The Repose of the Spirits

A Sufi Commentary on the Divine Names

By Ahmad Sam'ānī
Translated by William C. Chittick
Introduction by William C. Chittick

Subjects: Sufism, Islam, Theology, Mysticism, Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in Islam
Hardcover : 9781438473338, 708 pages, October 2019
Paperback : 9781438473345, 708 pages, July 2020

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Table of contents


The Sam‛ānīs
Sufism in Aḥmad's Khorasan
The Keys to the Unseen
The Text and Translation
The Repose of the Spirits: Explaining the Names of the All- Opening King
1. Hū: He
2. Allāh: God
3. Alladhī Lā Ilāha Illā Hū: There is no god but He
4–5. al-Raḥmān,al-Raḥīm:the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful
6. al-Malik: the King
7. al-Quddūs: the Holy
8. al-Salām: the Peace
9. al-Mu'min: the Faithful
10. al-Muhaymin: the Overseer
11. al-‛Azīz: the Exalted
12. al-Jabbār: the All- Compelling
13. al-Mutakabbir: the Proud
14. al-Khāliq: the Creator
15. al-Bāri': the Maker
16. al-Muawwir: the Form-Giver
17. al-Ghaffār: the All- Forgiving
18. al-Qahhār: the Severe
19. al-Wahhāb: the Bestower
20. al-Razzāq: the Provider
21. al-Fattāḥ: the All-Opening
22. al-‛Alīm: the Knowing
23-24. al-Qābi al-Bāsi: the Contractor, the Expander
25-26. al-Khāfi al-Rāfi: the Downletter, the Uplifter
27-28. al-Muizz al-Mudhill: the Exalter, the Abaser
29-30. al-Samī‛ al-Baṣīr: the Hearing, the Seeing
31-32: al-akam al-Adl: the Ruler, the Just
33. al-Laṭīf: the Gentle
34. al-Khabīr: the Aware
35. al-alīm: the Forbearing
36. al-Aẓīm: the Tremendous
37-38. al-Ghafūr al-Shakūr: the Forgiving, the Grateful
39-40. al-Alī al-Kabīr: the High, the Great
41. al-afīẓ: the Guardian
42. al-Muqīt: the Nourisher
43. al-asīb: the Reckoner/the Sufficer
44-45. al-Jalīl al-Jamīl: the Majestic, the Beautiful
46. al-Karīm: the Generous
47. al-Raqīb: the Watcher
48. al-Mujīb: the Responder
49. al-Wāsi: the Embracing
50. al-akīm: the Wise
51. al-Wadūd: the Loving/the Beloved
52. al-Majīd: the Splendorous
53. al-Bā‛ith: the Upraiser
54. al-Shahīd: the Witness
55-56. al-aqq al-Mubīn: the Real, the Clarifier
57. al-Wakīl: the Trustee
58-59. al-Qawī al-Matīn: the Strong, the Firm
60. al-Walī: the Friend
61. al-amīd: the Praiser/the Praised
62. al-Muḥṣī: the Enumerator
63-64. al-Mubdi' al-Mu‛īd: the Originator, the Returner
65-66. al-Muyī al-Mumīt: the Life-Giver, the Death-Giver
67-68. al-ayy al-Qayyūm: the Living, the Self-Standing
69. al-Wājid: the Finder
70-71. al-Wāḥid al-Aad: the One, the Unique
72. al-amad: the Self-Sufficient
73-74. al-Qādir al-Muqtadir: the Powerful, the Potent
75-76. al-Muqaddim al-Mu'akhkhir: the Forward-setter, the Behind-keeper
77-80. al-Awwal al-Ākhir al–Ẓāhir al-Bāṭin: the First, the Last, the Outward, the Inward
81. al-Barr: the Kind
82. al-Tawwāb: the Ever- Turning
83. al-Muntaqim: the Avenger
84. al-Afū: the Pardoner
85-89. al-Raf, Mālik al-Mulk, Dhu'l-Jalāl wa'l-Ikrām, al-Wālī, al-Muta‛ālī: the Clement, the Owner of the Kingdom, the Possessor of Majesty and Generous Giving, the Protector, the Transcendent
90-91. al-Muqsi al-Jāmi: the Impartial, the Gathering
92-93. al-Ghanī al-Mughnī: the Unneedy, the Need-Lifter
94-95. al-Ḍārr al-Nāfi: the Harmer, the Benefiter
96. al-Nūr: the Light
97. al-Hādī: the Guide
98. al-Badī‛: the Innovating
99-100. al-Bāqī al-Wārith: the Subsistent, the Inheritor
101. al-Rashīd: the Road-Shower
102. al-abūr: the Patient

Works Cited
Index of Quranic Verses
Index of Hadiths and Arabic Sayings
Index and Glossary of Terms

Major new translation of a unique and important Persian treatise on divine names in the Islamic tradition.


The Repose of the Spirits is a translation of one of the earliest and most comprehensive treatises on Sufism in the Persian language. Written by Aḥmad Sam'ānī, an expert in Islamic law from a famous Central Asian scholarly family in about the year 1135, it is one of the handful of early Sufi texts available in English and is by far the most accessible. It also may well be the longest and the most accurately translated. Ostensibly a commentary on the divine names, it avoids the abstract discourse of theological nitpicking and explains the human significance of the names with a delightful mix of Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet and various past teachers, interspersed with original interpretations of the received wisdom. Unlike the usual books on the divine names (such as that of al-Ghazali), The Repose of the Spirits reminds the reader of the later poetical tradition, especially the work of Rumi. The prose is richly embroidered with imagery and interspersed with a great variety of Arabic and Persian poetry. What is especially remarkable is the manner in which the author speaks to his readers about their own personal situations, explaining why they are driven by a love affair with God, a God who is full of compassion and good humor, whether they know it or not. William C. Chittick's masterful new translation brings this work to an English-language audience for the first time.

William C. Chittick is SUNY Distinguished Professor at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author of several books, including Faith and Practice of Islam: Three Thirteenth Century Sufi Texts and The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-'Arabī's Cosmology, both also published by SUNY Press.


"Chittick's translation is beautifully and masterfully done, and a model of how to translate Sufi classics … This work is highly recommended for all students of Islamic studies, spiritual seekers, and those who wish to be taken inside the sanctity of the Divine Names." — Religious Studies Review

"This book is a welcome and much needed contribution to Islamic Studies, and it is particularly beneficial for both graduate and undergraduate courses on Sufism, Islamic spirituality, and Islamic civilizations." — Journal of Sufi Studies

"This is a wonderful introduction to the particular style, imagery, terminology, and worldview of Sufism, as well as to the ways in which the Persian cultural milieu added important elements to the Arabic intellectual and spiritual tradition in Islam." — Maria Massi Dakake, author of The Charismatic Community: Shi'ite Identity in Early Islam