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 Mesaj Başlığı: Alexandre PAPAS*No Sufism without Sufi Order
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Kyoto Bulletin of Islamic Area Studies, 2-1 (2008), pp. 4-22

No Sufism without Sufi Order:

Rethinking Tarîqa and Adab with Ahmad Kâsânî Dahbidî (1461-1542)†
Alexandre PAPAS*

“al-tarîqa kulluha âdâb (hadîth)”

quoted in the Risâla-yi âdâb al-siddîqîn

One of the problems related to the concept of tarîqa is its essential ambivalence. While tarîqa
actually means the Spiritual Path, the progress of the mystics on the way to Unity with Allah, the
same word is used to describe the organizational form, the way of companionship, of these mystics.
The scholarly literature on the turuq, i.e. the Sufi orders, has frequently differentiated between
the two meanings, assuming that throughout the history of Sufism the original signification and
content of tarîqa has dissipated, leaving way for the turuq, as if one passed from a pure spiritual
dimension to a more social reality. In opposition to this view, I would argue that the turuq institution
is inseparable from the tarîqa ideal, in other words that the worldly, temporal form of Sufism is
intimately linked to its esoteric, spiritual substance. Moreover, this fundamental ambiguity — which
may appear as a consistent feature — proves to be a main as well as indispensable element of the
Sufi orders in general. It can help us to better understand their structures and changes.
For the historian, the question is therefore to know how these two faces of the tarîqa are joined
in the different phases of the evolution of Sufism. The case of the Khwâjagân — or Central Asian
Naqshbandiyya — seems particularly intriguing in so far as this Sufi lineage began to spread widely
and to be organized as a Sufi order during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This phase is quite
different from what happened before, in the medieval period, and different from what would happen
after, in modern times. Significantly, this turning point between the fifteenth and the sixteenth
centuries benefited from the deeds and sayings of two outstanding shaykhs, Khwâja ‘Ubayd Allâh
Ahrâr (1404-1490)1) and Ahmad Kâsânî Dahbidî. Indeed, these two masters have largely contributed
to the organizational and spiritual shaping of the “modern” Naqshbandiyya.
My article focuses on the latter, Ahmad Kâsânî, since he, unlike the former, authored a whole
corpus of treatises (written in Persian) regarding various traditional topics of the Khwâjagân thought.
I will not enter into a discussion on the authorship of this codex here. I would rather consider this
written work as symptomatic of Kâsânî’s ambition to refound the Naqshbandî tarîqa.2) What seems
to me particularly interesting in Kâsânî’s writings is the discourse on tarîqa itself that we find
mainly, though not only of course, in two treatises devoted to the rules or practices of his order, that is its âdâb (sing. adab).3) These texts — where Kâsânî addresses his disciples directly, often by using
the second person or the imperative mood (“bidân ây tâlib-i sâdiq ki…”) — are entitled, respectively,
Treatise on the Rules of the Followers (Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn) and Treatise on the Rules of the
Truthful (Risâla-yi âdâb al-siddîqîn).4) I will focus on the first text as it submits the most detailed
explanations on Kâsânid Khwâjagân adab. While analysing the manuscript extensively, “chapter by
chapter”, I shall try to reconstitute, as concretely as possible, Kâsânî’s perception of his own order.
Thus I hope to steer clear of any simplistic views on tarîqa, especially those which may separate its
temporal and spiritual faces.

The two egos (nafs)
“What is nafs? Know that the nafs of each thing is the truth of that thing” (nafs-i har chîzî
haqîqat-i ân chîz ast).5) In other words, nafs is what characterizes an entity, what gives something or
someone an identity, i.e. its ego. Such is the discussion by which Ahmad Kâsânî starts his treatise.
One finds the same topic in several incipits of his writings. This is hardly surprising since, the ego
being the ordinary enemy of every Sufi, the rules of the tarîqa aim to rule over it. Classically again,
Kâsânî distinguishes two egos, the human ego (nafs-i insânî) and the animal ego (nafs-i haywânî).
God created the nafs-i haywânî for Adam, comprising the attributes of eating and sleeping (khûrdan
û khuftan). “He made it [nafs-i haywânî] the horse of Adam so that Adam could ride that horse”
(markab-i âdam sâkht wa âdam râ bi rû-yi sawâr sâkht) and could be sent to the world to divulge the
beauty of God and the divine spirit (rûh-i ilâhî).6) Classical indeed in Sufi literature,7) this image of
the horse-ego is recurrent in the text; it finds some glosses here and will appear regularly later on. The
world was then created by God who brought His manifestation to “heavens, earth and mountains”
(âsmân û zamîn û kûh), but they did not accept His manifestation. Consequently, it has been carried
only by Adam “riding the horse of the animal ego”.8) From then on, this “[divine] deposit could no
[more] be withdrawn” (amânat natawânast kashîd).9) Again, this formula will appear several times
later in the text— I shall return to this point later.
Distinct from the nafs-i haywânî — whose attributes (sifat) are not only eating and sleeping
but also drinking (âshamîdan), desire (khwâstan), appetite (shahwat) and moving (rândan) — is the
nafs-i insânî, the human ego. Free from these last attributes, it is characterized by the following: life (hayât), knowledge (‘ilm), power (qudrat), wisdom (hikmat), will (irâdat), listening (sam‘), seeing
(basar) and talking (kalâm). Kâsânî adds that the human ego, being given these attributes, is said to
be at the mid-point of reason (nîm-martaba-yi ‘aql). As the human ego is settled in the heart (dil)
of Adam, it is called core (qalb) in the sense that it stands at the middle of something, and because
its vacillation (taqallubash) is between the divine (haqq) and the mundane (dunyâ).10) This Sufi
anthropological sketch describes the basic humane condition that will determinate the existence of
every man. This condition is conceived as a way, from its divine origin to its mundane arrival.
Since Adam had inherited the aforementioned attributes from God, he was appointed the
Caliph (khalîfa) of Allah. Thus, on earth Adam “ascended the throne of creation” (bar takht-i khilâfat
nishast). However, Iblîs (evil), who has been damned by God, became the enemy of God and Adam;
he used the nafs to carry out his bad deeds toward Adam. This enemy could not be fought alone, and
so God created Hawwâ (Eve), and ordered them both to copulate in order to extend the creation (az
jihat-i kathrat-i khilqat). They made children, and humans increased in order to form an army to fight
against evil under the command of God.11) While Adam left the earth and “returned to his original
place”, men lost their ruler and were alone (tanhâ). Immediately, Iblîs started to influence men, he
encouraged their inclination to desire, thus expanding the growth of the nafs-i haywânî, pushing men
away from the right way (râh-i râst, râh-i durust) towards infidelity. God then sent to each age a
prophet (nabî) to struggle against the evil influence and to put men back on the right track, and the
prophets gathered companions (hamrâh) around them who helped them in this fight. As well as the
prophets, men needed living spiritual masters (pîr) to help them to escape from evil and to find again
the way to God (râh-i rahmân).12) Once again, Kâsânî develops carefully the representation of the
way; he even plays rhetorically with the terminology to explain his views on the ego. To be noted
also is, of course, the first mention of Sufis in the treatise with the reference to pîr who are said to
lead men toward the right direction, because men are not able to find it by themselves.

