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One Step to God: ‘Ayn al-Qozat on the Journey of the Heart – Mohammed Rustom

Abstract:

An age-old myth is that ‘Ayn al-Qozat was put to death by the “orthodox” Seljuqs because his teachings squarely contradicted mainstream Muslim theology. But as we now know, the reasons for his death had nothing to do with his ideas and were largely political. ‘Ayn al-Qozat, a very prominent voice in Hamadani society and a person of great public influence, was a vehement critic of the Seljuq regime and its injustices towards the poor and the needy. Itwas therefore in the Seljuqs’ best interest to murder ‘Ayn al-Qozat, and to do so by justifying it as a state-sponsored execution of a person proven to have been a “heretic.”

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Philosophical Sufism in the Sokoto Caliphate: The Case of Shaykh Dan Tafa – Oludamini Ogunnaike

Abstract:

It has long been assumed that the discipline of falsafa (Islamic philosophy) died out in the Western lands of the Islamic world after the fall of Andalusia, and that philosophical intellectual work was largely limited to the disciplines of theology (kalām) and Sufism (taṣawwuf). Moreover, the more creative and discursive tradition of theoretical of philosophical Sufism is also supposed to have migrated East in the 13th-C along with figures such as Ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 1240) and Ibn Sab‘in (d. 1271). However, the oeuvre of the Sokoto scholar Shaykh ‘abd al-Qādir ibn Muṣṭafā (d. 1864) (better known as dan Tafa, the grandson of Shaykh ‘Uthmān dan Fodio) poses a significant challenge to these assumptions.  Shaykh Dan Tafa’s works include a defense of philosophy, a treatise on universals (kulliyāt), a versified introduction to the study of philosophy, a critical evaluation of materialist and naturalist philosophies, as well as several works of philosophical Sufism, including a treatise on certain topics from ‘abd al-Karīm al-Jīlī’s masterpiece of Philosophical Sufism, al-Insān al-Kāmil. It seems unlikely that Shaykh Dan Tafa studied and produced these works entirely on his own, indicating the existence of little-known West African traditions of Islamic philosophy and philosophical Sufism. This chapter evaluates some of Shaykh Dan Tafa’s works and their ramifications for our understanding of the history of Islamic philosophy and philosophical Sufism in West Africa, and the role of these two traditions in the intellectual history the region.

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Journal of Sufi Studies Review of Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection

Abstract:

“Scholarship on Islam in Africa has long been in need of comprehensive work on West African madīḥ (i.e. Arabic poetry in praise of the Prophet Muhammad).Recent articles have explicitly called for such an endeavor,󰀱 and the time has come to fully exorcise the “Islam noir” specter󰀲 that has compelled those who write on West African madīḥ to characterize it pejoratively as, in the words of John Hunwick, “often highly stylized, deeply stamped with the metaphors and clichés of Arabic models of former ages … sometimes managing] to rise above the merely imitative or artificial.” Oludamini Ogunnaike’s Poetry in Praise of Prophetic Perfection is remarkably brief, but as the first monograph on the subject in English, it does the necessary work of sketching out the contours of the corpus and demonstrating how it should be understood and appreciated”

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The Importance of Sufism in Chinese Islam (with Sachiko Murata)

Abstract:

Cemalnur Sargut Hocam asked us to say something about the significance of the Kenan Rifai Chair of Islamic Studies at Peking University, which we inaugurated in the Spring of 2012. As many of you know, the Kenan Rifai Chair is housed in Te Institute of Advanced Humanistic Studies. The Institute was founded by Professor u Weiming in 2010 shortly after he retired after thirty years at Harvard. During our timein China we taught one course at Peking University, another at Minzu University, and we participated in several conferences and workshops. We met many of the foremost Chinese scholars of Islam and we had a number of talented students

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Actionless Action – Mohammed Rustom

Abstract:

“It has indeed been a blessing to sit with the great Kenan Rifai’s commentary upon book one of Mevlana’s Mesnevi .Spending time with this book naturally led me to Kenan Rifai’s explanation of a famous tale in the Mesnevi  centered around ‘Ali b. Abi Talib tale is retold from Islamic tradition and is cast in Mevlana’s unique terms and worldview. The long and short of the story is as follows: in the heat of a one-on-one encounter with an enemy of Islam, ‘Ali gained the upper hand and thru this opponent to the ground. Just as he was about to finish him off withone blow from his sword, the enemy spat at ‘Ali’s face. When this happened, ‘Ali immediately dropped his sword and walked away. This per-plexed his enemy, and led him to ask ‘Ali in earnest why he had not killed him at that very moment. ‘Ali then speaks, telling the enemy that he only fights for the sake of God. But, when the man insulted him by spitting at him, the possibility that it would become a personal affair had presented itself to him. So he walked away from the situation. ‘Ali then explains that he never acts out of self-interest, but only for, in, and through God

