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 included in
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 Not for publication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.