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Junayd of Baghdad

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Abu 'l-Qasim ibn Muhammad al-Junayd al-Baghdadi
Junayd Baghdādī (835-910) invites the Christian youth to accept Islam at the Sufi meeting, witnessed by Saqati, from Breaths of intimacy (Nafaḥāt al-uns), by Jāmī (d. 1492).jpg
Junayd of Baghdad invites the Christian youth to accept Islam at the Sufi meeting, witnessed by Saqati, from "Breaths of intimacy" (Nafaḥāt al-uns), by Jami (d. 1492). Persian-language manuscript created in Baghdad, dated 1595
TitleSayyid at-Taifa
Personal
Born830
Died910 (aged 79–80)
ReligionIslam
DenominationSunni
JurisprudenceShafi[1]
Main interest(s)Sufism, Tassawuf, ishq, theology, philosophy, logic, fiqh
Notable idea(s)Ishq[clarification needed]
Muslim leader

Junayd of Baghdad (Persian: جُنیدِ بَغدادی; 830–910) was a Persian[4][5] mystic and one of the most famous of the early Islamic saints. He is a central figure in the spiritual lineage of many Sufi orders.

Junayd taught in Baghdad throughout his lifetime and was an important figure in the development of Sufi doctrine. Like Hasan of Basra before him, was widely revered by his students and disciples as well as quoted by other mystics. Because of his importance in Sufi theology, Junayd was often referred to as the "Sultan".[6]

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Persian language

Persian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of the Cyrillic script.

Wali

Wali

A wali, the Arabic word which has been variously translated "master", "authority", "custodian", "protector", is most commonly used by Muslims to indicate an Islamic saint, otherwise referred to by the more literal "friend of God".

Tariqa

Tariqa

A tariqa is a school or order of Sufism, or specifically a concept for the mystical teaching and spiritual practices of such an order with the aim of seeking haqiqa, which translates as "ultimate truth".

Baghdad

Baghdad

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq and the second-largest city in the Arab world after Cairo. It is located on the Tigris near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon and the Sassanid Persian capital of Ctesiphon. In 762 CE, Baghdad was chosen as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, and became its most notable major development project. Within a short time, the city evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center of the Muslim world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, including the House of Wisdom, as well as a multiethnic and multi-religious environment, garnered it a worldwide reputation as the "Center of Learning".

Theology

Theology

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also deals with religious epistemology, asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Sultan

Sultan

Sultan is a position with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", derived from the verbal noun سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty without claiming the overall caliphate, or to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate. The adjectival form of the word is "sultanic", and the state and territories ruled by a sultan, as well as his office, are referred to as a sultanate.

Early life and education

Zarih of Junayd of Baghdad and a smaller wooden zarih of Sirri Saqti
Zarih of Junayd of Baghdad and a smaller wooden zarih of Sirri Saqti

The exact birth date of Abu-l-Qāsim al-Junayd ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Junayd al-Khazzāz al-Qawārīrī (Arabic: أبو القاسم الجنيد بن محمد الخزاز القواريري) is disputed and ranges from 210 to 215 AH according to Abdel-Kader.[7] His death is more certain and ranges from 296 to 298 AH (908 to 910 CE). It is believed that al-Junayd was of Persian ancestry, with his ancestors originating in Nihawand in modern-day Iran. Al-Junayd was raised by his uncle Sirri Saqti[8] after being orphaned as a boy. Al-Junayd's early education included teachings from Abū Thawr, Abū 'Ubayd, al-Ḥārith al-Muḥãsibī, and Sarī ibn Mughallas.[2][3][9]

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Hagiography

As to the hagiography by Attar of Nishapur, the Tazkirat al-Awliya, had felt the pain of divine separation since childhood. Regardless of spiritual sorrow, he was known for his quick understanding and discipline. When Sirri Saqti accepted him. According to Attar, Junayd was only seven years of age when Sirri Saqti took him along for the Hajj. In al-Masjid an-Nabawi, there were 400 sheikhs discussing the concept of ‘thankfulness’ whereby each expounded his own view. When Sirri Saqti told him to present his definition, Junayd said, "Thankfulness means that should not disobey God by means of the favour which he has bestowed upon you nor make of His favour a source of disobedience." The sheikhs unanimously agreed that no other words could define the term better. Sirri Saqti asked Junayd from where he could learn all this. Junayd replied, "From sitting with you."[10]

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Hagiography

Hagiography

A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader, as well as, by extension, an adulatory and idealized biography of a preacher, priest, founder, saint, monk, nun or icon in any of the world's religions. Early Christian hagiographies might consist of a biography or vita, a description of the saint's deeds or miracles, an account of the saint's martyrdom, or be a combination of these.

Attar of Nishapur

Attar of Nishapur

Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm, better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn and ʿAṭṭār of Nishapur, was a Persian poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. He wrote a collection of lyrical poems and number of long poems in the philosophical tradition of Islamic mysticism, as well as a prose work with biographies and sayings of famous Muslim mystics. Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr and Ilāhī-Nāma and Memorial of the Saints are among his best known works.

