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Abu Yazid al- Bistami

(d. 874)


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(d. 874)

Also known as Bayezid. Prominent paradigm of “intoxicated” Sufism from the northeastern Iranian town of Bistam. Early education included Hanafi legal thought. Best known for “ecstatic utterance” (shath), several hundred of which are attributed to him by Sufi historians and theorists. The most famous is “Glory be to me! How exalted is my state!” Identified himself metaphorically as the Divine Throne, the Divine Footstool, and the heavenly archetype of the Quran (Preserved Tablet). Reported a vision in which the Kaaba circumambulated him, reversing the hajj ritual in which pilgrims circumambulate the sacred shrine. Described the experience in terms of Muhammad's “ascension” (miraj). Some read Abu Yazid's exclamations as theologically unacceptable; others see them as irrepressible expressions of divine intimacy.

See also Shath

Subjects: Islam.


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