Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism's Many Paths
Professor Alan Godlas, University of Georgia
Early Shaykhs of Sufism : 'Amr ibn 'Uthman al-Makki
Sulami stated the following concerning al-Makki: His name
was 'Amr ibn 'Uthman ibn Kurab ibn Ghusas and that his kunyawas
Abu 'Abd Allah. Sulami noted that Makki associated with Junayd (fi
al-suhbah) and in this way was connected with him. He met Abu 'Abd
Allah al-Nibaji and [also] associated with Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz and other
older shaykhs (al-mashayikh al-qudama'). He was a scholar of jurisprudence
(al-'usul) and his discourse was fine (hasan).
Sulami noted that Muhammd ibn Ahmad al-Qanadili stated
that 'Amr ibn 'Uthman al-Makki said, "Know that whatever your heart imagines
[about God] -- be it fineness (husn), splendor (baha'), intimacy (uns),
brilliance (diya'), beauty (jamal), ugliness (qubh), light (nur), a phantom
(shabah), a person (shakhs), or an imagined thought (khiyal), I swear to
God (may He be exalted) -- God is far from all of that. Rather, He
is most supreme, most glorious, and most great ('azam wa ajall wa akbar).
Have you not heard His words, 'There is nothing like Him' (Qur'an, al-Shura:
11) and 'Neither does He give birth, nor is He born, nor does He have an
equal' (Qur'an 112:3).
With the same chain of transmission, Sulami stated that
Makki said, "No words can adequately express the nature (kayfiyah) of ecstasy
(wajd), since it is a mystery of God (sirr Allah) experienced by believers
who attain certainty ('inda al-mu'minin al-muqinin).
---From al-Sulami, Tabaqatal-Sufiyah, selected
from pp. 200-202.
(The full chains of transmission of these reports are
the original but have been omitted in the above translation.)
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Translations copyright©1988 by Dr.
A. Godlas. Not for publication
in any media except by written permission
of the translator.