The two existences (wujûd)
From now on, Kâsânî will be addressing his readers, i.e. disciples, by using the second person.
He warns that the above narratives (hikâyât) do not teach them about their own ego (nafs-i khûd),
thus the treatise must ask again the original question “what is nafs?” though in a different sense.
The answer is: “Know that your nafs is your truth” (bidânî ki ‘ibârat az nafs-i tû haqîqat-i tu-ast).13)
This ego is placed by the divine spirit in the heart; the true heart (dil-i haqîqî) has several attributes:
talking (gûyâ’î), hearing (shinawâ’î), smelling (rawâ’î), life (hayât), knowledge (‘ilm), wisdom
(hikmat), power (qudrat). These attributes characterized the nafs of Adam as we have seen already;
now they characterize the nafs of all men. In other words, men are not reducible to their animal
identity, they are also granted a human identity. Kâsânî — calling the novice “brother” (ây barâdar)
— explains that “the true heart is thought” (dil-i haqîqî andîsha ast), therefore “the truth of men’s
existence is thought” (bidân ki ‘ibârat az wujûd û hastî-yi haqîqî-yi tû hamîn andîsha ast).14) Yet,
if thought is reduced to nothing else than eating, dressing, housekeeping (kad-khudâ’î kardan) or
rejecting Islam, men side with the animals, and incline towards the animal nature. On the contrary, if
thought is oriented toward the Truth and Allah, men draw closer to purity and divinity.
There are two existences indeed (ma‘lûm shud ki tu-râ dû wujûd bûda ast), the true existence
(wujûd-i haqqânî) and the animal existence (wujûd-i haywânî).15) A sort of competition occurs
between these two existences: when the true side (jânab-i haqîqî) gets the upper hand, truth wins; but
when the animal side takes over, animality wins. For example, the more you apply abstinence (zuhd)
or knowledge (‘ilm) or piety (taqwâ), the more you will become a writer (kâtib) or a saddler (sarrâj)
or a farmer (dihqân); but the more you eat or sleep, the more you will become an eater or a sleeper,
depending on the attribute.16) This last case is a great sin (gunâh) and this is the main veil, obstacle
(hijâb) to God and to your true existence. As long as you are ruled by your animal nature, you will
not be able to know your true existence. “Know that you will not be able to break [the stone of heart
(sang-i dil)] on your own as long as there is no stone-breaker” (bidân ki tû bikhûdî khûd în shikastan
namîtawânî tâ sang ashkanî nabâshad).17) Fortunately, after the prophets (anbiyâ’), there are stonebreakers
who are the Khwâjagân (în tâ’îfa).18) Here, for the first time in his treatise, Kâsânî introduces
a reference to his own Sufi order. He urges his reader to follow the members of his order and to obey
Next follows a discussion on jihâd. As the Prophet taught his companions, there is a greater
jihâd than the fight against the infidels, it is the struggle against the ego and evil.19) Although the
Naqshbandî shaykh reminds us that both jihâd are necessary, he emphasizes the “inner” one —
against the nafs-i haywânî — and repeats that “you will not be able to do this on your own” (tû
bikhûdî khûd în râ namîtawânî kardî).20) You need a guide (rahbar) who is able to lead you towards
the right direction, someone perfect (kâmil) in the sense that he has himself taken the right way (râh).
Hence the only solution to this problem is the Khwâjagân ta’îfa since his members are the doctors
of God (tabîbân-i hâdhiq-i ilâhî), those who can cure the existential disease. From now onwards, the
text details the way to join and then to follow the Khwâjagân tarîqa.

Feeding or starving the horse-ego
Opening this part of his treatise, Ahmad Kâsânî returns again to the primeval notion, the horseego
(bâz âmadîm bi bayân-i markab-i nafs-i haywânî). The text reveals its structure progressively:
while introducing successively the steps of the Sufi initiation process, through which men can be freed from their sufferings, the Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn goes back recurrently to the ambivalent
source of these sufferings, i.e. the ego. The text is arranged in a spiral composition, recommencing
while advancing. Recurrent is, consequently, the image of the horse-ego. We read here that Allah “has
created this [horse-ego] to carry the spirit of man” (û râ barâ-yi sawârî-yi rûh-i âdam khalq karda
bûd). Kâsânî introduces an additional element related to his Sufi anthropology, the human spirit (rûh-i
âdam) that belongs to every man. We read further that “as long as the spirit was strong and the ego
was weak, the horse-ego was carrying the spirit but with difficulties (…) the former manifested itself
to the latter (…) in eating, drinking and so on. The more the ego ate and drank, the more it gained
strength; with the result that spirit was eventually weakened.”21)
God, depending on the period and the people, regularly sends one of his friends (dûstî az
dûstân-i khûd)—i.e. a Sufi master—to remove the harmful ego from men. Each Sufi master (akâbir-i
tarîqat) sets up (waz‘ kardan) a path and a practice (tarîqat û riyâzat), corresponding to the period
and to the people they should apply to. Both the path and the practices aim at weakening “this dog
of an ego” (sag-i nafs).22) For those (the Sufi masters) who have defeated the nafs, i.e. succeeded
in controlling it, it is necessary to feed it, giving it plenty of barley and forage (juw û ‘ulf) in order
to be able to carry the divine deposit (amânat).23) Kâsânî clearly distinguishes between masters and
disciples: masters no longer have to perform ascetic practices, not so much because they do not need
them as rather because they use this force to carry the divine deposit. On the contrary, disciples have
to undergo a rigorous spiritual training to make their horse-egos obedient. They must train their
nafs by thirst (tashnagî), hunger (gurusnagî), and sleeplessness (bîkhwâbî) on the one hand, and on
the other concentrate on their master.24) This distinction between masters and disciples appears as a
general principle of organization within the Sufi order; it will receive much more attention in final
What interests Kâsâni here is still the metaphor of the horse-ego: the relief of nafs is not a short
effort — he warns — it is like a horse (asp) that fled to the desert and became wild; it is difficult to
catch it. To render the horse docile, one has to ride it a while, to refresh it at night, to take care of it
and to train it.25) The same goes for men. “Former masters who did not practice the riyâzat during
forty even fifty years, did not reach felicity” (akâbir-i mâ taqaddim tâ muddat-i chihil sâl û panjâh
sâl riyâzat namîkashîda and bi în sa‘âdat namîrasîda and). Besides the practices, the most important
activity of all (a‘mâl) is to persevere on the path (bi tarîq dawâm bâshad).

Joining the Sufi group (tâ’îfa)
According to Ahmad Kâsânî, “each Sufi group pursues a particular activity, and by persevering
in it over a certain time they will reach their goal” (har tâ’îfa bi ‘amal-i makhsûs wa dawâm-i ân
‘amal bimuddatî ki gufta shud bimaqsûd rasîdand).26) Here the shaykh introduces a short discussion
on the various Sufi groups. He differentiates between them according to one specific activity or
range of activities — which means that, from the point of view of a pre-modern Sufi master, the
practices represent an element in the definition of a tarîqa. After having briefly mentioned several
groups which perform either silent remembrance (dhikr-i khufiyya) or oral remembrance (dhikr-i
jahr), contemplation (murâqaba) or concentration (tawajjuh), the bond between master and disciple
(râbita) or servitude (khidmat), the attraction to God (jadhba) or companionship (suhbat),27) Kâsânî
refers to the various milieus, the different socio-religious groups the novice may associate with.28)
If the suspicion toward ‘ulamâ’ and even qârî is conventional in the Sufi literature, it is noteworthy
that they are clearly distinguished from the Sufi milieus, that is from the turuq. This is actually a
second element in the definition of a tarîqa: the Sufi order is not only a group of people with specific
activities, it is a particular milieu.
To be more precise, Kâsânî describes tâ’îfa or tarîqa in terms of relationship and
companionship. He warns novices of the dangers of dealing with exoterically oriented people (do not
talk too much with ‘ulamâ’, chat but do not sit with people who seek the tasfiyyat,29) etc.). In contrast,
it is highly appreciated to have close relations with Sufi orders in general and the Khwâjagân in
particular.30) Indeed the activity proper to the Khwâjagân is companionship, the spiritual discussion
between a master and his disciples (suhbat), according to Kâsânî. It is even the best of any activities
(bihtarîn az a‘mâl ast) as it follows the model of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions
(sahâba).31) The shaping of a spiritual milieu, distinct from but not hostile to “exoteric circles”, is
therefore the main activity of the Khwâjagân. Such a mystical sociability ordered around the pîr
appears as the basic organizational form of Kâsânî’s tarîqa.

