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Prophet Muhammad

The Subtleties of the Ascension
The Subtleties of the Ascension
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  • Authored by: Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami

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Details: The Subtleties of the Ascension : Lata'if al-Miraj,† [English & Arabic] New,
''Early Mystical Sayings on Muhammad's Heavenly Journey '' -
*[A5+] Paperback - 277 pages,
by Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami,
Translated and Annotated by Frederick S. Coilby,
**Published by Fons Vitae, USA.

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Contains images which contravene Islamic Belief! These have been blocked.
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This first time translation into any language of a recently discovered tenth century manuscript provides a window into the thought-world of the early Muslim mystics known as the Sufis, and offers a comparative case of mystical exegesis for those interested in mysticism more generally. Fifty-six teachings on a variety of ascension-related issues illustrate the profoundly creative imagination of such early Sufi mystics as al-Hallaj, al-Junayd, and Bistami, demonstrating their remarkable ability to mine gems of insight from the deepest depths of spiritual experience, and highlighting their abiding love for the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

The book provides the essential framework for both novices and experts to understand how the early Sufis approached the Qur'an and the oral reports attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

This extraordinary text illustrates how early Muslim mystics understood one of the key experiences in the life of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, his night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension from there to the heavens and into the divine presence.† Muslims have discussed the meaning and significance of the night journey and ascension ever since the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, first described the events to his contemporaries upon his return. Sufi mystics have shown particular fondness for discussing the night journey and ascension, especially since a number of Sufis have seen in Muhammadís, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, journey a model for the mysticís quest.

Records of early Sufi discussions on the subject can be found in the Qurían commentary of the tenth-century Sufi compiler Abuí Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami and in the work of Sulamiís student Abu al-Qasim Qushayri, may Allah have mercy upon them both. A recently discovered manuscript attributed to Sulami, however, preserves an even richer source of ascension-related sayings.† Entitled The Subtleties of the Ascension, Sulami exclusively dedicates this short Arabic work to recounting how the early Sufi mystics interpreted the Prophetís journey.† It represents the most extensive collection of early Sufi ascension sayings known to date.

The present volume contains the original text of The Subtleties of the Ascension from its manuscript in Arabic, together with Frederick Colbyís introduction, translation and commentary upon the text in English.† It thus offers both the general reader and the learned specialist a lens through which to examine how Sufis of the formative period express and elucidate the mystical subtleties of Muhammadís ascension, one of the central narratives of Muslim sacred tradition.

Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami : His full name was Muhammad b. al-Husayn b. Musa b.Khalid b. Salim b. Zawiya b. SaÔd b. b. Qabisa b. Sarraq al-Azdi al-Sulami al-Nisapuri. He was of Arab origin and known by the name Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami. Al-Sulami was born in Nishapur (now in Iran) in 325 AH or 937 ED. He was from a prestigious family, well respected for their involvement in the intellectual pursuits of that city.

Al-Sulami inherited the Malamatiyya tradition at an early age from both his father and grandfather. In his youth he also studied theology, jurisprudence of the Shafi school, and traveled extensively in pursuit of Hadith, until he became known as an authority in his own right. He was given a certificate of competence (ijaza) to issue formal legal opinions (fatwas) and to teach. Yet like so many of the scholars of his day, he also sought instruction in the teachings and practices which were believed to lead to marifa.

Al-Sulami early introduction to Sufism was within his grandfather's circle of associates. Abu Sahl Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Suluki (d.367/977), a Hanafi judge and companion of Ismail b. Nujayd, formally initiated al-Sulami into Sufism and gave him permission to instruct novices. Al-Sulami also received initiation to the path at the hand of Abul-Qasim al-Nasrabadhi (d.367/978), an important Shafi'i scholar of Hadith of Nishapur (also a friend of b. Nujayd). Al-Sulami, as his mentors had before him, exampled a balance between the narration of Hadith, the study of jurisprudence and the transmission of the teachings and disciplines he had inherited from his teachers among the Malamatiyya of Nishapur. One of the most prominent personalities of Sufism in the 10th century died in the year of AH 412 or ED 1021 in Nisapur.

