By Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander Knysh
Translated by means of Alexander D. Knysh
The writer of the Epistle on Sufism, Abu'l-Qasim al-Qushayri (376-465 H / 986-1074 CE), was once a well-known Sunni Shafi'i Ash'ari pupil and mystic (Sufi) from Khurasan in Iran. His Epistle is likely one of the most well-liked Sufi handbook ever. Written in 437 H / 1045 CE, it has served as a main textbook for plenty of generations of Sufi newbies all the way down to the current. al-Qushayri has given us an illuminating perception into the typical lives of Sufi devotees of the 8th to 11th centuries CE and the ethical and moral dilemmas they have been dealing with in attempting to strike a fragile stability among their ascetic and mystical convictions and the exigencies of existence in a society ruled through rank, wealth, and armed forces strength. In al-Qushayri's narrative, the Sufi 'friends of God' (awliya') are depicted because the actual, if uncrowned, 'kings' of this international, now not these worldly rulers who seem to be lording it over the typical herd of believers. but, even the main complex Sufi masters will not be take salvation without any consideration. Miracle-working, regardless of how surprising, can't warrantly the Sufi a 'favorite end result' within the afterlife, for it can be yet a ruse at the a part of God who desires to attempt the ethical integrity of his servant. within the Epistle, those and plenty of different Sufi motifs are illustrated by way of the anecdotes and parables that convey al-Qushayri's fellow Sufis in a large choice of contexts: being affected by starvation and thirst within the barren region, whereas appearing pilgrimage to Makkah, engaging in 'spiritual auditions', reciting the Qur'an, waging warfare opposed to the 'infidel' enemy and their very own wants, incomes their livelihood, meditating in a retreat, praying, operating miracles, interacting with the 'people of the market-place', their relatives and friends, dreaming, and death.
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Extra resources for al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: al-Risala al-Qushayriyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf
Adham was guarding a vineyard. ” Ibrahim b. ” The soldier began to lash him with his whip. Ibrahim b. ” On hearing this the soldier was unable to continue the beating and departed. Sahl b. Ibrahim said: “I was a companion of Ibrahim b. Adham. When I became ill, he spent all his wages on me. When I felt craving for some food, he sold his donkey and spent all of its cost on me. ”//33 Abu πl-Fayd Dhu πl-Nun al-Misri15 His name is Thawban b. Ibrahim. He was also called Abu πl-Fayd b. Ibrahim. 17 He excelled in this affair18 and was unique in his age in respect of knowledge, pious scrupulosity, [spiritual] state, and good manners.
He lived by the toil of his hands, such as harvesting, guarding the orchards and so on. ” This story was related to us by Shaykh Abu ∏Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami – may God have mercy on him. He said: Muhammad b. al-Husayn Ibn al-Khashshab said: Abu al-Hasan ∏Ali b. Muhammad al-Misri said: Abu Sa∏id al-Kharraz said: Ibrahim b. Bashshar said: “I was accompanying Ibrahim b. Adham. ”//32 Ibrahim b. Adham was particularly famous for his pious scrupulosity. ” Someone said to Ibrahim b. ” He then recited the following verse: When something becomes too expensive for me, I abandon it.
In theological works, the borderline between these two categories remained blurred and was disputed by various theological factions. See the article “Sifa” in EI. 73 On this famous theologian see article “al-Isfaraπini” in EI. 74 A major cultural and religious center in Khurasan, Iran. 75 That is, he embraced the Ash∏arite doctrine of the created spirit. 76 That is, a cognitive union between man and God can only occur through a pure act of faith and certitude. It cannot be achieved through sense perception, intellectual process or the imagination.
al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: al-Risala al-Qushayriyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf by Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander Knysh