Journal Article

The Light beyond the Shore in the Theology of Proper Sufi Moral Conduct (<i>Adab</i>)

Qamar-ul Huda

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 72, issue 2, pages 461-484
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
The Light beyond the Shore in the Theology of Proper Sufi Moral Conduct (Adab)

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Studies on proper moral conduct in the Islamic world have often been analyzed in terms of social limitations, adhering to hierarchies, asserting authority, and conflicting political interests. This article demonstrates that Sufi instructional manuals written by scholars, like the one written by Shaykh 'Umar al-Suhrawardî (d. 1234), emphasized proper moral conduct (adab) primarily to prepare Sufi disciples for the ultimate return to the divine. I propose that the detailed instructions for spiritual exercises, guidelines for meditation, prayers, and the theological connection among faith, law, and the etiquette of morality suggest an adab theology. It was a theology that taught the spiritual aspirant to master the intricacies of cultivating a compassionate heart, to embody perfectly the knowledge from God, and to surrender completely the self in order to meet the creator with real practical knowledge.

The law requires adab. Where adab is not found there is no law, no faith, and no God consciousness.

—'Abû Hafs 'Umar al-Suhrawardî,

'Awârif al-Ma'ârif

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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