Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Qur'an, Miraj, Poetic and Theological WritingsEarly Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Qur'an, Miraj, Poetic and Theological Writings
Michael A. Sells
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This volumes opens with an essay on the place of spirituality within the Islamic tradition. Immediately following are the foundation texts of the pre-Sufi spirituality: the Qur'an passages most important to the mystical tradition; the accounts of Muhammad's heavenly ascent; and the crucial work of early poets in setting a poetic sensibility for speaking of union with the divine beloved. The volume then presents the sayings attributed to the key early figures of Islamic spirituality: Ja'far as-Saddiq, the Sixth Imam of the Shi'ite Tradition; Rabi'a, the most famous woman saint of classical Islam; Muhasibi, the founder of Islamic moral psychology; Bistami, whose sayings on mystical union have generated fascination and controversy throughout the Islamic tradition and more.

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Note to the Reader on Translation and Familiarization.


Spirituality and Embodiment in Islam
Four Phases of Islamic Spirituality

Early Islamic Mysticism
Chapter 1: Sources of Islamic Mysticism

The Qur'an
The Mi'Raj (Sacred Cosmology and Mystical Orientation)
The Beloved (Poetic Dimensions of Islamic Spirituality)

Chapter 2: Early Sufi Qur'an Interpretation

The Qur'anic Commentary Attributed Ja'Far As-Sadiq (The Sixth Imam)
Sahl At-Tustari (From The Interpretation of the Majestic Qur'an)

Chapter 3: Qushayri

Interpreting Mystical Expressions from the Treatise

Chapter 4. Rabi'a

Her Words and Life in "Attar's Memorial of the Friends of God

Chapter 5: Muhasibi

Moral Psychology

Chapter 6. Sarraj

The Seven Stations fromt he Book of Flashes (Kitab al-Luma)

Chapter 7. Bistami

Saraj on Bistami's Mystical Utterances from The Book of Flashes (Kitab al-Luma')
The other Bistami: The Biographies of Sulami and Qushayri
The Mi'ray of Bistami

Chapter 8. Junard

On the Affirmation of Unity (Tawhid)
On Annihilation (Fana)

Chapter 9. Hallaj

Iblis as Tragic Love (The TaSin of Before-Time and Ambiguity)

Chapter 10. Niffari

Who Are You and Who Am I? from the Book of Standings (Kitab al-Mawaqif)


"If They Only Knew" from the Diwan Attributed to al-Hallaj

Appendix. Shahrastani

Scholastic Theoogy (Kalam) on Unity and Justic

Chronology of Some Important Figures in the Development of Sufism

Selected Bibliography
Index of Topics
Index of Names