الرئيسية A Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection

A Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection

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كم أعجبك هذا الكتاب؟
ما هي جودة الملف الذي تم تنزيله؟
قم بتنزيل الكتاب لتقييم الجودة
ما هي جودة الملفات التي تم تنزيلها؟
This Book provided me with a very interesting background historical knowledge about the relevant sweet prayer which I used to read myself.

The First time I came accross this prayer was through an Ottoman Volume "Majmou'at Al Ahzab - Ibn Arabi"

I am not aware of any other english translation than this one, I think it bring the english reader a honey taste of such a holy prayer, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, the Glorious meanings are those that would sparkle around a saint.

This is only a glimpse of Dr. Maximus. (Ibn Arabi)

There is a non-copyrighted audio reading of this prayer in Arabic in the following public Link

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A Prayer for Spiritual
Elevation and Protection

Study, translation,
transliteration and Arabic text


A Prayer for Spiritual
Elevation and Protection

Mu¢yidd¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨

A Prayer for Spiritual
Elevation and Protection
al-Dawr al-a¡ lå (±izb al-wiqåya)
Study, translation, transliteration and Arabic text


in association with the

muhyiddin ibn ¡arabi society

Published by Anqa Publishing
PO Box 1178
Oxford OX2 8YS, UK
In association with the
Muhyiddin Ibn ¡Arabi Society
© Suha Taji-Farouki, 2006
Suha Taji-Farouki has asserted her moral right
under the Copyright, Designs and Patents
Act, 1988, to be identified as the author
of this work.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, without
the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
Cover design: Michael Tiernan
The front cover design incorporates the prayer title
from Yazma Ba÷i®lar 2180.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN-10: 0 9534513 0 5
ISBN-13: 978 0 9534513 0 2

Printed in Great Britain by Biddles Limited,

To God alone belong the Most Beautiful Names,
so call upon Him through them
Qur¤an 7: 180

I take refuge in the Perfect Words of God from
the evil of that which He has created
A saying of the Prophet Muhammad

Whoever recites [this prayer] will be like the
sun and the moon among the stars
Mu¢ammad al-Dåm¬n¨,
al-Durr al-tham¨n li-shar¢ Dawr al-a¡ lå li-s¨d¨ Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n



Foreword by Michel Chodkiewicz






The Dawr Today
Contemporary contexts
The United Kingdom


A Prayer across Time
Historical dimensions
Transmitters of the prayer
Chains and authorisations
Windows onto Islamic culture and thought


The Prayer for Spiritual ; Elevation and Protection
The text and its contents
Translation and Arabic text


Appendix: Manuscript copies and chains of transmission








The author would like to thank The Institute of Ismaili Studies
(London) for generously supporting this work, the staff of the
Suleymaniye Library (Istanbul) for their help and hospitality, and
those who gave their time for interviews or discussions. Thanks are
also due to Stephen Hirtenstein and Michael Tiernan.


michel chodkiewicz
Born in Spain and having died in Syria, like the ‘blessed tree’ mentioned in the ‘Light’ verse of the Qur’an Ibn ¡Arab¨ (1164–1240) is
‘neither of the east nor of the west’, for he belongs equally to both.
Recognized as the Spiritual Master par excellence (al-Shaykh alAkbar), he has been a source of inspiration and a definitive referencepoint for the Muslim mystical tradition from Andalusia to China
for more than eight centuries. Christian Europe, which since the
Middle Ages had passionately studied so many Arabic authors, was
for a long time unaware of him. It had to wait until the end of the
nineteenth century before it began to discover some of the hundreds
of works he has left us, and even then this interest was at first limited
to narrow circles of Orientalists.
In contrast, the last few decades of the twentieth century have
seen a sudden increase in the number of translations, critical editions, studies and commentaries on his works. Even more surprisingly, their audience has gradually extended to encompass readers
who, a priori, have felt no particular attraction to Islamic culture,
and indeed appeared to have no reason to be interested in writings of
such intimidating depth. Undoubtedly, such readers felt that an academic approach which focused on the doctrinal authority Ibn ¡Arab¨
has exercised over sufism took into account only one aspect of the
man. As an eminent figure of sainthood the Shaykh al-Akbar is thus
not only a Lesemeister: he is also – and even more so, a Lebemeister,
since he teaches us not only how to think, but how to live.
Witness, for example, the care he has shown in the five hundred
and sixtieth (and final) chapter of his Meccan Revelations (al-Fut¬¢åt
al-makk¨ya). Here, at the end of thousands of pages, where a vertiginous metaphysics is developed in a language of extreme technical


precision, he gathers together, using very simple words, the rules of
conduct from which, he tells us, both the wayfarer (al-sålik) and the
one who has arrived at his destination (al-wåßil) may benefit. For him
– and for every spiritual master worthy of the name – the knowledge
of the saints must take hold of the whole person. It is not addressed
to the intellect alone.
It is for this very reason too that, within the immense Akbarian
corpus, one finds alongside numerous scholarly treatises some quite
short texts, which at first sight seem to fall within the domain of
simple devotional literature. Yet the reality is utterly different. These
prayers (ßalawåt, a¢zåb, awråd), transmitted from master to disciple,
are much more than pious litanies. They are inspired invocations,
each structured around a series of Divine Names. Every Name conceals secrets and powers that are its own: it must arise at a precise
moment in the recitation in order for it to be effective. Such effectiveness is not magic, however. It presupposes that certain conditions are satisfied, the most important of which is purity of intention.
In addition, the diversity of these forms of prayer and the modes of
their use – whether regularly or occasionally, at a particular time or
not, recited alone or in groups etc. – reflect the variety of individual
or collective situations, and of interior dispositions.
It is one of these prayers, al-Dawr al-a¡ lå (known also as the ±izb
al-wiqåya), which can be found at the centre of the little book before
you. At the centre, for it is surrounded by much precious information. Suha Taji-Farouki does not limit herself simply to establishing
the text with rigorous exactitude, and providing a translation and
transliteration of it. Combining a meticulous examination of written sources with patient fieldwork, she tells for the first time the
long history of this prayer, identifying each of the personalities in
the chains of transmission. Based upon many testimonies and from
her own observations, she shows above all that the practice of the
Dawr lives on today in very diverse milieux. With as much knowledge as empathy, she thus demonstrates the continuing currency of
Ibn ¡Arab¨’s teaching.
Paris, 2006


There is a growing body of critical editions, translations and analyses of the works of Ibn ¡Arab¨, yet relatively little attention has been
paid to dimensions of his corpus of a more specifically liturgical or
devotional character.1 The most extensive collection of prayers attributed to him arises in the major compilation of Sunni devotional
texts by the Naqshbandi–Khalidi Ahmed Ziya¤üddin Gümü®hanevi
(d.1894), known by the title Majm¬¡at al-a¢zåb.2 While a few of
these prayers have since been published and some such publications
claim, if implicitly, to present critical editions, editors often provide
scant (or no) information concerning the manuscripts on which they
have drawn,3 and it is consequently difficult in some cases to be certain of their origin or precision. A critical compilation/edition of all
these prayers, that rationalises titles and texts, addresses questions of
attribution and explores the accompanying commentary tradition, is
still to be produced.
As a modest contribution to this end (and taking into account
the relatively few studies of Muslim and sufi prayer and prayer texts
more generally), this study focuses on a single small prayer which
has as its full title al-Dawr al-a¡ lå al-muqarrib ilå kulli maqåm al-a¡ lå
(The Most Elevated Cycle that brings one close to Every Station
of The Most High), often contracted to al-Dawr al-a¡ lå (The Most
Elevated Cycle) or Dawr al-a¡ lå (The Cycle of The Most High): it is
also known as ±izb al-wiqåya (The Prayer of Protection).4 As in the
case of other prayers attributed to him, this does not appear in Ibn
¡Arab¨’s bibliographic records (the fihris and ijåza) and is not mentioned in any of his works. Yet as one contemporary sufi shaykh and
specialist in his thought has put it, ‘there is a consensus among the
people of the Way of God [ahl †ar¨q Allåh] concerning its attribution
to the Shaykh al-Akbar.’5 A clear majority of the substantial number
of manuscript copies surveyed for this study explicitly attribute the



prayer to Ibn ¡Arab¨ either in the title or through a chain of transmission. Of those that do not make such an attribution, none attribute
it to any other author. Given this and evidence of its widespread
circulation and use both past and present, it represents an important
element in any project to delimit and clarify the specifically liturgical dimension of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s corpus.
This study examines three major aspects of the prayer. Chapter
1 explores its contemporary life, providing an indication of its circulation and use through examples from different arenas. Chapter 2
focuses on historical dimensions based on manuscript copies spanning the last four centuries, exploring facets of the presentation and
transmission of the prayer. Chapter 3 examines perceptions of the
prayer’s properties and recommendations concerning its use. The
discussion touches on aspects of its composition and the interplay
within it between invocations of Divine Names, specific supplications
and Qur¤anic quotations. This chapter also provides a translation of
the prayer, an Arabic text resulting from a considered evaluation of
copies reviewed, and a transliteration. Finally, an Appendix sets out
details of manuscript copies and chains of transmission discussed.


Notes to Introduction

1. Two exceptions can be mentioned. (a) Ryad Atlagh, ‘L’Oraison de personne,
donation et noms divins chez Ibn ¡Arab¨ (À propos de Da¡wat asmå¤ Allåh al-¢usnå
attribuée à Ibn ¡Arab¨)’, Bulletin d’Études Orientales LI (1999), pp. 41–107 provides a
critical edition and discussion of the prayer mentioned in the title, with a lengthy
treatment of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s position concerning prayer in general, and the place of the
Divine Names in this. (b) Ibn ¡Arab¨, The Seven Days of the Heart: Prayers for the Days
and Nights of the Week (Awråd al-usb¬¡), tr. Pablo Beneito and Stephen Hirtenstein
(Oxford, 2000) provides a detailed discussion of the daily/nightly prayers for the
week and a translation based on a critical edition still to be published. Throughout
the present study, these daily/nightly prayers for the week attributed to Ibn ¡Arab¨ are
referred to as Awråd.
2. See Ahmed Ziya’üddin Gümü®hanevi, Majm¬¡at al-a¢zåb (Istanbul, n.d.), 3
volumes: 1, pp. 2–83.
3. For example, Majm¬¡ ßalawåt wa awråd s¨d¨ Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨ ra‰iya Allåhu ‘anhu, compiled by Muhammad Ibrahim Muhammad Salim (n.p., 2000) encompasses a group of ßalawåt (prayers upon the Prophet) and the Awråd. Salim is author
of Ta¤y¨d al-߬f¨ya f¨’l-majm¬¡a al-±åtim¨ya, where he also presents some of these
4. On the term ¢izb (pl. a¢zåb), which has come to be applied to any single group
of supererogatory liturgical formulae, and its relation to wird (with which it is often
interchangeable: for example I {see Appendix}, fol. 62b refers to al-wird al-musammå
bi’l-dawr al-a¡ lå [The wird called…’]; in Genel 43, fol. 29b, the text of the prayer is
headed thus: hådhihi al-awråd al-musammå bi’l-dawr al-a¡ lå [‘These are the awråd that
are called…’]), see Constance E. Padwick, Muslim Devotions: A Study of Prayer-Manuals in Common Use (Oxford, 1996/1961), pp. 20–25; ‘Hizb’, EI 2, 3, pp. 513–514; ‘Wird’,
EI 2, 11, pp. 209–210. On these and other terms commonly applied to liturgical texts
(such as du¡å¤ and ¢irz), see also Richard J. A. McGregor, ‘A Sufi Legacy in Tunis:
Prayer and the Shadhiliyya’, IJMES 29 (1997), pp. 263–267; ‘Du¡a¤’, EI 2, 2, pp. 617–
618; below.
The term dawr (pl. adwår), signifying a turn or revolution, does not appear to be
as widely used as ¢izb/wird: indeed, no other case of its use is known to the present
author. In our sources the term dawr is applied both to our prayer as a whole, and to
its individual verses. Thus some copies (e.g. K) describe each of the prayer’s individual verses as a dawr, marking them in order as al-dawr al-awwal, al-dawr al-thån¨, etc.
D, pp. 6–7 elaborates on the significance of the term in the prayer’s name thus: ‘This
prayer has been called al-Dawr al-a¡ lå because…it turns upon ( yad¬ru ¡alå) the Name
of God the Ever-Exalted, from Whom all things begin and to Whom is their end…
and because its secrets circulate with (tad¬ru ma¡a) the one who reads it day and night,
in secret and in public, awake and asleep, in good health and sickness, in hard times


and good, in this life, the hereafter and the barzakh…[It is] “the most elevated” dawr
because of the abundant help and secrets it contains…’ The attempt by McGregor, ‘A
Sufi Legacy in Tunis’, p. 266 to apply to the prayer an understanding of the term dawr
derived from usage in the context of religious celebrations in contemporary Egypt,
where it denotes a vocal piece drawn from colloquial poetry and involving a choral
refrain, is unsustainable. Finally, it is notable that Yazma Ba÷i®lar 2934, fol. 39b, describes the prayer as ±izb al-dawr al-a¡ lå.
On the relative scholarly neglect of sufi prayer texts and recitation, see for example
McGregor, ‘A Sufi Legacy in Tunis’, p. 255. It is remarkable that no follow-up study
to Padwick’s classic work has yet been attempted.
5. Mahmud Mahmud al-Ghurab, al-Êar¨q ilå Allåh: al-shaykh wa’l-mur¨d min
kalåm al-Shaykh al-Akbar (Damascus, 1991), p. 194 n. 1.


