Ascension Visions of Sufi Masters: The Rhetoric of Authority in Visionary Experiences of Ibn Abī Jamra and Rūzbihān Baqlī
Frederick S. Colby [+]
University of Oregon
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.