Live and breathe as a Sufi!
Frequenting the Khwâjagân tâ’îfa means changing one’s life and overall behaviour. “Since
life is only few breaths” (chira ki ‘ibârat az ‘amr nafasî chand ast), since the past is dead and the
future is not born yet, since this tâ’îfa considers each breath as the last one, the person who wishes to
enter the tarîqa needs to practice constant concentration.32) This concentration is composed of three
well-known Naqshbandî spiritual techniques (last part of the eleven kalimât-i qudsiyya): counting
the repetitions of dhikr (wuqûf-i ‘adadî), awareness of time (wuqûf-i zamânî) and keeping the heart
constantly attentive to God (wuqûf-i qalbî).33) Kâsânî provides some concrete explanations related to
these techniques. What is more interesting for us is his thorough emphasis on the dhikr of the heart:
we learn that the remembrance of God (dhikr) has to be executed until it becomes a natural attribute
of the heart (sifat-i dhâtî-yi dil), without feeling any pain (takalluf). “Whatever [the Sufi] does to
dismiss the awareness of God, he will not be able to dismiss it” (har chand ki în âgâhî râ az khûd
rawad kunad natawânad). Once more, we find this formula meaning that the Sufi cannot withdraw
from the spiritual result he has attained; and so the Sufi path is marked by irreversible stages.
In the meantime, many mystical experiences will occur: states (hâlât), qualities (kayfiyât),
impressions (adhwâq), revelations (mukâshafât), intoxications (sukrhâ), and ecstasies (bîkhûdîhâ).
Angels, spirits of prophets and saints will appear to the Sufi; each one will present his tarîqa and
invite him to try various spiritual states.34) Through these trials (imtihân), they “will see if he is
resolute on his path or not” (bibînand ki û dar tarîqat-i khûd thâbit qadam hast yâna).35) If he
indulges in the experiences they propose, they will leave him alone, considering that he is not firm. If
he rejects these experiences, no matter what they are, and if they consider that he is firm enough on
the path, they will help him all the way along his spiritual path. The novice has to remain indifferent
to these visions, and must concentrate on the essence (tawajjuh-i dhât), i.e. God. If something from
the divine truths is revealed to him (haqâ’îq û ma‘ârif-i ilâhî), he must not only grasp it but ask for
Aside from this inner discipline, the follower of the Khwâjagân has to acquire an equal outer
discipline. The sâlik must avoid strangers (bîgâna) and low-minded people (dûn himmat) in order
not to be influenced by them and not to become like them; he should keep good company during his
life.36) Kâsâni repeats that the novice would better break with the qârî and join the Sufis. Whereas
the former are interested in the call (dhikr), the latter are only interested in the called (musammâ),
i.e. God. Moreover, the seeker (tâlib) must remain indifferent to worldly affairs and even to heavenly
ones. He should be content with the basic necessities of life (zarûrî).
To sum up, it is a matter of defining the Sufi milieu on the esoteric as well as the exoteric
level. The general idea consists in avoiding temptations from inside and from outside. In Kâsânî’s
representation of the tarîqa, inner and outer organizations are thus inseparably intertwined. Lastly, at
this stage of the Risâla, the Sufi reader theoretically takes a further step into the Sufi path and finds
himself more and more involved in the tarîqa milieu.
Ruling your life: muhâsiba, mushâhida and tawajjuh
Continuing his didactic account, the Naqshbandî shaykh now explains how the day should
be planned.37) He begins by keeping account (muhâsiba) of his spiritual schedule: after the namâz-i
dîgar (i.e. salat al-‘asr, the afternoon prayer), the Sufi comes back home and remains attentive
(mulâhiza) until the evening. After sleep, a few hours are devoted to occupations (mashghûlî) and
few others to rest (bîkârî). During resting time, the devotee prepares to do repentance (tawba) and
penitence (istighfâr). Each day, he completes the istighfâr 70 times by crying and imploring.38)
In general, he has to remain in mulâhiza, that is attentive to God’s presence, during each of his
activities — devotions, eating, sleeping, drinking, moving, standing, sitting, and wishing.39) Thanks
to this discipline, he will begin to see God everywhere and will become one of His men (rijâl allâh).
By taking account of his devotions everyday, the disciple reaches another step toward spiritual
realisation. Kâsânî conceives this step in terms of vision:40) it is the beginning of contemplation
(bidâyat-i mushâhida) which consists in “seeing the divine truth in the world” (dîdan-i haqq subhâna
wa ta‘âlâ dar dunyâ), like a thirsty man seeing water all around (hamchû ân tashna ki az kamâl
tashnagî hama ‘âlam dar nazar-i û âb mînamâyad). Once again, such vision should arise without
any pain (takalluf) and should turn into an inherent attribute of the ego (în sifat malikat-i nafs-i û
shawad), like seeing for the eye or hearing for the ear. And “whatever [the Sufi] will do to remove
this attribute, he will not be able to” (har chand khûhad ki în sifat râ az khûd dûr kunad natawânad).
This degree (martaba) on the spiritual way corresponds to concentration (tawajjuh).41) Kâsânî
details this degree in quite concrete terms, referring to the five attributes of the nafs which go against
its five former faults:42) 1— do not say meaningless words or anything contrary to the divine truth,
thus remaining silent (bâyad ki samt ikhtiyâr kunad); 2— do not eat excessively, thus staying hungry
(gurusnagî);43) 3— do not sleep for a long time, thus staying awake (bîdârî); 4— do not deal with
strangers, i.e. non-Sufis (âmîzish bi mardum-i bîgâna); 5— perform dhikr continuously. These
five attributes are basically the rules of life for members of the tarîqa; they provide a harsh and
abstemious discipline to the Sufi beginner who then concentrates his effort and his overall thoughts
as well as all his activities on Allah. However, this does not mean that he will make his efforts by
himself, outside of the environment of the tarîqa and the guidance of its leader.
The suhbat and its rules
The effects of such activities depend upon the authorisation and companionship or discussion
with a perfect master (bi ijâzat û suhbat-i pîr-i kâmil-i mukammil). And Kâsânî repeats that the
best of every activity is the suhbat-i pîr, provided that you know the rules (âdâb û sharâ’it) of the
discussion with your master.44) Among the various conditions of suhbat, one is to be passionate in
it (mûla‘ bûdan) to such an extent that the listener has to sit “in a way that a bird would stay on his
head without being frightened by any movement” — you should be in the hands of your master
like a deceased in the hands of the corpse washer (ghassâl).45) You have to stay immobile and silent:
“do not talk, do not hear, do not eat, do not drink, do not move, do not stay”, except by order of the
master (magar bi amr-i pîr). Other âdâb are as follows: do not ask for anything to eat or to wear
(hîch chîz az khûrdanî û pûshîdanî) since it is your master who knows better than you what you
need. Also, if you reach the degree of altruism (martaba-yi îthâr), that is giving preference to others
over yourself — one of the moral values of Sufis — do not give up suhbat, otherwise you would not
benefit from it. Even if your shaykh is excessive (mubâlagha kunad) in testing you (imtihân-i tû), do
not give up because “this kind of test is very frequent in this Sufi group” (imtihânât-i în tâ’îfa bisyâr
“Indeed, what occurs to you thanks to the discussion with this master, we, in this Sufi group,
call it attraction to God” (chirâ ki âncha bi tû rasîda bûd az suhbat-i ‘azîz dar istilâh-i în tâ’îfa ân râ