The Dawr Today
Contemporary contexts
Like all liturgical texts originating with sufi figures, the Dawr ala¡ lå effectively has a double life in the modern world. One of these,
a continuation of its traditional past, is hidden, mediated through
spiritual authority to permit its use exercised by the sufi shaykh to
his disciple (mur¨d) typically in the context of a sufi order or †ar¨qa
affiliation, and symbolised by the granting of a special authorisation
(ijåza). The other is visible, open and public, a destiny arising out of
the shattering of traditional systems and modes in the acquisition
and transmission of religious knowledge in Muslim societies, and
driven by the impacts of print and other modern information technologies alongside mass literacy.1 The following examples illustrate
this double life, and at the same time convey something of the diversity of contemporary users of the prayer. In general terms, while it
appears in some of the many collections of prayers readily available
across the Muslim world today, the Dawr is not as well known as
other, comparable, prayers.2

The prayer is recited collectively during certain of the open weekly
gatherings devoted to calling down prayers and blessings upon the
Prophet (majålis al-ßalåt ¡alå al-nab¨3) held at the mosque adjacent to
Ibn ¡Arab¨’s mausoleum in the Shaykh Muhyi’l-Din neighbourhood,
the Salihiyya district, Damascus. During 2003, for example, it was
read collectively at two of the eight majålis scheduled each week. One


The Dawr Today

was established quite recently and is held between noon (™uhr) and
afternoon (¡aßr) prayers on Friday: 4 the other, which takes place before dawn ( fajr) prayers on Saturday, is long-standing.5 The text of
the prayer is available in the form of a photocopied sheet stored in
the imams’ room in the mosque, from where it is occasionally distributed. It also appears for distribution from time to time in the
form of a small pamphlet, often printed together with a hadith or
Qur¤anic verses.6 In addition, some of the larger pamphlets printed
specifically for use in various majålis (and effectively the property of
those majålis) encompass the prayer.7 Reaching a wider circulation, it
appears in a popular collection of prayers compiled by former Mufti
of Syria Mu¢ammad Ab¬’l-Yusr ¡Åbid¨n (d.1981) and published by
his heirs,8 and in a more recent collection distributed free, published
as a joint venture between Turkish and Syrian publishers.9 It can
also be found on the margin of editions of al-Jaz¬l¨’s popular Sunni
prayer manual Dalå¤il al-khayråt that circulate in Damascus.10 Finally, it is presented in one of the many privately published works of
an Egyptian sufi shaykh and interpreter–disseminator of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s
thought long settled in Damascus, Ma¢m¬d al-Ghuråb.11
The prayer is thus easily accessible to people of all backgrounds
in Damascus. At the same time, in some circles there traditional
sufi modes of transmission continue. The ijåza in this context is understood to unlock the prayer’s secrets for the mur¨d in a way that
protects him from potential harm: it also ensures that these secrets
remain the preserve of those suitably prepared to receive them. The
ijåza often encompasses an instruction concerning the time and frequency of recitation. It may require the mur¨d to situate the prayer,
whenever they recite it, within a cluster of other prayers and formulae, or involve making precise additions at certain points in the
text. Specific to each mur¨d, such prescriptions are not arbitrary, and
may indeed have been received by the shaykh in a dream or vision.
Tailored to the mur¨d’s level, they may be changed as he advances on
the spiritual journey.
The vitality of this mode of transmission can be illustrated
through the practice of A¢mad al-±år¬n (d.1962), widely recognised



in Damascene sufi circles as an important saint, and his prominent
disciples.12 For example, al-±år¬n granted an ijåza to his disciple
Ma¢m¬d al-Ghuråb to read the prayer once every thirty-six hours
(this ijåza also encompassed the Awråd, Ibn ¡Arab¨’s daily prayers).13
He gave an ijåza to his disciple Mamd¬¢ al-Naßß to read it once
every twenty-four hours (again, in addition to the Awråd). Al-Naßß
in turn gave his son Mu¢ammad Såmir an ijåza to read the prayer
daily, this time preceded by al-Nawaw¨’s ±izb and followed by recitation of s¬rat al-Fåti¢a for the souls of the Prophet, Ibn ¡Arab¨ and
Such instructions for reading the prayer sometimes migrate out
of the sphere of esoteric transmission to accompany printed copies, thereby becoming available for general application. For example,
¡Åbid¨n prefaces the prayer with a note explaining that his grandfather had received a direct instruction from Ibn ¡Arab¨ (through a
karåma or act of spiritual grace granted the two of them) to read it
twice daily, once following the morning (ßub¢) prayer and again after
the sunset one (maghrib). In the case of a specific matter of importance, Ibn ¡Arab¨ had instructed him to read it three times following
the afternoon prayer.15 ¡Åbid¨n also provides detailed instructions
concerning what must be recited before and after the prayer.16
From the ulama to the illiterate, conviction of the prayer’s potency
is widespread in Damascene sufi circles and among Ibn ¡Arab¨’s local
devotees, who attach themselves to his mosque.17 One such devotee
attributes this potency to the fact that the prayer encompasses many
Divine Names, another to its special quality as the summation of all
of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s teachings, indeed ‘the essence of his entire knowledge.’
Devotees believe that if the prayer is recited with right intention,
absolute certainty of its power and the aim of pleasing God while
repudiating the pull of this world, it can draw the reciter into the
Prophet’s presence (al-¢a‰ra al-Mu¢ammad¨ya): the Prophet then
appears to them ‘through Ibn ¡Arab¨’, especially in dreams. Drawing
on their personal experiences, some point out that whoever reads the
prayer with sincerity of heart and utter conviction while making a
specific plea will have their wish granted. They relate how they read


The Dawr Today

it with the intention of seeking help in relation to concrete problems, and are always confident of a positive response. For example,
one devotee tells how when he recites the prayer with this specific
request in mind, Ibn ¡Arab¨ appears to him in dreams and shows him
how to solve practical problems at work that require technical knowledge in which he has no training. Whenever he is guided to solve
a work problem in this way, he refuses payment for the job, for he
attributes his success in it to Ibn ¡Arab¨’s baraka or blessing, through
the prayer, rather than his own effort. He relates with gratitude how
he has developed a new career and improved his family’s material
circumstances through the help granted him in response to requests
mediated through the prayer.

The earliest printed versions of the prayer appeared in Istanbul during the late 19th century, in Gümü®hanevi’s Majm¬¡at al-a¢zåb18
and the Dalå¤il al-khayråt,19 for example. The first modern Turkish
transliteration of the prayer was published in 1998 by a publishing
company owned by a devotee of Ibn ¡Arab¨. This small booklet also
provides the Arabic text and a clarification of the prayer’s meanings
in Turkish.20 By 2004, more than thirty thousand copies had been
printed, distributed free throughout Turkey in response to internet
requests, via bookshops, in mail-shots, etc. It is reprinted every few
months to meet demand, and people of all kinds order and read it,
including many who are outwardly ‘çok-modern’.
While the prayer thus circulates openly in print, it is also still
transmitted through ijåza granting in ‘hidden’ sufi circles in Istanbul.
For example the Naqshbandi Shaykh Ahmed Yivlik (d.2001) granted
ijåzas to read the prayer to certain of his own disciples and to other
sufis in Istanbul.21 For some his instruction was to read it twice a
day, in certain cases following the Awråd; for others, on its own. His
own ijåza to read the prayer is connected to a line of Naqshbandi


The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom
During the late 1960s, a copy of the prayer was brought to London
by Bulent Rauf (d.1987), a western-educated descendant of the Ottoman elite. Rauf was the great-grandson of Ismail Pasha (d.1895),
khedive of Egypt from 1863 to 1879.23 Ismail’s daughter, Rauf’s maternal grandmother, was Princess Fatma Hanim (b.1850), who died
some time after the end of World War I.24 Fatma Hanim had commissioned a copy of the prayer to be made for her by the ‘Head Calligrapher’, apparently in AH 1341/1922–23 CE: it was bound in red
leather and embellished with gold. After she died, it came into her
grandson’s possession.
Rauf became the pivotal figure in a new religious movement that
emerged under the name ‘Beshara’ in the south of England during
the early 1970s. In response to the requests of young counterculture seekers interested in the spirituality of ‘the east’, he conveyed
the teaching of Ibn ¡Arab¨ as the basis of a monistic, experiential
and supra-religious spirituality. He designed courses in ‘esoteric
education’ aiming at self-knowledge, which were eventually offered
in dedicated schools established by the movement.25 Some of the
early students noticed Fatma Hanim’s beautiful copy of the Dawr
in Rauf’s possession, and his printed copy of the Awråd. They enquired whether these prayers could be made available in transliteration. Rauf agreed and assigned two students to the task, one of
whom could read Arabic. This student rendered the text into Hebrew transliteration (his native tongue), and from that into English
transliteration (they had no knowledge of a transliteration system
for Arabic). Rauf corrected and completed the text with diacritical
marks, and it was distributed to all involved in Beshara. He did not
give guidelines for its recitation, but emphasised its protective effect. This text was published in 1981 alongside the original by the
Muhyiddin Ibn ¡Arabi Society (MIAS), which had been established
during the mid-1970s by some of those involved in Beshara.26 The
inclusion of the phonetic English transliteration is specifically aimed


The Dawr Today

at the non-Arabic-speaking Beshara constituency (which today has
international extent) and others unable to read the Arabic original,
making it possible for them to recite the text.27 The MIAS website suggests how the prayer can be used for the purposes of protection: ‘this prayer…protects its recipient. In microfiche form, it is
frequently carried as an amulet or displayed in a significant place.’28
Many involved in Beshara wear the microfiche form in a silver encasement on a neck-chain: they also position it above the inside of a
main door at home. Sometimes a framed photocopy of the first page
of the prayer is displayed. Some read the prayer regularly, while others resort to it in times of difficulty or to ward off perceived evil.


Notes to Chapter 1

1. The modern period has witnessed the widening accessibility of sufi resources
beyond the initiated and prepared, a trend that has accelerated since the late 20th century. See for example Elizabeth Sirriyeh, Sufi Thought and its Reconstruction, in
Suha Taji-Farouki and Basheer M. Nafi, eds., Islamic Thought in the Twentieth Century
(London, 2004), pp. 123–124; Garbi Schmidt, Sufi Charisma on the Internet, in
David Westerlund, ed., Sufism in Europe and North America (London, 2004), pp. 109–
On the general impacts of print (and later mass education, literacy and new media)
on traditional notions of religious authority and on systems for learning and transmitting religious knowledge, see for example Francis Robinson, ‘Technology and
Religious Change: Islam and the Impact of Print’, Modern Asian Studies 27: 1 (1993),
pp. 229–251; Dale F. Eickelman, The Art of Memory: Islamic Education and its
Social Reproduction, in Juan I. Cole, ed., Comparing Muslim Societies: Knowledge and
the State in a World Civilization (Ann Arbor, MI, 1992), pp. 97–132; idem, Islamic
Religious Commentary and Lesson Circles: Is there a Copernican Revolution?, in
G. W. Most, ed., Commentaries {Kommentar} (Gottingen, 1999), pp. 121–146.
While our interest here is in the contemporary situation, it should be noted that
very few of the liturgical texts associated with the †ar¨qas remained confined to their
membership even in pre-modern times.
2. Padwick’s survey of ‘popular’ prayer manuals gathered from cities across the
Muslim world during the 1950s encompasses the Dawr, but she does not consider it
among their best-known contents. In addition to the examples below, it appears in the
popular prayer collection Manba¡ al-sa¡ådåt, p. 255, published in Beirut: see McGregor,
‘A Sufi Legacy in Tunis’, p. 275 n. 63. Our examples do not encompass the world of
Shi¡i Islam, but we would point out that the prayer appears to be less widely known
and used there than in Sunni contexts.
3. On the ßalawåt or taßliya, the practice of calling down prayers and blessings
upon the Prophet, see Annemarie Schimmel, And Muhammad is His Messenger: The
Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety (Chapel Hill, NC, 1985), pp. 92 ff; Padwick,
Muslim Devotions, pp. 152 ff.
4. Held at a time when families gather at home for lunch after the Friday prayer,
attendance at this majlis (established in 2001) is not substantial. During February
2003, the majlis was led by Mu¢ammad Am¨n ¡Åsh¬r, a disciple of the revered Shadhili
A¢mad al-±abbål al-Rif塨. Beginning immediately after the end of the kha†¨b’s lesson, it opened with the calling down of peace and blessings upon the Prophet. A
pamphlet was distributed: Íalawåt ¡alå al-nab¨ al-kar¨m sayyidinå ras¬l Allåh li’l-shaykh
A¢mad al-Dardayr¨ al-Khalwat¨. ¡Åsh¬r called for recitation of s¬rat al-Fåti¢a for the
soul of Ibn ¡Arab¨, and the assembly proceeded to recite the Dawr, printed in the
pamphlet’s last few pages, at considerable speed. On completing this, the majlis re-


