By Laury Silvers
The advance of early Islamic mysticism and metaphysics is gifted throughout the lifestyles and paintings of theologian Abu Bakr al-Wasiti.
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Additional resources for A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr Al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism
21 The teaching relationship in early Sufism can be understood—in the broadest sense—to be the transmission of a shaykh’s outward and inward knowledge of God in order to bring about his companion’s own realization (tahqiq) of knowledge of God. The transmission involved guiding his companion’s spiritual life through commands, suggestions, and advice concerning spiritual discipline, explanations of what is experienced on the path, the assigning of litanies, disclosures of the inward meanings of the Qurªan and Hadith, as well as the clarification and explanation of more mundane matters in all areas—all of which might to a lesser or greater degree apply to an infrequent visitor of a shaykh.
380/990) arrived in Marw some fifty years after Wasiti’s death. The city still had not recovered from the unrest decades earlier. Maqdisi found one-third of the suburbs, as well as the citadel on the hill in the center of the inner city, in ruins. 22 The surrounding fertile land kept the city well fed during its years of upheaval. In better times, Marw was a grand city famous for the quality of its silk, cotton, and dried melons, all of which were important exports. It was also praised then for “its cleanliness, its good streets, the divisions of its buildings and quarters among the rivers and gardens.
He traveled widely to collect biographical material and sayings of the Sufis. 34 Although he spent a great deal of time with Wasiti and clearly recognized the value of his teachings, he never became Wasiti’s close companion. 35 The only known close and constant companion is Abu al-º Abbas al-Sayyari (d. 37 Sayyari was his only known devoted companion. 38 There will be an opportunity to contextualize and refine his assessment later, but he is correct in saying 42 WASITI AND EARLY SUFISM that Sayyari was foremost among Wasiti’s circle who could follow his teachings.
A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr Al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism by Laury Silvers