Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders: Sufism's Many Paths
Professor Alan Godlas, University of Georgia
Early Shaykhs of Sufism : 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Rahim al-Qannad (the sugar
Sam'ani in his book al-Ansabnoted his name as being
Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn 'Abd al-Rahim al-Wasiti al-Qannad al-Sufi.
Sam'ani describes him as being one of the Sufis and as being among those
who traveled without anything (safara 'ala al-tajrid). He met the
shaykhs, and he himself was known to have discoursed (lahu kalam).
He transmitted some of the words of al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj's (d.
922 CE). Three men who transmitted from him were 'Abd Allah ibn Ahmad
al-Farisi, Ahmad ibn Abi Hatim al-Qazwini, and Abu al-'Abbas ibn Turkan
(Sam'ani, al-Ansab,vol. 4, p. 545).
'Abd al-Karim al-Rafi'i al-Qazwini noted that Shaykh Abu
Muhammad Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Abhari mentioned in the book Adab al-fuqara
(Manners of the Poor) that he heard some shaykhs saying that Qannad dropped
in on the Sufis (al-fuqara) in Qazwin. He said, "Greetings to you.
Satan has no way to get to you, O my friends." Then he left.
So they said [to one another], "He might be mocking us. So if he
returns, we will strike him (darabnahu). [Later he returned.]
He said, "Greetings to you. Satan has no way to get to you."
So they grabbed him and said, "You are mocking us." He replied, "No,
[I am not.] I said that on account of the words of God, 'Satan promises
you poverty' (Qur'an 2:268). But you are in the midst of poverty,
not fearing it. So Satan has no power over you."
---From al-Rafi'i al-Qazwini, al-Tadwin fi akhbar Qazwin,vol.
3, p. 367.
Return to What
is Sufism?: Early Definitions or
Go through the doorway
to Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders:
Translations copyright©1988 by Dr.
A. Godlas. Not for publication
in any media except by written permission
of the translator.