The Dawr Today
cited s¬rat al-Fåti¢a, a ßalawåt by A¢mad al-Dardayr¨ al-Khalwat¨, al-Fåti¢a again,
and Man™¬mat asmå¤ Allåh al-¢usnå al-Dardayr¨ya. A substantial amount of text was
completed in forty minutes. ¡Åsh¬r recited al-Fåti¢a and asked those present to recite
it for the benefit of certain individuals in need. He then led the majlis in reading s¬rat
Yå S¨n. Thereafter, the tahl¨l (lå ilåha illå Allåh) was repeated. Two majlis ‘servants’
arrived with large bags of bread, which they began to distribute, marking the end
of the majlis. ¡Åsh¬r continued to call down peace and blessings upon the Prophet
followed by spontaneous supplication, in which he asked God to grant victory to the
Muslims over those who aggress against them, to heal the sick, to forgive those who
have transgressed, and to have mercy upon the dead. The congregation affirmed
his emotional prayers with ‘åm¨n’ at each pause. Reflecting the concerns of the hour,
he asked God to destroy enemy planes, to grant victory to the Palestinians, and to
protect Syria, using al-Fåti¢a as an adjuration throughout. He asked God to accept
the majlis through the standing of the prophets, their wives and mothers, and the
companions and saints, ‘especially those at whose doorsteps we sit – Shaykh Mu¢y¨
al-D¨n, and Shaykh al-Nåbulus¨ – through their baraka and karåmåt, achieved through
Allåh Himself.’ He asked God to compensate anyone who had spent towards the
majlis and requested donations for an unnamed person in difficult circumstances.
5. According to one of the mosque imams, this majlis – set apart from all others
by recitation of Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨’s Wird al-sa¢ar (known also as al-Fat¢ al-quds¨
wa’l-kashf al-uns¨), was established over seventy years ago by the Rifa¡i Håshim Ab¬
Êawq (1847–1962). According to Muhammad Muti¡ al-Hafiz and Nizar Abaza,
Ta¤r¨kh ¡ulamå¤ Dimashq f¨’l-qarn al-råbi ¡ ¡ashar al-hijr¨ (Damascus, 1986), 2, p. 769,
Ab¬ Êawq personally led recitation of Wird al-sa¢ar at the mosque every Saturday
before fajr for forty-five years. Some local sources hold that this majlis was instituted
by Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨ himself together with ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨, and suggest
that it has been held there continuously since. In 1960, Ab¬ Êawq handed responsibility for the majlis to Sal¨m al-¡Amm, who had committed himself to the mosque
in 1942.
Al-¡Amm opened a majlis during February 2003 with recitation of al-Fåti¢a,
Qur¤anic verses, supplication and the istighfår (forgiveness) formula. A booklet was
distributed: Majm¬¡ al-awråd al-kab¨r: yashtamil ¡alå al-ma¤th¬r ¡an al-a¤imma wa’laq†åb min al-ßalawåt ¡alå al-nab¨ wa’l-awråd wa’l-ad ¡ iya wa’l-adhkår wa’l-a¢zåb wa’listighfåråt. Al-¡Amm led the majlis in reciting with great beauty Wird al-sa¢ar, with its
repetitions of Divine Names and lyrical flourishes. At a transitional point, the majlis
‘servant’ distributed halva sandwiches. Al-¡Amm launched into spontaneous, at times
tearful, supplication. He called for peace upon the Prophet and his companions,
ulama, mu¢addith¬n, and all people of faith. Salams were addressed to the Prophet,
referring to the fact that the majlis was taking place in his presence, and to Mu߆afå
al-Bakr¨. After further supplication, recitation of al-Fåti¢a and the calling down of
blessings upon the prophet, he returned to the wird. Having completed it, he repeated
the tahl¨l alone, then followed each time by an emphatic ‘Lord have mercy on me!’ or
‘Lord forgive me!’ After further supplication, he led those gathered in reciting the


Notes to Chaper 1
Dawr al-a¡ lå at some speed. At its end, he emphasised to the majlis the importance of
reading the Dawr frequently, at least once a day. With this the majlis ended, as the
time for the dawn adhån approached.
6. For example, in 2003 it appeared in a small booklet: al-Dawr al-a¡ lå li-s¨d¨
sul†ån al-¡årif¨n wa ¡umdat al-mukåshif¨n wa zubdat al-wåßil¨n wa khåtimat al-awliyå¤
al-mu¢aqqiq¨n, al-shaykh al-akbar mawlånå Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n ibn al-¡Arab¨, ra‰iya Allåh
ta¡ålå ¡anhu wa ar‰åhu. It is prefaced by a hadith that stresses the potency of certain
Qur¤anic formulae when repeated, and followed by a poem in praise of Ibn ¡Arab¨ by
local poet A¢mad al-Zarr¬q (d.1955: on him see Hafiz and Abaza, Ta¤r¨kh ¡ulamå¤
Dimashq, 3, pp. 257–259), another hadith (underlining the importance of avoiding the
prohibited), the end of the Thursday morning prayer from the Awråd attributed to
Ibn ¡Arab¨ but without explicit identification of its origin, and finally a ßalawåt by
A¢mad al-Badaw¨.
7. For example, in the two pamphlets mentioned in notes 5–6 above, on pp. 185–
193 of Majm¬¡ al-awråd al-kab¨r. The pamphlet Íalawåt ¡alå al-nab¨ al-kar¨m sayyidinå
ras¬l Allåh li’l-shaykh A¢mad al-Dardayr¨ al-Khalwat¨ begins with an open permission
to read the ßalawåt of al-Dardayr¨ (tracing back his Khalwati initiation to Mu߆afå
al-Bakr¨ and then Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨). The ßalawåt is followed by s¬rat
Yå S¨n, the Dawr and additional ßalawåt. Pamphlets such as these two carry a statement that they are a waqf of the majlis.
8. Al-Awråd al-då¤ima ma¡a al-ßalawåt al-qå¤ima, collected and arranged by
Muhammad Abu’l-Yusr ¡Abidin, ed. shaykh Bashir al-Bari, former Mufti of Damascus, 4th edn. (Damascus, 1991), pp. 38–45. On ¡Abidin, see Hafiz and Abaza, Ta¤r¨kh
¡ulamå¤ Dimashq, 2, pp. 968–973. According to sources in Damascus who knew him,
he advised people to read some of Ibn ¡Arab¨’ writings daily, suggesting specifically
al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya.
9. Awråd usb¬¡¨ya li’l-shaykh al-¡årif Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨ (Istanbul and
Damascus, n.d.), pp. 60–66, published by Kitsan (Istanbul) and Dar al-Bayruti
(Damascus). On Kitsan and for further details concerning the genesis of this publication, see below.
10. For example, Ab¬ ¡Abdallåh Mu¢ammad b. Sulaymån al-Jaz¬l¨, Dalå¤il alkhayråt wa yal¨hi qaߨdat al-burda wa qaߨdat al-munfarija [wa bi-håmishihi majm¬¡at
al-awråd wa’l-a¢zåb wa’l-ad ¡ iya wa’l-istighåthåt], intro., Salah al-Din Abu’l-Jihad
Nakahmayy (Aleppo, 1420), on the margin of pp. 241–251: it is among a collection of
prayers independent of the Dalå¤il, added to the text when it was first printed.
11. Al-Ghurab, al-Êar¨q ilå Allåh, pp. 194–197. Although al-Ghuråb suggests that
this is a critical edition he does not indicate which or how many manuscripts he used
and gives very few variants. (He also presents a critical edition of the Awråd, for
which he again provides little detail on the manuscript base used. See pp. 173–193.)
Born in Tanta in 1922, al-Ghuråb settled in Damascus during the 1950s: on him
see further below. For a partial list of his publications, see Ahmad b. Muhammad
Ghunaym, al-¡Årif bi’llåh al-shaykh A¢mad al-Hår¬n: s¨ratuhu wa karåmåtuhu (Damascus, 1992), p. 67 n. 1.


The Dawr Today
12. Born in al-Salihiyya, Damascus in 1900, al-±år¬n worked for many years as
a stonemason. He acquired literacy skills late in life, and dedicated himself to studying and writing on the natural sciences and issues of faith. Widely circulating stories
of his karåmåt centre on his ability to cure the sick. He reportedly had a very close
relationship to Ibn ¡Arab¨ (his writings include a commentary on K. Må lå yu¡awwal
¡alayhi). Al-±år¬n’s relationships with his own disciples had no particular †ar¨qa
framework. On him see Ghunaym, al-¡Årif bi’llåh al-shaykh A¢mad al-±år¬n; Hafiz
and Abaza, Ta¤r¨kh ¡ulamå¤ Dimashq, 2, pp. 753–762; ¡Izzat Hasriya, al-shaykh Arslån
al-Dimashq¨ wa f¨hi lam¢a ¡an al-shaykh A¢mad al-±år¬n (n.p., 1965), pp. 163–180.
13. See al-Ghurab, al-Êar¨q ilå Allåh, p. 194. Al-Ghuråb first encountered al±år¬n in 1955 and remained with him until his death (interview with al-Ghuråb,
Damascus, 2003). For the details of their relationship and perceptions of al-Ghuråb
as al-±år¬n’s khal¨fa, see Suha Taji-Farouki, At the Resting-place of the Seal of Saints:
Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨ and his Mausoleum-Mosque Complex in Contemporary Damascus
14. Interview with Mu¢ammad Såmir al-Naßß (Damascus, 2004): al-Naßß is a
US-trained medical doctor, presently imam in Nafidh Mosque and fiqh teacher at
Ma¡had al-Fath. A recognised expert in the readings and recitation of the Qur¤an (he
teaches recitation at the Shaykh Muhyi’l-Din Mosque), he is author of al-Was¨la ilå
fahm ¢aq¨qat al-tawassul (Damascus, 2003) and Mafh¬m al-bid ¡a bayna al-‰¨q wa’l-sa¡a
(Damascus, 2002). On him see http://www.as-shifa.org.uk/ulum/shaykhsamir.htm
and http://www.ihyafoundation.com/index.php?page=scholars#samir. Note that alNawaw¨ composed a daily wird and K. al-Adhkår al-yawm¨ya wa’l-layl¨ya.
A separate example arises in the Shadhili Mu¢ammad al-Håshim¨ al-Jazå¤ir¨
{al-Tilimsån¨} (d.1961) granting an ijåza to read the prayer to the Rifa¡i Mu¢ammad
al-Durra, who granted it to his son, Ma¢m¬d Mu¢ammad al-Durra, presently imam
at the al-Talha wa’l-Zubayr Mosque in ¡Ayn Tarma on the outskirts of Damascus.
Al-Durra has been active in publishing Rifa¡i texts: for example, Mi ¡råj al-wu߬l ilå
¢a‰aråt al-ri‰å wa’l-qab¬l bi-tawajjuhåt sådåtinå al-såda anjål al-mar¢¬m al-sayyid Tåj
al-D¨n al-Íayyåd¨ (Damascus, 1418) (interview with al-Durra, Damascus, 2004). On
al-Håshim¨, see Hafiz and Abaza, Ta¤r¨kh ¡ulamå¤ Dimashq, 2, pp. 747–751.
15. Al-Awråd al-då¤ima ma¡a al-ßalawåt al-qå¤ima, p. 38.
16. Ibid., pp. 38–39; 45. The supplicant must first recite al-Fåti¢a with the basmala
four times, each with the same breath, then the first three verses of s¬rat al-An¡åm,
then a specific ßalawåt formula seven times, followed by a specific prologue to the
Dawr. After completing the Dawr, he must recite s¬rat al-Inshirå¢ three times followed by another ßalawåt, completing by reciting al-Fåti¢a for the Prophet and Ibn
¡Arab¨. Historical examples of such recommendations are detailed below.
17. This paragraph draws on interviews in Damascus in 2003–04.
18. Gümü®hanevi became attached to Abdülhamid II’s court and served his regime and pan-Islamic policies. On him see Alexander Knysh, Islamic Mysticism: A
Short History (Leiden, 2000), p. 228; Butrus Abu-Manneh, Shaykh Ahmed Ziya¤üddin
Gümü®hanevi and the Ziya¤i-Khalidi Sub-order, in Frederick de Jong, ed., Shia Islam,


Notes to Chapter 1
Sects and Sufism: Historical Dimensions, Religious Practice and Methodological Considerations (Utrecht, 1992), pp. 105–117.
19. For example: Re®id Efendi 1135 (AH 1288), Dü÷ümlü Baba 500 (AH 1285),
Nafiz Pa®a 762 (AH 1285), Hayri Abdullah Efendi 230 (AH 1302). In the first three
printings it is pp. 197–203, in the last one, pp. 193–199. In all cases, the text of the ±izb
of al-Nawaw¨ is on the margin of the Dawr, and it is followed by al-qaߨda al-munfarija.
In currency in Istanbul today is a facsimile reprint of Hayri Abdullah Efendi 230 as
Delåil-i-Hayrat: Salåvåt-i-Ùerifler (Istanbul, n.d.). Not all more recent editions of the
Dalå¤il printed in Istanbul incorporate the prayer. For example, it appears in Delåilü’lHayrat ve Ùevårikü’l Envår fi zikri’s-salåti ale’n-nebiyyi’l-muhtår: Delåilü’l-Hayrat ve
Tercümesi (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 288–301, but not in Delåil’ül Hayråt ve Ùevårik’ul Envår
(Istanbul, n.d.). Both are pocket versions. The version incorporating the prayer is
published (by Yasin Yayinevi) and sold within the orthodox Naqshbandi neighbourhood of Çar®amba in the Fatih district.
20. Ùeyh’ül Ekber Muhyidd¨n Ibn’ül Arab¨ (K. S.) Özel Dua’si “Hizb-ud’Devr’ul
A’lå”: Orjinali, Türkçe okunu®u ve Månåsi (Istanbul, n.d.). The translator is Kemal
Osmanbey, a Syrian of Turkish origin, his grandfather having been an official at the
court of Sultan Abdülaziz who was granted lands in Syria. Resident in Istanbul since
1988, Osmanbey brought a copy of the prayer from the Shaykh Muhyi’l-Din Mosque
for Remzi Göknar, owner of Kitsan publishers. They agreed that Osmanbey would
translate it (possibly with the help of Göknar’s wife Ùukran Göknar: see below) and
Kitsan would publish it. Osmanbey is a medical doctor who currently practises acupuncture. He is particularly interested in the spirit world: his publications include
Ruh Aleminde bir Seyahat (Istanbul, 1995) and ±aqå¤iq ¡an tanåsukh al-arwå¢ wa’l¢assa al-sådisa (Beirut, 2002). Kitsan, established by Göknar in 1980, specialises in
sufi books: its publications include a few Turkish translations of works attributed to
Ibn ¡Arab¨ such as Tuhfe’tüs Sefere and Mevaki’un Nücüm. On Kitsan, see http://www.
21. Yivlik, who worked as a civil servant, has been described by close disciples as
‘a spiritual son and lover of Ibn ¡Arab¨’. According to one disciple, he read continuously from the Fuß¬ß al-¢ikam and al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya and made frequent visits to
Ibn ¡Arab¨’s tomb in Damascus. While himself not a scholar, he has rendered at least
one sufi work into modern Turkish: Selim Divane, Miftah-u mü®kilåt’il-årif¨n ådåb-u
tar¨ki’l-våsil¨n, tr. from Ottoman by Ahmed Sadik Yivlik (Istanbul, 1998). Yivlik led
a circle of about twenty disciples in Istanbul reading translations of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s
works, including some non-Turks and illiterates. Göknar’s son and wife Ùukran were
among his close disciples, his wife having personally funded the joint Kitsan–Dar
al-Bayruti publication Awråd usb¬¡¨ya li’l-shaykh al-¡årif Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨ detailed above. One thousand copies were published, the majority distributed free in
Damascus in 2004, the remainder in Istanbul. Dar al-Bayruti has planned a reprint,
which Kitsan has stipulated must also be distributed free. The dedication in the
booklet points to the relationship between Ùukran Göknar, Yivlik and Ibn ¡Arab¨.
She writes: ‘To Ahmed Sadiq Yivlik, who made known to me the Shaykh al-Akbar’s


