By Kenneth S Avery
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Additional info for A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama : Listening and Altered States (Routledgecurzon Sufi Series)
41 It appears as the last chapter of the main section on ‘stages’, which is really an exposition of Suﬁ theology and practice, presented thematically. Stylistically, the author’s writing resembles that of Sarraj. There are generous quotations from traditional sources, the Qurxan, SadCth, and Suﬁ masters, interspersed with the author’s own opinions and 36 SAMFW IN EARLY SUFI LITERATURE arguments, and with generous quotes from Qushayrc’s own master, Abe wAlc al-Daqqaq. The author’s personal comments do not dominate, however.
The earlier portion of Sarraj’s work has greater value intrinsically, and also for the purposes of the present book. Our discussion will thus draw much more from the earlier part of the work. The writings of Abe wAbd al-Rasman al-Sulamc A generation later than Sarraj comes the important Suﬁ hagiographer and theorist, Abe wAbd al-Rasman al-Sulamc. His writings are perhaps not as fundamental for our present topic as his illustrious predecessor’s, but Sulamc’s contibution is nevertheless important.
It was not the ﬁrst such work of this genre in Islamic literature, but its great importance lies in the fact that virtually all earlier works of Suﬁ biography have been lost to us. It is a treasury of the opinions and interpretations of the Suﬁs, and of the stories concerning their lives and characters. His work also inﬂuenced later writers in this genre, many of whom rely heavily on Sulamc. 33 Etan Kohlberg argues that Sulamc seems to have had two distinct aims. First, his task was to defend Suﬁsm against its many critics, and second, to spread knowledge of Suﬁsm among the general 29 SAMFW IN EARLY SUFI LITERATURE public as well as the Suﬁs themselves.