By Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander Knysh
Translated through Alexander D. Knysh
The writer of the Epistle on Sufism, Abu'l-Qasim al-Qushayri (376-465 H / 986-1074 CE), used to be a recognized Sunni Shafi'i Ash'ari student and mystic (Sufi) from Khurasan in Iran. His Epistle is without doubt one of the most well-liked Sufi guide ever. Written in 437 H / 1045 CE, it has served as a first-rate textbook for lots of generations of Sufi newcomers all the way down to the current. al-Qushayri has given us an illuminating perception into the standard 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 lifestyles in a society ruled by way of rank, wealth, and army energy. In al-Qushayri's narrative, the Sufi 'friends of God' (awliya') are depicted because the precise, 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 complicated Sufi masters are usually not take salvation without any consideration. Miracle-working, irrespective of how outstanding, 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 lots of different Sufi motifs are illustrated by means of the anecdotes and parables that exhibit al-Qushayri's fellow Sufis in a wide selection of contexts: being affected by starvation and thirst within the desolate tract, whereas acting 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 kin and friends, dreaming, and demise.
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Extra resources for al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: al-Risala al-Qushayriyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf
On him see IM, pp. 32–33. See IM, pp. 33–34 and pages 36–37 in this book. Probably Central Asia. ABU πL-QASIM AL-QUSHAYRI 31 Some said that the cause of his conversion to asceticism was as follows. He saw a slave boy who was playing around and rejoicing during a famine, whereas all other people were afraid of it [famine]. Shaqiq asked him: “Where does your liveliness come from? ” The slave boy said: “What is this to me? ” Shaqiq took heed and said: “So, his master has a village, and his master is but a poor creature.
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. Therefore the more expensive it becomes, the cheaper it is [for me]. 8 On him, see IM, pp. 18–20. 9 Presently in northern Afghanistan.
So Dawud said: “My soul prompted me toward seclusion. ” Thus he achieved what he achieved. [Once] Junayd al-Hajjam (the Cupper) cupped Dawud al-Taπi. The latter gave him a dinar. Someone told him that this was too much. ” 83 That is, a Sufi. 84 That is, a Sufi. 85 Abu Hanifa al-Nu∏man (d. 150/767), a renowned scholar of Iraq who founded the Hanafi school of law. 86 That is, theoretical knowledge. 87 That is, Abu Hanifa and his followers. 88 Muruπa; on this rather vague moral virtue see EI under “Muruπa”.