The Dawr Today
stature. May God sanctify his secret and cause him to live in His Spacious Gardens
with the Shaykh al-Akbar.’ Ùukran Göknar has herself published a few titles with
Kitsan, including Rüya Tabirleri. She intends to facilitate production of a Turkish version of the Awråd.
22. His shaykh ¡Ali Bahjat Efendi received it from the latter’s shaykh Hayrullah
Efendi, who received it from his shaykh Ali Bahjat Efendi Ekber. Thanks are due to
Mahmud Kiliç for this information.
23. A controversial figure in Egyptian history seen either as an extravagant incompetent or a far-sighted if unlucky modernizer, Ismail eventually became unpopular both at home and with the European powers, and was finally deposed by Sultan
Abdülhamid under European pressure. See M. E. Yapp, The Making of the Modern
Near East, 1792–1923 (London and New York, 1987), pp. 155–157; 214–215; Albert
Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798–1939 (Cambridge, 1989), passim. See
also Family Tree of Mehmet Ali Bulent Rauf, in Bulent Rauf, The Last Sultans, ed.
Meral Arim and Judy Kearns (Cheltenham, 1995).
24. See The Child across Time, in Bulent Rauf, Addresses II (Roxburgh, Scotland,
2001), p. 90. She was the sister of Mehmet Tevfik Pasha, who succeeded his father
Ismail as khedive, and of Ahmet Fuad I Pasha, who would become the first king of
Fatma Hanim appears to have had a special connection with the Celvetiyye, assuming responsibility with her daughter for restoring the mausoleum-mosque complex of the Celveti saint and effectively the first shaykh of the †ar¨qa Aziz Mahmud
Hüdayi (d.1628) in Üsküdar, Istanbul, after it was damaged in a thunderstorm in
1910. On this complex see Raymond Lifchez, The Lodges of Istanbul, in Lifchez, ed.,
The Dervish Lodge: Architecture, Art and Sufism in Ottoman Turkey (Berkeley, LA and
London, 1992), pp. 113–117. On her pivotal role in the renovation (which took place
some years after the damage was inflicted) and the gifts and donations she made, see
H. Kamil Yilmaz, Az¨z Mahm¬d Hüdåy¨: Hayati, Eserleri, Tar¨kati (Istanbul, 1999),
p. 262 and n. 20; Kemaleddin Ùenocak, Kutbu’l-årif¨n Seyyid Az¨z Mahm¬d Hüdåy¨
(K. S.) (Istanbul, 1970) p. 30 n. 2.
25. For a comprehensive study of the movement and associated figures see Suha
Taji-Farouki, Beshara and Ibn ¡Arab¨: A Movement of Sufi Spirituality in the Modern
World (forthcoming).
26. The ±izbu-l Wiqåyah of Muhyiddin Ibn ¡Arabi (MIAS, Oxford); reprinted 2003.
The Awråd were published first in 1979 as Muhyiddin Ibn ¡Arabi, Wird (MIAS,
Oxford); reprinted 1988.
27. See http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/Publications.html.
28. Ibid.


A Pr ayer across Time
Historical dimensions
Based on the manuscript collection in the Suleymaniye Library
(Istanbul), which holds over forty distinct copies, it is possible to
construct a picture of the transmission, presentation and use of the
Dawr during the last four hundred years.1 Around a half of these
copies are explicitly dated, or can be dated approximately based on
contextual information: the earliest dates from the late 11th /17th century, the greatest number from the 13th /19th century.2 The prayer
appears in a variety of settings. For example there are seven commentaries, four in Arabic and three in Ottoman Turkish, the earliest
probably from the late 12th /18th century.3 Beautiful individual copies
bound alone or with another short prayer and embellished with gold
were most likely produced at the request of important figures (like
that brought to London by Rauf).4 The Dawr sometimes appears as
the only prayer alongside several non-devotional works, of which
some may also be attributed to Ibn ¡Arab¨.5 It is found in compilations devoted exclusively to prayers and prayer-commentaries, including at times other prayers attributed to Ibn ¡Arab¨,6 and other
kinds of devotional text.7 It appears also in collections of prayers
and non-devotional tracts, the latter sometimes attributed to figures
associated with the school of Ibn ¡Arab¨.8 There are copies of the
prayer in personal notebooks that hold an intimate record of an individual’s favourite poetic verses, prayers, Qur¤anic verses and fragments from the works of various Islamic authorities, in addition to
spiritual reflections, supplications, talismans, numerological codes
and short devotional texts.9
The repeated copying of the prayer in diverse settings bears


A Prayer across Time

witness to its circulation and use over the last four hundred years.10
Pointing to its constituency of readers during the closing years of
Ottoman rule, the Suleymaniye copies have been drawn from collections gathered from tekkes and dergas associated with diverse
†ar¨qas (such as Ùazeli and Dü÷ümlü Baba), madrasas attached to
mosques, pashas’ collections and collections endowed by sultans.
The earlier copies provide some indication of the prayer’s users four
hundred years ago, but chains of transmission or authorities (sanad,
pl. asnåd)11 attached to seven copies make it possible to trace the history of its use and transmission beyond the date of our earliest copy
to the time of its author. These chains illuminate two aspects in
the prayer’s transmission. Vertically, they identify key figures in its
passage from generation to generation, while suggesting that it has
indeed been in continuous use in every generation since its author’s
day. Horizontally, the chains elucidate the circles within which the
prayer was disseminated, pointing to their geographical loci, †ar¨qa
affiliations and intellectual orientations and identifying figures who
served as a nexus between different circles within the larger network. We give below biographical information concerning figures
in six chains,12 arranged by century from the earliest to the most
recent. The treatment does not aspire to be exhaustive, but focuses
on significant historical figures.13 The chains themselves are presented as they appear in our sources in an Appendix. A diagram of
these chains is also provided below, using readily identifiable names
as elaborated in the biographical notes. After each name in these
notes, the chain(s) in which the figures concerned appear are identified by a capital letter, for ease of location in terms of sources (as set
out in the Appendix), and in the diagram (overleaf).
Any discussion of such chains must pay due attention to the cultural and social setting from which they emanate, with its associated
practices and priorities. With this in mind, they can be investigated
in terms of the plausibility of their individual links, encompassing
chronology and the circumstances of the ijåza implicit within and
underpinning each link.14 We attempt such an investigation below.
Finally, we consider how the picture that emerges from these chains


Historical dimensions

can illuminate important trends and tendencies in Islamic culture
and thought during specific historical periods.





Najm al-D¨n
¡Umar Ibn Fahd

Íaf¨ al-D¨n

Zayn al-D¨n b. ¡Abd
al-Qådir al-Êabar¨

¡Abd al-Qådir b. M b.
Ya¢yå al-Êabar¨

Ya¢yå b. Makram

A¢mad b. ¡Al¨

¡Al¨ al-Shinnåw¨

¡Abd al-Wahhåb


Jalål al-D¨n al-Suy¬†¨

Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil

Nåßir al-D¨n Mu¢ammad
b. ¡Al¨ al-±aråw¨

Sharaf al-D¨n al-Dimy冨

Sa¡d al-D¨n M
Ibn ¡Arab¨

Najm al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨

Badr al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨

Ibn ±ajar al¡Asqalån¨

Burhån al-D¨n

al-Qåsim Ibn ¡Asåkir

Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨

Ism塨l al-Jabart¨


¡Izz al-D¨n ¡Abd
al-¡Az¨z b. ¡Umar
Ibn Fahd

Ab¬’l-±asan ¡Al¨
b. ¡Umar al-Wån¨


¡Abdallåh alShinåwiz¨

Ra‰¨ al-D¨n al-Êabar¨


Ibn ¡Arab¨











Mu¢ammad b.
Sålim al-±ifnåw¨

Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨

Musawwid Zåde


Khayr al-D¨n

Kåmil Zåde alÊarabz¬n¨

¡Abd al-Ra¢mån

Fat¢ Allåh al-Mawßil¨

Khal¨l al-Baghdåd¨

¡Abdallåh Íidq¨

Am¨n b. M al-Jund¨

¡Al¨ Efendi

Ism塨l Ôdanjak¨

Ibråh¨m b. Ism塨l b. ¡Abd
al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨
Mu¢ammad al-Jund¨

¡Umar al-Båq¨

Kamål al-D¨n
b. Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨

Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨

¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨

Chains of Transmission of al-Dawr al-a¡ lå

al-Qåwuqj¨ (d. 1305)

Mu¢ammad Yås¨n

Êåhir b. M Sa¡¨d

Mu¢ammad Sa¡¨d

Ab¬’l-Êåhir al-K¬rån¨

Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨



A Prayer across Time

Transmitters of the prayer
7th century AH
Sa¡d al-D¨n Mu¢ammad b. Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n Ibn ¡Arab¨
{E} [d.656/1258]
The second son of Ibn ¡Arab¨; born in Malatya in AH 618. He left
an important diwan. A student of hadith, he visited Cairo and lived
in Aleppo.15
Ra‰¨ al-D¨n Ibråh¨m b. M b. Ibråh¨m b. Ab¬ Bakr b. M
al-Êabar¨ al-Makk¨ {D} [d.722/1322]
Also known as al-Ra‰¨ al-Êabar¨ and Ra‰¨ al-D¨n Ab¬ Is¢åq,
a Shafi¡i born in AH 636 who held the position of imam at the
Maqåm Ibråh¨m (‘Station of Abraham’) in Mecca.16 Son of a sharifian (Husayni) family respected far and wide for its learning and
one of the oldest of the established families in Mecca (Ra‰¨ al-D¨n’s
ancestor settled there c.570), well-connected and with top-ranking
positions of q剨 (judge), imam, mufti, kha†¨b (preacher) and teacher
passing from generation to generation. Writing in the 17th century,
the biographer al-Mu¢ibb¨ reported that from 673/1274 the family
had held the imamate of the Maqåm Ibråh¨m exclusively and continuously.17 Ra‰¨ al-D¨n studied under prominent figures and became
learned in the Shafi¡i madhhab (school of law). He was outstanding
in piety, humbleness and charitableness, and never left the Hijaz.18
The many examples listed by the biographer Ibn al-¡Iråq¨ suggest
that he was a significant figure in transmitting works to his contemporaries, including many visitors to Mecca.19
Ab¬ Mu¢ammad al-Qåsim b. Mu™affar b. Ma¢m¬d b. Tåj alUmanå¤ A¢mad Ibn ¡Asåkir {A}
A member of the Ban¬ ¡Asåkir clan, which held an important position
in Damascus during AH 470–660 and produced a dynasty of Shafi¡i


Transmitters of the prayer

scholars.20 He appears under the full name given here as having received an ijåza from Ibn ¡Arab¨ for the latter’s K. al-Mu’ashsharåt
al-maym¬na.21 According to Yahya, he also appears in a chain attached to al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya (where his name is given as Ab¬
Mu¢ammad al-Qåsim b. al-Mu™affar b. Mu¢ammad al-Êab¨b), for
which he also received an ijåza directly from the author.22 In a collection in his hand of works by Ibn ¡Arab¨ and Íadr al-D¨n Q¬naw¨,
al-Qåsim refers to the latter in terms suggesting he may have been
among Q¬naw¨’s disciples.23 Among those to whom he gave ijåzas is
Burhån al-D¨n al-Tan¬kh¨.24

8th century AH
Sharaf al-D¨n ¡Abd al-Mu¤min b. Khalaf al-Dimy冨
{E} [d.705/1306]
Born in AH 613, an Egyptian hadith scholar and one of the most
important figures in hadith transmission of the last third of the 7th
century AH. He is best known for his mu¡ jam shuy¬kh or dictionary of authorities. This gives the names of his shaykhs and those he
met and from whom he received works in many fields, providing a
record of hadith and other texts collected during numerous travels in
Egypt, the Hijaz, Iraq and Syria.25 His first visit to Syria was in 645.
He returned to the north of the country on either side of a visit to
Baghdad in 650, and between late 654 and late 656 he stayed several
times (or possibly settled continuously) in Damascus.26 The mu¡ jam
includes Mu¢ammad b. Mu¢ammad b. ¡Al¨ Ibn al-¡Arab¨ Sa¡d
al-D¨n al-Ê夨 al-Dimashq¨.27
al-N¬r/N¬r al-D¨n Ab¬’l-±asan ¡Al¨ b. ¡Umar b. Ab¬ Bakr
al-Wån¨ [al-Khil冨 al-ͬf¨] {F} [d.727/1327]
Born in c.635 or 637 and known as Ibn al-Íalå¢, he settled in Egypt.
Two chains attached to al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya give him transmitting from Ibn ¡Arab¨ and to Ism塨l al-Jabart¨.28 The silsila (chain
of transmission) of the khirqa akbar¨ya (akbarian mantle) as given


