The Mystical Teachings of al-Shadhili

Including His Life, Prayers, Letters, and Followers. A Translation from the Arabic of Ibn al-Sabbagh's Durrat al-Asrar wa Tuhfat al-Abrar

By Elmer H. Douglas
Edited by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'
Introduction by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'
Notes by Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi'

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Islam
Paperback : 9780791416143, 288 pages, September 1993
Hardcover : 9780791416136, 288 pages, October 1993

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Table of contents


Editor's Introduction

Author's Introduction to the Pearl of Mysteries and the Treasure of the Righteous

1. His Noble Lineage, Travels, and Rank
Testimony of Ibn Futuh: Alchemy, and Divine Protection
Story of the Woodcutter
Al-Habibi, First Companion
Testimony of al-Ibri: Mount Zaghawan, Birds, and the Spring
Intervention of Ibn al-Bara' and Abu Zakariya
Narration of Madi
Testimony of Abu 'Abd Allah, the Copyist
'Izz al-Din and the Pilgrimage
The Shaykh Watches over Madi
Madi and al-Shadhili Visit the Tomb of the Prophet
Testimony of Jamal al-Din: Worship and Works
Drunkenness of the Shaykh's Son
Shihab al-Din before the Shaykh
Testimony about 'Arifat al-Khayr
The Shaykh Settles a Dispute with Berbers
Argument with a Group of M'utazila
True Asceticism
A Litigation
Miraculous Multiplication of Sheep and Grain

2. Correspondence with His Companions
Letter of Consolation to a Disciple in Quyrawan
Letter to Followers in Tunis
Exhortation to Certain Judges
Letter to 'Ali Ibn Makhluf

3. Supplication, Devotional Recitations, and Prayers of Confrontations
The Noble Litany and the Mighty Veil (Hijab), or the Great Litany
Blessed Supplication Known as the Litany of the Sea
Litany of Light
An Anecdote
A Devotional Recitation (Dhikr)
A Devotional Recitation: Prayer for Happiness
A Devotional Recitation: The Veiling
A Devotional Recitation: Divine Grace
A Devotional Recitation: God's Love All-Sufficient
A Devotional Recitation: Contemptibility and Respectability
A Devotional Recitation: On Hearing the Call to Prayer
A Devotional Recitation: The Worship
A Dhikr to Dispel Depression
A Devotional Recitation: God the Living and Sole Provider
A Devotional Recitation: Thanksgiving for Benefaction
In Praise of the Maker
A Prayer before the Prophet's Tomb
A Prayer for Forgiveness
An Invocation: The Great Name
A Devotional Recitation: Inner Sight and Providence
A Devotional Recitation: Granting of Requests
A Devotional Recitation: Compassion

4. His Opinions, Injunctions, Doctrine on Sufism, and Other Sciences
Rule of the Religious Retreat ('Uzla)
Help-Procuring Sayings on Entering the Religious Retreat
Section on Overcoming Satan
Perils of the Religious Retreat
Fruits of the Religious Retreat
On Sainthood
Contraction (Qabd) and Expansion (Bast)
Loss and Gain
The Will
Religious Science
The Elect
The Way
Recitation and a Prayer
Miscellaneous Instructions
Chapter in Love
Scrupulous Peity
One of His Devotional Recitations (Adhkar)
Verses of the Shaykh, Saint and Mystic Abu al-'Abbas al-Mursi
My Observation of His Salutation on the Apostle of God
One of His Devotional Recitations
A Devotional Recitation
A Devotional Recitation
A Saying
Verses of al-Mazduri
Sayings and Anecdotes
A Daily Dhikr
A Dhikr of the Heart
Spiritual Communion
Miscellaneous Teachings
Section on the Commonality and the Elect
Display of Knowledge
Good Breeding
Love for God
Sin and Pardon
A Remedy
Worldly Goods
Religious Acts
Sure Pardon
A Request
A Petition
Divine Management
Final Injunction
Qualities of the Sincere

5. Al-Shadhili's Death and the Appointment of Abu Al-'Abbas al-Mursi as Successor
Testimony of Sharaf al-Din
A Premonition
Testimony of Abu Ishaq Ibrahim
Testimony of 'Imad al-Din
Personal Description
Excellences of al-Shadhili's Successor
Testimony of Madi ibn Sultan
Testimony of Yaqut al-Habashi: The Story of the Raisins
Story of Fishing
Testimony of 'Abd al-Da'im: An Abundant Harvest
Testimony of 'Imad al-Din on Taj al-Din
Story of Two Jars of Honey
Statement of Abu Zayd ibn 'Abd al-Rahman: Pilgrimage with the Apostle
Testimony of Jamal al-Din Yusuf
Correspondence of al-Mursi
Statement of Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Hariz
Letter to Shihab al-Din on the Soul
Eulogy of Shihab al-Din
Correspondence with Jaml al-Din
Death of al-Mursi and His Grave
A Sea Rescue
The Grave: A Theriac
Tomb and Mosque of al-Mursi
Attainments of Abu 'Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Sultan, Brother of Madi
A Dhikr is Given
A Case of Exegesis
Al-Yafruni: The Murabit
Other Anecdotes
Wajih al-Din
Story of the Crow
Story of the Beard
True Worship
Al-Murjani: Fear and Hope
House of Evil
Ibn al-Mu'addib, the Sultan, and the Well
Story of the Grape Thief
Story of the Cattle Thief
Carbuncles Healed
On Learning the Qur'an
The Orange Tree
Fasting and Feasting
The Fig
Unveiling Secrets
The Viper
A Heritage
Testimony of al-Himyari
Story of the Rent Money
Tombs of Saints
Story of the Cripple
Christians Enter Tunis
Light from the Grave
The Tailor Shop
Anecdotes about Madi





"This work is excellent. It provides a thoroughly annotated and sound translation of one of the oldest biographies of the well-known thirteenth-century Sufi master Abu'l-Hasan al-Shadhili. The annotation is exhaustive and extremely useful. In general the genre has not received much attention and it is good to see a major work to which one can refer as an example. It will be welcomed by everyone interested in the history and teachings of Sufism. Given al-Shadhili's fame, a work on him is long overdue. His order is more influential than any other today in the West. " — William Chittick, State University of New York at Stony Brook

"This is a superb work of translation done with precision and care and according to traditional scholarly methods. There are many things I like about this book In the first place the translation is very good. The language is idiomatic, flows freely, and is easy to read. It retains the flavor of the original Arabic text without, however, reflecting any of its Arabic syntax and word order. " — Nicholas Heer, University of Washington

"We do not have many biographies of great Sufis, much less their prayers, letters, and remarks. This collection allows us to penetrate into the thinking of the foremost Sufi of his day, and later. This is especially important for al-Shadhili wrote no books whatsoever. " — Victor Danner, Indiana University

"This is a fascinating and extremely important book, from which one could easily teach an entire course on Islamic spirituality. It combines a number of central genres: hagiography, letters of spiritual direction, prayers and meditations, personal spiritual pedagogy (malfuzat), etc. —in an understandable, approachable, and humane context that clearly brings out the historical and religious setting of these typical spiritual teachings. I would love to have a copy for use in many of my undergraduate courses.

The topics raised here, whether with regard to the social history of Islamic religion or the interrelations between popular spirituality and learned forms (and of both with political powers) are centrally important to any understanding of Islam and at the forefront of scholarly research in both Islamic history and Islamic religion and spirituality. " — James W. Morris, Oberlin College