Tazkirat al-Awliya

Tazkirat al-Awliya

Tazkirat al-Awliyā – variant transliterations: Tazkirat al-Awliyā`, Tadhkirat al-Awliya, Tazkerat-ol-Owliya, Tezkereh-i-Evliā etc., – is a hagiographic collection of ninety-six Sufi saints and their miracles (Karamat) by the twelfth–thirteenth-century Persian poet and mystic, Farīd al-Dīn ‘Aṭṭar. ‘Aṭṭar's only surviving prose work comprises 72-chapters, beginning with the life of Jafar Sadiq, the Sixth Shia Imam, and ending with the Sufi Martyr, Mansur Al-Hallaj's.

Hajj

Hajj

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and of supporting their family during their absence from home.

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, known in English as the Prophet's Mosque, is a mosque built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the city of Medina in the Al Madinah Province of Saudi Arabia. It was the second mosque built by Muhammad in Medina, after Quba Mosque, and is the second largest mosque and second holiest site in Islam, both titles ranking after the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The mosque is located at the heart of Medina and is a major pilgrimage site that falls under the purview of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Sheikh

Sheikh

Sheikh —also transliterated sheekh, sheyikh, shaykh, shayk, shekh, shaik and Shaikh, shak—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly designates a chief of a tribe or a royal family member in Arabian countries, in some countries it is also given to those of great knowledge in religious affairs as a surname by a prestige religious leader from a chain of Sufi scholars. It is also commonly used to refer to a Muslim religious scholar. It is also used as an honorary title by people claiming to be descended from Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali both patrilineal and matrilineal who are grandsons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The term is literally translated to "Elder". The word 'sheikh' is mentioned in the 23rd verse of Surah Al-Qasas in the Quran.

Spiritual journey

His traditional hagiography continues by stating that Junayd went back to Baghdad and took up selling glasses. However, he spent most of the time in prayer. Hence, he retired to the porch of Sirri Saqti's house and kept himself away from worldly matters, devoting his thoughts only to God. People need to "relinquish natural desires, to wipe out human attributes, to discard selfish motives, to cultivate spiritual qualities, to devote oneself to true knowledge, to do what is best in the context of eternity, to wish good for the entire community, to be truly faithful to God, and to follow the Prophet in the matters of the Shari’a."[11] This starts with the practice of asceticism (zuhd) and continues with withdrawal from society, intensive concentration on devotion (ibadah) and remembrance (dhikr) of God, sincerity (ikhlas), and contemplation (muraqaba) respectively; contemplation produces fana.[11]

Junayd spend 40 years in his mystic course praying while sacrificing his sleep and any other worldly desires, but then a conceit in his heart arose that he has achieved his goal. By then he inspired by God that "He who is not worthy of union, all his good works are but sins." This meant that the prayers which become a source of pride are useless, as true prayer makes a person more humble and devoted to God. His name became famous in many parts of the world despite the persecution he faced and the tongues of slander shot at him. Even then, he did not start preaching until 30 of the great saints indicated to him that he should now call men to God. However, he chose not to preach as yet, saying, "While the master is there, it is not seemingly for the disciple to preach." After witnessing Muhammad in his dream commanding him to preach, he had to listen to Sirri Saqti. The intensity of ishq poured out of a speech of Junayd such that out of the 40 people he first preached, 18 died and 22 fainted.[8] His caliph and most dear disciple was Abu Bakr Shibli.[10]

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Sharia

Sharia

Sharia is a body of religious law that forms a part of the Islamic tradition. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam and is based on the sacred scriptures of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God's immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations. In the historical course, fiqh sects have emerged that reflect the preferences of certain societies and state administrations on behalf of people who are interested in the theoretical (method) and practical application studies of laws and rules, but sharia has never been a valid legal system on its own. It has been used together with "customary (Urf) law" since Omar or the Umayyads.

Asceticism

Asceticism

Asceticism is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and also spend time fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters. Various individuals have also attempted an ascetic lifestyle to free themselves from addictions, some of them particular to modern life, such as money, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, entertainment, sex, food, etc.

Ibadah

Ibadah

Ibadah is an Arabic word meaning service or servitude. In Islam, ibadah is usually translated as "worship", and ibadat—the plural form of ibadah—refers to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) of Muslim religious rituals.

Dhikr

Dhikr

Dhikr is a form of Islamic meditation in which phrases or prayers are repeatedly chanted in order to remember God. It plays a central role in Sufi Islam, and each Sufi order has usually adopted a specific dhikr, typically accompanied by specific posture, breathing, and movement. In Sufi Islam, dhikr refers to both the act of this remembrance as well as the prayers used in these acts of remembrance. Dhikr can be performed in solitude or as a collective group. It can be counted on a set of prayer beads or through the fingers of the hand. A person who recites the Dhikr is called a Dhakir , literally "he who remembers." The content of the prayers includes the names of God, or a dua taken from the hadiths or the Quran.