A Prayer across Time

by Mu¢ammad Murta‰å al-Zab¨d¨ also passes from Ibn ¡Arab¨ to
him and from him to Ism塨l al-Jabart¨.29 He appears in the ma¡åjim
shuy¬kh of certain of his contemporaries.30 He took works from various well-known authorities and was celebrated for his teaching and
transmission of hadith, in which he connected young to old during
his long life (he died aged 92).31
Nåßir al-D¨n Mu¢ammad b. ¡Al¨ b. Y¬suf b. Idr¨s al Kurd¨
al-±aråw¨32 {E} [d.781/1379]
Born in Dimyat, his date of birth is given as AH 696/7 (or 687 or
701).33 Through the agency of his maternal uncle ¡Imåd al-D¨n alDimy冨, he audited works from Sharaf al-D¨n ¡Abd al-Mu¤min
b. Khalaf al-Dimy冨 (who died when Nåßir al-D¨n was eight years
old).34 He also received ijåzas from other shaykhs in Cairo. He transmitted to hadith scholars, linked young to old through his long life,
and became unrivalled in this field. People sought him out to audit
works and acquire samå¡s (certificates of audition) from him (the
biographer Ibn al-¡Iråq¨ reports that he studied under him many
works received from al-Dimy冨 through ijåzas). He was a soldier
who served as one of the sultan’s axe-bearers (and was thus known
as al-Êabardår). He was well known for his piety, probity and love of
the good. He transmitted to Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil al-±alab¨.35

9th century AH
Burhån al-D¨n Ab¬ Is¢åq Ibråh¨m b. A¢mad b. ¡Abd al-Wå¢id
b. Sa¡¨d al-Tan¬kh¨ al-Ba¡l¨36 {A} [d.800/1398]
Known as al-Burhån al-Shåm¨, he was born in Damascus in AH
709 and grew up there, but later settled in Cairo (his family originated from Ba¡l [Ba¡albek]). He received ijåzas from over three
hundred (by some accounts nearly four hundred) authorities, including al-Qåsim Ibn ¡Asåkir. He studied hadith, fiqh or jurisprudence (in Hama, Aleppo and Cairo as well as other locations) and
Qur¤an readings/recitation, and was authorised to teach and issue


Transmitters of the prayer

legal opinions. A highly respected scholar, he became ‘shaykh of
Egypt’ both in hadith transmission and Qur¤an readings. Among
the many who studied under and transmitted works from him was
Ibn ±ajar al-¡Asqalån¨, who reports that he spent a long time in
close companionship with him (and experienced ‘the baraka of his
supplication’). Ibn ±ajar detailed hadiths narrated by those listed in
al-Tan¬kh¨’s mu¡ jam, and developed certain of al-Tan¬kh¨’s works
on hadith.37 The historian and biographer Shams al-D¨n al-Dhahab¨
(d.748/1352) also studied under al-Tan¬kh¨ and transmitted hadith
from him. When al-Tan¬kh¨ lost his sight, he became known as alBurhån al-Shåm¨ ‘the Blind’.38
Ism塨l al-Jabart¨ al-Zab¨d¨ {F} [d.806/1404]
Charismatic sufi shaykh and ardent follower of Ibn ¡Arab¨. Together
with his disciple ¡Abd al-Kar¨m al-J¨l¨ (d.832/1429), he disseminated the works of Ibn ¡Arab¨ in Zabid, giving rise to a sufi movement in Rasulid Yemen committed to his teachings and those of his
al-Jamål/Jamål al-D¨n [Ab¬’l-Ma¢åsin] Mu¢ammad b. Ibråh¨m
[b. A¢mad b. Ab¬ Bakr] al-Murshid¨ [al-Makk¨] {D}
Meccan hadith scholar who transmitted works in hadith to ¡Umar
Ibn Fahd al-Makk¨.40
Ibn ±ajar al-¡Asqalån¨ {A} [d.852/1448]
Prominent Egyptian hadith scholar (author of Fat¢ al-bår¨, the great
commentary on the Sa¢¨¢), biographer and Shafi¡i mufti; often regarded as the greatest ¡ålim (scholar) of his generation, he held the
position of Chief Judge of Egypt and Syria for a total of twenty-one
years.41 As noted above, he transmitted from al-Tan¬kh¨. In evaluating his attitude towards Ibn ¡Arab¨ Knysh describes him as an adversary and critic,42 but suggests at the same time that, in spite of
some biographers’ attempts to depict him as an implacable enemy,
Ibn ±ajar presented the widest possible spectrum of opinions on Ibn
¡Arab¨ and avoided any clear-cut judgement of heresy or unbelief.


A Prayer across Time

On this basis, he concludes that his position can be described as ‘agnostic’.43 Ibn ±ajar’s writings were for some time to come perhaps
the last to present a favourable view of Ibn Taym¨ya outside of strict
Hanbali circles (by the mid-14th century the salafi view of Islam as
articulated by Ibn Taym¨ya was largely eclipsed by the Ash¡ari–sufi
ulama establishment, which dominated the Sunni cultural milieu).44
Mu¢ammad Ab¬’l-Fat¢ b. Ab¬ Bakr [Zayn al-D¨n/al-Zayn]
al-Marågh¨ [Sharaf al-D¨n al-Qurash¨ al-Makk¨] {F} [d.859/1455]
Known as al-Marågh¨ al-ßagh¨r (‘the younger’), born in Medina in
AH 775, he was a faq¨h (jurist) and hadith scholar who left a number of works and appears in many chains of transmission. According
to one of them, he transmitted Ibn Arabi’s works and all that he
transmitted to Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨. He transmitted his fihris (bibliography) to ¡Umar b. Taq¨ al-D¨n Ibn Fahd.45 He died in Mecca and
has been described as a saint.46
Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil al-±alab¨ al-ͨraf¨ {E} [d.870/1466]
A highly important hadith transmitter (described as musnid aldunyå f¨ ¡aßrihi, ‘the most important hadith transmitter on earth in
his time’), as the last remaining person to have transmitted from
al-Fakhr Ibn al-Bukhår¨’s last living companion (al-Íalå¢ M b.
Ibråh¨m b. Ab¬ ¡Umar al-Maqdis¨ al-Íåli¢¨ al-±anbal¨), and thus
from al-Fakhr himself through a single intermediary.47 Those who
transmitted hadith from Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil during his long life
participated in the honour associated with his ‘high’ chain of authorities, flowing from his status as last link with a revered, bygone
generation. They included Mu¢ammad b.¡Abd al-Ra¢mån al-Sakhåw¨48 and Jalål al-D¨n al-Suy¬†¨, to whom Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil sent a written ijåza (from Aleppo to Egypt) in AH 869.49
Siråj al-D¨n/al-Siråj ¡Umar [Najm al-D¨n] b. Mu¢ammad [Taq¨
al-D¨n] Ibn Fahd al-Makk¨ {D} [d.885/1480]
Known also as Ab¬’l-Qåsim and Ab¬ ±afß, a sharifian (al-Håshim¨
al-¡Alaw¨) and a Shafi¡i, he was born c.812. His grandfather had


Transmitters of the prayer

taken his father Taq¨ al-D¨n (b.787 in Egypt) to settle in Mecca,
where he audited works and received ijåzas from many shaykhs, and
became a well-respected authority and prolific author.50 The family
produced a number of important transmitters, including ¡Umar.51
¡Umar detailed hadiths narrated by those listed in the mu¡ jam of
Ab¬’l-Fat¢ Mu¢ammad al-Marågh¨, among others.52 He transmitted to Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨ and al-Suy¬†¨, among others.53 He left a
number of bibliographies and lists of teachers (mashyakha) pertaining both to himself and to others, and various works, including important historical works focusing on Mecca: It¢åf al-warå bi-akhbår
Umm al-Qurå; al-Tays¨r bi-taråjim al-Êabar¨y¨n; al-Durr al-kam¨n bidhayl al-¡Iqd al-tham¨n (f¨ ta¤r¨kh al-balad al-am¨n).54

10th century AH
Jalål al-D¨n al-Suy¬†¨ {E} [d.911/1505]
Great Egyptian polymath, prolific author and ‘orthodox’ (Shadhili)
sufi who spearheaded an apology for sufism and its leading figures.
This encompassed a defence of the orthodoxy of Ibn ¡Arab¨ in, for
example, Tanb¨h al-ghab¨ bi-tabri’at Ibn ¡Arab¨, written as a refutation
of al-Biq塨’s Tanb¨h al-ghab¨ bi-takf¨r Ibn al-Fåri‰ wa Ibn ¡Arab¨.55
Those from whom he transmitted included Mu¢ammad b. Muqbil
[¡Izz al-D¨n] ¡Abd al-¡Az¨z b. ¡Umar Ibn Fahd al-Makk¨
{D} [d.921–22/1515–16]
A Shafi¡i known also as Ab¬’l-Khayr and Ab¬ Fåris, he was born in
Mecca in AH 850. He audited works from his father ¡Umar Ibn Fahd
al-Makk¨ and grandfather Taq¨ al-D¨n. His father acquired ijåzas
for him from various scholars including Ibn ±ajar al-¡Asqalån¨,57
and took him to audit works from al-Marågh¨ among others. He
then travelled widely through the Hijaz, Egypt, Syria and Palestine, gathering uncountable samå¡s and ijåzas. He read works with
Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨ and spent time with al-Sakhåw¨, among others.


A Prayer across Time

He distinguished himself particularly in hadith scholarship in the
Hijaz (he signed himself khådim al-¢ad¨th f¨’l-¢aram al-Makk¨, ‘the
servant of hadith in the Sacred Precinct of Mecca’).58 His mu¡ jam
shuy¬kh encompasses a thousand shaykhs.59 In addition to works on
hadith, he produced Nuzhat dhaw¨ al-a¢låm bi-akhbår al-khu†abå¤
wa’l-a¤imma wa qu‰åt balad Allåh al-¢aråm (‘The dreamer’s stroll
through the stories of preachers, imams and judges of God’s sacred land’). The historian Mu¢ammad Ibn ʬl¬n was among those
who transmitted from him,60 while those to whom he transmitted
included Ya¢yå b. Makram b. Mu¢ibb al-D¨n {Ab¬’l-Ma¡ål¨} b.
A¢mad al-Êabar¨.61
Zakar¨yå b. Mu¢ammad al-Anßår¨ {F/A} [d.926/1520]
Born in AH 823–24, a revered Egyptian sufi and Shafi¡i authority.
He studied, among others, under Ibn ±ajar al-¡Asqalån¨,62 and became associated with numerous †uruq (pl. of †ar¨qa). His renown in
the exoteric sciences (especially fiqh: he acted as Shafi¡i grand q剨
for twenty years and his commentaries on Shafi¡i law became part
of the madrasa curriculum) enabled him to protect his spiritual life
from external scrutiny. He shared this dimension only with his closest pupils, such as ¡Abd al-Wahhåb al-Sha¡rån¨, who regarded him
first and foremost as a saint and recorded his karåmåt.63 His many
works include some relating to taßawwuf (sufism), such as commentaries on the writings of al-Qushayr¨ and Shaykh Arslån.64 During
the controversy caused in Cairo by the anti-monistic campaign of
al-Biq塨 aimed at Ibn al-Fåri‰ and Ibn ¡Arab¨ (874/1469), the sultan
sought his expert opinion to put an end to the agitation caused by the
affair: he defended them.65 His many students included Badr al-D¨n
al-Ghazz¨,66 who received ijåzas in all of Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨’s works
when he studied under him during a visit to Cairo.67 According to
one chain, Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨ transmitted the works of Ibn ¡Arab¨
(and all that the latter transmitted) from Ab¬’l-Fat¢ al-Marågh¨.68


Transmitters of the prayer

¡Abd al-Wahhåb b. A¢mad al-Sha¡rån¨69 {F} [d.973/1565]
Egyptian scholar, Shafi¡i mufti, historian of sufism (through his
†abaqåt or biographical compilations, among them the immensely
popular al-Êabaqåt al-kubrå), sufi and apologist for sufis. He was a devoted student and defender of the orthodoxy of Ibn ¡Arab¨ (through,
among others, the ‘deliberate interpolation’ hypothesis),70 and popularised his teachings through the accessible and widely circulated alYawåq¨t wa’l-jawåhir, for example. The best known and most exalted
of his teachers was Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨, who initiated him into the
way in AH 914.71 His sufism has been described as ‘orthodox, middle-of-the-road’ (he identified with the orthodox way of al-Junayd
and attacked the excesses of some †ar¨qas).72 His stance as a sufi,
faq¨h73 and scholar of hadith was underpinned by reformist, even
salafi, tendencies.74
¡Al¨ b. ¡Abd al-Qudd¬s al-Shinnåw¨ {F}
Grandson of Mu¢ammad al-Shinnåw¨ (d.932), who was a popular
leader and A¢mad¨ shaykh (after the popular saint A¢mad {al-Sayyid}
al-Badaw¨ [d.675/1276]) who spread his dhikr (practice of remembrance of God) through the surrounding area from his zåwiya (sufi
centre) in Mahallat Ruh west of Cairo, authorising the masses (and
even women and children) to arrange dhikr sessions.75 Mu¢ammad
al-Shinnåw¨ had initiated ¡Abd al-Wahhåb al-Sha¡rån¨ into his
way and designated him to teach dhikr and to educate mur¨ds in AH
932.76 After Mu¢ammad’s death his sons, including ¡Abd al-Qudd¬s,
who became his successor, were hostile to the powerful disciple alSha¡rån¨, but he served them and asked ¡Abd al-Qudd¬s to guide
him as his shaykh. In the event, ¡Abd al-Qudd¬s became a disciple
of al-Sha¡rån¨, who initiated and guided him in the A¢mad¨ way.77
This relationship presumably also encompassed the son of ¡Abd alQudd¬s, ¡Al¨, father of Ab¬’l-Mawåhib A¢mad al-Shinnåw¨.
Mu¢ammad Badr al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨ {A/E} [d.984/1576]
His family migrated from Gaza to Damascus ten generations before
he was born in AH 904, and quickly became well established and


