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Title: The genesis of Kubrawi Sufism : a study of Majd al-Din al-Baghdadi
Author: Abuali, Eyad
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 5849
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis focuses on the development of early Kubrawi Sufism through an analysis of the figure of Majd al-Din al-Baghdadi (d. 616/1219) and his major work, the Tuhfat albarara. Al-Baghdadi has not received significant scholarly attention, however his work will be shown to be invaluable for our understanding of this period in the history of Sufism. While recent studies have increasingly highlighted the importance of the transitional period in the history of Sufism in which communities transformed into orders, the early Kubrawis have not received much attention in this regard. This study will demonstrate that al-Baghdadi's Tuhfa systematises many concepts found in Najm al-Din Kubra's Fawa'ih. This theoretical framework will then be shown to inform notions of practice and belonging in discussions regarding the relationship between the Sufi master and his disciples which ultimately shape the structure of the Sufi community. From this we will have acquired the basis for investigating alBaghdadi's work in its response to the rise of antinomian groups, as well as the changing relationship between Sufism and political rulers. The study will show that alBaghdadi' theoretical systematisation necessitates the centralisation and stratification of the Sufi community in order to govern the structure and affiliations of the Sufi community. This analysis will address gaps in scholarship regarding the development of Kubrawi Sufism. It will answer questions regarding the reception of previous Sufi thinkers in alBaghdadi's work. It will also show that the development of theories of dreams and visions, which the Kubrawis are noted for, had implications for the development of the structure of the community. Furthermore the study will offer a useful comparison with 'Umar al-Suhrawardi's institutionalisation of Sufism, revealing similarities and divergences between the two communities, and the emergence of a self-consciously distinct Sufi community under al-Baghdadi. This will also allow us to reassess the contribution of al-Baghdadi and his influence upon later Kubrawi thinkers such as Najm al-Din al-Razi and 'Ala' al-Dawla al-Simnani who clearly rely on, and develop further, the discussions found in the Tuhfa. Hence, alBaghdadi typifies important developments in 12th and 13th century Sufism which came to shape the nature of Sufi thought and practice, elucidating the transition to Sufi orders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral