūd (d. 657/1259), and the nascent Naṣrid kingdom of Granada, Lorca remained a semi-independent city under Christian vassalage100 until some point before 655/1257, the year when documents show that privileges were granted by Alfonso X to Christians in Lorca. Lorca should have fallen to the Christians shortly before, that is, around 653/1255 or 654/1256, since in 1256 a Muslim slave from Lorca was sold in Mallorca.101
Except for a few excerpts of Ibn Aḥlā’s poetry in biographical literature, his writings are not known to be extant. Our knowledge of Ibn Aḥlā is thus mainly based on biographical and polemical literature. Our main sources for Ibn Aḥlā are Ibn al-Abbār, Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn Abī Ḥajala. Ibn al-Zubayr’s account is qualified by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī and Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī.
The closest source to Ibn Aḥlā is Ibn al-Abbār (d. 658/1260), who died a decade after him. A prominent and well-informed actor in the political turmoil of eastern al-Andalus during the third Taifa period, Ibn al-Abbār, a long-time student of Abū Bakr b. Muḥriz in Valencia, sojourned in Murcia at the end of 636/1239 before definitely leaving for Tunis in 637/1240. Ibn al-Abbār included the biography of Ibn Aḥlā in his al-Ḥulla al-Siyarāʾ.102 Ibn al-Abbār’s biography devoted to Ibn Aḥlā mostly focuses on his rule over Lorca and his opposition to the Christian campaign, rather than on his theological views. He did not include Ibn Aḥlā’s biography in al-Takmila, which was the main source for eastern biographical sources about the scholars of al-Andalus who flourished during the Almohad and third Taifa periods.
Ibn al-Abbār points out that Ibn Aḥlā belonged to a patrician family of Muwallad origin in Lorca. He taught and wrote books on theology (ʿilm al-kalām) and attracted students to Lorca. Given his noble origin, courage and copious wealth, the local population in Lorca asked him to rule over the city, a proposition which he initially refused. However, after the political turmoil that ensued after the assassination of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd and, particularly, when Castilian forces reduced Murcia to vassalage in 640/1243, he accepted. According to Ibn al-Abbār, Ibn Aḥlā negotiated and fought until a peace treaty was reached, lasting at least until his death in 645/1247. The overall impression transmitted by Ibn al-Abbār and corroborated by Ibn Saʿīd al-Maghribī103 is that Ibn Aḥlā’s theological views played no role in his accession to power in Lorca and that his relevance was ultimately due to his patrician origin and his strong opposition to the Christian advance. If Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca had been the result of a violent push to establish a Sufi emirate, Ibn al-Abbār would have most likely included this fact in al-Ḥulla al-siyarāʾ, much in the same way that he pointed out Ibn Qasī’s (d. 546/1151) revolt.104 Thus, Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca most likely did not result from a violent push aimed at establishing an independent Sufi emirate but, rather, from his strong opposition to the Christian advance.
Ibn al-Zubayr remarks that he had personal in-depth ‘knowledge of Ibn Aḥlā’s inner states (aḥwāl) and of his followers which nobody else had’.105 According to his Radʿ al-jāhil quoted by al-Sakhāwī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī, Ibn al-Zubayr was asked to go to Lorca where he served as Ibn Aḥlā’s son’s grammar teacher, spending a few years there.106 Nevertheless, Ibn al-Zubayr, who was born in 627/1230, was barely eighteen years old when Ibn Aḥlā died in 645/1247. Thus, in all likelihood, Ibn al-Zubayr could only be appointed teacher a few years after Ibn Aḥlā’s death, considering the time needed to gain enough fame as an Arabic teacher to call the attention of the ruling family in Lorca.107 This is confirmed by the personal details that he provides of his meeting with Ibn Aḥlā’s main disciple, Muḥammad b. ʿAlī Ibn Muṭarrif al-Judhāmī (d. 663-4/1264-5), in his biography devoted to him in his Kitāb Ṣilat al-ṣila.108 There, he clearly states that he met Ibn Muṭarrif both in Lorca and in Murcia, frequented him and asked him many questions regarding their madhhab, whereas such personal details are missing from his biography of Ibn Aḥlā. From the collation of both biographies, it is clear that Ibn al-Zubayr did not personally meet Ibn Aḥlā and that the views that he attributes to Ibn Aḥlā stem from his personal meetings with Ibn Muṭarrif. However, it is not clear to what extent they may be similar, since there are no extant works by Ibn Muṭarrif either.
According to Ibn al-Zubayr in Ṣilat al-ṣila, Ibn Aḥlā was a student of theology (kalām) of the late Ibn al-Marʾa in Murcia, who introduced Ibn Aḥlā to his school (madhhab), most probably during the first decade of the 600 AH when Ibn Aḥlā was in his twenties. At some point, back in Lorca and always according to Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn Aḥlā began to secretly spread Ibn al-Marʾa’s theological beliefs. Ibn Aḥlā was then summoned to Murcia and imprisoned, which, as Ibn al-Zubayr implies, was due to these proselytizing activities. When Ibn Aḥlā recovered his freedom, he went back to Lorca and eventually became the ruler of the city. Ibn al-Zubayr does not provide any reason explaining how or why he achieved such a prominent position except that Ibn Aḥlā had the opportunity and took it. Thus, a violent seizure of power can be ruled out, since Ibn al-Zubayr, a hostile adversary of the Shūdhiyya, would have pointed this out without a doubt. Ibn Aḥlā compelled the local population, Ibn al-Zubayr continues, to adhere to his beliefs. Those who refused were exiled from Lorca or suffered economic and physical punishment. As a consequence, Ibn Aḥlā’s following increased among the local population. Ibn Aḥlā ruled with justice, except for those who openly refused to accept his beliefs. Ibn Aḥlā acted covertly against those defying him so that, in the end, he faced no further opposition in the city. Then, Ibn al-Zubayr continues, good government, perfect justice, equality and economic development flourished. Such good economic and social conditions attracted the ‘weak’ and the ‘uneducated’ in great numbers. Fame spread and the ‘ignoramuses’ rushed to Lorca to study and prosper although, Ibn al-Zubayr points out, they eventually went astray in their beliefs. This situation continued until Ibn Aḥlā died in 645/1247. In all likelihood, Ibn al-Zubayr’s account, extolling the equality and justice in Lorca under Ibn Aḥlā, aims to justify the arrival of significant numbers of people in Lorca who eventually followed the Shūdhiyya; this, in turn, serves to denigrate their learning.
Ibn al-Zubayr censures Ibn Aḥlā and his followers on a number of topics. In his Radʿ al-jāhil, quoted by Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, and by al-Sakhāwī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī,109 Ibn al-Zubayr remarks that Ibn Aḥlā’s group did not abide by the Islamic Law, a fact he illustrated by indicating that they made drinking wine and marrying more than four wives lawful.110 Ibn al-Zubayr then added that, in Ibn Aḥlā’s view, the learned were no longer compelled to fulfill the Islamic commands regarding ritual prayers and fasting.111 Ibn al-Zubayr does not provide any significant information about Ibn Aḥlā’s theological views in his Ṣilat al-ṣila. He may have provided them in Radʿ al-jāhil, although we only have indirect quotes. Nevertheless, Ibn al-Khaṭīb points out that Ibn al-Zubayr linked the Shūdhiyya to waḥda beliefs, termed as ittiḥād, at least once in a single quotation probably from Ibn al-Zubayr’s Radʿ al-jāhil, and thus probably addressing Ibn Aḥlā.112 In addition to the recurring ‘allowing the unlawful’ topos in Islamic heresiographies, thus placing the group in question (in this case, the Shūdhiyya) outside Islam, and to vague references to innovations in beliefs, Ibn al-Zubayr only consistently remarks that the Shūdhiyya commented the Qurʾān in an innovative way and with no knowledge. This can be seen particularly in his biography devoted to Ibn Muṭarrif. This suggests the open practice of the symbolic commentary of the Qurʾān. These statements link Ibn Aḥlā with earlier references to Ibn al-Marʾa and al-Shūdhī’s practices of commenting the Qurʾān pointed out by Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī.
An additional source about Ibn Aḥlā is the poet, anthologist, religious scholar and Sufi, Ibn Abī Ḥajala (d. 776/1375).113 Born in Tlemcen and based in Cairo, he was an outspoken polemist against waḥda Sufism. Ibn Abī Ḥajala wrote a collection of poetry (dīwān) answering some of Ibn al-Fāriḍ’s verses. This dīwān, entitled Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ fī muʿāraḍat Ibn al-Fāriḍ, concludes with a collection of advices in prose, entitled Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ wa-tamyīz al-ṣāliḥ min al-ṭāliḥ, to which the author appended a number of biographies devoted to waḥda Sufis, such as Ibn ʿArabī and Ibn Sabʿīn. An edition of Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ, including Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ, has been published recently,114 adding to the previous edition of Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ, in which this section is published as an independent work.115 In the introductory part of the final section of Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ devoted to biographies, Ibn Abī Ḥajala includes Ibn Aḥlā in the list of the waḥda Sufis he will be considering,116 although the published editions of Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ, both alone and as part of Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ, do not include such biography. However, the version of Ibn Abī Ḥajala’s Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ in MS Riyadh, Maktabat Jāmiʿat al-Imām Muḥammad b. Saʿūd al-Islāmiyya 8501, does include it.117
Ibn Abī Ḥajala bases his biography on information from Abū Bakr Ibn Masdī and quotations of some extant verses by Ibn Aḥlā taken from Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s Rawḍat al-taʿrīf.118 I will consider these quotations from Ibn al-Khaṭīb in more detail later.
Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Yūsuf Ibn Masdī al-Gharnāṭī (b. 599/1203, d. 663/ 1265), Ibn Abī Ḥajala’s source, was a traditionist and Sufi born in Granada.119 He travelled around al-Andalus in search of knowledge before leaving for the east in 620/1223-4 or 621/1224-5. After travelling through the north of Africa and Syria, Ibn Masdī finally settled in Mecca in the year 646/1248-9, where he lived until his death.120 In Mecca, he was one of Ibn al-Zubayr’s teachers for whom he wrote a permission (ijāza) to transmit his works in 659/1260-1.121 During this period Ibn Sabʿīn was also living in Mecca. It was also in Mecca where, late in life, Ibn Masdī wrote a biographical dictionary in rhymed prose listing his teachers and the illustrious people whom he had met during his life, entitled Muʿjam al-shuyūkh. This biographical dictionary, i.e., Ibn Abī Ḥajala’s source, is unfortunately lost and is only known through later quotations, mainly by biographical sources written in the east, as it was seldom known in the west.
Ibn Masdī, as quoted by Ibn Abī Ḥajala, points out that Ibn Aḥlā was the ruler of his hometown, Lorca. Considering that these events took place in 640/1243, long after Ibn Masdī had left al-Andalus around 620/1223-4, he based his biography about Ibn Aḥlā on information transmitted to him by informants from al-Andalus, probably when he was already established in Mecca. Among his possible informants, his student, Ibn al-Zubayr, stands out as the most likely one. Ibn Masdī points out that Ibn Aḥlā was Ibn al-Marʾa’s disciple, under whose guidance he obtained the science of verification (ʿilm al-taḥqīq), a topic about which Ibn Aḥlā also wrote. Ibn Masdī provides some additional information: Ibn Aḥlā sought the support of his brother – whose name is not mentioned in sources – in his bid for power in Lorca. In addition, arguably after he assumed power in Lorca, Ibn Aḥlā also became the preacher in the local central mosque. Ibn Masdī remarks that Ibn Aḥlā, after being blamed for not addressing the Prophet with the correct etiquette, finally consented to it. And last, Ibn Aḥlā ordered the people of Lorca to frequent his house. In addition, Ibn Abī Ḥajala provides a valuable, additional information, namely that he was the direct student of Athīr al-Dīn Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī. In short, Ibn Masdī, as quoted by Ibn Abī Ḥajala, shows that Ibn Aḥlā was not only the ruler, but also the religious leader of Lorca.
The remaining sources qualify Ibn al-Zubayr’s view. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, as quoted by al-Sakhāwī through Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī,122 points out that Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca was correct or good (ḥasan) and that Ibn Aḥlā ruled and behaved according to the Sharīʿa but concealed his theological views (ʿaqīda).123 Unlike Ibn al-Zubayr, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, who had direct information through his disciple Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī, makes no reference to any compulsion by Ibn Aḥlā on his fellow citizens to follow his beliefs or to any justification by Ibn Aḥlā and his group to stop complying with Islamic commands.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī also balances Ibn al-Zubayr’s views on Ibn Aḥlā, although most of his biography devoted to the latter is ultimately based on Ibn al-Zubayr’s. First, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī points out that Ibn al-Zubayr’s work, Radʿ al-jāhil, which the author sent to him, was of little avail or benefit. In addition, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākusī mentions that Ibn al-Zubayr’s urjūza against the Shūdhiyya was devoid of any meaning and formal poetic value,124 while in his biography devoted to Ibn al-Zubayr, he points out that the urjūza was ridiculed in Ibn al-Zubayr’s hometown because of its poor formal poetic value.125 Then, after quoting Ibn al-Zubayr’s accusations that the Shūdhiyya did not compel to fulfill Islamic commands, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī remarks that some of his informants were told by Ibn Aḥlā’s disciples that Ibn al-Zubayr was not really acquainted with their strand and that he did not understand their tenets. In all, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī does not seem to be fully persuaded by the information provided by Ibn al-Zubayr.
In sum, Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca does not seem to be the result of a violent push to seize power on grounds of religious ideology, such as the case of Ibn Qasī; rather, there was a power vacuum after the assassination of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd, prompting populations in the Murcia region to turn to local patriciates to counteract Christian advances in the region, a situation of which Ibn Aḥlā took advantage. Even though there are no indications that Ibn Aḥlā organized a military movement to seize power violently on grounds of religious ideology, he faced the Christian advance militarily before reaching a more advantageous agreement of vassalage that favored stability and the economic development of the Lorca region. Ibn Aḥlā also played the role of religious leader, since, as Ibn Masdī clearly puts it, Ibn Aḥlā also became the local preacher and made visiting his house compulsory. Yet, his power had limitations, as he was made to stick to the Islamic etiquette when mentioning the Prophet in his preaching. In any case, Ibn al-Zubayr’s heresiographic account, stressing religious violence against his own population and anomy, is at odds with Ibn al-Abbār’s and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s descriptions of Ibn Aḥlā, both of whom, despite being well-informed about al-Andalus, do not mention any kind of religious coercion by Ibn Aḥlā or transgressions of Sacred Law, quite the contrary. Ibn al-Zubayr’s description of Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca and alleged coercion greatly resembles an episode126 in Ibn al-Zubayr’s own life – his confrontation in his late thirties in Malaga with a Mahdist figure, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm – so that his account of the Shūdhiyya may have been shaped after his own experience with the latter. Since there are no other independent sources confirming Ibn al-Zubayr’s account, it is possible that Ibn al-Zubayr projected his personal experience with al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm onto Ibn Aḥlā.
As regards Ibn Aḥlā’s work, despite the numerous texts he is said to have written,127 apparently no manuscripts of his works except for a few excerpts of his poetry have come down to us. Of his work, the only known title is Kitāb al-Tadhkira, from which he later produced an abridgement. Ibn al-Zubayr points out that Ibn Aḥlā denied the authenticity of some Prophetic traditions in Kitāb al-Tadhkira and believed that the umma had changed in the same way other religious communities had done before.128
A few existing samples of Ibn Aḥlā’s poetry are transmitted by Ibn al-Abbār and Ibn al-Khaṭīb. Some of the verses, i.e., those transmitted by Ibn al-Abbār, have a more ethical and ascetic character:129
Instead, the verses transmitted by Ibn al-Khaṭīb have a more waḥda tenor:130
In addition, Ibn al-Khaṭīb transmits the following dictum by Ibn Aḥlā: “A True that sets up deception through some of His attributes” (ḥaqq aqāma bāṭilan bi-baʿḍ ṣifātihi).131 This dictum appears to mean that since the world is nothing but deception (bāṭil) and there is nothing but God, deception should have its origin in God’s attributes.
The samples of Ibn Aḥlā’s texts translated above show a clear evolution from Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant writings, both Sufi and theological. Considering the available sources, the Shūdhiyya openly started as a waḥda Sufi strand with Ibn Aḥlā.
In the samples transmitted by Ibn al-Abbār, Ibn Aḥlā uses standard Sufi terminology. Ibn Aḥlā wrote one of these samples when he was under thirty years old and, thus, when Ibn al-Marʾa was still alive. In addition to plain ethical Sufism or Sufi psychology with references to perplexity (ḥayra) or inebriety (sukr), Ibn Aḥlā makes references to subsistence (baqāʾ) in God, as in ‘You remained (baqīta) for me’, or to poverty (faqr), which is the attribute by which creation is in need of God.
In turn, the samples transmitted by Ibn al-Khaṭīb foreshadow terminology specific to later waḥda muṭlaqa Sufis, like Ibn Sabʿīn. Even though there are no references to the concept of wujūd in his extant poetry, Ibn Aḥlā, being a theologian and disciple of Ibn al-Marʾa, should have certainly been acquainted with wujūd. In addition, he makes clear references to waḥda by pointing out the illusory character of severing from God, by which created beings appear to be disjointed from God as single, independent beings. For Ibn Aḥlā, any division in God or severing from God entails a sin of associating (shirk) other realities to Him, which Ibn ʿArabī calls shirk khāfī or hidden shirk. And last, there may be a reference to created beings as the garment (libs) obscuring (labs) God, which is also a topos in later waḥda muṭlaqa Sufism, where existents are the garment of absolute existence.132 In any case, it is worth pointing out that, based on his extant poetry, Ibn Aḥlā did not purport that created beings were illusory, but, rather, that their separation from God was illusory, without specifying the kind of existential ties between God and creation. Thus, Ibn Aḥlā’s position is clearly that of a waḥda Sufi.