jadhba mîgûyand).47) Intimately linked to the suhbat, the jadhba means a further step on the spiritual
path. The more the disciple is involved in listening and accompanying the master, or in other words
in participating in the life of the Sufi order, the more he is progressing in his mystical quest. By
adding to suhbat the exercise of remembrance (dhikr) and reflection (fikr) — that is other individual
and collective practices (riyâzat) — the Sufi will certainly progress.48)
Kâsânî mentions a series of additional rules (âdâb-i suhbat) which give further organizational
principles to the tarîqa at the inter-personal level:49)
— Do not seek for miracles or any mystical station of this order (karâmat û maqâmî az
maqâmât-i în tâ’îfa), nor enquire into exoteric or esoteric matters (zâhir û bâtin). The master will
teach you these, be patient.
— Do not sit or rise or move without being concentrated (mutawajjuh) on the master. Do
not ask him questions for any reason at all. If you experience difficulty, it is your responsibility, so
asking questions is unruly (bî adabî).
— Do not bow your head or look down during the suhbat, this is unruly because the aim
is to contemplate (mushâhida) the divine truth. Yet the disciple is not able to perceive this at the
beginning. Consequently he has to contemplate the beauty of his master. Kâsânî adds that to be
unruly (bî adabî) has bad results not only on you but also on the others present. In this respect, the
communal element of initiation is essential.
— Do not raise your voice when the master asks a question.
— Dot not quit the assembly (majlis) of suhbat even if you need to relieve yourself. It is
actually a diabolical trick to distract you.
— Be attentive to your master by focussing on the point between the two eyebrows of the master [since] it is the place of divine power (mîbâyad ki hâzir û âgâh-i pîr-i khûd bâshî chinânchi
gufta and nazar dar bayân-i dû abrû-yi pîr dârad ki mahal-i fayz ast).
— Do not fall asleep during suhbat. It is unruly in this tâ’îfa for suhbat is the place of attention
(mahal-i huzûr û agâh).
— “This master wishes that this community attains felicity” (în ‘azîz mîkhwâhad ki în jamâ‘at
bi sa‘âdatî musharraf shawand). If someone is careless, everyone will be deprived of this felicity.
Once again, Kâsânî underlines the necessity of the collective dimension.
— Whoever shows up at community meetings, he will be given a seat. Moreover, every fellow
has to seat one beside the other, “shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee” (katf bi katf û zânû bi zânû),
as in prayer.50)
Throughout this short description of correct âdâb, in accordance with the spiral composition
of this treatise and his teaching, the Naqshbandî shaykh once more goes over the concepts of
perseverance and attributes.51) He urges disciples to be continuously on suhbat (“ihtimâm kun ki
suhbat dâ’îmî shawad”). Nevertheless, Kâsânî acknowledges that this is impossible. Sufis have
therefore to remain conscious of every moment of suhbat, and to always keep present the effects
of suhbat. These effects can be summarized in the perception of the beauty of the pîr which is the
beauty of God (mushâhada-yi jamâl û jalâl-i ilâhî), inside as well as outside suhbat until this suhbat
becomes “a natural attribute of your heart” (sifat-i dhâtî-yi dil-i tû). But beyond this stage — Kâsânî
says — you will see in your heart only the beauty of the pîr, then if you can, you should endeavour
to remove this image (sûrat) from your heart. After that, you will only see the beauty of God. “At
this time, give up your master” (ân zamân dast az pîr bâz dâr) because the master is only a ladder
(nardabân) for your spiritual ascension.52)
At this stage, the Risâla, while reaching a further step on the path, returns to a fundamental
teaching of Sufi orders in general, and of Khwâjagân in particular: the aim of the Sufi is obviously
not the love of masters or saints but the love of Allah. This is the reason why the disciple must keep
a careful eye on his master. More exactly, if he experiences spiritual states and impressions (hâl û
dhâwq) he should not divulge them to his master since this one could be an envious (ghayûr) master.
Such is a last general rule related to suhbat according to Ahmad Kâsânî.53) As a result, the âdâb-i
suhbat account ends on a paradoxical note regarding the status of the tarîqa through the ambivalence
of the relationship between the master and his disciples: enter the Sufi order completely, apply all of
its rules, fully respect the authority of the master, but do not consider it, them or him as your aim; use
the Sufi order, its rules and his master to follow nothing but the Sufi path.
The tarîqa and its general rules
Although the Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn is not marked by any interruption at this point, it no
longer deals with suhbat but expounds more widely, on tarîqa. The chapters that follow show less
regard for the inter-personal level than for the collective and institutional scale. Likewise, it refers to
a more advanced stage of spiritual progress. Not surprisingly then, we find the following adab: “do
make tarîq—i.e. servitude, need, modesty, reserve, humility and humbleness—your craft” (mîbâyad
ki târiq khidmat û niyâz û shikastigî û ‘ajz û khuzû‘ û khushû‘ râ pîsha sâzî).54) In contrast with the
preceding section, the Sufi path (tarîq) is here conceived as a craft, a means, based on the lifestyle
of the Sufi community. The mystic, henceforth deeply involved in the life and organization of his
milieu, must behave in consequence and shape his life on the austere model of Sufi life — servitude.
Khidmat must be practised without discrimination toward anyone, any creature (“khidmat bî tamîz
kunî ya‘nî farq nakunî miyân-i âdamiyân az banda û âzâd û haywânât”). Kâsânî insists on the need
to practice it at length (muddat-i madîd) in order to turn it into an inherent attribute of the ego (în
sifat malikat-i nafs-i û shawad), like seeing for the eye or hearing for the ear. Whatever the Sufi will
do to remove this attribute, he will not be able to remove it.55)
Servitude (khidmat or bandagî) appears as a major step. Kâsânî details this craft in terms of
station (maqâm) and gives no less than three equivalent technical expressions:56) the station of unity
(maqâm-i wahdat), the station of annihilation (maqâm-i fanâ’) and the station of love (maqâm-i
‘ishq). Becoming a slave (banda), a servant of Allah, you reach a mystical degree by which each
breath (nafas) makes you achieve a spiritual accomplishment (kamâl) “which former Sufi masters
used to take forty or fifty years to obtain” (ya‘nî ancha [akâbir-i] mutaqqadim dar muddat-i chihil
sâl û panjâ sâl kasb karda and). In fact — says Kâsânî — only four ancient masters attained this
accomplishment: Sayyid al-Tâ’îfa Junayd, Shaykh Abû al-Hasan Nûrî, Shaykh Bahlûl, and Shaykh
Shiblî. As a servant of God, whatever the Sufi does is not done by him but by God; such is the
journey toward God and in God (sayr îlâ allâh ast wa sayr fî allâh), a journey without end. In
addition to this rather esoteric explanation, the Risâla submits a more exoteric content: while some
other Sufi groups consider that, at this stage, “practising piety is no longer necessary” (tâ‘at kardan
hâjat nîst), the Khwâjagân believe that not only piety but devotion in general (‘ibâdat) figure among
the obligations (takâlîf) the Sufi ought to follow for his entire life. In other words, spiritual travel is
subordinated to ritual practices. This is actually typical of the Naqshbandî juristic way of Sufism.57)
Yet, from our perspective, it means also that the mystical traveller should not neglect the religious
principles and conducts within his worldly community. Follow the Sufi path but do not forget the