A Prayer across Time

respected there for its learning. His father Ra‰¨ al-D¨n reportedly
took Badr al-D¨n while a toddler to a shaykh who conferred upon
him the khirqa, taught him dhikr and gave him ijåzas.78 Early instruction received from his father was supplemented by instruction from
the ulama of Damascus (he studied hadith and taßawwuf in particular
under Badr al-D¨n ±asan Ibn al-Shuwaykh al-Maqdis¨). He accompanied his father to Cairo at the age of twelve, and stayed there for
five years, during which time he studied under various authorities,
particularly Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨. His father also acquired ijåzas for
him from Jalål al-D¨n al-Suy¬†¨ and introduced him to the saints
of Egypt. They returned to Damascus in 921.
Badr al-D¨n launched a long career in Damascus as a teacher (including in the Umayyad Mosque) and Shafi¡i mufti. He produced
many works, assumed several positions and drew students from far
and wide, among them the great-grandfather of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ alNåbulus¨, Ism塨l (d.993).79 He loved the sufis and was at pains to advise them if he heard they had acted in a way contrary to the shari¡a.
A respected and prominent figure, he was the father of Najm al-D¨n

11th century AH
Ab¬’l-Mawåhib A¢mad b. ¡Al¨ b. ¡Abd al-Qudd¬s al-Shinnåw¨
{F} [d.1028/1619]
Also known as al-Khåm¨ and hailing from the important Egyptian
sufi al-Shinnåw¨ family, he was born in 975/1568 in Mahallat Ruh
west of Cairo and studied in Cairo and Medina, where he settled.80 A
prominent sufi, he became the leading shaykh of the Naqshbandiyya
in Medina in his time. The order was introduced to Medina (with
the Shattariyya) by the Indian Shaykh Íibghatallåh b. R¬¢allåh alSind¨ (al-Barwaj¨), who settled there in 1596 or 1605: he initiated alShinnåw¨, became his teacher, and authorised him to educate mur¨ds,
teach the dhikr and confer the khirqa.81 While he studied hadith with
its major scholars, al-Shinnåw¨ does not appear to have been regarded


Transmitters of the prayer

as a hadith scholar himself.82 Nonetheless, he emerged as a dominant
figure in the intellectual milieu of the Haramayn, where he was an
outspoken adherent of the doctrine of wa¢dat al-wuj¬d (the Oneness
of Being). His many students included Íaf¨ al-D¨n al-Qushåsh¨ (who
venerated his teacher as the saintly ‘Seal of his time’). Brockelmann
lists five of al-Shinnåw¨’s works, including al-Iql¨d al-far¨d f¨ tajr¨d altaw¢¨d, on which al-Nåbulus¨ later wrote a commentary.83
¡Abd al-Qådir b. Mu¢ammad b. Ya¢yå al-±usayn¨ al-Êabar¨
al-Makk¨ al-Shåfi¡¨ {D} [d.1033/1624]
Grandson of Ya¢yå b. Makram b. Mu¢ibb al-D¨n al-Êabar¨ {D},
member of important sharifian family long established in Mecca
and holders of the imamate of the Maqåm Ibråh¨m since AH 673.
Born in 976, by the age of twelve ¡Abd al-Qådir had memorised the
Qur¤an and led Ramadan night prayers at the Maqåm. From 991, he
studied with prominent shaykhs (including, for example, al-Shams
Mu¢ammad al-Raml¨ al-Mißr¨ al-Shåfi¡¨ and ¡Abd al-Ra¢mån alSharb¨n¨), having received an ijåza from some of them to pass on the
works he had already memorised. After encompassing a broad range
of disciplines and works, he composed numerous texts, including, for
example, Durrat al-aßdåf al-san¨ya f¨ dharwat al-awßåf al-±usayn¨ya,
¡Uy¬n al-maså¤il min a¡yån al-raså¤il, If¢åm al-majår¨ f¨ ifhåm alBukhår¨ and ¡Arå¤is al-abkår wa gharå¤is al-afkår. The biographer alMu¢ibb¨ describes him as ‘the imam of Hijazi imams’.84
Najm al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨ {A/E} [d.1061/1651]
Born in 977/1570, he attended the public lessons of his father Badr
al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨ and received ijåzas from him while still a child
(Badr al-D¨n died when Najm al-D¨n was seven years old). He
studied under and received ijåzas from various scholars,85 then held
office and taught from a young age in several locations, continuing
thus throughout his long life. He was Shafi¡i mufti in Damascus
for thirty-five years up to his death (from 1025). He also taught hadith and read al-Bukhår¨ in the Umayyad Mosque for twenty-seven
years (from 1034).86 Among his numerous and well-known students


A Prayer across Time

was Ism塨l, the father of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨ (d.1062).87
He was also an early teacher and shaykh of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ alNåbulus¨ 88 himself and of Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨.89 His numerous writings encompass works on hadith, tafs¨r (exegesis), fiqh, taßawwuf and
travelogues. As a historian, he is author of the biographical work alKawåkib al-så¤ira bi-a¡yån al-mi¤a al-¡åshira, and its continuation Lu†f
al-samar wa qa†f al-thamar: min taråjim a¡yån al-†abaqa al-¬lå min alqarn al-¢åd¨ ¡ashar. His reputation and particularly his expertise in
hadith90 became known beyond Syria, especially in the Hijaz. He
made twelve trips to the Haramayn: during the last one (1059), he was
inundated with requests for ijåzas, including from scholars such as alShams Mu¢ammad al-Båbil¨, who expressed their admiration for his
exceptional knowledge.91 As far as his †ar¨qa affiliations are concerned,
the primary one was to the Qadiriyya. Some of his contemporaries
described him as one of the three abdål (category of saints) in Syria.92
Íaf¨ al-D¨n A¢mad b. Mu¢ammad b. Y¬nus al-Qushåsh¨
{B/C/D/F} [d.1071/1661]
Hailing from a Jerusalem family with sharifian descent, his father
(whose shaykh was the Maliki Mu¢ammad b. ¡Ôså al-Tilimsån¨) migrated to Medina. Íaf¨ al-D¨n’s early education was under his father’s
wing, and included a trip to Yemen in AH 1011, where he joined circles of prominent ulama. Returning to Medina after a stay in Mecca,
he met Ab¬’l-Mawåhib al-Shinnåw¨, who initiated him into the
sufi way. He studied under al-Shinnåw¨, Íibghatallåh and numerous
other shaykhs (perhaps as many as one hundred), becoming affiliated
to many †ar¨qas including the Qadiriyya, Shattariyya, Shadhiliyya
and Naqshbandiyya. He developed a close attachment to al-Shinnåw¨, married his daughter, and became his khalifa (deputy) in life
and later his successor as shaykh in the Shattariyya. A charismatic
figure, he attracted a large influx of students and disciples in Medina
and became established as one of the greatest sufis of his time, as
well as a teacher of theology and shari¡a in his own right.93 Ibråh¨m
al-K¬rån¨ was the most prominent of his students (and al-Qushåsh¨ was al-K¬rån¨’s major and most influential teacher): another was


Transmitters of the prayer

¡Abdallåh b. Sålim al-Baßr¨ (d.1134).94 He has been counted as one
of four influential ulama who would shape the Medinan intellectual
milieu of the late 17th century. Thanks to his charisma and learning,
al-Qushåsh¨ left behind a cohesive group of followers loyal to his approach and cutting across fiqh madhhabs and sufi †ar¨qas.95
Al-Qushåsh¨ was described by the biographer al-Mu¢ibb¨ as ‘the
imam of all those who believed in wa¢dat al-wuj¬d’.96 His importance in transmitting the doctrines of the school of Ibn ¡Arab¨ to
various parts of the Muslim world through his students has been
emphasised: for example, the Sumatran ¡Abd al-Ra¤¬f Singkel was a
student of his for twenty years.97 Al-Qushåsh¨ has been identified as
a link in one of the still ‘living’ chains of transmission of the khirqa
akbar¨ya. He reportedly claimed the office of Seal of Muhammadan
Sainthood for himself, attaining this after having studied under five
Al-Qushåsh¨’s interest in theology has been recognised: while the
majority of his writings were glosses or commentaries on major sufi
tracts (such as al-J¨l¨’s al-Insån al-kåmil) as well as works on u߬l (the
principles of the faith), he thus also compiled three treatises on the
issue of kasb (acquisition), a principal concept of Asha¡ri doctrine, at
least one of which invited some controversy. He was also involved in
hadith scholarship, encompassing sufi interpretations of hadith99 and
an approach that adumbrated emerging trends that became more distinct in the next generation.100 On this and other grounds, a possible
(embryonic) reformist tendency can be identified alongside his mystical vocation and commitment to maintaining sufi traditions.101
Zayn al-¡Åbid¨n b. ¡Abd al-Qådir al-Êabar¨ al-±usayn¨ al-Makk¨
al-Shåfi¡¨ {D} [d.1078/1667]
Born in AH 1002, he studied under his father ¡Abd al-Qådir b.
Mu¢ammad b. Ya¢yå al-±usayn¨ al-Êabar¨ and the prominent
shaykhs of Mecca and Medina such as ¡Abd al-Wå¢id al-±ißår¨ alMu¡ammar, receiving ijåzas from them. Among others, Mu¢ammad
al-Shill¨ Bå¡alaw¨ and al-±asan b. ¡Al¨ al-¡Ujaym¨ al-Makk¨ received
ijåzas from him. He was not as celebrated as his father.102


A Prayer across Time

12th century AH
Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨ {B/C/D/F} [d.1101/1689]
The most outstanding of A¢mad al-Qushåsh¨’s disciples, he shared
a special relationship with his teacher, and became his son-in-law and
designated heir.103 Born in 1023/1615, al-K¬rån¨ studied a wide range
of subjects under many teachers in his native Shahrazur and then in
Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo and Medina, where he finally settled.104
He was initiated into and authorised to teach several †ar¨qas including the Shattariyya, Qadiriyya, Chishtiyya and his primary †ar¨qa,
the Naqshbandiyya. On al-Qushåsh¨’s death in 1661 he succeeded
him as supreme shaykh of the Shattariyya as well as in his major
teaching post,105 and as ‘the chief exponent of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s legacy in
A Shafi¡i ¡ålim, al-K¬rån¨’s importance to the intellectual life of
Medina in his time is such that he has been described as ‘the doyen
of the city’s ulama’.107 His influence reached far beyond Medina,
however, as the ‘undisputed leader’ of the school of Ibn ¡Arab¨ in his
epoch.108 For example, his influence on Indonesian Islam has been
documented, mediated through his important Indonesian disciples
like ¡Abd al-Ra¤¬f Singkel.109 One of al-K¬rån¨’s works on the principle of wa¢dat al-wuj¬d, It¢åf al-dhak¨, was written at the request of
Indonesian disciples, and another (refuting an earlier denunciation
of the principle as heretical pantheism by Nuruddin Raniri [d.1666]
of Acheh) was produced for an Indonesian audience.110 Leading
Indian ulama requested a fatwa from him (among the prestigious
ulama of the Hijaz) in 1682 on the ideas of A¢mad Sirhind¨ (d.1624),
founder of the Mujaddidiyya branch of the Naqshbandiyya, whom
they opposed.111
A versatile and prolific author, al-K¬rån¨’s interests encompassed
hadith, fiqh and kalåm (theology) alongside taßawwuf. His emphasis on hadith as a source for understanding and defining aspects of
religion and for shari¡a (and thus his role in the rising 17th–18th century interest in hadith scholarship as a means for reforming fiqh and


Transmitters of the prayer

theology) was such that, after his death, there was a remarkable increase among his Medinan students and junior colleagues in writing
commentaries on hadith collections.112 Described as having been ‘by
nature a conciliator’,113 his complex intellectual position reconciled
his loyalty to Ibn ¡Arab¨’s teaching with commitment to a salafi outlook. He thus reinterpreted the doctrine of wa¢dat al-wuj¬d in accordance with the orthodox Islamic view by emphasising the Qur¤an
and Sunna as the ultimate frame of reference and insisting on the
interdependency of the sufi vision and the obligations of shari¡a ‘in
accordance with al-salaf al-ßåli¢ (the venerable forefathers)’. It seems
he undertook to revisit the major issues of sufism and theology with
a view to reconstructing their dominant modes (expressed through
wa¢dat al-wuj¬d and late Ash¡ari dogma), in order to bring them into
line with what he saw as the original Islamic view, drawing on the
legacy of Ibn ±anbal and Ibn Taym¨ya (and the latter’s student Ibn
Qayyim al-Jawz¨ya) in projecting his vision of this original view.114
On this basis, he stands as a significant precursor to the reformist
currents that were to gain powerful expression across the Muslim
world during the 18th century. Effectively replacing al-Qushåsh¨’s
authority, he served as an important point of reference for a large
number of ulama throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, contributing to the rehabilitation of Ibn Taym¨ya and to opening the
door for the re-emergence of the salafi school of thought in different
parts of the Muslim world.115
Mu¢ammad al-Budayr¨ al-Dimy冨 {B} [d.1140/1728]
Known as Ibn al-Mayyit, he hailed from a sharifian family whose ancestor came to Dimyat from Jerusalem. After his early education in
Dimyat, he moved to al-Azhar. During 1091–92 (1680–81) he joined
Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨ for a year, became closely identified with him
and studied under him works on taßawwuf, hadith and fiqh. While
he regarded himself principally as a Naqshbandi (he later shifted
this affiliation to a Sirhind¨ silsila specifically), he had affiliations
to several †ar¨qas. He travelled between Dimyat, Cairo, Medina
and Jerusalem, and became acquainted in each place with the most