Late Shūdhiyya Period
The late Shūdhiyya period roughly begins with the death of Ibn Aḥlā in 645/1247 and encompasses the spread of Ibn Aḥlā’s Shūdhiyya in two different directions: first, along the south-east regions of the Iberian Peninsula, initially in Murcia, and subsequently southwards to Almeria, Granada and perhaps Malaga, fleeing the Christian advance in al-Andalus; and second, along the Maghreb and the central regions of the Islamicate world following the emigration of Andalusis probably acquainted with the teachings of Ibn Aḥlā, particularly after the death of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd (d. 635/1238) and the vassalage of Murcia to the Christians in 640/1243. The two main representatives of both Shūdhī branches are Ibn Muṭarrif in al-Andalus and Ibn Sabʿīn in the central Islamicate world. I will only focus on the Andalusī branch.
In Ibn Aḥlā’s biography in Ṣilat al-ṣila, Ibn al-Zubayr remarks that, after Ibn Aḥlā’s death, a group of his followers continued to teach his interpretation of the Qurʾān in the central mosque of Lorca, while others moved to Murcia to teach there, from where their strand spread elsewhere.133 The central figure of the late Shūdhiyya period in al-Andalus is Ibn Muṭarrif. The main source of our knowledge of Ibn Muṭarrif is, again, Ibn al-Zubayr who personally met him and to whom he devoted a biography in Ṣilat al-ṣila. According to Ibn al-Zubayr, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad Ibn Muṭarrif al-Judhāmī (d. 663/1264-5 or 664/1265-6),134 ‘the blind’, i.e., al-Ḍarīr or al-Aʿmā, was a scholar born in Lorca. He was probably born before 600/1203-4, considering the date his teacher, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. al-Fihrī, known as Ibn al-Shawwāsh, died in 618/1221-2 or 619/1222-3.135 After a formative period in Almeria where he studied Ṣaḥīḥ Bukhārī with Ibn al-Shawwāsh, Ibn Muṭarrif went back to Lorca where he became the disciple of Ibn Aḥlā, thus before Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca. During Ibn Aḥlā’s lifetime, Ibn Muṭarrif taught Qurʾānic commentary according to the tenets of the Shūdhī strand in the central mosque of Lorca. He also taught the Shūdhī madhhab in his home, the first step of which was the study of Ibn Aḥlā’s Kitāb al-Tadhkira. After Ibn Aḥlā’s death, most of his disciples paid allegiance to Ibn Muṭarrif. He moved at some point to Murcia where he openly taught the interpretation of the Qurʾān according to the Shūdhī madhhab in the central mosque. He should have moved to Murcia before 655/1257 when Lorca was already under Christian rule. By the end of his life, Ibn Muṭarrif became the preacher at the central mosque in Murcia. This clearly shows support for the Shūdhiyya by at least some of the changing Hūdid administrations in Murcia during the early 660s AH, if not before. As in the case of Ibn Aḥlā, Ibn al-Zubayr remarks that Ibn Muṭarrif made drinking wine, marrying more than four wives and temporary marriages (muʿta) lawful. This is rather untenable considering Ibn Muṭarrif’s position as the preacher of the central mosque in Murcia. Should this be true, Ibn Muṭarrif would not have been qualified for the position, and the population would not have accepted him.
Ibn Muṭarrif’s death in the year 663/1264-5 or 664/1265-6 roughly occurred in the context of the Mudejar revolt led by al-Mutawakkil’s son, al-Wāthiq Ibn Hūd, against Christian vassalage during the years 662/1264 and 664/1266. Al-Wāthiq Ibn Hūd sought the help of the Naṣrid kingdom of Granada to which he paid allegiance. The first Naṣrid sultan of Granada, Muḥammad I, i.e., Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Yūsuf known as Ibn al-Aḥmar (r. 629-671/1232-1273), appointed his nephew and ruler of Malaga in his name, Abū Muḥammad Ibn Ishqalyūla, governor of Murcia.136 However, the Mudejar revolt was short-lived, and Murcia fell to Aragonese forces in 664/1266. In any case, despite this tense context, there are no reports that Ibn Muṭarrif might have died violently so as to establish a direct connection with these events.
The Spread of the Shūdhiyya beyond Murcia and the Role of Ibn al-Zubayr
As to other disciples of Ibn Aḥlā, polemical literature137 names Abū l-Ḥajjāj Yūsuf Ibn Lubbāj (described for his intelligence), his brother, Abū l-Ḥasan Ibn Lubbāj (who late in life was in Granada), and an Ibn al-Ḥasan (who lived in Lorca and there commented the Qurʾān). Additionally, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī points out that Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Anṣārī al-Andārī (d. 659/1260) from Orihuela spent a long time with Ibn Muṭarrif as his disciple. He died in an unidentified ‘Dead Valley’ (al-Wādī al-Mayyit).138
In his biography devoted to Ibn Aḥlā in Ṣilat al-ṣila, Ibn al-Zubayr finally adds that, after the Shūdhiyya Sufi strand spread from Murcia, ‘it was destroyed when God took them all because of their disbelief’,139 a process in which Ibn al-Zubayr was personally involved.
Ibn al-Zubayr wrote Radʿ al-jāhil and his urjūza before Ṣilat al-ṣila, thus in the 650s AH or, more likely, the 660s AH, after his travel to the east, as a tool to discredit and combat the Shūdhiyya. Apparently, before the fall of Murcia to the Christians, the Shūdhiyya were limited to that region as the Hūdids granted them shelter. There are no reports of autos-da-fe connected with the Shūdhiyya in al-Andalus before the fall of Murcia. This suggests that the Shūdhiyya in this period was not a proselytist movement that stretched beyond Murcia. However, with the fall of Murcia in 664/1266, Shūdhīs spread southwards in al-Andalus fleeing from the Christian advance. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, quoted by al-Shakhāwī,140 reports that a certain al-Ṣaffār, whom the population knew as al-Ṣufayfīr, left Murcia for Almeria fleeing from the Christian conquest of Murcia. In Almeria, al-Ṣaffār openly taught the Shūdhī tenets, which garnered him a following. This caught the attention of the Naṣrid sultan, Muḥammad I Ibn al-Aḥmar, who summoned him to Granada. After being questioned, al-Ṣaffār answered that he followed the teachings of Ibn Aḥlā and his disciples and that he believed in their tenets. As a result, Ibn al-Aḥmar had al-Ṣaffār stoned to death in 670/1271-2.141 Ibn al-Zubayr, at the time imam and preacher at the central mosque in Granada and judge of family affairs, was present at al-Ṣaffār’s execution.
Al-Dhahabī provides additional details about al-Ṣaffār based on a letter written on behalf of Muḥammad II of Granada, that is Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. Yūsuf b. Naṣr (r. 671-701/1273-1302), known as al-Faqīh, and addressed to the people of Almeria. This letter was written to inform them about al-Ṣaffār’s infidelity (kufr) and to admonish them not to follow his path.142 Al-Dhahabī indicates that this letter was included in a volume copied by Abū l-Walīd al-Mālikī, sc. al-Dhahabī’s teacher and the imam of the Mālikī community in Damascus, Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Abī l-Walīd Ibn al-Ḥājj (d. 718/1318).143 In this quote, al-Ṣaffār is named as Shaykh Ibrāhīm al-Ṣaffār and is deemed a heretic (zindīq). Contrary to the account transmitted by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī mentioned above, al-Dhahabī points out that Muḥammad II was the one who condemned al-Ṣaffār, and not Muḥammad I. Al-Dhahabī also provides a different date of the execution, Rabīʿ al-ākhir 673/October 1274, and quotes a couple of sentences from the letter with the accusations levelled against Ibrāhīm al-Ṣaffār, giving us a rare glimpse, maybe distorted, of his beliefs. According to the quotation transmitted by al-Dhahabī, al-Ṣaffār deemed prophets Ibrāhīm and Jesus more excellent than Muḥammad, regarded the friend (wālī) of God as more excellent than prophets, and allowed the unlawful. His followers are described as crazy fools and buffoons playing trickily with religious matters and holding the sanctity (walāya) of many of the great sinners, such as the famous al-Mushawrab, Abū Zaydān and others like them.144 It is worth noting that al-Dhahabī makes no reference to Ibn Aḥlā. Since al-Dhahabī was Ibn Taymiyya’s disciple and himself a strong opponent of waḥda Sufism, it is surprising that he may have skipped references to the terms ittiḥād or ḥulūl in the account of accusations. It is thus possible that such accusations were not part of the letter sent to Almeria.