Sufi order.
A second rule related to the institution of the tarîqa is as follows:58) if, for a certain purpose
(maslahat), the master rejects or humiliates the disciple, the latter should not have doubts about the
former’s intentions. The disciple should not be opposed to the master’s decision since it is in his
interest. Significantly, this adab coincides with a further spiritual station, the station of willingness
(maqâm-i himmat):59) the Sufi must obey the shaykh, stay fully confident, and remain attached to his
master. Do not leave your master, otherwise you will be psychologically demolished (kharâb sâzî).
Also, “as long as the master is alive, do not lose the way of servitude, and do not take the way of
mastership — this is the sunna of our order” (tâ zamânî ki pîr dar qayd-i hayât ast tarîq-i niyâz û
bandagî râ az dast nadahî wa tarîq-i shaykhûkhat pîsh nagîrî ki sunnat-i în tâ’îfa-yi ‘uliyya ân ast).
This rule represents clearly a sort of parapet, even an anti-rule, against misunderstanding the advice
to quit the master eventually. Furthermore, it aims at preserving the cohesion of the Sufi order in so
far as the hierarchy between the master and the disciple, the access to shaykh-hood, and last but not
least the shaykh succession — all three are implicitly included in this adab — constitute the very
institution of tarîqa.
On the same issue, Ahmad Kâsânî recalls that, after the death of Khwâja ‘Abd al-Khâliq
Ghijduwânî, there remained only three legitimate successors (khalîfa): Khwâja Ahmad Siddîq,
Khwâja ‘Ârif Riwgârî, and Khwâja Awliyâ’-yi Kalân.60) He also exemplifies his point by an anecdote
reported by and concerning Bahâ’ al-Dîn Naqshband himself:61) I wished to become a disciple of
Shaykh Amîr Kulâl. So I rode from Kûshak-i ‘Ârifân (near Bukhara) to the house of Amîr Kulâl to
attend his spiritual discussion (suhbat). But when he saw me, he got angry and pulled me out from
his assembly (majlis). I disobeyed and I tried to find another door. Then Amîr Kulâl told me: you
dog, the door is right here. And he closed it. I then put my head on the door’s threshold and spent the
night in this position, in spite of the fact that snow was falling. When, in the morning, Amîr Kulâl
came out of his house, he collided with my head, so he finally took me into his house and took care
of me, and he said: “At present, there is no inquirer, there is only one required; I have never seen
a head at my door” (dar în zamân tâlib nîst hama matlûb and har kazî sarî bar âstân nadîdîm)”.
Beyond the emphasis on the difficulty of the Sufi path and, symmetrically, the exceptional abilities
of Bahâ’ al-Dîn, the meaning of this anecdote is that discipleship is a different thing than mastership;
in other words, mastership, according to the Khwâjagân order, is not the aim of discipleship. Bahâ’
al-Dîn was not a disciple, not an inquirer (tâlib) but someone already on the way to mastership,
required (matlûb) by Allah to lead the tarîqa.
Contrary to the Khwâjagân — Kâsânî explains — “in [another] Sufi order, there is no master
and disciple, as among the Turkic masters who, after a few days, grant permission to someone and
make him a master; such is the agreement they conclude between themselves” (dar tarîqa-yi în
mardum shaykhî û murîdî nîst mithl-i mashâyîkh-i turk ki dar har chand rûz yakî râ ijâzat dahand
wa shaykhî sâzand înjâ hamîn ‘aqd-i ukhûwwat ast ki mîbandand).62) In Kâsânî’s view, there is a
clear difference between his own order and the mashâyikh-i turk, that is the Yasawîs.63) While the
Naqshbandiyya defends a strong hierarchy, even an ontological difference, between masters and
disciples, the Yasawiyya overlaps the two statuses. Whatever the reliability of this distinction is (it
probably originated in the growing competition between the two groups), we learn about a major
organizational principle that — at least ideally — characterizes the Khwâjagân as a Sufi order:
the separation between shaykh-hood and discipleship. Here again, the organizational principle is
intimately linked to an esoteric belief — ratified by Qur’ân XVIII: 65, “So they found one of Our
servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge
from Our own Presence”— namely the divine election of the shaykh.