A Prayer across Time

illustrious circles of ulama of the time. In Cairo he was closely associated with the Bakr¨s, and in Damascus with the circles of ¡Abd alGhan¨ al-Nåbulus¨ and his disciples.116 He was highly regarded as
a hadith scholar and sufi teacher. Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨ studied hadith
with him in Jerusalem and was initiated into the Naqshbandiyya by
him. Al-Budayr¨ was also the main teacher of Mu¢ammad b. Sålim
¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨ {A/E} [d.1143/1731]
Damascene sufi, hadith scholar,118 traveller and poet. His prolific
writings are underpinned by veneration of Ibn ¡Arab¨ and defence
of his metaphysical system, and dominated by the concept of wa¢dat
al-wuj¬d: he considered himself Ibn ¡Arab¨’s spiritual son and disciple, and was his devotee and interpreter. He taught at the Umayyad
Mosque and the Salimiyya madrasa at Ibn ¡Arab¨’s mosque–tomb
complex (from AH 1115), but his self-appointed role was as defender
of sufism and its controversial practices and doctrines. His stance
provoked serious criticism and attack, especially because he taught
the works of Ibn ¡Arab¨ to common folk as well as to the elite.119 Affiliated to the Qadiri and Naqshbandi †ar¨qas, he seems to have had
limited participation and interest in †ar¨qa sufism, and to have set
more store by his own uwaysi or ‘Theo-didactic’ sufism, including
especially his link to Ibn ¡Arab¨ as uwaysi master (although he himself had close disciples, this was not in a †ar¨qa framework).120
By the age of twelve, ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ had already received ijåzas
(including in Ibn ¡Arab¨’s works) in the company of his father Ism塨l
from Najm al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨ among other high-ranking ulama such
as ¡Abd al-Båq¨ Taq¨ al-D¨n b. Mawåhib al-±anbal¨ (the Hanbali
mufti of Damascus). His father, who was his first teacher and who
died when he was twelve, appears as the prior link in several of ¡Abd
al-Ghan¨’s ijåzas in hadith collections and the writings of Ibn ¡Arab¨:
he had in fact been given the ijåzas of his father en masse as a child.121
It is noteworthy that one of his last compositions was a commentary
on the ßalawåt of Ibn ¡Arab¨.122


Transmitters of the prayer

Êåhir b. Ibråh¨m b. ±asan al-K¬rån¨ [Mu¢ammad Ab¬’l-Êåhir]
{D} [d.1145/1733]
Born in Medina in 1081, he studied with his father Ibråh¨m alK¬rån¨ and other great shaykhs, including his father’s colleagues
and associates like al-±asan b. ¡Al¨ al-¡Ujaym¨ al-Makk¨ and ¡Abdallåh b. Sålim al-Baßr¨.123 He took his father’s position as a teacher in
the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and rose to assume the position of
Shafi¡i mufti in the city for a time. On his father’s death he succeeded
him as supreme shaykh of the Shattariyya (but the leading position
of the ulama of Medina fell to one of Ibråh¨m’s students). His works
include Ikhtißår shar¢ shawåhid al-Ri‰å al-Baghdåd¨.124 The students
who attended his many lessons (through which his father’s teachings
continued to be disseminated) included the Indian hadith scholar
Mu¢ammad ±ayåt al-Sind¨ (d.1163/1749),125 who taught hadith in
Medina for twenty-five years to numerous students, among them
Mu¢ammad b. ¡Abd al-Wahhåb. They included also the great Indian
Naqshbandi reformist Shåh Wal¨ Allåh (d.1177/1763). The latter’s
stay in Medina during 1731–32 in Êåhir’s circle had a lasting impact
on his intellectual orientations: according to Shåh Wal¨ Allåh’s son,
it amounted to a turning point in his career.126 Al-Kattani observes that
his own transmission from Êåhir proceeds via Mu¢ammad Sa¡¨d
Sunbul, among others.127
Mu߆afå Kamål al-D¨n al-Bakr¨ {A/B/C} [d.1162/1749]
Born in Damascus and reputed to have revived the Khalwati †ar¨qa
in the Arab mashriq (east) of the 18th century. He was the most celebrated and important disciple of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨: he
read several of Ibn ¡Arab¨’s works under him during his sojourns in
Damascus and his own writings were to be profoundly influenced
by Ibn ¡Arab¨’s thought. He studied hadith under Mu¢ammad alBudayr¨ al-Dimy冨 in Jerusalem and under ¡Abdallåh b. Sålim alBaßr¨: he was also a student of al-K¬rån¨’s son Ilyås (d.1138), who had
moved to Damascus.128 He was initiated into the Naqshbandiyya,
Qadiriyya and Khalwatiyya, in the latter case by a shaykh who followed the way of the Qarabashiyya branch. Al-Bakr¨ became his sole


A Prayer across Time

successor on the shaykh’s death in 1121/1709, having earlier been
granted a general permission to initiate and appoint khal¨fas. He
went on to gain many disciples especially in Cairo and Jerusalem:
his most important khal¨fa was Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨.
Al-Bakr¨ was a prolific writer (mainly on sul¬k and adab, the sufi
path, its culture and manners, but he also composed awråd {pl. of
wird}, of which the best known is Wird al-sa¢ar). Like his teacher
al-Nåbulus¨ (on whom he wrote a reverential biography, and from
whom he records that he received a general ijåza for all his lines of
transmission and a specific one for his writings), he laid claim to a
direct relation to Ibn ¡Arab¨, and direct authorisation by him. Like
him, he too made several extensive journeys, moving especially between Jerusalem and Cairo, where he died.129
Mu¢ammad Sa¡¨d (b. Mu¢ammad) Sunbul [al-Makk¨]
{D} [d.1175/1762]
Prominent Meccan scholar and Shafi¡i mufti: he transmitted
from Êåhir b. Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨ among others, and to his son
Mu¢ammad Êåhir Sunbul, among others.130
Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨/al-±ifn¨131 {B/C} [d.1181/1767]
An important disciple and associate of Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨ involved in
renewing activity of the Khalwatiyya in Egypt. He was born in AH
1100 in Hifna, a village in the Bilbis district of Egypt, and studied
from a young age in Cairo. On receiving ijåzas from his teachers there
(the best known including Mu¢ammad al-Budayr¨ al-Dimy冨,
through whom he received his Naqshbandi affiliation), in 1122 he
established lessons in logic, fiqh, u߬l, hadith and kalåm attended by
many students. He produced many works and became known for
his karåmåt. He had been introduced to the sufi way by a certain
A¢mad al-Shådhil¨ al-Maghrib¨ (known as al-Maqqar¨): he then met
Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨ in 1133, who initiated him into the QarabashiyyaKhalwatiyya and trained him in its path. Al-Bakr¨ eventually placed
him above all his khal¨fas, and he became the only one he had invested with absolute authority who also survived him. Al-±ifnåw¨


Transmitters of the prayer

is reputed to have succeeded in reviving the †ar¨qa across Egypt,
attracting large numbers of people and introducing it to the community of ulama at al-Azhar. Among his important khal¨fas/disciples
were Ma¢m¬d al-Kurd¨, ¡Abdallåh al-Sharqåw¨ (Shaykh al-Azhar)
and A¢mad al-Dardayr, who is perhaps the best known.132
Mu¢ammad al-Tåfilåt¨ al-Khalwat¨ {B} [d.1191/1777]
Brockelmann gives his full name as Mu¢ammad b. Mu¢ammad b.
al-Êayyib al-Tåfilåt¨ al-Maghrib¨,133 al-Muråd¨ as Mu¢ammad b.
Mu¢ammad al-Êayyib al-Målik¨ al-±anaf¨ al-Tåfilåt¨ al-Maghrib¨.134
The narrative here is based on al-Muråd¨’s biographical entry.135
Born in Morocco, al-Tåfilåt¨ first studied under his father, a man
of moderate learning. Before reaching puberty he taught students
al-San¬s¨ya, which he had studied under Shaykh Mu¢ammad alSa¡d¨ al-Jazå¤ir¨. He travelled to Tripoli and from there to al-Azhar
in Cairo. He remained in Egypt for two years and eight months
and studied under Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨, among many
others. While travelling by sea to visit his mother he was captured and taken to Malta, where he was held for over two years.
He engaged there in a lengthy debate on matters of Muslim belief
with Christian monks, among them one with some knowledge of
Arabic. This monk eventually gave up the debate defeated, astonished that such knowledge could be held by someone young enough
to be his grandson. Mu¢ammad’s renown spread in Malta among
monks and notables, and he was treated respectfully wherever he
went. A vision he had eventually sealed his release and he made for
Egypt, travelling from there to the Hijaz several times. He went
to Yemen, Oman, Basra, Aleppo, Damascus and Anatolia (al-R¬m)
and settled in Jerusalem, where he was appointed Hanafi mufti. His
works number some eighty: in addition to his commentary on the
prayer (al-Durr al-aghlå bi-shar¢ al-Dawr al-a¡ lå),136 Brockelmann
mentions his ±usn al-istiqßå¤ bi-må ßa¢¢a wa thabata f¨’l-masjid alaqßå.137 Al-Tåfilåt¨ appears in the chains of authorities of various later
Damascene scholars.138


A Prayer across Time

Ma¢m¬d al-Kurd¨ {C} [d.1195/1780–81]
A khal¨fa of Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨ and known also as
al-Khalwat¨, he was born in Kurdistan. He adopted a life of pious
devotion, asceticism and isolation early on, and is reputed to have
met frequently with Khi‰r and to have received the contents of alGhazål¨’s I¢yå¤ ¡ul¬m al-d¨n without reading. When aged eighteen
he saw al-±ifnåw¨ in a dream, and was told that this was his shaykh.
He travelled to Egypt to find him, was initiated by him into the
Khalwati way and eventually granted an ijåza to bring people into
it: al-±ifnåw¨ would send those who wished to enter the way to
him. He also developed a close relationship with Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨,
whom he had met when the latter came to Cairo. He was celebrated
for his baraka and the fact that he frequently saw the Prophet in
dreams. After al-±ifnåw¨’s death al-Kurd¨ reportedly brought many
people into the way and appointed khal¨fas himself. He produced a
treatise as the result of a dream in which he saw Ibn ¡Arab¨ give him
a key and tell him to ‘open the vault’ (there is a commentary by his
khal¨fa and Shaykh al-Azhar ¡Abdallåh al-Sharqåw¨ on this). He is
also author of al-Sul¬k li-abnå¤ al-mul¬k.139
Mu¢ammad Kamål al-D¨n al-Bakr¨, Ab¬’l-Fut¬¢
{A} [d.1196/1781–82]
Born in Jerusalem in 1143/1731, he was shaykh to the historian alMuråd¨ (author of the biographical work Silk al-durar).140 Among
others, he studied under Mu¢ammad b. Sålim al-±ifnåw¨ and
Mu¢ammad, a third son of Ibråh¨m al-K¬rån¨. He took the Khalwati †ar¨qa from his father Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨. His works include
a biography of his father, Kashf al-™un¬n f¨ asmå¤ al-shur¬¢ wa’lmut¬n, a commentary on al-Íalåt al-Mash¨sh¨ya and a diwan.141
Mu¢ammad b. Ma¢m¬d b. ¡Al¨ al-Dåm¬n¨ {C} [d. after 1199/1785]
In full Mu¢ammad b. Ma¢m¬d b. ¡Al¨ al-Dåm¬n¨ al-Shåfi¡¨ alKhalwat¨ al-Naqshband¨ al-Jalwat¨, from al-Damun, Palestine: author in 1199/1785 of ±ikam.142 He entitled his commentary on the
prayer al-Durr al-tham¨n li-shar¢ Dawr al-a¡ lå li-s¨d¨ Mu¢y¨ al-D¨n.