The accusation that al-Ṣaffār regarded saints as more excellent than prophets can be placed within the framework of elaborations on the relationship between sainthood (walāya) and prophecy (nubuwwa) that were inaugurated by al-Tirmidhī’s Kitāb Khatm al-awliyāʾ,145 and which were later echoed by Ibn ʿArabī and his school, among others.146 The information about the accusation addressed against al-Ṣaffār is too vague to draw conclusions about his actual ideas on this complex issue, since prophets may also be regarded as awliyāʾ.
As to the difference of dates regarding the execution of al-Ṣaffār, this event probably took place in 670/1271-2, since Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī confirms that he was present in Granada at the time of the execution and that al-Ṣaffār was condemned by the Naṣrid sultan, Muḥammad I Ibn al-Aḥmar, who died in 671/1273.147
Ibn al-Zubayr and al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm
Ibn al-Zubayr’s view of the Shūdhiyya may have been heavily influenced by a personal experience when, in his late thirties, i.e., mid-660s AH, he held a religious position in Malaga, at the time under the rule of Abū Muḥammad Ibn Ishqalyūla who also governed Murcia during the Mudejar revolt. Even though the ruling family of Malaga, the Banū Ishqalyūla, governed on behalf of the Naṣrids and both ruling families were bound by close family ties, shortly after the fall of Murcia in 664/1266, dissensions between the Naṣrids and the Banū Ishqalyūla broke out. In addition to changing alliances between Granada, Malaga and Castile which strained the relationship between Malaga and Granada, social unrest in Malaga between the local population and religious officials and the judiciary appointed by the Naṣrids was fed by the appearance of a charismatic personality of uncertain origin named al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm around 666/1267-8.
The main two sources for our knowledge of the events surrounding al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm in Malaga148 are Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s biography devoted to Ibn al-Zubayr in Iḥāṭa149 and Aḥmad al-Qashtālī’s (d. after 670/1271-2) hagiographical work entitled Tuḥfat al-mughtarib addressing the life of the Sufi Abū Marwān ʿAbd al-Malik b. Ibrāhīm al-Yuḥānisī (d. 667/1268-9) of Almeria, who passed through Malaga in 666/1267-8 on his way to Ceuta and witnessed the unrest caused by al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm.150 Both sources agree broadly on the events reported, although al-Qashtālī magnifies his account, considering his hagiographical purpose in order to praise the figure of Abū Marwān al-Yuḥānisī.
Nothing is known about the life of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm before the mid-660s AH, a time which comes after the fall of Murcia. Al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm appears to be a sort of a thaumaturgic saint (wālī) or prophet-like figure claiming to be the awaited one (muntaẓar). He enjoyed the protection of the Banū Ishqalyūla in Malaga and had a large following among the local so-called uneducated population, since he correctly foresaw some events and was able to produce prodigies with ‘sorcery’ (shawaʿdha),151 which may refer to the practice of sīmiyāʾ. Both sources remark that he was regarded by some as a prophet, although it is not clear to what extent he himself laid claims to be that. Al-Qashtālī remarks that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm affirmed that he was a prophet. By contrast, Ibn al-Khaṭīb only purported that he was regarded as a prophet by part of the population in Malaga, while others saw him as a wālī.
The accounts by al-Qashtālī and Ibn al-Khaṭīb show that the Naṣrids lost control of Malaga briefly at some point after the Mudejar revolt and until the year 666/1267-8 or 667/1268-9, although military conflicts between Malaga and Granada would last ten more years.152 During that short period before 666/1267-8 or 667/1268-9, conflicts between the ulema appointed by Ibn al-Aḥmar and the local ‘uneducated’ population following al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and supported by the Banū Ishqalyūla erupted to the point that one notable from Malaga was lashed undeservedly. When the Naṣrids regained control of Malaga over the Banū Ishqalyūla in late 666/1267-8 or early 667/1268-9, Ibn al-Zubayr wrote a refutation of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm’s views and denounced him before Ibn al-Aḥmar.153 Al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was summoned to Granada, judged and executed.154 According to al-Qashtālī, when Abū Marwān al-Yuḥānisī arrived in Ceuta, they received news that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and some of his followers had been crucified in Granada. Al-Yuḥānisī died shortly after in 667/1267-8. Thus al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was probably executed in late 666/1267-8 or early 667/1268-9, approximately three to six years before al-Ṣaffār. When news of the execution of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm reached Malaga, the local population rallied against Ibn al-Zubayr, who sought the protection of the Banū Ishqalyūla, but they refused to shelter him. Fearing for his life, Ibn al-Zubayr fled Malaga for Granada and, according to Ibn al-Khaṭīb, sought the protection of Muḥammad II al-Faqīh (r. 671-701/1273-1302), who granted it, although at the time he was not yet the emir of Granada. When Ibn al-Zubayr left for Granada, the population in Malaga raided Ibn al-Zubayr’s home and looted his properties and library.155
An additional account about al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and Ibn al-Zubayr is transmitted by Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449), although he does not provide his source.156 This account, Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī points out, is in the genre of manāqib. This is thus a story with hagiographical purposes, in this case praising Ibn al-Zubayr as a guardian of religion against magic and false prophets. According to Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, while Ibn al-Zubayr was in Malaga, it became clear to him that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm had used magic (siḥr) to get close to the Banū Ishqalyūla. Ibn al-Zubayr left for Granada to explain al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm’s condition to the sultan. It was agreed that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm would be dispatched to Granada as an emissary representing the emir of Malaga. When al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was about to leave the meeting with the sultan, he was questioned about the matter of Revelation (shaʿr). After answering, the sultan settled to have al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm executed. However, when he was to be executed, swords could not cut into his body. Ibn al-Zubayr ordered to have al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm undressed and he was found to have his skin painted with talismans. He was washed and a tiny stone was removed from under his tongue. After these actions, a sword could cut into him.
Even though al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was accused of being a pseudo-prophet, it is possible that he would regard himself as the awaited Mahdī (al-mahdī al-muntaẓar) instead, as suggested by the fact that his claims took place in the year 666 AH. Since Ibn Barrajān (d. 536/1141), the Qurʾānic verse ‘better than one thousand months’ (Qurʾān 97:3) was read in Andalusī Sufi circles as a marker of the possible time for the appearance of the Mahdī.157 One thousand months sum up eighty-three years and four months. Ibn Barrajān foresaw a suitable time for the Muslim capture of Jerusalem when the seventh cycle of one thousand months would be fulfilled, i.e., in the year 583/1187, and it actually happened as predicted. Additionally, he attached the appearance of the Mahdī to the fulfillment of one of these cycles and, accordingly, on the eve of the year 583/1187, as reported by Ibn ʿArabī, there were discussions in al-Andalus on the identity of the Mahdī.158 The year 666 AH is also significant in regards to the Qurʾānic verse ‘better than one thousand months’, and thus in connection with the coming of the Mahdī, since eight cycles of one thousand months were fulfilled that year. Taking into consideration descriptions of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm underscoring that he deemed himself to be the awaited one (muntaẓar), it makes little sense that he would claim to be the awaited prophet, which would be tantamount to the second coming of Jesus. Thus, claims of being the muntaẓar by al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm in the year 666 AH should most likely be understood as referring to the Mahdī. Therefore, an accusation of being a false prophet by the Naṣrids was probably a way to discredit al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and prevent the growth of a new Mahdist political and military movement linked to the Banū Ishqalyūla, given the previous success of Mahdist movements such as the Almohads. Ibn al-Khaṭīb points out that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm, when reading sura Yāsīn before his execution in prison, was mocked to read his own Qurʾān instead. This suggests that he was executed on charges of claiming to be a prophet.159
It is possible that al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm could somehow be connected with the Shūdhiyya in Murcia before the Christian conquest, considering that the events in Malaga took place right after the fall of Murcia and that Abū Muḥammad Ibn Ishqalyūla ruled Murcia during the Mudejar revolt in a time when Ibn Muṭarrif was preacher at the central mosque in Murcia. Along these lines, Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Fakhkhār (d. 723/1323),160 in an appendix to his Nuṣḥ al-maqāla fī sharḥ al-Risāla on the excellence of al-Andalus, groups al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm together with the two Shūdhīs, i.e., Ibn Aḥlā and al-Ṣaffār. Al-Fakhkhār, to show the excellence of al-Andalus, mentions that heresies do not last long in al-Andalus since God destroys them, as in the case of Ibn Aḥlā, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and al-Ṣaffār.161 In any case, Ibn al-Zubayr does not mention al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm in the extant sections of his work on the Shūdhiyya or in Ṣilat al-ṣila, probably because, in his view, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm did not deserve to be mentioned in the latter work as he was not a religious scholar. Thus, we cannot ascertain if, in the eyes of Ibn al-Zubayr, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was connected with the Shūdhiyya. However, this event in the life of Ibn al-Zubayr may shed some light on the reason why his Ṣilat al-ṣila is the only source, in addition to those quoting it, that indicates that Ibn Aḥlā exerted compulsion or violence on those of his fellow citizens in Lorca who did not embrace his beliefs during his rule, an account that recalls the events surrounding Ibn al-Zubayr’s experience in Malaga. Sources providing information about Ibn Aḥlā independent from Ibn al-Zubayr, namely Ibn al-Abbār and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, do not refer to any kind of compulsion or violence; similarly, they do not allude to allowing violations of Islamic Law.162 Thus, we can tentatively surmise that Ibn al-Zubayr reproduced his own troubled experience in Malaga with al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm in his account in Ṣilat al-ṣila of Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca.