Fana (Sufism)

Fana (Sufism)

Fanaa in Sufism is the "passing away" or "annihilation". Fana means "to die before one dies", a concept highlighted by famous notable Persian mystics such as Rumi and later by Sultan Bahoo. There is controversy around what Fana exactly is, with some Sufis defining it as the annihilation of the human ego before God, whereby the self becomes an instrument of God's plan in the world (Baqaa). Other Sufis interpret it as breaking down of the individual ego and a recognition of the fundamental unity of God, creation, and the individual self. Persons having entered this enlightened state are said to obtain awareness of an intrinsic unity (Tawhid) between Allah and all that exists, including the individual's mind. This second interpretation is condemned as heretical by orthodox Islam.

Muhammad

Muhammad

Muhammad was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet divinely inspired to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. He is believed to be the Seal of the Prophets within Islam. Muhammad united Arabia into a single Muslim polity, with the Quran as well as his teachings and practices forming the basis of Islamic religious belief.

Ishq

Ishq

Ishq is an Arabic word meaning "love" or "passion", also widely used in other languages of the Muslim world and the Indian subcontinent.

Works by Junayd

Junayd helped establish the "sober" school of Sufi thought, which meant that he was very logical and scholarly about his definitions of various virtues, tawhid, etc. Sober Sufism is characterized by people who "experience fana [and] do not subsist in that state of selfless absorption in God but find themselves returned to their senses by God. Such returnees from the experience of selflessness are thus reconstituted as renewed selves," just like an intoxicated person sobering up.[12] For example, Junayd is quoted as saying, "The water takes on the color of the cup." While this might seem rather confusing at first, ‘Abd al-Hakeem Carney explains it as: "When the water is understood here to refer to the Light of Divine self-disclosure, we are led to the important concept of 'capacity,' whereby the Divine epiphany is received by the heart of any person according to that person’s particular receptive capacity and will be 'colored' by that person’s nature".[13]

Also, according to Sells, "Junayd seems to presuppose that his hearer or reader has had the experience about which he is speaking – or, even more radically, that the hearer or reader is able to enter that experience, or some re-creation of it – at the moment of encounter with Junayd's words."[8] This statement makes it seem like Junayd was writing to a specific sect of the elite that he described earlier. The elite that he refers to are the elect, or "a tightly knit group of 'brethren' that Junayd designates by such phrases as 'the choice of believers' or 'the pure ones'. They play significant roles in the community of believers."[12]

Source: "Junayd of Baghdad", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junayd_of_Baghdad.

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References
  1. ^ THE BIOGRAPHIES OF THE ELITE LIVES OF THE SCHOLARS, IMAMS & HADITH MASTERS: Biographies of The Imams & Scholars. Zulfiqar Ayub. May 2, 2015 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. "THE DOCTRINE OF ONE ACTOR: JUNAYD'S VIEW OF TA W? D." The Muslim World 73.1 (1983): 33-56. "Junayd learned the Qur'an and studied Hadith and fiqh from Abu Thawr (d. 240/834), a prominent scholar of fiqh who dominated the stage in Iraq before..."
  3. ^ a b c Borhan, Joni Tamkin. "A Survey of The Development of Islamic Economics Thought." Jurnal Usuluddin 10 (1999): 63-80.
  4. ^ Silvers, Laury (2013-09-01). "al-Fatḥ al-Mawṣilī". Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. (...) uncle of the famous early Persian Ṣūfī Junayd al-Baghdādī (d. 298/911).
  5. ^ Browne, Edward Granville (2015). A Literary History of Persia. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 978-1-345-72256-7., page 428: "It is noteworthy that both Bayazid and Junayd were Persians, and may very likely have imported to sufism."
  6. ^ Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, C. Glasse, al-Junayd (p. 211), Suhail Academy co.
  7. ^ Abdel-Kader, Ali Hassan (1976). The life, personality and writings of al-Junayd : a study of a third/ninth century mystic ; with an edition and translation [from the Arabic] of his writings. London: Luzac. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-0718902230.
  8. ^ a b c Sells, Michael A.. Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Koran, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1996. Print.
  9. ^ Abdel-Kader, Ali Hassan, ed. The Life, Personality and Writings of al-Junayd. Gibb Memorial Trust, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Tazkirat al-Awliya, Attar of Nishapur. London, England.: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1990. ISBN 0-14-019264-6, 32–38
  11. ^ a b Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. "The Doctrine of One Actor: Junayd's View of Tawhid." The Muslim World 1(1983): 33–56. Electronic.
  12. ^ a b Karamustafa, Ahmet (2007). Sufism: The Formative Period. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25269-1.
  13. ^ Carney, A. a.-H. (1 September 2005). "Imamate and Love: The Discourse of the Divine in Islamic Mysticism". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 73 (3): 705–730. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfi076.
Further reading
  • Ohlander, Erik S. (2020). "al-Junayd al-Baghdādī: Chief of the Sect". In Ridgeon, Lloyd (ed.). Routledge Handbook on Sufism (1st ed.). Routledge. ISBN 9781138040120.

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