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The Essence Of Reality: A Defense Of Philosophical Sufism [Hardback-2022]
Ayn Al-Qudat
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Publisher: New York University Press | ISBN: 9781479816590 | Pages: 350

A groundbreaking exposition of Islamic mysticism The Essence of Reality was written over the course of just three days in 514/1120, by a scholar who was just twenty-four. The text, like its author ?Ayn al-Qu?at, is remarkable for many reasons, not least of which that it is in all likelihood the earliest philosophical exposition of mysticism in the Islamic intellectual tradition. This important work would go on to exert significant influence on both classical Islamic philosophy and philosophical mysticism. Written in a terse yet beautiful style, The Essence of Reality consists of one hundred brief chapters interspersed with Qur?anic verses, prophetic sayings, Sufi maxims, and poetry. In conversation with the work of the philosophers Avicenna and al-Ghazali, the book takes readers on a philosophical journey, with lucid expositions of questions including the problem of the eternity of the world; the nature of God’s essence and attributes; the concepts of “before” and “after”; and the soul’s relationship to the body. All these discussions are seamlessly tied into ?Ayn al-Qu?at’s foundational argument?that mystical knowledge lies beyond the realm of the intellect. A bilingual Arabic-English edition.

About the Author

?Ayn al-Qu?at (d. 525/1131) was a philosopher, mystic, and judge who was born in the western Iranian city of Hamadan. He was the student of A?mad al-Ghazali (d. 520/1126), the brother of the famous Abu ?amid al-Ghazali (d. 505/1111). A maverick figure, he was put to death by the Seljuqs at the age of thirty-four, ostensibly on charges of heresy. Mohammed Rustom is Professor of Islamic Studies at Carleton University. An internationally recognized scholar whose works have been translated into over ten languages, he specializes in Sufism, Islamic philosophy, and Qur?anic exegesis. He is author of The Triumph of Mercy: Philosophy and Scripture in Mulla ?adra and Inrushes of the Heart: The Sufi Philosophy of ?Ayn al-Qu?at; co-editor of The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary; and translator of Abu ?amid al-Ghazali’s Condemnation of Pride and Self-Admiration.

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