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From Rabi'a to Ibn al-Farid : towards some paradigms of the Sufi conception of love

By Derin Suleyman

Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate the significance of Divine Love in the Islamic tradition with reference to Sufis who used the medium of Arabic to communicate their ideas. Divine Love means the mutual love between God and man. It is\ud commonly accepted that the Sufis were the forerunners in writing about Divine Love. However, there is a relative paucity of literature regarding the details of their conceptions of Love. Therefore, this attempt can be considered as one of the first of its kind in this field.\ud \ud The first chapter will attempt to define the nature of love from various perspectives, such as, psychology, Islamic philosophy and theology. The roots of Divine Love in relation to human love will be explored in the context of the ideas that were prevalent amongst the Sufi authors regarded as authorities; for example, al-Qushayri, al-Hujwiri and al-Kalabadhi.\ud \ud The second chapter investigates the origins Of Sufism with a view to establishing the role that Divine Love played in this. The etymological derivations of the term Sufi will be referred to as well as some early Sufi writings.\ud \ud It is an undeniable fact that the Qur'an and tladith are the bedrocks of the Islamic religion, and all Muslims seek to justify their ideas with reference to them. This\ud was especially true for the Sufis. The third and fourth chapters will, therefore, focus on the concept of Divine Love in the textual sources of Islam in order to\ud determine the role that these played in the development of the Sufi conceptions of love in general.\ud \ud Having highlighted the origins and general context of Divine Love, the following five chapters will focus on selected Sufis whose contributions can be regarded\ud as significant, original and representative of the Sufi tradition. The exclusive characteristics of each Sufi's concept of love will be analysed and an attempt will be made to present them as a paradigm of Sufi love. The paradigms of love of the following Sufis will be presented: Rabi`a, al-I-Jallaj, al-Ghazäli, Ibn 'Arabi and Ibn al-F5ricl. The concluding chapter will provide a synthesis of these paradigms of love by putting forward a framework which identifies the key stages in the development of the Sufi paradigm of love.\ud \ud Regarding the scope and limitations of this study, it should not be seen as a historical or biographical research. The historical analysis and information are\ud presented merely to give some insight into the social and historical context of the Sufi's time. The primary aim of this research is to establish the different paradigms of love of the Sufis referred to above, by analysing the exclusive motives specific to each paradigm.\ud \ud Finally, this research is by no means a comprehensive account of the Sufi paradigms of love. The development of the thesis showed that this research can be approached from many different angles. For example, the concept of love is\ud closely associated with the concept of ma`rifia, and the concept of God. The relationship of the two with the concept of love is a possible area of further research. In addition, the historical information available on each individual Sufi provides ample material for a detailed study of the concept of love in that particular Sufis paradigm. This work provides a general framework for further\ud studies

Publisher: Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies (Leeds)
Year: 1999
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:433

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