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Nothing but the truth: the Sufi testament of 'Aziz Nasafi

By LLoyd Ridgeon

Abstract

`Aziz Nasafi is among the most important Islamic mystics of the medieval period. His achievement was to integrate various ideas, including those of Ibn `Arabi and Najm\ud al-Din Kubrä into a coherent whole, providing Persian speaking Sufis with an introduction to the speculative and practical dimensions of Sufism.\ud \ud This thesis is an attempt to present Nasafi's main teachings. After introducing his life, times and works, the second chapter focuses upon ontology. This is the spine of\ud Nasafi's treatises and it is based upon the Sufi interpretation of God's incomparability and similarity (tanzih wa tashbih) and His infinite self-disclosure which occurs within a form processed by the imagination. The second chapter investigates the different forms\ud of knowledge available to Sufis, which includes sense perception, reason and mystical knowledge. Nasafi's presentation depicts all three in a hierarchical structure with Sufi knowledge at the pinnacle. Having discussed the theoretical nature of Sufism, chapter four deals with the practical element of Sufism and how it is able to contribute to felicity in this life. Having followed the Sufi path, it is possible that a wayfarer may experience\ud unity with God. This is examined in chapter five, and Nasafi's description is compared with that of other Sufis in an attempt to show his "orthodox" position within Sufism. It is also argued that modern models of mystical experience do not fit Nasafi's depiction of tashbih-tanzih, and that one also needs to re-think the idea of perennial philosophy. Finally, the perfection of man is considered through examining the relationship between Prophecy and Friendship of God. Sufis interpreted Friendship as the interior element of Prophecy and were able to offer new insights to Islamic doctrine

Publisher: Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds)
Year: 1996
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:534

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