Sufism, Sufis, and Sufi Orders:  Sufism's Many Paths

Professor Alan Godlas, University of Georgia

Early Shaykhs  of Sufism :
Muhammad ibn 'Ali Abu Ja'far al-Qassab al-Sufi (d. 275 AH/ 888-89 CE)

Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami stated, "Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Qassab of Baghdad was the master (ustadh) of Junayd.  Junayd [himself] used to say, 'People connect me with Sari  (that is to say, Sari al-Saqati), while my master was Muhammad al-Qassab.'  Abu Ja'far al-Qassab died in the year 275 AH/ 888-89 CE." 

Muhammad ibn Sa'id reported that he heard Junayd saying, "Our master, Abu Ja'far al-Qassab was asked 'Why are your companions cut off from people?'  He answered, 'Because of three of their traits: first, God is not pleased with whatever they possess, and if God were to be pleased with their possessions, God would allow their possessions to rule them; second, it does not please God to place their virtues in their appearance, and were this not the case, God would confuse them by means of their appearance; and third they are folk who travel only toward God, so God has obstructed them from reaching anything but God, keeping them for God alone."

---from al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, vol. 3, p. 62
(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 Not for publication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.