Frederick Colby (Ph.D. Duke, 2002; MA Chicago, 1995) is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His dissertation on Muhammad's night journey and ascension took him to Arabic manuscript collections in Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, and London, and to the libraries at Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Chicago. Professor Colby teaches courses that range from the history of Islam and "Interpreting the Qur'an" to comparative mysticism and "Religion and Media." He has worked with the Sufi sayings in this volume for nearly a decade, using them in the classroom, in a published article, and in lectures around the world.

Table of Contents :

---The Subtleties of the Ascension,

---[1]. God as the Sole Cause of the Journey (Wasiti),
---[2]. The Nature of the Journey (Ibn 'Ata),
---[3]. Bearing the Vision in the Heart (Ibn 'Ata),
---[4]. A Choice of Words (Nasrabadhi),
---[5]. The Propriety of Witnessing (Anonymous),
---[6]. God's Gift to the Prophet (Wasiti),
---[7]. Bearing the Vision of God (al-Razi),
---[8]. The Wisdom of the Ascension (Wasiti),
---[9]. Touching the Head to the Ground at the Lote Tree of the Boundary (Anonymous),
---[10]. Seeing with God's Eyes (al-Hallaj),
---[11]. Humnaness Transformed (al-Hallaj),
---[12]. The Inexplicable Approach (Jafar al-Sadiq),
---[13]. When Obeisance is Appropriate (Anonymous),
---[14]. The Ineffable Limit (al-Junayd),
---[15]. The Speech of Moses and Muhammad (al-Junayd),
---[16]. Increase in Secret Knowledge (Kharraz),
---[17]. On the Approach (Wasiti),
---[18]. Approaching the Divine Vision (Jafar al- Sadiq),
---[19]. Special Clothing and Greetings (al-Junayd),
---[20]. Moses and Muhammad, may Allah bless him & grant him peace, (Anonymous),
---[21]. The Distinguishing Sign (Faris al-Baghdadi),
---[22]. Trials of the Prophets (al-Hallaj)
---[23]. Divine and Prophetic Attributes (Abu Said Qurashi),
---[24]. A Secret Between Lovers (Jafar al-Sadiq),
---[25]. The Greatest Vision (Anonymous),
---[26]. Abiding in the Presence (al-Jurayri),
---[27]. The Benefit of Ritual Prayer (al-Hallaj)
---[28]. Letter Mysticism with L and B (Anonymous),
---[29]. Drawing Near to the Divine Vision (Anonymous),
---[30]. Muhammad's, may Allah bless him & grant him peace, Rank (al-Dimashqi),
---[31]. The Purpose of the Ascension (Anonymous),
---[32]. Hierarchy of Ranks (Faris al-Baghdadi),
---[33]. The Unswerving Aim (Nuri),
---[34]. Cheerfulness at Resurrection (Anonymous),
---[35]. Garments of the Select (Kharraz),
---[36]. Illuminating the Heavens (Anonymous),
---[37]. Proof in Jerusalem (al-Dinawari),
---[38]. The Sanctification of Jerusalem (Wasiti),
---[39]. The Prophet's Speechlessness (Anonymous),
---[40]. The Limitations of Praise (al-Hallaj),
---[41]. The Prophet's Expanding Cheerfulness (Anonymous),
---[42]. Unswerving Vision (Ruwaym),
---[43]. Real Praise (Wasiti),
---[44]. Muhammad, salla Allahu alayhi wa Sallam, the Intercessor (Abhari),
---[45]. Preparation for the Encounter (al-Shibli),
---[46]. The Faltering Tongue (Hiri),
---[47]. Approaching the Companion (Hiri),
---[48]. Raising His Mention in the Heavens (Ibn 'Ata),
---[49]. Ask and be Given (al-Hallaj),
---[50]. From Fancy to Realisation (Kharraz),
---[51]. Al-Buraq's Behaviour (al-Jurayri),
---[52]. Special Virtues of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa Sallam, (Abu Umar al-Dimashqi),
---[53]. Master of the Forefathers (Anonymous),
---[54]. The Real's Unique Power (Wasiti),
---[55]. Special and General Vision (al-Bistami),
---[56]. After the Night Journey (Anonymous).


---The Arabic Text of the Subtleties of the Ascension,

------The Manuscript,
------The Printed Edition.

Appendix :

---Biographical Notes,
---Works Cited,

*Dimensions : 23 x 15.3 x 2.1cm.


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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 20 October, 2016.

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