The Everlasting Sufi: Achieving the Final Destination of the Path in the Sufi Teachings of ʿUmar al-Suhrawardī

Journal of Islamic Studies 22 (3):313-338 (2011)

This paper discusses Intihāʾ, a general word used by Sufi authors to designate the final destination of the Sufi path, in the theoretical system of the twelfthcentury Sufi theoretician AbūḤafṣ ʿUmar al-Suhrawardī , and the place it holds in his teaching and its practical application to the life of the Sufi communities of twelfth-century Baghdad. The notion of siʿa mujāza li-l-muntahīn, i.e. luxuries permitted to the mystics who achieved the destination of the Sufi path, was the basic argument in al-Suhrawardī's treatment of Intihāʾ. The paper analyses the means by which al-Suhrawardī proposes to ‘soften’ this doctrine, which might so easily become a ‘slippery slope’ for beginners on the Sufi path. The intrinsic meaning of Intihāʾ in al-Suhrawardī's view was closely linked to the practical qualification for master status, a crucial institution of the Sufi movement during his time. Being a muntahī means to be a free Sufi and then an educating master. It is essentially a rediscovery of man's human soul and its spiritual powers through the realization of a reconciliation with family, community, and even the whole universe
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DOI 10.1093/jis/etr075
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