Al-Sulami

Al-Khat.īb wrote in his Tārīkh Baghdād: “Muh.ammad ibn Yūsuf al-Naysabūrī [al-Qat.t.ān] said to me, ‘Al-Sulamī was untrustworthy and used to forge narrations for the S.ūfīs.’” Al-Khat.īb then says: “Abū ‘Abd al-Rah.mān is held in the highest esteem by the people of his country, his rank in his community is great, and he is, in addition to this, an authority in h.adīth.”[3] Al-Qat.t.ān was a contemporary Naysabūrī countryman of al-Sulamī who did not achieve the latter’s fame. Sibt. Ibn al-Jawzī rejects his condemnation as motivated by envy.[4] Al-Dhahabī in his Mīzān and Mughnī endorses the disparagement while his student Ibn al-Subkī rejects it: “Al-Khat.īb’s statement concerning al-Sulamī is the cor­rect position, Abū ‘Abd al-Rah.mān is trustworthy (thiqa), and [al-Qat.t.ān’] criticism of him carries no weight at all.”[5] Al-Khat.īb further said of al-Sulamī, “He was a profi­cient (mujawwid) authority in h.adīth” while al-H.ākim said, “He was pro­lific in his auditions and narration of h.adīth and me­ticulous in narration.” Al-Dhahabī himself states in the Siyar: “Al-Sulamī has a compilation of questions he put to al-Dāraqut.nī on the status of the Shaykhs of h.adīth that reveal high expertise…. but he is not strong in h.adīth.”

Al-Sulamī had gathered a large library of books and manuscripts on tas.awwuf and h.adīth from which  the Shaykhs of Naysabūr borrowed at will. He used to spend time in his library, reading and writing. He achieved, in the words of Abū Nu‘aym, “complete mas­tery of the ways of the S.ūfīs so as to summarize it according to the elaborations of the ancients.”[6] He began to author books in his twenties and did not stop until his death fifrty-odd years later. Among his works:

·         Ādāb al-S.ūfiyya.

·         Ādāb al-S.uh.ba wa H.usn al-‘Ushra which begins, “Glory to Allāh Who has im­mensely honored the elite of His servants with intimate friendship in the Religion, and raised them so as to show generosity towards His sincere servants….”

·         Amthāl al-Qur’ān.

·         Al-Arba‘īn fī al-H.adīth on simple living and asceticism. This work was published by Dā’irat al-Ma‘ārif al-‘Uthmāniyya al-Niz.āmiyya in H.aydarabād.

·         Bayān Ah.wāl al-S.ūfiyya.

·         Darajāt al-Mu‘āmalāt, an explanatory glossary of S.ūfī terminology.

·         Darajāt al-S.ādiqīn.

·         Al-Farq bayn al-Sharī‘a wal-H.aqīqa.

·         Al-Futuwwa (“Spiritual Chivalry ”), in print. Its translation is also in print.

·         Ghalat.āt al-S.ūfiyya, a critique of certain S.ūfī interjections (shat.āh.āt) and refutation of those who forward indwelling, incarnationism, and the uncreatedness of the soul.

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