Kâsânî seems to attribute the introduction of this principle to ‘Abd al-Khâliq Ghijduwânî who
is said to “have closed and opened two doors (dar); he closed the door of mastership (shaykhî) and
opened the door of servitude (khidmat); he closed the door of isolation (khalwat) and opened the
door of companionship (suhbat).”64) The separation between mastership and discipleship corresponds
to the firm distinction between solitude and community. If the shaykh is not able to follow the Sufi
path by himself but only with the constant and direct support of God, the tâlib cannot follow the Sufi
path except within a Sufi order able to guide him toward God. This does not mean that the disciple is
not allowed to become a master. Indeed, when his exoteric interest (‘alâqat-i zâhirî) and his esoteric
interest (‘alâqat-i bâtinî) do not contradict each other, the tâlib can reach to the stage of having
the capacity to guide (martaba-yi irshâd). He has been authorized by Allah and does not need an
authorization by someone else. However — Kâsânî recalls — the Khwâjagân do not allow access
to the spiritual direction as long as the master is alive. To pretend to shaykh-hood is bî adabî, as is
shown in the following story: On the eve of Bahâ’ al-Dîn Naqshband’s death, his companions were
waiting to know who would be his successor (khalîfa); Bahâ’ al-Dîn opened his eyes and said: “why
do you disturb me now? This person will be revealed (zâhir khwâhad shud).”

A last general rule mentioned in the Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn is related to the detachment of
the disciple: “The one who enters this Sufi group must have no wish, neither for this world nor for
the world beyond, neither manifest nor hidden” (kasî ki pîsh-i în tâ’îfa mî âyad mî bâyad ki hîchgûna
tam‘î az dunyâ û âkhirat nadâshta bâshad bizâhir û bâtin).65) Kâsânî quotes his mentor Muhammad
Qâzî (named makhdûm-i mâ in the text):66) When I was a tâlib at the Jawhariyya madrasa, there was
a member of the Khwâjagân order named Mullâ Ziyâ’ who was dressing as a mullâ to become my
confidant. He was teaching me Rûmî’s Mathnawî at night. He told me: I see in you the desire for
tarîqa, you must see Khwâja Ahrâr. He taught me the rules of discipleship and told me about Ahrâr’s
suhbat: “there must be nothing worldly or other-worldly in your mind in his suhbat, this is unruly.
Neither ask for miracles (karâmât) nor even stations (maqâmât) nor more than what is permitted
(halâl) and necessary (zarûrî).”