Transmitters of the prayer

He describes how he was asked by his close and saintly companion
±usayn al-±ißn¨143 to elaborate for him the contents of the prayer.
Having consulted and sought a guiding sign, he spent a few days
in the hope of receiving divine permission to proceed, seeking this
through the mediation of Ibn ¡Arab¨, who might reveal the prayer’s
secrets to him as its author. Once permission was received, he began.
Al-Dåm¬n¨ mentions Ibn ¡Arab¨ first among his teachers ‘whose insight is elixir’. Having detailed his chain of authorities, he adds that
he has ‘another, more elevated, chain – for it is from me to [Ibn
¡Arab¨]: it was he who gave me to drink of his pure wine, quenching my thirst in the world of similitudes, then guided me to him.
It was he who brought me to live in Damascus, and gave me permission to guide elite and common folk alike. Thanks be to God
for these momentous blessings, and for the greatest blessing of all:
my attachment (intisåb¨) to this imam.’144 His father Ma¢m¬d b. ¡Al¨
al-Dåm¬n¨ authored a defence of al-Nåbulus¨, al-Shihåb al-qabas¨ f¨
radd man radda ¡alå ¡Abd al-Ghan¨.145

13th century AH
Ibråh¨m b. Ism塨l b. ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨
{E} [d.1222/1807]
Ibråh¨m’s father Ism塨l (b.1085) was the only one of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨’s
sons to survive him. Born in AH 1138, Ibråh¨m became an outstanding ¡ålim of his time.146 A prominent member of Damascene society,
he inherited his father’s teaching post at the Salimiyya mosque,147
and became shaykh qurrå¤ (leading Qur¤an reciter).148 The confluence of several chains of transmission relating to al-Fut¬¢åt alMakk¨ya through him is noteworthy.149
Mu¢ammad al-Jund¨ al-¡Abbås¨ al-Ma¡arr¨ {A} [d.1264/1848]
He served as Hanafi mufti in his place of origin, Ma¡arrat Nu¡man,
Syria. Initially a follower of Shaykh Khålid al-Naqshband¨, who was
responsible for spreading the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya widely


A Prayer across Time

among Arabs, Kurds and Turks during the early 19th century, it is
most likely that al-Jund¨ did not maintain contact with his successors
after Shaykh Khålid’s death in 1242/1827.150
Mu¢ammad Am¨n al-Jund¨ al-¡Abbås¨ al-Ma¡arr¨
{A} [d.1285/1868]
Born in Ma¡arrat Nu¡man, Syria in AH 1229, he was educated by his
father Mu¢ammad al-Jund¨,151 from whom he took the Khalwati
way. In Aleppo he studied hadith under Ma¢m¬d Efendi al-Mar¡ash¨
and was a student of the mufti ¡Abd al-Ra¢mån al-Mudarris. Returning to Ma¡arrat Nu¡man, he served there as q剨 and then as
mufti following his father’s death in 1264, until 1266 when he was
summoned to Damascus to serve as Arab scribe of the Turkish army
in Syria. In 1277 he was appointed Hanafi mufti of Damascus, and
remained in this post until his removal in 1284. Thereafter he was
appointed to the Ottoman state sh¬rå (council) in the capital, and
served on several important official missions. His writings (some in
Arabic, others Ottoman Turkish) include a work on the excellence of
Syria, and a diwan. His Ottoman Turkish commentary on the Dawr
was written in 1280, while he was still Hanafi mufti of Damascus.
A reformist ¡ålim, he was proficient in the teachings of Ibn ¡Arab¨ as
well as the new sciences of the era. When the Amir ¡Abd al-Qådir
al-Jazå¡ir¨ settled in Damascus, al-Jund¨ became one of his close associates: he also participated with him in rescuing Christians, and
wrote poetry in praise of him.152
Mu¢ammad Êåhir Sunbul [al-Makk¨] {D}
Son of Mu¢ammad Sa¡¨d Sunbul, prominent Hijazi scholar who
transmitted from his father and transmitted to, among others, Yås¨n
b. ¡Abdallåh al-M¨rghan¨.153
Mu¢ammad Yås¨n b. ¡Abdallåh b. Ibråh¨m al-M¨rghan¨ {D}
¡Abdallåh b. Ibråh¨m al-M¨rghan¨ al-Makk¨ al-Êå¤if¨ the father
(d.1207/1793), known as al-Ma¢j¬b, was a prominent sufi and influential ¡ålim. Born in Mecca into a sharifian family, he attached


Transmitters of the prayer

himself to Y¬suf al-Mahdal¨ (who was known as al-qu†b or the axis of
his time) and became an uwaysi sufi after the latter’s death, receiving
learning directly from the Prophet. While stories of his karåmåt are
plentiful, he also left a substantial number of works.154 He has been
counted as part of the late 18th century reformist network, of which
the Haramayn was the crossroads (his students included Mu¢ammad
Murta‰å al-Zab¨d¨, for example). The M¨rghan¨ family appears to
have been politically active: in 1166/1752–53, a time of political upheaval in Mecca, ¡Abdallåh had moved to Ta¤if apparently as a result
of his opposition to the Zaydi sharifs.155
One of ¡Abdallåh’s sons became the father of Mu¢ammad ¡Uthmån
al-M¨rghan¨ (d.1852). Born a year after his grandfather ¡Abdallåh’s
death, ¡Uthmån became one of the most important students of the
major reformist Moroccan sufi teacher A¢mad b. Idr¨s (d.1837), and
founder of the Khatmiyya (or M¨rghaniyya) order.156 ¡Uthmån’s paternal uncle Mu¢ammad Yås¨n became his guardian upon the death
of his father when ¡Uthmån was ten years old. Himself childless,
Mu¢ammad Yås¨n took on his nephew’s education. Mu¢ammad
Yås¨n later taught hadith to another student of A¢mad b. Idr¨s, the
Yemeni al-±asan ¡Åkish, when he came to Mecca. He was also a
teacher of Mu¢ammad b. ¡Al¨ al-San¬s¨ (d.1276/1859), A¢mad b.
Idr¨s’ closest student and founder of the Sanusiyya †ar¨qa, when he
arrived in Mecca in 1241/1826. Mu¢ammad Yås¨n wrote at least one
work, ¡Unwån ahl al-¡ inåya ¡alå kashf ghawåmi‰ al-nuqåya, a gloss on
al-Suy¬†¨’s Itmåm al-diråya.157
Ab¬’l-Ma¢åsin Mu¢ammad b. Khal¨l (al-Mash¨sh¨) al-Qåwuqj¨
al-Êaråbulus¨ al-Shåm¨ al-±anaf¨ {D} [d.1305/1888]
Possibly also known as Shams al-D¨n, he was born in 1225/1810, and
was a hadith scholar, sufi and faq¨h. He has been described as ‘musnid
bilåd al-Shåm’ (‘the most important hadith transmitter of Greater
Syria’) of his time, and his chains occupied a pivotal role well into
the 20th century in most of Egypt, Syria and the Hijaz. He transmitted from many scholars, including Mu¢ammad b. ¡Al¨ al-San¬s¨,
al-Burhån al-Båj¬r¨ and Yås¨n b. ¡Abdallåh al-M¨rghan¨ (he wrote


A Prayer across Time

a commentary on al-Mu¡ jam al-waj¨z by ¡Abdallåh al-M¨rghan¨).158
A prolific writer, he produced some one hundred works, including
many on hadith.159 His al-Êawr al-aghlå ¡alå al-wird al-musammå bi’lDawr al-a¡ lå was printed in Damascus, AH 1301.160 Brocklemann
also lists a commentary on ±izb al-ba¢r entitled Khulåßat al-zahr ¡alå
±izb al-ba¢r.161 Noteworthy, too, is his Shawåriq al-anwår al-jal¨ya
f¨ asån¨d al-såda al-Shådhil¨ya, for al-Qåwuqj¨ was a Shadhili shaykh
and founder of a sub-order of the †ar¨qa which seems to have taken
his name.162 He died in Mecca.163

Chains and authorisations
The chains elucidated here are embedded in a vast web of interconnections among members of the ahl al-¡ ilm (community of scholars)
spanning the centuries of Islamic history, a network of personal
contacts forming a highway along which authority, learning and
baraka have travelled from the past into the future while crisscrossing the lands of Islam. Individuals sought out ijåzas through
personal contact with shaykhs who had themselves acquired ijåzas
through personal contact: the ijåza was thus in part ‘an emblem of
a bond to a shaykh’.164 While it served the forging of connections
to powerful men of the learned elite (those older and more knowledgeable), it also made possible the appropriation of some of their
authority, and that of others in the associated chains of transmission. Finally, it acted as a vehicle for the acquisition and transmission of baraka, of which ¡ ilm or learning was one important form.
The conferring of an ijåza thus admitted an individual to a particular scholarly and spiritual genealogy, and this was just as important as the precise identity and content of the work(s) transmitted
(if indeed not more important in some circumstances). In general
terms, the muj¨z (granter of an authorisation) was the key to insertion into chains of transmission of ¡ ilm so highly valued that
the resulting pedigrees rivalled blood-lines in importance.165 This
importance is reflected in the careful attention given to recording


Chains and authorisations

and incorporating chains of transmission of texts, as in the case of
the Dawr.
Turning to the plausibility of individual links within our chains
and the ijåzas that underpin them, those links identified appear generally compatible with the chronology, known associations (especially
relations with shaykhs and teachers) and geographical movements of
the figures in question. Of particular interest are nine links underpinned by ijåzas conferred on young children who typically had not
yet reached the age of reason.166 In some cases, as set out above, we
have reports of these children receiving ijåzas from the authorities
in question in the company of their fathers (and in one case, of the
father soliciting ijåzas specifically for them, another common practice).167 Perhaps a ‘child ijåza’ stands up more successfully to scrutiny
when the text concerned is a small prayer which children, accustomed to memorising Qur¤an from an early age, could readily have
committed to heart at the instigation of fathers eager to place them
under its protection, and to acquire for them the potential benefits
associated with the accompanying ijåza and chain.168
Insertion of an individual into one of our chains through an ijåza
conferred on them the baraka of the line of transmission, intensifying the baraka of the prayer itself. It also brought them into ultimate
contact with the prayer’s author. It was not just a case of acquiring,
committing to memory and inscribing on the heart the prayer text
(itself undoubtedly baraka bearing and encompassing the ‘perfect
and complete’ Word, as we shall see below), something which could
be done from a written copy. Initiation into the prayer was thus as
much a case of participating in the spiritual lineage anchored in its
saintly author and transmitted through a living shaykh.169 Moreover,
it is likely that even into the modern period prayers like the Dawr
were mainly experienced as oral performances rather than written
texts, further underlining the importance of personal contact.
Regarding certain specifics of our chains, we might ask whether
any of our figures appear in chains of transmission associated with
other works by Ibn ¡Arab¨. Yahya lists a number of such chains which
can be compared with the six examined here.170 {E} from Ibn ¡Arab¨


A Prayer across Time

through to al-Suy¬†¨ is repeated in four chains, viz. 2a (attached to
RG 13a, Akhbår mashåyikh al-Maghrib; RG 30, ¡Anqå¤ mughrib; RG
38, al-Arba¡¬n ¢ad¨th; RG 134, al-Fat¢ al-Fås¨; RG 135, al-Fut¬¢åt
al-Makk¨ya; RG 150, Fuß¬ß al-¢ikam; RG 336, al-Kashf al-kull¨ and
RG 725, al-Tafs¨r) and 6a, 6e and 6f (all three attached to RG 135, alFut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya).171 In like fashion, {F} from Ibn ¡Arab¨ through to
al-Qushåsh¨ is repeated in chain 6d attached to al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya
(with the link between Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨ and al-Jabart¨ al-Zab¨d¨
missing, viz., Ab¬’l-Fat¢ Mu¢ammad b. al-Qaymån¨ al-Mar塨) and
from Ibn ¡Arab¨ through to al-Sha¡rån¨ in chain 6c attached to alFut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya with the same omission. The missing chain of
authorities linking al-Qushåsh¨ back to Ibn ¡Arab¨ in {B} and {C}
as elaborated in {F} is thus mostly corroborated by Yahya’s 6d i.172
Chains 6a, b, c, d, e and f (all attached to al-Fut¬¢åt al-Makk¨ya) all
culminate in the grandson of ¡Abd al-Ghan¨ al-Nåbulus¨, Ibråh¨m b.
Ism塨l (see {E}). Finally, several well-known links appearing in our
chains reappear in those listed in Yahya: these include Badr al-D¨n
al-Ghazz¨ ~ Najm al-D¨n al-Ghazz¨ ({A}; Yahya’s 6b and 6d ii) and
Ibn ±ajar al-¡Asqalån¨ ~ Zakar¨yå al-Anßår¨ ({A}; Yahya’s 6d).
Referred to briefly above, al-Qushåsh¨’s chain of transmission
from Ibn ¡Arab¨ stands out for the important place it occupies on our
chain map, for his status, and for his association with the prayer in
a further copy, where its attribution to Ibn ¡Arab¨ and a description
of its properties are given on his authority.173 Al-Tåfilåt¨ {B} and alDåm¬n¨ {C} both refer to this chain without elaboration using the
phrase bi-sanadihi al-muttaßil ilå [Ibn ¡Arab¨] (‘through his chain of
transmission going back to [Ibn ¡Arab¨]’), implying perhaps that it
was very well known at the time.174 (It is noteworthy that the silsila
of the khirqa akbar¨ya as given by al-Murta‰å al-Zab¨d¨ also connects
al-Qushåsh¨ to Ibn ¡Arab¨ without elaboration.)175 {F} provides an indication of one chain from Ibn ¡Arab¨ to al-Qushåsh¨, while {D} provides an alternative through Zayn al-¡Åbid¨n al-Êabar¨ al-Makk¨.176
More than five generations after Ibn ¡Arab¨’s death, key geographical foci in the routes of the prayer mapped through the chains are
the Hijaz (Mecca and Medina); Syria (Damascus); Egypt (Cairo);


Chains and authorisations

and Palestine (Jerusalem). Two 17th–18th century figures who served
as a nexus between different geographical centres through their travels are Mu¢ammad al-Budayr¨ al-Dimy冨 {B} and Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨
{A/B/C}.177 Al-Budayr¨ connected the influential Hijazi centre178
with Cairo (where al-±ifnåw¨ studied under him), and with Jerusalem (where Mu߆afå al-Bakr¨ studied under him). Al-Bakr¨, too,
connected Damascus and Cairo (as well as Jerusalem), but without
the direct Hijazi link:179 born in 1688 CE, al-Bakr¨’s link to Ibråh¨m
al-K¬rån¨ (d.1689 CE) in {C} should most likely be ruled out in favour of an omission, probably of the latter’s son Ilyås, with whom
al-Bakr¨ studied in Damascus. It is noteworthy that al-Tåfilåt¨ apparently first acquired the prayer from al-±if