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 among the most well-liked Sufi handbook ever. Written in 437 H / 1045 CE, it has served as a chief textbook for plenty 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 through rank, wealth, and army energy. In al-Qushayri's narrative, the Sufi 'friends of God' (awliya') are depicted because the real, if uncrowned, 'kings' of this global, now not these worldly rulers who seem to be lording it over the typical herd of believers. but, even the main complex Sufi masters are not take salvation with no consideration. Miracle-working, irrespective of how wonderful, can't warrantly the Sufi a 'favorite consequence' within the afterlife, for it can be yet a ruse at the a part of God who desires to try out the ethical integrity of his servant. within the Epistle, those and plenty of different Sufi motifs are illustrated by means of the anecdotes and parables that express al-Qushayri's fellow Sufis in a large choice of contexts: struggling with starvation and thirst within the wilderness, whereas appearing pilgrimage to Makkah, engaging in 'spiritual auditions', reciting the Qur'an, waging conflict opposed to the 'infidel' enemy and their very own wishes, incomes their livelihood, meditating in a retreat, praying, operating miracles, interacting with the 'people of the market-place', their kinfolk and friends, dreaming, and death.
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Extra info for al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: al-Risala al-Qushayriyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf
I heard Muhammad b. al-Husayn say: I heard ∏Abdallah b. ∏Ali al-Tusi say: I heard Abu ∏Amr b. ∏Alwan say: I heard Abu πl-∏Abbas b. Masruq47 say: “I heard that Sari al-Saqati was plying his trade at the bazaar, while he was a companion of Ma∏ruf al-Karkhi. Once Ma∏ruf came to him with an orphan boy. ” I heard Shaykh Abu ∏Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami – may God have mercy on him – say: I heard Abu Bakr al-Razi say: I heard Abu ∏Umar al-Anmati say: I heard al-Junayd say: “I have never seen anyone more devoted to God than al-Sari.
We shall also mention some of their biographies and sayings in order to demonstrate their principles and good manners, if God Most High so wills. 1 Al-shari∏a; in what follows this Arabic term will either be translated as the “Divine Law” or left untranslated. 2 Zuhhad, sing. zahid; in what follows this term may occasionally also be translated as “ascetics”. 3 ∏Ubbad, sing. ∏abid. 4 Sunna, the exemplary behavior of the Prophet and his closest Companions to be emulated by every righteous Muslim.
Fayruz al-Karkhi34 He was a great master whose prayers were answered [by God] and whose grave was [a source] of healing. //37 He was a client of [the imam] ∏Ali b. 36 He was 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Cities in Khurasan, Iran. Q. 57:16. That is, Mecca. A famous warrior ascetic from the Arab–Byzantine frontier. He died in 181/797; see IM, pp. 21–22. That is, God protects him by sending him a warning through them. An early ascetic of Baghdad who died in 200/815. See IM, pp. 48–49. The eighth imam of the Shi∏ites who died in 203/818.
al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism: al-Risala al-Qushayriyya fi Ilm al-Tasawwuf by Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, Alexander Knysh