The tarîqa and its specific rules
The other âdâb featured in the next sections of the Risâla are quite different. As is classically
the case in essays on Sufi adab, the Treatise on the Rules of Followers ends with several rules
regarding religious rituals. This textual arrangement is not simply a rhetorical convention; it signifies
a return to the exoteric sphere and, more fundamentally, to the law — sharî‘a.67) As we shall see, it
also signifies an emphasis on the tarîqa as an institution.
— “One must never avoid the ritual ablutions (wuzû’) and at each ablution [one must] give
thanks. After giving thanks, one has to ask for what God wants, since the prayer (du‘â) after giving
thanks always receives an answer” (mîbâyad ki dar hîch zamânî bî wuzû’ nabâshad wa har bâr ki
wuzû’ sâzad shukr-i wuzû’ bigudhârad wa ba‘ad az gudhârdan-i shukr-i wuzû’ az khudâ-yi ta‘âlâ
bikhwâhad har chi mîkhwâhad ki du‘â ba‘ad shukr-i wuzû’ mustajâb ast).68)
— “In the early hours, when one gets up for the night prayer (tahajjud), after giving thanks
one must ask for forgiveness one hundred times ” (sahar ki az barâ-yi tahajjud bar mîkhîzad wa ba‘ad
az shukr-i wuzû’ sad bâr istighfâr kunad).69)
— “Then, one must complete the night prayer with twelve rak‘at and six salâm then two other
rak‘at while sitting for the last supererogatory prayer” (ba‘ad az tahajjud mahghûl shud namâz-i
tahajjud dawâzdah rak‘at bishash salâm bigudhârad wa dû rak‘at-i dîgar-i nishasta gudhârad tâ
— “If he is able, he should read the Sura Tâ Hâ [XX] and the Sura Yâ Sîn [XXXVI]” (agar
tawânad sûra-yi ta wa sûra-yi sîn bukhûnad).71)
These âdâb refer to others detailed in a previous section of the Risâla regarding the rules of
Sufi life, but here they accompany a better understanding as well as a further progress on the Sufi
path. As a last ellipse within the spiral composition, the text returns to the concepts of concentration
and spiritual station. According to Abû Muhammad Murta‘ish (d. 328/940) quoted by our author, “the
Sufi is the one whose attention follows his steps; he [continuously] exerts his attention to the spiritual
station” (sûfî ân bâshad kî nazar-i way bâ qadam-i way barâbar bâshad ya‘nî tawajjuh-i û bi maqâmî
bâshad).72) This is actually an allusion to the second of the eleven principles of the Naqshbandiyya:
nazar bar qadam (attention to the step).73) For Kâsânî, qadam means a step in spiritual progress
while nazar is the actually reaching this step and standing at this step. Moreover, this corresponds to
a degree called “the degree of attention and presence” (martaba-yi huzûr û âgâhî), that is the inner
— physical as well as spiritual — experience of the divine presence. There, echoing the hadîth qudsî
describing the condition of the pious Muslims, the body (tan), heart (dil) and speech (qaul) of the
Sufi express Allah’s presence. Now — says the Naqshbandî master — begins the Sufi path (dar
bidâyat-i tarîq mîbâshad). It consists in “the annihilation of the human existence” (fanâ’-yi wujûd-i
bashariyat) and “the beginning of the journey toward God” (bidâyat-i sayr ilâ allâh).
This ellipse also acknowledges a better understanding and a further achievement of the Sufi
institution: describing this step in mystical advancement, Ahmad Kâsânî identifies it with the station
of the capacity to guide (maqâm-i irshâd). For those authorized by Allah, it consists in “witnessing
unity in multiplicity” (shuhûd-i wahdat dar kathrat) and experiencing “eternity after annihilation”
(baqâ’ ba‘d al-fanâ’). In other words, the Sufi comes back from the spiritual accomplishment to the
temporal sphere in order to help and guide the lost souls. “The one who reaches this station is called
perfect; and he is authorized by Allah to perfect and to educate the imperfects” (har ki bi în maqâm
rasîd kâmil-i mukammil ‘ibârat az way ast wa û min allâh majâz ast az barâ-yi takmîl û tarbiyat-i
nâqisân).74) As a supplementary condition for promotion to mastership, the mystical experience of
perfection provides legitimacy to the Sufi to lead other Sufis. This highly-demanding requirement
to be a master finds an equivalent in discipleship. There are two categories of disciples:75) The first
one is the group of “novices, to whom God manifested himself secretly and made them experience
the theophanies” (tâlibân and ki haqq subhâna wa ta‘âlâ az râh-i nihânî dar bâtin-i îshân tajallî
karda ast wa îshân dhawq-i tajallî yâfta and). The second group is the group of the “confused, which
means that they heard about this group’s mystical successes and imagined that they would easily be
successful” (muhawwas and ya‘nî shinawida and ki în tâ’îfa bisyâr-i ‘azîz û sharîf and wa karâmât û
hâlât bisyâr dârand khayâl karda and ki râ bi âsânî bidast mîshawad).
Kâsânî sums up these last clauses within a last adab stated in two words:76) indifference
(tanazzuh) and purity (taqaddus), that is, more precisely, the act of being purified from any other
purpose, whether worldly or other-worldly, than God. The “natural existence” (wujûd-i tabî‘î)
being over, the “divine existence” now begins (wujûd-i mawhûb-i haqqânî) where one enjoys the
“efficiency of actions in the realm of Heaven” (tanfîdh-i tasarrufât dar mulk-i malakût), where
one’s words, acts and visions are entirely devoted to God. Remarkable is the exoteric ability this
esoteric experience involves: according to Kâsânî, at this time the Sufi reaches the “degree of
vicariate and succession” (martaba-yi khilâfat û niyâbat).77) Approaching the end of his treatise
and the denouement of the initiation narrative as well, the Naqshbandî master introduces a last
organizational principle related to shaykh succession — one of the most sensible issues in Sufi
orders in general, and in the Naqshbandiyya in particular.
To illustrate this institutional aspect, a final chapter deals with “the transmission of
the invocation of the heart” (bayân-i talqîn-i dhikr-i qalbî), starting with the teaching of this
technique to Abû Bakr by the Prophet, and finishing with Muhammad Qâzî, the shaykh of
Ahmad Kâsânî himself.78) This is the occasion for Kâsânî to put forward his vision of the
Khwâjagân as an organized and coherent Sufi order. While listing the names of the successive
Khwâjagân shaykhs, he stresses the role of rules in the masters’ succession and appointment.
As an exemplary case, he mentions the succession of Khwâja Yûsuf Hamadânî by Khwâja
‘Abd Allâh Barqî then Khwâja Hasan Andâqî then Khwâja Ahmad Yasawî then Khwâja
‘Abd al-Khâliq Ghijduwânî. Throughout his listing, Kâsânî defends the consistency of
ijâzat (permission to guide) and khalîfa organizational form, showing as a result the careful
transmission of the silent dhikr, despite, for instance, the temporary introduction of public
invocation (dhikr-i ‘alâniyya) by Khwâja Mahmûd Anjîr Faghnawî, although Kâsânî explains
how this technique, and oral invocation (dhikr-i jahr) as well, have been abandoned by Bahâ’
From a formal point of view, this last section shows clearly the text’s practical quality within
the tarîqa’s form of organization. In addition to its various informative contents, the Risâla appears
itself as an instrument for the transmission of tarîqa knowledge: by placing the bayân-i talqîn at
the end of his text, Kâsânî not only establishes his own legitimacy as a Khwâjagân shaykh but
also inscribes his written work within the long didactic tradition of the Khwâjagân. The very fact
of writing, perhaps copying and definitely reading, such a treatise is actually a regular practice
of the members of Ahmad Kâsânî’s tarîqa. But, more widely, the Treatise on the Practices of
the Followers proves to be an intellectual element of the order’s organization and assumes all the
appearances of a performative text. It performs what it claims, it does what it says, hence providing
a further occasion to rethink tarîqa.
Conclusion: rethinking tarîqa with Ahmad Kâsânî
The Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn, like other writings of Ahmad Kâsânî, is not an innovative
treatise. It deliberately remains within the Khwâjagân conceptual frame and does not deviate from
the general line of adab texts produced by Sufi orders.79) Nevertheless, the foremost interest of
this tract is to give us an inside, almost intimate, view of the tarîqa in various respects. Firstly,
while presenting, without barely enumerating, the various rules of the Sufi order, it describes the
progression on the Sufi path from the struggle against the horse-ego — the first act of all those
who enter a spiritual brotherhood — to the promotion to mastership and even shaykh succession —
the penultimate activity of certain elite Sufis. Secondly, we have seen that, parallel to the spiritual
advancement characterized by ineradicable, indelible results on the novice, the text itself follows a
spiral scheme that ensures a constant progression, as if the treatise were itself an initiatic discourse,
perhaps a sort of ideal suhbat (in the sense of spiritual discussion), where form and content would
identify. Third, if not a perfect suhbat, we can at least admit that this Risâla is a theoretical treatise
as much as a practical writing charged with transmitting knowledge, authority and regulation. It is
not a hazard if Ahmad Kâsânî insists so much on suhbat, that is to say, on didactic moments of Sufi
life. No doubt, the resort to writing by a Sufi shaykh shows a supplementary effort to systematize a
mainly oral technique, and this not only toward the suhbat but toward the other teaching methods. In
all these respects, the Treatise on the Rules of the Followers represents an intellectual tool of tarîqa
Reading its contents, we noticed on several occasions a deep suspicion toward any whim of
individual initiation. You cannot make it alone, you will not be able to do this on your own, you
will not achieve that by yourself — Kâsânî raps out. The necessity for a disciple to have a master
is, of course, a common view among Sufis.80) Nevertheless the argument does not only regard the
need for a master but also the importance of a community. This second point, the sense of suhbat
(companionship), proves to be a fundamental aspect of the Sufi initiation, during which the disciple
must integrate into the Sufi milieu, respect its way of life and organization, and remains distant from
non-Sufis. In the perspective of the Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn, ‘Abd al-Khâliq Ghijduwânî’s saying
about the closing of the door of khalwat and the opening of the door of suhbat can be interpreted
as a defense of the tarîqa institution. Khalwat means isolation but certainly not solitude, since the
disciple in spiritual retreat is constantly watched over by his master. However, it is perceived as a
less valuable practice than suhbat, for the reason that the initiation process, according to Kâsânî, has
to be somehow more collective and maybe less individualized than former Naqshbandî trends.81)
The quasi-absence of the notion of râbita is significant from this point of view. While individual
progress on the path seems to be unknown, it is not only necessary to have a spiritual mentor;82) it is
also highly recommended to belong to a tarîqa. Otherwise, Sufism would turn into a chaotic training,
an unruly mysticism. Tarîqa, conceived as the place of suhbat and regulation (adab), provides a
community suitable for the candidate’s initiation. The Sufi order as suhbat is not only a manifestation
of the Prophetic model (i.e. Muhammad and his sahâba); it implies that there is no salvation but in
the annihilation of every kind of individuality or identity, whether psychic, social or ontological.
It is interesting then that Ahmad Kâsânî—following a via negationis rather than a via negativa
— recalls that the master himself has eventually to be abandoned. Subsequently his community is
doomed to be annihilated. Only God remains. As we have seen above, the Khwâjagân Sufi order
requires disciples to be entirely involved in the brotherhood but, at the same time, required them to
quit it once they have completed the Sufi path. Tarîqa is only a passage… though an obligatory one.
Such is the last but primary lesson we can draw from the Risâla: if there is no Sufi order without a
Sufi path, there is no Sufi path without a Sufi order. The former appears as a necessary frame for
the latter. According to this opinion there cannot be tasawwuf without tarîqa; tarîqa is the necessary
condition of tasawwuf. So when a Sufi shaykh like Ahmad Kâsânî Dahbidî thinks out his own
tarîqa, he does not make any difference between the spiritual and the worldly definitions of tarîqa,
he logically regards devotion, initiation, hierarchy and institution as one and the same thing. In the
early modern period, in the case of the Naqshbandiyya, which was increasing in size, in power and in
influence, there was no distinction between mystical accomplishment, leadership legitimacy and the
institutionalization of spirituality.

