A SUFI APOLOGIST OF NISHAPUR

A SUFI APOLOGIST OF NISHAPUR

Philosophy, Theology and Sufism

A SUFI APOLOGIST OF NISHAPUR
THE LIFE AND THOUGHT OF ABU [ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-SULAMI

Author(s): S.Z. Chowdhury

Reviewed by: Muhammad Isa Waley, Macungie, Pennsylvania, USA

 

Review

In this learned monograph we meet one of a select category of Muslim scholars whose writings not only presented the science of Sufism to spiritual seekers but also represented it to others in such a manner as to defend the practitioners of the Path against the accusations of deviation, or even of heresy, often levelled against them. Al-Sulami (325–412/937–1021), a major figure in the development and exposition of Sufi teachings, hailed from Nishapur in Khurasan, northeastern Iran. That ancient city, the region’s metropolis and a hub of trade and learning, flourished anew during the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries under the Tahirid (205–278/821–891) and Samanid dynasties, which maintained de facto independence from the caliphate in Baghdad. S.Z. Chowdhury’s illuminating study is the first to investigate in depth his subject’s important role in the development and exposition of the science of Tasawwuf. In particular, it demonstrates how al-Sulami furthered the work of his apologist predecessors by means which included compiling a corpus of sayings of the early Sufis and finding isnads, or chains of transmission, for them.


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