Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path

Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path

Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path

Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path

Synopsis

Ibn `Abbad of Ronda (1332-1390) wrote to his friends in Fez from the small Moroccan town of Sale. Here are selections of his letters, dating from 1365 to 1375, blending the lay movement of his time and the Sufi traditions of his past into a fresh spirituality.

Excerpt

Sufism has many faces. Many modern Westerners connect it with, if anything, "Sufi Dance" as it is taught in American cities. They do not know that mystical concerts and whirling dance are basically meant to provide the Sufi with some relaxation after his unceasing, hard spiritual exercises and have come to form an integral part of Sufi ritual only in one order, the Mevleviyya. Other Westerners, who have read scholarly books on Sufism, mainly those from the nineteenth century, may claim that this trend is nothing but unabashed pantheism—for the first European scholar to devote a book to Sufism, F. D. A. Tholuck, felt compelled to call his study Sufismus sive theosophia Persarum pantheistica [Sufism, or the pantheistic theosophy of the Persians]. The German theologian Tholuck, like many others before and after him, had access only to comparatively late utterances of Sufi poets, mainly from the Persian tradition, and it is indeed easy to find in the ecstatic songs of mystical poets (not only in Islam!) the feeling of all-embracing unity, condensed in the recurrent expression hama ūst [Everything is He]. This expression was generally used to sum up the complicated and highly . . .

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