Inrushes of the Heart

The Sufi Philosophy of ʿAyn al-Quḍāt

By Mohammed Rustom

Subjects: Islam, Sufism, Philosophy Of Religion, Arab Literature
Series: SUNY series in Islam
Hardcover : 9781438494296, 400 pages, September 2023
Paperback : 9781438494289, 400 pages, March 2024

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Table of contents

Detailed List of Figures
Format and Style
Sourcing Hadiths and Sayings

Introduction: A Sage in Exile
The Present Book

1. Autobiography
Charismatic Gifts
Muhammadan Encounters

2. Counsel and Confession
Advice and Admonition
Two Defenses
Divine Jealousy

3. Heavenly Matters
The Essence
Rational Proof
Divine Names and Attributes
Oneness of Existence
Levels of Light
The Goal of Creation

4. Earthly Concerns
Good and Evil
Cosmic Well-Being
Against Dualism
Bad Transmitters
Compulsion and Freedom
Guidance and Misguidance

5. Inside Out, Outside In
Intention and Sincerity
Purity and Prayer
Pilgrimage and Alms Tax
Praise and Gratitude
Death before Death

6. Wayfarers and Masters
Body and Soul
The Heart
The Spirit
Wayfaring and Seeking
The Ripened Master

7. Knowledge Transcendent
Brothers and Mirrors
Knowers and Recognizers
The Scale of the Intellect
Beyond the Intellect

8. Quranic Origins
Paradise Found
Vastness and Worthiness
Knowing and Hearing
The Imprint of Letters
Letters and Dots
Dots, Nothingness, Subsistence

9. Muhammad and Iblis
Periphery to Center
Muhammadan Light
The Black Light of Iblis
Face, Mole, Tresses
Faith and Unbelief
Two Commands
An Ideal Lover

10. Love Transcendent
Love as Guide
Love and Loverhood
Trial and Tribulation
Madness and Burning
The Religion of Love
Levels of Unbelief
In the I of the Beholder

Works by ʿAyn al-Quḍāt (Editions, Manuscripts, Translations)
Works Misattributed to ʿAyn al-Quḍāt
Scholarship on ʿAyn al-Quḍāt Cited or Consulted
Other Primary Sources
Other Secondary Sources
Index of Translated Texts
Index of Quranic Passages
Index of Hadiths, Proverbs, and Sayings
Index of Names and Terms

A comprehensive introduction to the life and thought of one of the Islamic intellectual tradition’s most original and profound authors.


Inrushes of the Heart delves deeply into the life and thought of 'Ayn al-Quḍāt Hamadānī (d. 525/1131), a major Muslim philosopher, Sufi master, and religious judge who was executed by the Seljuq government at the age of thirty-four. Mohammed Rustom presents nearly eight hundred passages in translation (most of which appear here for the first time in English) from 'Ayn al-Quḍāt's Arabic and Persian writings alongside a step-by-step commentary that outlines every major theme that guides his worldview. Contextualizing 'Ayn al-Quḍāt's life, influence, and self-perception as a teacher and scholar extraordinaire, the book then carefully unpacks his highly original teachings on God, cosmology, human agency, spiritual practice, imagination, death, knowledge, scripture, beauty, and love.

Mohammed Rustom is Professor of Islamic Thought at Carleton University and Director of the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam. He is the author of the award-winning book The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mullā Ṣadrā, also published by SUNY Press.


"Rustom's Inrushes of the Heart is a welcome addition to the corpus of scholarly literature regarding 'Ayn al-Quḍāt, a list of which he thoughtfully provided in the back matter of this book … The range Rustom tries to cover is vast. It makes the book an excellent guide for someone new to 'Ayn al-Quḍāt, giving the reader a spectacular overview and a holistic and comprehensive outline of the philosophy of the Sufi of Hamadan." — Islamic Studies

"I am delighted that Mohammed Rustom has written this much-needed book which finally does justice to the teachings of 'Ayn al-Quḍāt, one of the most original and inspiring authors during a period that bore witness to a great flowering of Sufi teachings wedded to philosophical and theological acumen." — William C. Chittick, Distinguished Professor, Stony Brook University

"In the fields of Islamic philosophy, mysticism, and theology, there is nothing remotely like this book, in any language, and it should therefore remain a standard reference and teaching resource for decades to come." — James Winston Morris, Professor Emeritus, Boston College

"Bringing to light the full spectrum of 'Ayn al-Quḍāt's bold and creative writings for the first time in modern scholarship, Inrushes of the Heart shows with blinding clarity why 'Ayn al-Quḍāt is to be seen as one of the most luminous stars in the night sky of Islamic spirituality and intellectuality." — Omid Safi, Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University

"The lucid translations and painstaking historical research on display in Inrushes of the Heart can serve as a model for scholars of religion and philosophy in general, and Islamic thought in particular. This definitive book on one of pre-modern Islam's most significant thinkers will be an indispensable resource for students and researchers for decades to come." — Cyrus Ali Zargar, Al-Ghazali Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Central Florida

"'Ayn al-Quḍāt's scintillating spiritual prose is brought to life in this brilliant anthology by Mohammed Rustom. Rustom's impeccable historical and philological scholarship creates a conductor for 'Ayn al-Quḍāt's lightning-like flashes of insight on the nature of reality, humanity, intellect, ethics, and revelation. Inrushes of the Heart is a veritable defibrillator, shocking our spiritual hearts back to life." — Oludamini Ogunnaike, University of Virginia