Ascension Visions of Sufi Masters: The Rhetoric of Authority in Visionary Experiences of Ibn Abī Jamra and Rūzbihān Baqlī

Words of Experience - Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst - Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst

Frederick S. Colby [+-]
University of Oregon
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Professor Colby specializes in Arabic narratives on a central story in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, the night journey (isra) and ascension (mi'raj). Through his close examination of Arabic manuscripts stored in Damascus, Istanbul, Cairo, and in other major repositories throughout the world, his research explores the early formation and development of a popular strand of Islamic ascension literature attributed to Muhammad's cousin and companion, Ibn 'Abbas. Colby is the author of Narrating Muhammad's Night Journey: Tracing the Development of the Ibn 'Abbas Ascension Discourse (SUNY, 2008).

Description

Muḥammad’s ascension represents a touchstone for Sufi discussions of mystical experiences, and this essay comparatively examines dream ascension narratives attributed to two middle period Sufis, Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 606/1209) and Ibn Abī Jamra (d. ca. 699/1300). Through comparison with Rūzbihān’s visions of ascent and what Carl Ernst’s studies help us to see in them, the present chapter sheds new light on key themes in the accounts of Ibn Abī Jamra’s visionary ascensions, including visions of ascent and descent, sacred text exegesis, and autobiographical elements mentioned in the dream visions. Ultimately this essay raises new questions about the dream work Visions of Beauties (Marāʾī al-Ḥisān) appended to Ibn Abī Jamra’s abridgement and commentary on Bukhārī’s Ṣaḥīḥ, and it also suggests directions that future research on the text might take, especially a consideration of its wider genre, scholarly networks, and political milieu, following the lead of Carl Ernst’s excellent study of Rūzbihān’s Unveiling of Secrets.

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Citation

Colby, Frederick. Ascension Visions of Sufi Masters: The Rhetoric of Authority in Visionary Experiences of Ibn Abī Jamra and Rūzbihān Baqlī. Words of Experience - Translating Islam with Carl W. Ernst. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2020. ISBN 9781781799109. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38424. Date accessed: 26 Jan 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38424. Oct 2020

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