Ibn al-Zubayr signals that after the Shūdhiyya spread from Murcia, ‘It was destroyed when God took them all because of their disbelief’.163 This certainly includes the execution of al-Ṣaffār, but we cannot help but wonder if he also had in mind the events surrounding the execution of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm. Regardless, Ibn al-Zubayr’s statement encompasses the whole group. This suggests that the repression against the Shūdhiyya was more widespread and that, if not violently persecuted beyond the case of al-Ṣaffār, it was certainly forbidden.164 As a result, the Shūdhiyya seems to dilute or disappear in al-Andalus as a distinct Sufi strand during the rule of Muḥammad II al-Faqīh (r. 671-701/1273-1302).
The executions of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and al-Ṣaffār show that the early Naṣrids, particularly in the later years of Ibn al-Aḥmar’s rule, actively followed a policy of religious cohesion and founded their legitimacy on the support from the class of Malikī legists and ulema. These stuck to traditional methods based on the transmission (naql) of prophetic dicta and avoided charismatic, spiritual authority whenever it would threaten the political and religious status quo. In turn, the class of the Malikī ulema benefitted from the support of the Naṣrid state. In this context, ethical Sufism was certainly part of the religious panorama of the Naṣrid period. However, contrary to what the execution of al-Ṣaffār may suggest, waḥda Sufism resurfaced and ultimately continued to be an accepted, although minor thread in Granada during the Naṣrid period, particularly during the 8th/14th century in connection with the Sīd Būna family.165 Even though Sufis linked to the Sīd Būna family during the 7th/13th century in Granada, like Abū Tammām Ghālib b. Ḥasan b. Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā b. Sīd Būna (d. 651/1253)166 and his disciple, Abū l-Ḥasan Faḍl b. Muḥammad b. ʿAlī b. Ibrāhīm b. Fuḍayla al-Maʿāfirī (d. 696/1296)167 from Orihuela, are not known for espousing views based on waḥda,168 during the 8th/14th century, and particularly with Abū Aḥmad Jaʿfar b. Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. Sīd Būna al-Juzāʿī (d. 765/1364),169 the grandson of Abū Tammām Ghālib b. Sīd Būna and the disciple of Ibn Fuḍayla, waḥda Sufism resurfaced in Granada with the inclusion of poems by al-Ḥallāj in the recitations of the Sīd Būna ṭarīqa.170 This ṭarīqa was fully accepted in Granada and its members were invited to the royal palace. Nevertheless, during this period waḥda also continued to be a dangerous topic in Naṣrid Granada and an element to discredit contending opponents, since accusations of merely discussing ittiḥād and ḥulūl, among others charges, were levelled against Ibn al-Khaṭīb, which ultimately resulted in his assassination in 776/1374.171
Our knowledge of the Shūdhiyya is tainted by the paucity of sources and the fact that the ones available are mainly heresiographies or have a polemic tenor, thus raising concerns on whether they are biased or ill-informed. In polemical literature, the Shūdhiyya is described as the main Sufi strand, together with its main branch, the Sabʿīniyya, espousing waḥda muṭlaqa beliefs. Polemical and biographical sources underscore that the origins of the Shūdhiyya’s waḥda muṭlaqa leanings go back to al-Shūdhī and Ibn al-Marʾa, and depict al-Shūdhī as a follower of a secret group inspired by al-Ḥallāj’s work. Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant works show that he was a fully-fledged Ashʿarite theologian and ethical Sufi and provide no elements to support that he held waḥda muṭlaqa beliefs. In light of Ibn al-Marʾa’s extant works, the theology of the early Shūdhiyya was informed by standard Ashʿarism, while Ibn al-Marʾa appears to be a Sufi in the tradition of Ibn al-ʿArīf and Ibn Ḥirzihim and far closer to them than to waḥda Sufis the likes of Ibn Aḥlā and Ibn Sabʿīn. However, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī plainly attributes waḥda muṭlaqa beliefs to Ibn al-Marʾa based on Ibn al-Marʾa’s direct disciple, Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī, who in turn was Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s teacher. Thus, it is possible that Ibn al-Marʾa would have a public persona as an Ashʿarite theologian and Sufi master teaching ethical Sufism, and an esoteric, exclusively oral teaching transmitting earlier elaborations of waḥda muṭlaqa.
In turn, very little can be said of al-Shūdhī’s beliefs other than bringing up his only known extant text, a short poem mentioning ‘existence’ (wujūd), although it is not clear if by such reference he was addressing God or the universe. In any case, al-Shūdhī, that is, Ibn al-Marʾa’s spiritual master whom he met in Tlemcen, appears to have been confused with al-Ḥalwī, a local saint in Tlemcen of Andalusī origin who arrived in the city after the fall of the Almohad rule over al-Andalus, and, thus, long after Ibn al-Marʾa’s death. In sum, al-Shūdhī appears to represent the sudden emergence of an otherwise unknown saint whom Ibn al-Marʾa met in Tlemcen and from whose teachings he benefitted, particularly in terms of the symbolic interpretation of the Qurʾān. After this meeting, al-Shūdhī appears to have vanished, since there are no other reliable mentions of him.
Ibn Aḥlā, a disciple of Ibn al-Marʾa, appears to be the central personality of the Shūdhiyya, although our knowledge of him is tainted by the fact that his work is not known to be extant and that one of our main sources, Ibn al-Zubayr, shows clear signs of enmity towards him. With Ibn Aḥlā, the Shūdhiyya openly turned from Ashʿarism to waḥda and probably waḥda muṭlaqa, the intellectual position which ultimately defined this Sufi strand. As the biography of Ibn Muṭarrif shows, Ibn Aḥlā garnered a number of disciples in his native city, Lorca, before he eventually became the ruler of the city in 640/1243. Ibn Aḥlā’s accession to power took place against a general power vacuum in the region after the assassination of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd, when populations turned to local patriciates to counteract Christian advances in the region. Thus, his accession to power was not specifically a violent bid for power or a Sufi revolt. This is clearly shown by Ibn al-Abbār through his different treatments of Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca and of Ibn Qasī’s revolt in the Algarve against the Almoravids. Ibn al-Zubayr points out that Ibn Aḥlā, during his short rule which lasted until 645/1247, punished his fellow citizens who did not share his beliefs by dispossessing them of their properties and forcing them out of Lorca; Ibn Aḥlā also purportedly allowed violations of Islamic Law. This seems questionable, since the other sources mentioning Ibn Aḥlā, namely Ibn al-Abbār and Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, do not mention such actions. In particular, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī points out that Ibn Aḥlā’s rule over Lorca was good or correct (ḥasan), that he ruled according to Islamic Law and that he concealed his ʿaqīda, which is incompatible with forcing others to follow his beliefs. Ibn al-Zubayr also mentions that Ibn Aḥlā’s successor in leading the Shūdhiyya, Ibn Muṭarrif, allowed violations of Islamic Law. This is also doubtful considering Ibn Muṭarrif’s position as the preacher at the central mosque in Murcia during the last part of his life. Ibn al-Zubayr’s accusations against Ibn Aḥlā, alleging that he coerced those who did not share his beliefs and dispossessed them of their properties, strongly recalls the harassment that Ibn al-Zubayr himself experienced in Malaga and the looting of his library after the surge of a Mahdist-like figure, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm. Thus, considering the lack of additional sources supporting this harassment instigated by Ibn Aḥlā, we can hypothesize that Ibn al-Zubayr projected his own troubled experience in Malaga onto Ibn Aḥlā and his rule in Lorca. This suggests, although obviously inconclusively, that, in Ibn al-Zubayr’s eyes, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm may have been connected with the Shūdhiyya.
