Review of Yousef Casewit’s “The Mystics of al Andalus” – Michele Petrone, Medieval Encounters 26 (2020)

Abstract :

“Before being a work on the life and thought of Barrajān, the book of Y. Casewit is a modern introduction to the mystical movements that sprung up in al-Andalus, starting from the tenth century. In this review I will avoid giving a summary of the work, which is already provided in a thoughtful preface to the book. What seems to be more important to note is the methodology the authoruses to describe the thought of Ibn Barrajān. Contemporary scholarly works on medieval Islamic thought seem to befocused on the reconstruction of networks. The circulation of diverse ideas in al-Andalus has been the object the attention of a number of studies, all reviewed by the author in the introduction of his book. This preliminary over- view is carried out not only as a state of the art. Casewit here dealt with the scholarship devoted to the reconstruction of a framework of historical and philosophical inquiry in tenth- to thirteenth-century al-Andalus. The issues of bāṭinism, Ismaili  influences, and the role of the Rasāil Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ  are synthetically discussed and establish a large framework for the following inquiry. The most important part of the preliminary phase of the research is the definition of the role (if any) played by al-Ghazālī in the formation of Ibn Barrajān’s thought”