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Poised on the Higher Horizon: Seeing God in the Sahara – Ariela Marcus-Sells

Abstract:

“This article presents an Arabic transcription and complete English translation of an untitled text – labelled “Khalwa ” in the manuscript catalogue – attributed to S ī d ī  al-Mukhtār al-Kunt ī , a Saharan scholar and Suteacher of the late-eighteenth century. In the accompanying commentary, I demonstrate how this textdraws together two passages in the Qur’ān: the ambiguous visionary encounters of 53:1-18 and Moses’srequest to see God in 7:142-143 to argue that, unlike Moses, Muḥammad received a direct vision of God. I further argue that, for S ī di al-Mukhtār al-Kunt ī , the question of seeing God was linked to his concern over legitimate and illegitimate knowledge from the realm of the unseen (ʿālam al-ghayb ). Intertextual references demonstrate that S ī d ī  al-Mukhtār understood the friends of God to occupy the same role in thespiritual hierarchy as Muḥammad and the prophets. Read in this context, “Khalwa ” suggests that the friends of God might be able to follow Muḥammad’s example, see God with their own eyes, and thus master the sciences of the unseen”

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ISLAM, YOGA AND MEDITATION (from Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation Studies) – Patrick DSilva

Abstract:

How have Muslims responded to, engaged with and developed original versions of yoga and meditation? This chapter provides a brief historical overview with an emphasis on Muslim communities in South Asia, especially during the Mughal period. This first part of the chapter establishes the basic framework for understanding the earliest surviving texts demonstrating Muslim engagement with yoga in South Asia, as well as the most important texts and individuals who stand out as key examples of how this engagement develops over subsequent centuries. This chapter also pays special attention to the translation and circulation of a set of Śaivite divination techniques centred on the breath known as Śiva-svarodaya (sometimes svara-yoga or svara-jñāna) from Sanskrit and Hindi into Persian and Arabic as ilm-i dam/ilm al-dam (‘the science of the breath’).1 The second part examines meditation, with an emphasis on the Sufi rituals known as dhikr, the ‘remembrance’ of God. The third section analyses contemporary concerns and controversies regarding Muslims and yoga

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Review of Sufism and Deconstruction: A Comparative Study of Derrida and Ibn ‘Arabi by Ian Almond

Abstract:

When William C. Chittick published his encyclopedic Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Metaphysics of Imagination almost thirty years ago, he made readily available to the English speaking world,for the first time, lengthy excerpts drawn primarily from the thirteenth century Andalusian thinker’s most comprehensive summation of Sufi thought in the Meccan Revelations. Chittick’s most significant contribu-tion, arguably, lay in the virtually unparalleled lucidity with which he introduced and translated a range of key passages authored by a medieval figure notorious for his often elliptical and allusive style of writing. This was a tremendous accomplishment for a single scholar, the full extent of which can be measured today by SPK’s standing as probably the most widely cited secondary source in the field of Ibn al-‘Arabi studies

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Universal Science: An Introduction to Islamic Metaphysics

Abstract:

“These observations on the centrality of philosophy in the human experience, by the author of ʿIlm-i kullī, are redolent with the wisdom of the living Islamic philosophical tradition, a tradition which survives in all its fullness into our own times only among the Shīʿah. Āyatullāh Mahdī Ḥāʾirī Yazdī was not only an authority on all aspects of the Shīʿah intellectual tradition, but he was also among the few such authorities in its history to have acquired the highest phil- osophical credentials from a Western university and written works of great insight in the light of his twin intellectual attainments.2 Glimpses from the ex- traordinary story of Mahdī Ḥāʾirī Yazdī’s life journey are offered herein by way of introduction to the English translation of his Universal Science (ʿIlm-i kullī). In this work his own journey intersected with that of another seeker of knowl- edge, John Yaḥyā Cooper (24 August 1947 – 9 January 1998), who commenced its”

Hairi Yazdi, Universal Science, An Introduction To Islamic Metaphysics (trans. Cooper)

THE PHILOSOPHY OF SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR

Abstract:

“There is a well-known saying of’All ibn Abi ‘falib, the cousin and son-in­ law of the Prophet of Islam and representative par excellence of Islamic esoterism and metaphysics, according to which one should pay attention to what is said and not who has said it. This teaching has been close to my heart since my youth and rarely have I accepted to write something of an
autobiographical nature. But the Library of Living Philosophers requires a work of such a nature from the person with whose thought a particular volume is concerned. Therefore, with some reticence I tum to this task. Once”

Auxier, Hahn, And Stone (eds.), The Philosophy Of Seyyed Hossein Nasr