Considering the scarcity of sources, it is difficult to gauge the extent to which the population in Lorca and Murcia adhered to the Shūdhiyya. Ibn al-Zubayr points out that, under Ibn Aḥlā’s rule, good government, perfect justice, equality and economic development flourished. Such good economic and social conditions, Ibn al-Zubayr continues, attracted the ‘weak’ and the ‘uneducated’ to Lorca in great numbers, so that they eventually went astray in their beliefs. This suggests that, for Ibn al-Zubayr, a rather large part of the inhabitants in Lorca were exposed to Ibn Aḥlā’s views and that his beliefs played an important role in his rule over Lorca and penetrated the local population. In turn, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī indicates that Ibn Aḥlā hid his true beliefs. It is thus possible that a large part of the population would have adhered to the Shūdhiyya but would have only been exposed to the more ethical, practical elements of this Sufi strand, whereas only a limited number in Lorca, and later in Murcia, would have been exposed to the more metaphysical teachings. This would explain why waḥda Sufism diluted rather easily in al-Andalus after the fall of Murcia. Be it as it may, both Ibn Sabʿīn – his brother was the Hūdid ambassador to the Pope – and Badr al-Dīn Ibn Hūd – himself the nephew of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd – show that waḥda Sufism and the Shūdhiyya had penetrated at least a part of the elites of the Hūdid administration rather early and that its influence extended beyond the limits of Lorca. In the case of Ibn Sabʿīn, this happened during the rule of al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd, before Ibn Aḥlā began ruling Lorca, since Ibn Sabʿīn left al-Andalus by the time Ibn Aḥlā rose to power in Lorca. Support from the changing Hūdid administrations is also clear by the fact that Ibn Muṭarrif became the preacher at the central mosque in Murcia before the city fell to Christian forces. Official indulgence if not endorsement of the public dissemination of waḥda beliefs in Lorca and Murcia after 640/1243 was only possible because the local class of ulema became weakened by the emigration of scholars after the vassalage of Murcia to Castilian forces.
After the fall of Murcia, Shūdhīs spread southwards to territories under the control of the Naṣrids at a time when the latter sought support from Malikī legists and ulema to ensure their legitimacy and the cohesion of their territories against the emergence of charismatic personalities. Shortly after the fall of Murcia, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm, a charismatic personality who had garnered the support of the local population in Malaga and the Banū Ishqalyūla, laid claims to being the awaited one, probably meaning the Mahdī. Ibn al-Zubayr denounced him to the Naṣrids and, as a result, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm was summoned to Granada, judged and executed, probably on charges of claiming to be a prophet. Shortly after, in Almeria, a Shūdhī named Ibrāhīm al-Ṣaffār called the attention of the Naṣrids after garnering a following. After being summoned to Granada, Ibrāhīm al-Ṣaffār confirmed that he followed the tenets of Ibn Aḥlā and was executed. A different account transmitted by al-Dhahabī indicates that he was executed because he placed the status of saints over prophets, regarded Jesus and Ibrāhīm as more excellent than Muḥammad, and allowed the unlawful. As a result of the persecution of Shūdhī ideas, the Shūdhiyya diluted or disappeared in al-Andalus as a distinct Sufi strand during the last quarter of the 7th/13th century. Nevertheless, in the central Islamicate world, waḥda muṭlaqa continued to be an intellectual thread in the religious panorama of Islam, particularly through the disciples of Ibn Sabʿīn.
Research for this article benefited from the support of the ERC project ‘The Origin and Early Development of Philosophy in tenth-century al-Andalus: the impact of ill-defined materials and channels of transmission’ (ERC 2016, AdG 740618, PI Godefroid de Callataÿ) held at the University of Louvain (Université catholique de Louvain), from 2017 to 2022. This article has been written as part of the research project, “al-Andalus y el Magrib en el Oriente islámico: movilidad, migración y memoria,” funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, PID2020-116680GB-I00 AEI/FEDER,UE (2021-2025), directed by Mayte Penelas and Maribel Fierro. I would like to express my gratitude to Maribel Fierro and Yousef Casewit for reading a first draft of this article and their helpful suggestions and corrections.
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Knysh, Ibn ʿArabī, 167-199.
For a biography of Ibn ʿArabī, see Addas, Quest.
Massignon, “Ibn Sabʿīn,” 668-70. Massignon addresses the topics of this article again in The Passion, 2:308-30. For the Shūdhiyya, see in particular The Passion, 2:308-317. He does not add, though, new information to his article, “Ibn Sabʿīn.”
Al-Taftāzānī, “al-Madrasa al-shūdhiyya.”
Guichard, Pierre, al-Andalus frente a la conquista cristiana, 168-71.
In this article I will not address Guichard’s hypothesis: that is, that waḥda beliefs and the Shūdhiyya played a role in al-Mutawakkil Ibn Hūd’s bid for power. For an hypothesis on the origin of Ibn Hūd’s accession to power based on material conditions, see Frey Sánchez, “Ciudades y poder político en al-Andalus.”
See Bellver, “Ascetics and Sufis,” 330ff.
These labels were ascribed to these groups by later authors and should not be taken too far.
The concept of waḥda muṭlaqa has not been studied in depth in Western scholarship. One important exception is the study and translation by Chodkiewicz of Awḥad al-Dīn al-Balyānī’s (d. 683/1284 or 686/1287) Risālat al-Aḥadiyya, a work frequently attributed to Ibn ʿArabī. See al-Balyānī, Epitre sur l’Unicité Absolue. In Arabic, waḥda muṭlaqa has been studied by al-Taftāzānī, Ibn Sabʿīn, and Sharaf, al-Waḥda al-muṭlaqa.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 605. See also al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 366.
In what follows, I will refer to him as Ibn al-Marʾa.
For primary sources on Ibn Sabʿīn, see al-Bādisī, al-Maqṣad al-sharīf, 69; al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, 49:283-7, no. 313; al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 5:326-35, no. 1700; al-Ghubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāya, 237-8; Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 4:31-8; Ibn Shākir al-Kutubī, Fawāt al-wafayāt, 2:254; al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 2:196-207, no. 119. For introductions to Ibn Sabʿīn, see Akasoy, “Ibn Sabʿīn”; Spallino, “Ibn Sabʿīn”; and al-Taftazānī and Leaman, “Ibn Sabʿīn.” For Ibn Sabʿīn’s Sufi works, see the two editions of Ibn Sabʿīn’s Rasāʾil by Badawī and al-Mizyadī.
On him, see Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:188-193; Ibn Farḥūn, al-Dībāj, 1:188-9, no. 66; Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:39-45, no. 31; Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Durar, 1:84-6, no. 232; al-Suyūṭī, Bughyat al-wuʿāt, 1:291-2, no. 532; al-Ṣafadī, al-Wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, 6:140-1, no. 337.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb gives the title Radʿ al-jāhil ʿan ightiyāf al-majāhil. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:190.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī had direct access to these works. See Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:437.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Milāk al-taʾwīl, 898.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:436-9, no. 1178.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:39-45, no. 31.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 164.
On him, see al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, 51:277-9, no. 408; al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 1:321-30, no. 35; al-Fāsī, Dhayl al-taqyīd, 1:59-60, no. 51; and al-Maqrīzī, al-Muqaffā, 5:230-2, no. 1784.
For Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s Sufism, see his Iqtidāʾ al-ghāfil bi-ihtidāʾ al-ʿāqil, edited by Aḥmad Jumʿa ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī was Shihāb al-Dīn al-Suhrawardī’s disciple and studied with him his ʿAwārif al-maʿārif. See al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 1:321.
Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī, Naṣīḥa ṣarīḥa.
Al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 2:186.
See al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 5:327-9.
On him, see Ibn al-Ḳhaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 3:43-60; al-Suyūṭī, Bughyat al-wuʿāt, 1:280-5, no. 516; Ibn Shākir al-Kutubī, Fawāt al-wafayāt, 4:71-9, no. 506; al-Ṣafadī, al-Wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, 5:175-86, no. 2347; Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Durar, 4:302-10, no. 832; Ibn al-ʿImād, Shadharāt, 8:251-4; al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 2:535-84 , no. 216.
This work is frequently misattributed to Ibn Rushayd (d. 721/1321), who shares the same name with Ibn Darrāj and whose origins are also in Ceuta. On Ibn Darrāj, see Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 3:43.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 604-20.
Ibn Khaldūn, Shifāʾ, 111-2.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 165-6.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 167.
Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 1:140, no. 429; Ibn Farḥūn, al-Dībāj, 1:273-4; Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:325-6; Ibn al-Qādī al-Miknāsī, Jadhwat, 90, no. 15; al-Ṣafadī, al-Wāfī bi-l-wafayāt, 6:110, no. 274; and al-Samlālī, al-Iʿlām, 1:153. See also Urvoy, “Ibn al-Marʾa.”
For more information on him, see Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 3:210, no. 521; Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 5:150-3, no. 310.
For Ibn Ḥirzihim and al-Ghazālī’s Iḥyāʾ, see Ibn al-Zayyāt, al-Tashawwuf, 169. Ibn Ḥirzihim taught al-Ghazālī’s Iḥyāʾ to Abū Madyan. In turn, al-Kinānī was the direct student of al-Ghazālī.
See al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:315.
Ibn Ḥirzihim taught Kitāb al-Irshād to al-Salālijī. See Ibn al-Zayyāt, al-Tashawwuf, 199. On al-Salālijī, see Thiele, “Facing the Mahdī’s True Belief.”
Al-Salālijī, al-ʿAqīda al-burhāniyya.
