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The Doctrine of the Sufis (Kitab al-Ta'arruf Li-Madhhab Ahl Al-Tasawwuf)

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Translated from the Arabic of Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi
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Item Code: UBE322
Author: John Arberry
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 8171511996
Pages: 191
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 370 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

The book begins with a discussion of the meaning and proposed derivations of the term Sufi and enumerates names of the great Sufis. It then states the tenets of Islam, as accepted by the Sufis and tries to prove that Sufism as a system lies within and not without the bounds of orthodoxy. Further it discusses the various stations of the Sufis such as fear, hope, love, etc. and also discusses the "technical terms" of the Sufis. The book concludes with descriptions of the various phenomena of Sufism, and of the miraculous dispensations accorded to the Sufis by God.

In fact this is the most valuable and important work on Sufism.


Some years ago my friend and teacher, Professor Nicholson, was so generous as to put at my disposal his manuscript of the Arabic original of the work the English translation of which is now presented to the public the Kitab al-Ta'arruf li-madhhab ohl al-tasawwuf of Kalabadhi. I made a copy of this manuscript, and during a winter in Egypt I was able to collate this copy with two other much older manuscripts of the work which are preserved in the Royal Library at Cairo. Later my attention was drawn to a fourth copy, contained in the library of the later Timur Pasha, which had then just been made available to the public. These four manuscripts' were the basis of an edition of the text which, through the generous enterprise of the well- known Cairo publisher, Khangi, was produced in the summer of 1934.

This edition, based as it is largely on manuscripts not generally available to European scholars, was not intended as a final text of the work, but rather as a basis for a future completely critical edition: for I am aware-through the kindly advice of Dr. Ritter-that there are in Turkey manuscripts of the work which antedate considerably those used in my edition; moreover, this edition overlooks the European manuscripts, which are however of little importance compared with those in Turkey. If the occasion. ever arises, and a text with full apparatus criticus is planned, it is hoped that the Cairo edition will serve as a useful point of departure.

In making this translation of the text I have derived considerable help from the commentary of Qonawi, which the Director of the Nationalbibliothek of Vienna kindly lent for my use in the India Office, with this I compared the Berlin abstract of Manufi, generously put at my disposal by the Director of the Preussische Staatsbibliothek My version is, however, by strict principle independent of inspired comment, and seeks to provide as literal a rendering of the original as English prose-style will permit. It will be observed that the poetical citations, which are numerous, have been translated into English verse it would surely be an offence against taste, in a version of a work of considerable literary merits which aims at appealing to a public largely unfamiliar with the Arabic language, to furnish a pedantic prose dissection of these mystical poems, some of which are of striking beauty. The scholar will, I believe, find these versions so literal that he will be satisfied that they are an accurate reflection of their originals the general reader will, I hope. be able to catch through them some glimpse, however faint, of the spirit breathed into them by their composers.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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