* CNRS, Paris
† I would like to thank my colleagues and friends, Justine Landau and Âmer Ahmed, for their invaluable help during my reading of the Risâla-yi âdâb al-sâlikîn. This article has been partly written in Kyoto when I was a visiting scholar at ASAFAS in 2007 at the kind invitation of Prof. Tonaga Yasushi.

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 Mesaj Başlığı: Re: Alexandre PAPAS*No Sufism without Sufi Order
MesajGönderilme zamanı: 28.10.10, 16:44 #mesajın linki (?)

Kayıt: 17.01.09, 16:49
Mesajlar: 62
1) The economical and political aspects of Khwâja Ahrâr’s centralized tarîqa have been analysed by [Paul 1991].
2) See [Papas 2008].
3) There are many copies of this codex preserved in oriental collections throughout the world. I use two of them: 1
— FY 649, İstanbul Üniverstesi Kütüphanesi, copy date 997-8/1589-90 (I am grateful to Necdet Tosun for having
provided me a copy of this manuscript); 2— IVAN Uz 1443, Sharqshunoslik Instituti, copy date 1134/1721.
This second codex (with a third one under the reference “Kattakhanov ms.”, private collection, copy date circa
18th-century) is available, though not as a critical edition, in [Gardner 2006: 331-399] (Kattakhanov ms. pp.
1015-1094). The Tashkent copy (ms 1443) seems much less reliable than the Istanbul manuscript (ms 649) since
it lacks many lines, especially in the beginning, and suffers from mistakes and misreadings.
4) For an introduction to the different types of Sufi adab books, see [Meier 1999: Part I 49-92]. The article presents a
paraphrase of the Âdâb al-muridîn of the famous Khwarezmian shaykh Najm al-Dîn Kubrâ (d. 1221).
5) ms 649, f. 38b; ms 1443, f. 58a.
6) ms 649, f. 39a; ms 1443, ff. 58a-b.
7) See [Schimmel 1972].
8) ms 649, f. 39b; ms 1443, f. 58b.
9) ms 649, f. 40a (does not figure in ms 1443).
10) ms 649, f. 40a; ms 1443, ff. 58b-59a.
11) ms 649, f. 40b; ms 1443, f. 59a.
12) ms 649, f. 41a; ms 1443, ff. 59a-b.
13) ms 649, f. 41b; ms 1443, f. 60a.
14) ms 649, f. 41b; ms 1443, ff. 60a-b.
15) ms 649, f. 42a; ms 1443, f. 60b.
16) This comment does not figure in ms 1443.
17) ms 649, f. 42a; ms 1443, ff. 60b-61a.
18) ms 649, f. 42b; ms 1443, f. 61b.
19) ms 649, f. 42b; ms 1443, ff. 61b-62a.
20) ms 649, f. 43a; ms 1443, f. 62b.
21) ms 649, f. 43a; ms 1443, ff. 62b-63a.
22) ms 649, f. 43b; ms 1443, f. 63a.
23) ms 649, ff. 43b-44a; ms 1443, f. 63a.
24) ms 649, f. 44a; ms, ff. 63a-b.
25) ms 649, ff. 44a-b; ms 1443, f. 64a.
26) ms 649, f. 45a; ms 1443, f. 64b.
27) ms 649, f. 45a; ms 1443, ff. 64b-65a.
28) ms 649, ff. 45a-b; ms 1443, f. 65b.
29) Tasfiyyat-i wajh-i isti‘dâd: To whom Kâsânî alludes to remains unclear to me. He seems to aim at religious authorities who want to purify Islam from esoteric dimensions.
30) ms 649, f. 45b; ms 1443, ff. 65b-66a.
31) ms 649, ff. 45b-46a; ms 1443, f. 66a. Suhbat is, of course, not ignored by precedent Khwâjagân (see for instance the various occurrences in [Meier 1994], but in Kâsânî’s branch it finds a much greater importance than usual (probably in continuity with Khwâja Ahrâr’s teachings). Suhbat is also highly developed in the classical Sufi adab literature, such as, for instance, the ‘Awârif al-Ma‘ârif of Shihâb al-Dîn ‘Umar al-Suhrawardî (1145-1234) where three chapters are devoted to companionship, and the Âdâb al-muridîn of his uncle Abû al-Najîb al-Suhrawardî
(1097-1168) on sections 76-102 (themselves related to Abû ‘Abd al-Rahmân al-Sulamî’s Kitâb âdâb al-suhba).
32) ms 649, f. 46a; ms 1443, ff. 66b-67a. The Tashkent manuscript seems not fully reliable here.
33) ms 649, ff. 46a-b; ms 1443, f. 67a.
34) ms 649, f. 47a; ms 1443, f. 68a.
35) ms 649, f. 47a; ms 1443, ff. 68a-b.
36) ms 649, f. 47b; ms 1443, ff. 68b-69a.
37) ms 649, ff. 47b-48a; ms 1443, f. 69b.
38) ms 649, f. 48a; ms 1443, f. 69b.
39) ms 649, ff. 48a-48b; ms 1443, ff. 70a-b.
40) ms 649, ff. 48b-49a; ms 1443, ff. 70b-71a.
41) ms 649, f. 49a; ms 1443, f. 71a.
42) ms 649, ff. 49a-b; ms 1443, ff. 71a-72a. The Tashkent manuscript is slightly incomplete here.
43) On food within Sufi adab, see [Reynolds 2000].
44) ms 649, f. 49b; ms 1443, f. 72a.
45) ms 649, f. 49b; ms 1443, f. 72b. This is a traditional expression to qualify the relation between master and
46) ms 649, f. 50a; ms 1443, f. 73a.
47) ms 649, f. 50a; ms 1443, f. 73a.
48) ms 649, f. 50b; ms 1443, f. 73b.
49) ms 649, ff. 50b-52b; ms 1443, ff. 74a-77b.
50) Here is an allusion to a well-known hadîth transmitted by Anas bin Malîk: “When you stand for Salah, stand
shoulder to shoulder, so that the devil does not come in between you.” More broadly, this range of rules shows
a great attention at the bodily aspects of suhbat. On the question of body in Sufi adab, see [Feuillebois-Pierunek
51) ms 649, f. 51b; ms 1443, f. 75b.
52) On ms 649, f. 55b; ms 1443, f. 81b, Kâsânî will return on this adab-i suhbat (“bâz âmadîm bi bayân-i âdâb-i suhbat…”). To underline this point, quoting Bahâ’ al-Dîn Naqshband, he repeats that, ultimately, the Sufi has to quit his spiritual master, who is said to be only an intermediary (wasita). It is possible that this opinion comes from the conflict opposing Bahâ’ al-Dîn to his master Amîr Kulâl. On this point, see [Paul 1998: 56-57].
53) ms 649, f. 52a; ms 1443, f. 76a. This rule is illustrated by two anecdotes about Khwâja ‘Ahrâr and Muhammad Qâzî.
54) ms 649, f. 53a; ms 1443, f. 78a.
55) ms 649, f. 53a; ms 1443, f. 78a.
56) ms 649, ff. 53b-54b; ms 1443, ff. 78b-80a. It remains unclear to me whether or not Kâsânî sets up a hierarchy
between these three notions. It seems not although further research may reveal the contrary.
57) See for instance [Buehler 1998: 17-18].
58) ms 649, f. 56b; ms 1443, f. 82b.
59) ms 649, f. 56b; ms 1443, f. 83a.
60) ms 649, ff. 56b-57a; ms 1443, ff. 83a-b.
61) ms 649, f. 57a; ms 1443, f. 83b.
62) ms 649, f. 57b; ms 1443, f. 84a.
63) The mashâyikh-i turk (with the Qalandars) were the usual peeves of Central Asian Naqshbandî authors at this
time. See [Babajanov 1996: 171; DeWeese 1996].
64) ms 649, f. 57b; ms 1443, f. 84a. This formula is quoted again in ms 649, f. 62a; ms 1443, f. 91b. The same saying is quoted in [Kâshifî 1977: 252]. [Pârsâ 1975: matn 54] features another version of the formula (whose authorship is not attributed): “close the door of isolation (khalwat) and open to door of servitude (khidmat), close the door of mastership (shaykhî) and open the door of assistance (yârî), close the door of solitude (‘uzlat) and open the door of companionship (suhbat)”.
65) ms 649, ff. 57b-58a; ms 1443, f. 84b.
66) ms 649, f. 58a; ms 1443, f. 85a.
67) The last pages (ms 649, ff. 61a, 63b, 64a; ms 1443, ff. 92a, 94b, 95b) of the treatise contain several references to
sharî‘a and sunna, testifying to the legality of Khwâjagân âdâb and preventing accusations of bid‘a.
68) ms 649, f. 58b; ms 1443, f. 85b.
69) ms 649, f. 58b; ms 1443, ff. 85b-86a.
70) ms 649, f. 59a; ms 1443, f. 86a.
71) ms 649, f. 59a; ms 1443, f. 86b.
72) ms 649, f. 59a; ms 1443, ff. 86b-87a.
73) On this point, see [Tosun 2002: 335-336]. See also Kâsânî’s short treatise entitled Chahâr kalima (ms 640, ff.
158a-160; ms 1443, ff. 244b-247a) which comments nazar bar qadam.
74) ms 649, f. 59b; ms 1443, f. 87a.
75) ms 649, f. 60a; ms 1443, ff. 88a-b.
76) ms 649, f. 60b; ms 1443, ff. 88b-89a. The Tashkent manuscript seems not entirely reliable here.
77) ms 649, f. 60b; ms 1443, f. 89a.
78) ms 649, ff. 61b-64a; ms 1443, ff. 90b-95b.
79) [Farah 1974]. Interestingly, the author notes that “it is only with the orders that we notice in the tracts some specific allusion to adab al- šayḫ.” The question of the conduct of masters, and not of disciples, arises with the institutionalization of Sufi groups, representing therefore an element of the definition of turuq.
80) Although one finds some opinion in favour of spiritual advancement without a shaykh, see [Paul 1998: 58].
81) In the beginnings of the Naqshbandiyya, khalwat was a major method: see [Paul 1998: 31]. Beyond the
Naqshbandî case, the debate around isolation (khalwat, ‘uzlat) and companionship (suhbat, ikhwat) is a classical
controversy among Sufis. They are not necessarily contradictory and can be understood as two successive steps on
the Sufi path.
82) On the dangers of being without a guide, see [Buehler 1998: 38-39]. ... 4papas.pdf


ms 649: FY 649, İstanbul Üniverstesi Kütüphanesi, copy date 997-8/1589-90.
ms 1443: IVAN Uz 1443, Sharqshunoslik Instituti, copy date 1134/1721.

Primary Sources
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al-Kâshifî, Husayn ibn ‘Alî al-Wa’iz. 1977. Rashahât-i ‘ayn al-hayât. ‘Alî Ashghar Mu‘îniyân ed.,

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Babajanov, Bakhtyar. 1996. Politicheskaja dejatel’nost’ shajkhov Nakshbandiia v Maverannakhre
(1 polovina XVI v.), Dissertatsia na soiskanie uchenoj stepeni kandidata istoricheskikh nauk,
Akademija Nauk Respubliki Uzbekistan-Institut Vostokovedenija imeni Abu Rajkhana Beruni,
Buehler, Arthur F. 1998. Sufi Heirs of the Prophe:. The Indian Naqshbandiyya and the Rise of the
Mediating Sufi Shaykh. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
DeWeese, Devin. 1996. “The Mashā’ikh-i Turk and the Khojagān: Rethinking the Links between
the Yasavī and Naqshbandī Sufi Traditions,” Journal of Islamic Studies, 7(2), pp. 180-207.
Farah, Caesar E. 1974. “Rules governing the Šayḫ-Muršid’s conduct,” Numen, 21(2), pp. 81-96.
Feuillebois-Pierunek, Eve. 2007. “La maîtrise du corps d’après les manuels de soufisme (Xe-XIVe
siècles),” in C. Mayeur-Jaouen and B. Heyberger eds., Le corps et le sacré en Orient musulman.
Special issue of the Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 113-114, Aix-en22
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90(1/2), pp. 198-217.
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