Another possibility is that Ibn al-Marʾa studied Kitāb al-Irshād in Granada with the theologian, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Muḥammad al-Fazārī (d. 552/1157-8 or 557/1162), or one of his students. Al-Fazārī wrote a commentary of al-Irshād entitled Minhāj al-sadād fī sharḥ al-Irshād. Nevertheless, there are no reports that Ibn al-Marʾa studied in Granada. On al-Fazārī, see Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 3:195-6, no. 493; Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-ʿAdawī, 267-8, no. 641; and Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 5:282-5, no. 566. For the evolution of Ashʿarism in the Maghrib, see Iḥnāna, Taṭawwur al-madhhab al-Ashʿarī.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:325.
On him, see Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 2:152, no. 391; Yāqūt, Muʿjam, 2546-7, no. 1064; and al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:312-8, no. 220.
Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:315.
On him, see Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 2:153, no. 394; al-Ghubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāya, 283-8, no. 89; al-Ruʿaynī, Barnāmaj, 166-7, no. 89; al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 2:66, no. 44.
On him, see Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-ʿAdawī, 416-7, no. 978; and al-Suyūṭī, Bughyat al-wuʿāt, 2:330, no. 2107.
See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:325, and Ibn Farḥūn, al-Dībāj, 1:273, both of whom transmit reports from Abū Bakr b. al-Murābiṭ through Ibn al-Zubayr.
Massignon, “Ibn Sabʿīn,” 669, points out that Ibn al-Marʾa was accused by the qāḍī Ibn al-Murābiṭ of magical practices; enabling us to infer that he was indicted by him. However, Ibn al-Murābiṭ was only a student and not a qāḍī at the time, so no prosecution by him can be inferred. In fact, Ibn al-Murābiṭ is only relevant as an informant of Ibn al-Zubayr, but the reports do not suggest that he played any role in Ibn al-Marʾa’s difficult time in Malaga, other than distancing himself from him.
Al-Dhahabī mentions that al-Mursī left the Maghrib and was in Alexandria by 604/1207-8. See al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:317. Al-Dhahabī’s biography of al-Mursī is the most detailed. Other sources point out that al-Mursī left the Maghreb for the East by 607/1210-1. See Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 2:152; and Yāqūt, Muʿjam, 2546.
Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ, 2:76. See also Fierro, “Ibn Rushd’s (Averroes) ‘Disgrace’.”
Ibn ʿArabī, al-Futūḥāt al-makkiyya, 1:577, 4:474, 491.
Yousef Casewit is currently preparing the edition.
Ibn al-Marʾa (Ibn Dihāq), Sharḥ asmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā, edited by Yūsuf al-Wahāl.
Nevertheless, Ibn al-Khaṭīb had access to Ibn al-Marʾa’s Kitāb al-Qawānīn, since he quotes it in another section of Rawḍat al-taʿrīf. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat al-taʿrīf, 418, where he refers to Ibn al-Marʾa not by his name, but as commentator of the Maḥāsin.
Ibn Khaldūn, Muqaddimat, 2:230-2.
Ibn Khaldūn, The Muqaddimah, 3:89-92.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Kitāb al-Qawānīn; and idem, Nukat al-Irshād.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, vol. 1b, pp. 180-1.
Ibn Tūmart, Aʿazz mā yuṭlab, 185ff.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Kitāb al-Qawānīn, in MS Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Special Collections Library, Isl. Ms. 505, p. 105.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, vol. 1b, p. 194.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, vol. 1b, pp. 196-7.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, Tawḥīd 6, vol. 3, 9r.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, Tawḥīd 6, vol. 1b, 107r-108r.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, vol. 1a, p. 388.
Ibn al-Marʾa, Nukat al-Irshād, in MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, Tawḥīd 6, vol. 1b, 107v. Perhaps the meaning of this sentence is that God’s existence is manifested by the existence of created beings. Ḥasan Zaydān, the copyist of MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, whose source is MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, Tawḥīd 6, corrects the above saying to ‘His existence is in me, my existence is by Him’ (wujūduhu ʿindī, wujūdī bihi). See MS Cairo, Dār al-kutub, B 22888, vol. 1b, p. 427.
For the tradition of the muʿtabirūn, i.e., the practitioners of iʿtibār, in al-Andalus, see Casewit, The Mystics of al-Andalus.
Yet, in Kitāb al-Qawānīn, Ibn al-Marʾa comments Ibn al-ʿArīf’s statement that the universe, i.e., that which is not God, is a veil of God along Ibn al-ʿArīf’s lines. See MS Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Special Collections Library, Isl. Ms. 505, pp. 112-3.
Ibn al-ʿArīf, Maḥāsin al-majālis, 97 (Arabic section).
See Ibn al-Marʾa, Kitāb al-Qawānīn, in MS Istanbul, Bayezid Devlet Kütüphanesi, Veliyüddin Ef. 1828, f. 122v.
The expression ‘until what was not becomes annihilated’ (ḥattā yafnā mā lam yakun) is not in Asín Palacios’ edition of Maḥāsin al-majālis. Nevertheless, it was probably part of Ibn al-ʿArīf’s original version, since Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya quotes it from Ibn al-ʿArīf. See Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Ṭarīq al-hijratayn, 756. Ibn al-Marʾa adds ‘by its being’ (bi-kawnihi) to ‘what was not’, i.e., ‘what was not by its being’, thus underscoring that what becomes annihilated is what is not necessary by itself.
Al-Shūdhī’s date of death is frequently given as ca. 600/1203. However, there is no textual basis to support such statement. See, for instance, Knysh, Ibn ʿArabī, 344, n. 11.
Knysh, Ibn ʿArabī, 344, n. 11.
Massignon, “Ibn Sabʿīn,” 669.
Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:315-6.
Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:314.
See Yāqūt, Muʿjam.
The account begins with the following statement: ‘I had committed to my memory the Qurʾān while I was young (shābb) and other books, such al-Ghazālī’s Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn. Then (fa-) I traveled to Tlemcen and saw a poor man …’, i.e., al-Shūdhī. See al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:315.
Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:65-8 (Arabic section), no. 93. Ibn Maryam (d. after 1011/1602) also transmits part of Yaḥyā Ibn Khaldūn’s biography in his al-Bustān, 68-70.
See the introduction by Alfred Bel to Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:v-vi.
Along these lines, see Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn’s hagiographical account in Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:68 (Arabic section), where Ibn al-Marʾa is depicted as a scholar on fiqh.
Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm al-Ābilī al-ʿAbdarī al-Tilimsānī (681-757/1282-3- 1356) was a scholar on the intellectual sciences and the teacher of Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn’s brother, ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn. When Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn wrote Bughyat al-ruwwād, al-Ābilī had long died. On al-Ābilī, see Bābā al-Tunbuktī, Nayl, 411, no. 542; Ibn al-Qādī al-Miknāsī, Jadhwat, 1:304-5, no. 311; Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Durar, 3:288-9, no. 766; al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 5:244-50, no. 26; al-Samlālī, al-Iʿlām, 4:367-73, no. 599; and Makhlūf, Shajarat al-nūr, 1:319, no. 818. For al-Ābilī as the teacher of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Khaldūn, see Ibn Khaldūn, al-Taʿrīf, 21-3, 33.
Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:67 (Arabic section).
Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:66-7 (Arabic section).
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 165.
Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:316; al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 167, and Yaḥyā b. Khaldūn, Bughyat al-ruwwād, 1:67 (Arabic section).
See Sharḥ Manẓūmat Kashf al-rān fī l-zāyrja li-Sayyidī Muḥyī l-Dīn, qaddasa Allāh sirruhu al-ʿazīz, in MS Princeton, University Library, Islamic Manuscripts, Garrett 542H, f. 13r. The anonymous commentator identifies al-Sūdī with the Yemeni poet and Sufi, ʿAbd al-Hādī al-Sūdī (d. 932/1525). On him, see al-Manṣūb, al-ʿĀrif bi-Llāh ʿAbd al-Hādī al-Sūdī; and Knysh, “A Tale of Two Poets.”
Ibn Sabʿīn, Rasāʾil, ed. Badawī, 192.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 167.
Al-Fāsī, Dhayl al-taqyīd, 1:59. Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī was also the teacher of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī’s son. See al-Fāsī, Dhayl al-taqyīd, 1:214.
Al-Dhahabī lists a poem by Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī addressed to Ibn al-Marʾa. See al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:316.
The fact that Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī was Ibn al-Marʾa’s direct disciple is not only confirmed by eastern sources relying on information ultimately provided by him, such al-Dhahabī (Siyar, 23:315), but also by western, independent sources, such as Ibn al-Khaṭīb. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:325.
Al-Ābilī transmits the following saying by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī: “Three great evils became manifested in the seventh century: the school of Ibn Sabʿīn, the appropriation by the Mongols of Iraq and the use of hashish.” See al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 5:247.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:326.
Ibn Farḥūn, al-Dībāj, 1:274.
Al-Ghubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāya, 322-4, no. 101; Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-ʿAdawī, 103, no. 229; Makhlūf, Shajarat al-nūr, 1:281, no. 694. On Abū Muḥammad b. Barṭuluh, see Aguilar, “Tres generaciones,” 29-34.
