Ascension Visions of Sufi Masters: The Rhetoric of Authority in Visionary Experiences of Ibn Ab? Jamra and R?zbih?n Baql?
Frederick S. Colby [+]
University of Oregon
Mu?ammad’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, R?zbih?n Baql? (d. 606/1209) and Ibn Ab? Jamra (d. ca. 699/1300). Through comparison with R?zbih?n’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 Ab? 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 (Mar??? al-?is?n) appended to Ibn Ab? Jamra’s abridgement and commentary on Bukh?r?’s ?a???, 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 R?zbih?n’s Unveiling of Secrets.