Schools of Sufism in the tenth and eleventh centuries and their theological backgrounds
Aboutorabi Hamedani, Arash
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Modern historians of Sufism have regarded Hujwīrī’s account of the Sufi schools in the tenth and eleventh century as being of little value. This is due in part to their skeptical approach to the early sources in general. A careful reading, however, of Hujwīrī with the other compendiums of the period provides us with a living account that reflects the several competing theological schools. This renders Hujwīrī’s account of great value for today’s research into the formative period of Sufism as well as the history of Islamic theology. Most of the Sufi schools treated by Hujwīrī played a role in highlighting the intra-religious theological boundaries of the tenth and eleventh centuries. Among these Sufi schools, Basṭāmī’s idea of spiritual intoxication (sukr) has roots in the anti-Muʿtazilaite traditions that allow visual perception of the Divine; Kharrāz’s concept of annihilation (fanā’) shows some Neo-Platonic and Muʿtazilite traces; and Wāsiṭī-Sayyārī’s doctrine of integration (jamʿ) supports the Sunnite views of human agency and contrasts with the Malāmatī doctrine of the time.