A Soaring Minaret

Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism

By Laury Silvers

Subjects: Islam, Sufism, Middle East Studies, Mysticism, Religion
Paperback : 9781438431703, 152 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9781438431710, 152 pages, July 2010

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Table of contents


Part One: Wasiti and Early Sufism

1. Wasiti’s Intellectual Heritage

2. Wasiti in Iraq

3. Wasiti in Khurasan

4. Wasiti and Sufi Discourse

Part Two: Wasiti’s Theology

5. Theological Principles

6. God’s Essence

7. The Attributes

8. The Acts


The development of early Islamic mysticism and metaphysics is presented through the life and work of theologian Abu Bakr al-Wasiti.


Sufi scholar Abu Bakr al-Wasiti (d. ca. 320 AH/932 CE) was called a "soaring minaret" for his cutting comments and keen theological insights. Wasiti's life is little known today, but elements of his lost Quran commentary have come down to us through the glosses of his students, and his career offers a window into the development of Islamic mysticism and metaphysics. Wasiti's legacy includes a number of firsts: he was one of the first students of the great Baghdadi Sufis, the first to migrate east and establish the Baghdadi Sufi tradition in Khurasan, among the first to compose a Quran commentary, and among the first to articulate a complete metaphysics in keeping with early Sunni theology. Presenting Wasiti's life and work within the context of the development and spread of Sufism, author Laury Silvers goes on to provide an analysis of his theological perspective on the divine reality

Laury Silvers is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto.


"Considering the disparate nature of the sources, Silvers does an excellent job situating Wāsiṭī within the larger eastward movement of Baghdadi Sufism … Silvers is able to breathe life into Wāsiṭī's thought. " — Review of Middle East Studies

"Silvers' approach is refreshing and useful as she details the historical context as well as the intellectual history of early mystics … Silvers offers us a comprehensive and comprehensible presentation of the intellectual development of Islamic mysticism and metaphysics within the context of the historical development and spread of Sufism. " — NewBooksinIslamicStudies. com