Al-Zarkushī, Taʾrīkh, 37.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb points out that Ibn Sabʿīn was the disciple of Ibn al-Marʾa. However, Ibn al-Marʾa died before Ibn Sabʿīn was born in 613/1216 or 614/1217. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al- Iḥāṭa, 4:33.
Al-Ghubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāya, 225, no. 59.
For secondary sources on him, see Massignon, “Ibn Sabʿīn,” 669-70; Knysh, Ibn ʿArabī, 345, n. 17; Fierro, “Mahdisme,” 62; and Puerta Vílchez, “Ibn Ahlà.”
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 5:413. For Ibn al-Marʾa and taḥqīq, see also the poem that Ibn al-Marʾa addresses to Muḥammad al-Sulamī al-Mursī quoted in al-Dhahabī, Siyar, 23:316.
On him, see Molina López, “ʿAzīz b. Jaṭṭāb.”
Molina López, La Wizara Isamiyya.
It is possible that Ibn Aḥlā or his son, ʿAlī, also signed a treaty with conditions similar to the treaty of Alcaraz. See Torres Fontes, Del tratado, 284.
García Diaz, Documentación, 1-2; Soto i Company, “La situació,” 195-6.
Ibn al-Abbār, al-Ḥulla al-siyarāʾ, 2:314-7, no. 168.
Ibn Saʿīd al-Maghribī, al-Mughrib, 2:276.
Ibn al-Abbār, al-Ḥulla al-siyarāʾ, 2:197-202, no. 142.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:436.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 284.
The long list of Ibn al-Zubayr’s teachers that Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī provides shows that Ibn al-Zubayr had an intense and very focused formative period. This suggests that he may have been the teacher of Ibn Aḥlā’s son after his formative period. See Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:39-43.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 3:145, no. 298.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:437; al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 282.
For examples of accusations against heretics that were customarily overstated, see Fierro, “Religious Dissension,” 468.
Al-Fāsī, al-ʿIqd al-thamīn, 5:330-1.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 619.
On him, see Gruendler, “Ibn Abī Ḥajala.”
Edited in Damascus by Mujāhid Muṣṭafā Bahjat.
Edited in Beirut by Abū ʿAbd Allāh ʿIzzat ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Salafī al-Mutaṭabbib.
Ibn Abī Ḥajala, Ghayth al-ʿāriḍ, 207; and Ṣarāʾiḥ al-naṣāʾiḥ, 66.
My edition of the section on Ibn Aḥlā in MS Riyadh, Maktabat Jāmiʿat al-Imām Muḥammad b. Saʿūd al-Islāmiyya 8501, f. 40v, is as follows:
For Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s exchanges with Ibn Abī Ḥajala and the dissemination of Ibn al-Khaṭīb’s works in Mamluk Cairo, see de Castro León, “Ibn al-Khaṭīb and His Mamluk Reception.”
On him, see Zanón, “Ibn Masdī y su obra biográfica”; and “Ibn Masdī”; and al-Idrīsī, al-Imām al-ḥāfiẓ Abū Bakr Ibn Masdī al-Gharnāṭī.
Zanón, “Ibn Masdī y su obra biográfica,” 14-6.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:42; Ibn al-Qāḍī, Jadhwat, 1:286.
In the same paragraph Quṭb al-Dīn al-Qasṭallānī makes a reference to the execution of al-Ṣaffār in 670/1271-2.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 285-6.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:437.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:44-5.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:436.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Kitāb Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 5:415-6.
Ibn al-Abbār, al-Ḥulla al-siyarāʾ, 2:316-7.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 605-6. See also al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 366-7.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 605.
See, for instance, Ibn Sabʿīn, Rasāʾil, ed. Badawī, 70. See also Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 608.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 5:416.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 3:145, no. 298; ed. al-ʿAdawī, 303, no. 735; al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 284-5.
Ibn al-Abbār, al-Takmila, 2:117, no. 307.
For the vocalization as Ishqalyūla instead of Ashqīlūla, see Ženka, “Išqalyūla.”
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 127, 133, 284.
Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 1:339-40.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 5:416.
Al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 285-6.
Lapidation of heretics was an unusual practice in al-Andalus. Instead, the most common method of execution was crucifixion. See Fierro, “Religious Dissension,” 474-5.
Al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, 50:16.
On him, see al-Dhahabī, Muʿjam, 466, no. 684.
I have not been able to identify al-Mushawrab and Abū Zaydān. Here, the vocalization of al-Mushawrab is tentative. One of Ibn al-Fāriḍ’s disciples was a certain Abū Zayd al-Maghribī. See al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 344.
The edition by ʿUthmān Yaḥyā of this work also includes a valuable anthology of Sufi texts on the concept of walāya in appendix. See al-Tirmidhī, Kitāb Khatm al-awliyāʾ.
For the concept of walāya in Ibn ʿArabī, see Chodkiewicz, Seal of the Saints.
See al-Sakhāwī, al-Qawl al-munbī, 286, and Abū Ḥayyān al-Gharnāṭī, Tafsīr al-Baḥr al-muḥīṭ, 5:33.
For an account of these events and their influence on the religious evolution of the Naṣrid kingdom of Granada, including the translation of some relevant sections of the sources below, see Harvey, Islamic Spain, 33-6.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:188-93, here 191-2. For a translation of this biography, see Velázquez Basanta, “Abū Ŷaʿfar Aḥmad Ibn al-Zubayr,” 97-107.
See al-Qashtālī, Tuḥfat, 81-2. See also Boloix Gallardo’s translation in al-Qashtālī, Prodigios, 164-7.
Al-Shūdhī is at times misspelled as al-Shaʿwadhī in manuscript sources.
On the Banū Ishqalyūla, see Rubiera, “Los Banū Escallola.”
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:192.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:191.
Ibn al-Ḳhaṭīb’s description of this episode is a bit convoluted, and, as a result, accounts of these events in secondary bibliography (see, for instance, Harvey, Islamic Spain, 35) point out that the harassment of Ibn al-Zubayr and the looting of his library were instigated by al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm. However, Ibn al-Khaṭīb indicates that the harassment and looting took place after the execution (maqtal) of al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:191.
Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Durar, 1:85-6.
Bellver, “Ibn Barraǧān.”
Bellver, “Al-Ghazālī,” 672.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:192.
The events surrounding al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and Ibrāhīm al-Ṣaffār took place during Abū Bakr al-Fakhkhār’s lifetime. Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī points out that he lived close to eighty years. He should have been born ca. 643/1245. In turn, al-Suyūṭī points out that he was born after 630/1232. Before settling in Malaga, al-Fakkhār spent time in Granada during a period when he could have met Ibn al-Zubayr, although the latter is not listed as one of his teachers. On al-Fakhkhār (or Ibn al-Fakhkhār), see Ibn Farḥūn, al-Dībāj, 2:288-90, no. 99; al-Suyūṭī, Bughyat al-wuʿāt, 1:187-8, no. 312; and Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Durar, 4:81, no. 224.
See Fierro and Faghia, “Un nuevo texto,” 104, 107-8, 110; and Fierro, Heresy, 895.
Accordingly, Ibn al-Khaṭīb, who was well acquainted with the works of Ibn al-Zubayr, does not mention any kind of compulsion or specific violations of Islamic Law by Ibn Aḥlā when he discusses the tenets of the Shūdhiyya in his Rawḍa. However, he points out that, following Ibn al-Zubayr, many statements of the Shūdhiyya/Sabʿīniyya were against the prescriptions of Islamic Law (sharāʾiʿ). The context suggests that Ibn al-Khaṭīb is only referring here to the ʿaqīda of the Shūdhiyya/Sabʿīniyya and not to rulings or practices violating Islamic Law. See Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Rawḍat, 619.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. al-Harrās, 5:416.
In addition to Ibn Aḥlā, al-Fazārī Ibrāhīm and al-Ṣaffār, al-Fakhkhār also mentions that there were other ‘heretics’ who were destroyed by God, without providing their names.
On the Sīd Būna family, see Calero Secall, “Los Banū Sīd Būna”; and Franco-Sánchez, “Andalusíes.” For their Ḥallājism, see Rubiera, Ibn al-Ŷayyāb, 27.
Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. Harrās, 4:179, no. 355.
On him, see Lirola Delgado, “Ibn Fuḍayla.”
Ibn al-Zubayr praises Ibn Fuḍayla al-Maʿāfirī because his Sufism was in line with the Sunna, by which Ibn al-Zubayr means that he did not sponsor waḥda Sufism. See Ibn al-Zubayr, Ṣilat al-ṣila, ed. Harrās, 4:187-188, no. 372.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:459-61.
Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-Iḥāṭa, 1:459. Franco-Sánchez, “Andalusíes,” 222, n. 19. Massingon summarizes the above information in Akhbār Ḥallāj, 98. On the basis of this information, he suggests that the Sīd Būna zāwiya “may have been a cover for a subversive Ḥallājian propaganda.” See Massignon, The Passion, 2:326.
Calero Secall, “El proceso,” 432; and al-Maqqarī, Nafḥ al-ṭīb, 5:118.