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Hagiography, Persian and Turkish

(2,356 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Discussions of sanctity (walāya) in Persian and Turkish hagiography serve as teaching tools in Ṣūfī circles, to reach out to wide audiences and to call for devotion to holy men. The first hagiographies in Persian appeared in the fifth/eleventh century, and the earliest in Anatolian Turkish were composed in the seventh/thirteenth century (Paul, Au début; Paul, EIr; Hagen; Ocak, Kültür). Both traditions continue today, not only through the oral reading and glossing of hagiographies but also in the literary production of biographies of recent saints. 1. Persian hagiographies It is in …
Date: 2021-07-19

Antinomianism

(2,474 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Antinomianism (ibāḥa, ibāḥiyya) is a term for religious tendencies considered permissive, extremist, or deviant. Originally a technical term in Islamic religious law, ibāḥa has been used by mediaeval heresiographers, both Sunnī and Shīʿī, to condemn these tendencies inside or outside their communities. Equally disturbed by what they viewed as aberrant practices and concepts, Ṣūfī scholars denounced antinomianism as a perversion of Ṣūfism. The incessant debates on ibāḥa can be understood as variations on the problem of Islamic law confronted with its unavoidabl…
Date: 2021-07-19

Khānaqāh

(3,986 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Khānaqāh (or khānqāh) is a Persian word for the place where Muslim mystics gather. It was, and still is, used mainly in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, western China, and the Indian subcontinent. Other terms were more common elsewhere, such as zāwiya in Arab lands, Africa, and Indonesia, and tekke in Turkey and the Balkans. All these terms are often interchangeable. Usually translated as “Ṣūfī lodge” (rather than “convent”) in English, the khānaqāh is a room or an establishment where Ṣūfīs assemble around a spiritual master to perform rituals (often by night or in…
Date: 2021-07-19

al-Samarqandī, Abū Ṭāhir

(979 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Abū Ṭāhir al-Samarqandī (fl. thirteenth/nineteenth century) is the author of a description of Samarqand entitled Samariyya, for which we have several manuscripts and editions (references in Afshār, ed., Qandiyya, 17; Zand) and at least three translations: into Chaghatay, in 1884, by Mīrzā Barāt; into Russian, in 1899, by Vassiliĭ L. Vyatkin (Veselovskiĭ, iii–v; Muminov, 343–4); and into Uzbek, in 1924, by ʿAbd al-Muʾmin Sattārī (Aḥmedov et al.). All we know of Abū Ṭāhir, from the Samariyya itself and a few other documents, is that he was the son of Abū Saʿīd, head judge (qāḍī kalān) of S…
Date: 2021-07-19

Malang

(1,232 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Malang is a word used in the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan for a type of transgressive, if not antinomian, Ṣūfī (Papas, Dervish). The etymology of the word and the origin of the group are uncertain. Coming perhaps from Hindi or Persian and attested since at least about 1008/1600, malang seems initially to have denoted certain members of a Ṣūfī group called Madāriyya; the scope of the term then broadened to individuals and communities comparable with respect to socio-religious practices (al-Haravī, 360; Sharīf, 172–3, 290; Dabistan, 223–6). The Madāriyya was founded by Bad…
Date: 2021-07-19

Initiation in Ṣūfism

(1,999 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Initiation in Ṣūfism (Islamic mysticism) is a physical and symbolic ritual by which a candidate for the spiritual path (ṭarīqa) becomes the disciple of a master. Comprising several key elements, which Islamic scriptural sources are called upon to support, initiation marks, synchronically, the beginning of a new life and, diachronically, the introduction of the novice into the long Ṣūfī tradition of initiatory teachings (silsila). Whereas a complete uniformity has never been achieved, Ṣūfīs in the eastern areas of the Muslim world have been remarkably creati…
Date: 2021-07-19

Fakir

(1,187 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
A fakir is a Muslim mystic who lives in poverty. The word used in most Western languages derives from the Arabic faqīr (pl. fuqarāʾ), which means “poor, destitute”; faqr means “poverty.” Appearing twelve times in the Qurʾān and in several ḥadīths, the word means, amongst other meanings that are more numerous and literal and synonymous with miskīn (pauper), the human condition of being in need of God—human beings are ontologically indigent, whereas God alone is self-sufficient (Q 35:15, 47:38)—a sense that inspired the Ṣūfī conception of the fakir (Es…
Date: 2021-07-19

Dervish

(3,151 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre
Dervish is a general term for various types of marginal mystics. Its etymon is the Persian word darvīsh (lit. “poor, needy”), but it has commonly been used to denote practitioners of religious poverty. The mediaeval Ṣūfī tradition applied this word to a specific lifestyle, in which detachment and renunciation were both material and spiritual. Dervishes had to go from door to door to beg for alms and, metaphorically, from gate to gate to ask for divine revelations, as at each stage of his spiritual quest, the der…
Date: 2021-07-19

Multānī, Khudā Bakhsh

(1,441 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre | Touseef, Muhammad
Khudā Bakhsh Multānī (d. 1834) was a prominent Ṣūfī scholar of the Chishtiyya order in the city of Multān, in southwestern Panjāb (the Chishtiyya probably originated in Chisht, near Herat, towards the end of the sixth/twelfth century and was introduced into India by Muʿīn al-Dīn Sijzī, d. 627/1230). 1. Life He was born in 1150/1737 or 1167/1755 (Shahāb, 169; Mukhtār Aḥmad Pīrzāda, 50; Muḥammad Navāz Anīs Pīrzāda, Khvāja, 1; Khān, 31) in Tulamba, a small village of Multān district, into a family of Qurayshīs or, more probably, into the caste of Malanhāns (Mahāravī, Gulshan, 269; Mukhtār …
Date: 2021-07-19

Multānī, ʿUbaydallāh

(1,100 words)

Author(s): Papas, Alexandre | Touseef, Muhammad
ʿUbaydallāh Multānī (1804–88) was an influential Ṣūfī of the Chishtiyya order in South Panjāb (the Chishtiyya probably originated in Chisht, near Herat, towards the end of the sixth/twelfth century, and was introduced into India by Muʿīn al-Dīn Sijzī, d. 627/1230). He was born in Multān, in southwestern Panjāb, to a family of religious scholars and was the second son of a certain Muḥammad Qudratallāh, who taught him the basics of Islam (ʿĀdil, 1:42, 47; Fāridī, 226). According to his principal hagiographer Muḥammad ʿĀdil—a relative of ʿUbaydallāh Multānī, cousin of the recent sajjāda-…
Date: 2021-07-19