Mystical Vision and Thought in Medieval Sufism

Author: Bhatnagar, R.S.
Year:2005
Pages:284
ISBN:0-7734-6227-9
978-0-7734-6227-4
Price:199.95
Philosophical assessment of abstract and symbolic notions underlying the spiritual visions of the saints is not an easy task. Professor Bhatnagar has admirably done this work. In ten chapters of this treatise he clarifies the mystical experiences and sayings of medieval Muslim saints and examines them from philosophical standpoint. This monograph has its groundings in intensive study of the primary sources in the original like Kashf al-Mah?j?b of Al-Hujw?r?, Ris?la of Al-Qushayr?, Kit?b al-luma’ of Al-Sarr?j, Kit?b al-ta’ arruf of Kal?b?dh? and Tadhikirat al-awliy?’ of ‘At?t??r. Quotations of the saints have been given in original language.

Professor Bhatnagar feels that the teachings of the prophet of Islam are best understood by the S??f?s on account of their mystical experiences gained on the Path of God. According to the author, the chief tenets of medieval Sufism are mah?abbat (love for God), ma’rifa (knowledge of God) and al-tawh??d (soul’s unification with God). Besides, this work is an impartial assessment of divergent tar?q (S??f? sects) and schools of S??f? thought. In addition, the author has examined the philosophical doctrines of the eminent S??f?s of India.

This substantial treatise on theory and practice of medieval S??fism written by an Indian scholar of Philosophy and Islamic mysticism is an excellent addition to the existing knowledge of S?fi thought.

Reviews

“This work on Medieval Sufism has a relevance of its own in the present world suffering from normal values of human civilization … Professor Bhatnagar deserves congratulations for bringing out the spiritual visions of Medieval Sufis and interpreting them in terms of philosophy.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. Ravindra Chandra Roy, Rtd. Professor of Philosophy & History, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, India

“Professor R.S. Bhatnagar’s work is the most important addition to the growing literature on Islamic mysticism. Having spent a lifetime in studying and teaching the mystical philosophy of Islam, Professor Bhatnagar has established himself as a scholar of Sufism whose work cannot be bypassed by anyone interested in the subject. One cannot but admire the breadth of Professor Bhatnagar’s present work – which begins with the earliest Sufis and goes on to the Sufis of Iran and India during the medieval times – and the depth to which he takes his readers along. A technical and philosophical subject is explained by Professor Bhatnagar with lucidity and ease. I have great admiration for Professor Bhatnagar’s masterly work and I recommend it strongly to everyone having an interest in the mystical philosophy of Islam.” – Professor S.M. Ijteba Nadvi, Former Head of the Department of Arabic and Persian, University of Allahabad

“Sophia perennis, or eternal wisdom, has interested men of thought and vision throughout history, but it has never been so widespread as it is today, calling for new and fresh literature, Professor R.S. Bhatnagar’s work provides a fresh breath. The sufis, both in the medieval period as well as the modern, have produced innumerable manuals explaining the theory and the practice of Islamic mysticism, called tasawwuf, which gave the world new insights into Sophia perennis and new techniques to reach the destination which has always been, and is even today, the mystic’s sole purpose of life. Professor R.S. Bhatnagar enumerates the various Islamic mystical schools and their teachings in simple, felicitous language. His grasp of the original sources of tasawwuf, in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, is commendable. Years of close study, personal visits to the Sufi shrines, and deep reflection make Professor Bhatnagar’s book a serious and authentic addition to the vast literature of mysticism which will certainly be widely welcomed. The world needs such spiritual literature to counterbalance the growing materialistic culture which has been, and still threatens to be, the bane of man’s history.” – S.A. Ali, Former Director, Indian Institute of Islamic Studies, New Delhi

Table of Contents

FOREWORD
COMMENDATORY PREFACE
AUTHOR'S NOTE
SYSTEM OF TRANSCRIPTION
THE ESSENTIALS OF MEDIEVAL SUFISM
1. Derivation of the term Sufi
2. Ascetic concept of Sufism
3. Moral aspect of Sufism
4. The Sufi philosophy
5. Soul's spiritual training
6. Love as a link between Sufi and God
7. Mystical perfection through shar?'a t?ar?qa and H?aq?qa
8. Degrees of spiritual perfection
9. Esoteric knowledge and ordinary knowledge
10. Sufi's mystical vision and its psychological assessment
11. Evolution of medieval Sufism
12. The tenets of Islam recognised by the Sufis
13. Greek thought and medieval Sufism
14. Incorporation of Neoplatonic ideas in Sufism
15. Iranian mystic philosophy and Sufism
16. Impact of Christian mysticism on Sufism
17. Indian mystical philosophy and Sufism
18. Ascetic and quietistic form of Sufism
19. Doctrinal Sufism
ASCETIC FORM OF SUFISM
1. Asceticism of early medieval monks
2. The Prophet of Islam as the true spiritual guide
3. Mystic attitude of the Four Caliphs
4. Ab? Muh?ammad Ja'far
5. The Companions of the Prophet
6. The early saints
(1) H?asan al-Basr?
(2) Ab? Han?fa Nu'm?n
(3) Ibr?h?m B. Adham
(4) D?wud al-T?'?
(5) 'Abd al-W?h?id
(6) R?bi'a al-'Adawiyya
(7) Fudayl ibn 'Iy?d?
(8) Ab? 'Al? Shaq?q
7. Medieval Sufis of formative period
(1) Ma'r?f al-Karkh?
(2) Ab? Sulaym?n al-D?r?n?
(3) Ab? 'Abdall?h al-Ant??k?
(4) Bishr al-H??f?
(5) Ab? 'Abdall?h al-H??rith b. Asad al-Muh??sib?
EARLY MEDIEVAL SUFI THOUGHT
1. Early doctrinal Sufism
(1) Dhu'l-N?n al-Mis?r?
(2) Abu'l-H?asan Sar? al-Saqat??
(3) Ab? Zakariyy? Yah?y?
2. Later doctrinal Sufism
(1) Ab? Yaz?d B?yaz?d al-Bist??m?
(2) Ab? Sa'?d Ah?mad b. ‘?s? al-Kharr?z
(3) Abu'l-H?asan Sumn?n
(4) Abu'l-H?asan al-N?r?
(5) 'Amr b. Uthm?n al-Makk?
(6) Abu'l-Q?sim b. al-Junayd
(7) Mans??r al-H?all?j
(8) Ab? Bakr al-Shibl?
(9) 'Abd al-Jabb?r al-Niffar?
(10) Ab? Bakr al-Kal?b?dh?
(11) Ab? T??lib al-Makk?
(12) Ab? Sa'?d ibn Abi'l-Khayr
SYNTHESIS OF THEOLOGICAL AND MYSTICAL TRENDS
1. The Sufi system of Ab? H??mid al-Ghaz?l?
2. Sufi thought of 'Abd al-Q?dir J?l?n?
3. Mystical philosophy of Muh?y?udd?n Ibn al-'Arab?
DEVELOPMENT OF SUFI SYSTEMS IN INDIA
1. Asceticism of Mu‘?nudd?n Chisht?
2. Saintliness of Qut?budd?n Bakhtiy?r K?k?
3. Spiritualism of Shaykh Bah?udd?n Zakariyy?
4. Mystical teachings of Far?dudd?n Mas?d Ganj Shakar
5. Sufi tenets of H?am?dudd?n
6. Sufi doctrines of Niz??mudd?n Awliy?
THE MYSTICAL PHILOSOPHY OF UNITISM
1. Jal?l al-D?n R?m?
2. Unitism of Mah?m?d Shabistar?
3. Unitary system of 'Abd al-Kar?m J?l?
4. The Sufi thought of 'Abdur-Rah?m?n J?m?
LOVE, GNOSIS AND UNIFICATION
1. The meaning of Love
2. Love as a means of Sufi's unification with God
3. Pure love of God
4. Transmutation of human qualities in love
5. Intellectual knowledge and Divine knowledge
6. Theological knowledge and Divine knowledge
7. Intutive knowledge and Divine knowledge
8. Knowledge of God through God
9. Knowledge of God through shar?’a, t??ar?qa and H?aq?qa
10. Degrees of gnosis
11. Sufi doctrine of Unification
12. Indefinability of concept of God
13. The negative and positive aspects of Unification
14. Junayd's doctrine of Four Ways of Unification
15. The interpretations of Unification
16. Ibn al-'Arab?'s doctrine of Unification
17. Unification according to J?m? and B?b? K?h?
THE SUFI PATH OF GOD
1. Self-transformation on the mystic path
2. Mystical stages and spiritual states
3. Stages and states as the marks of love towards God
4. Titles of the pilgrim on the Path
5. Spiritual training on the Path
6. Mortification of self
7. Classification of mystical stages
8. Main stages on the Sufi Path
SUFI FRATERNITIES AND SCHOOLS OF SUFI THOUGHT
1. Origin of Sufi fraternities
2. The Sufi Orders
3. The Sufi Schools of Thought
EPILOGUE
APPENDIX
GLOSSARY OF SUFI TERMS
LIST OF SOURCES
INDEX
I. Names and Titles
II. Subjects and Terms