Author: Al Hakim al Tirmidhi, Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami al-Naysaburi. Translators: Nicholas Heer, Kenneth L. Honerkamp
Publisher: Fons Vitae
Pages: 192 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
The three Sufi texts published in this volume all deal with some aspect of the Sufi path to God. The Sufi path is marked by a number of different stages or stations (maqam/maqamat) which the Sufi traveller (salik) passes through as he advances on the path. On his way the Sufi also experiences various psychological and emotional states (hal/ahwal). These states differ from the stations through which the Sufi passes in that the states are transitory experiences granted to him by God and over which he has no control, whereas the stations are permanent stages on the path which he has achieved through his own individual effort.
The enumeration of these states and stations and discussions of the distinction between them may be found in such classical Sufi works as al-Kalabadhi's Ta`arruf, al-Sarraj's Luma`, al-Qushayri's Risalah and al-Hujwiri's Kashf al-Mahjub. There are, however, considerable differences among these writers with respect to the enumeration and description of these stations and states. The existence of such differences should not be surprising since the descriptions of the stations and states found in these works are based on knowledge gained through interior Sufi experiences rather than on knowledge gained through the external senses.
The Sufi path to God, however, is not an easy one. The Sufi's progress along the path is hindered by the machinations of the self (nafs), that is, the ego-self or what is called in the Qur'an the self that incites or exhorts to evil (al-nafs al-ammarah bi-al-su'). In order to maintain his progress along the path to God the Sufi must be able to control the ego-self by disciplining it, and by continually blaming and abasing it.
Of the three Sufi works included in this volume, the first two, Bayan al-Farq, attributed to al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, and al-Sulami's Darajat al-Sadiqin, deal primarily with the stations and states of the Sufi traveller on the path to God. The third, al-Sulami's Zalal al-Fuqara', on the other hand, deals with the disciplining and abasement of the ego-self or self that incites to evil. We hope the publication of these three Sufi texts in English translation will contribute to a greater appreciation of Islam and its mystical aspects.
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1) A Treatise on the Heart- Bayan al-Farq bayn al-Sadr wa-al-Qalb wa-al-Fu ‘ad wa-al-Lub Attributed to Al-Hakim Al-Tirmidhi
Translated by Nicholas Heer
2) The Stumblings of Those Aspiring Darajat al-Sadiqin and
3) The Stations of the Righteous Salal al-fuqara’
Two Texts on the Path of Blame
By Abu’Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami al-Naysaburi Translated by Kenneth L. Honerkamp
(Arabic MSS for all three included)
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Translations of texts from the formative period of Islam are rare. Those that were done are now out of print. Translations of Tirmidhi and Sulami are even more difficult to find. The three, previously untranslated works presented here originate from the pens of two of the most eminent figures of the Khorasanian tradition, Hakim Tirmidhi (d. 300/912) and Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami al-Naysaburi (d. 412/1021).
These texts, dating from the formative period of Sufism, affirm the existence of an already highly developed school of Muslim psychology that provided the foundation for the transformational process referred to within multiple spiritual traditions of the spiritual journey. Hakim Tirmidhi portrays the science of the soul within the Islamic context.
In Stations of the Righteous al-Sulami deals with the inherently defective nature of the soul, and delineates the path the soul must travel towards purification and the roles it assumes on its journey.
In Stumblings of Those Aspiring al-Sulami shares with his aspirant how best to manage the itinerary and avoid the pitfalls and obstacles of this journey. These three works are relevant within the domains of human spirituality and psychology for both the specialist and the non-specialist. Within the history of Sufism classroom these texts offer some of the earliest and most concise examples of classical Sufi methodology to appear in translation. Those committed to the study of psychology, as the science of the human soul and its states, will find within the terminology and insights offered in these works relevance, which is historical, as it is conceptual. These works also offer anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the human spirit a mirror, at once timeless and personal, of our own human nature.