Sufi Biographies and Stories

Sufi Biographies and Stories of Saints

Muslim Saints and Mystics Episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya’  (Memorial of the Saints) by Shaykh Farid al-Din Attar. [Translation by A. J. Arberry, extract below reproduced with permission of Omphaloskepsis, see here]

Sufism is the name given to the mystical movement within Islam; a Sufi is a Muslim who dedicates himself to the quest after mystical union (or, better said, reunion) with his Creator. The name is Arabic in origin, being derived from the word suf meaning “wool”; the Sufis were distinguishable from their fellows by wearing a habit of coarse woollen cloth, in time when silks and brocades had become the fashion of the wealthy and mundane-minded, symbolic of their renunciation of worldly values and their abhorrence for physical comforts.

The ascetic outlook and practice, an indispensable preparation to mystical communion, characterized the life not only of Mohammad himself but of many of his earliest followers. Even when the rapid spread of Islam and the astonishing military conquests of neighbouring ancient kingdoms brought undreamed-of riches to the public exchequer, not a few of the leading men in the new commonwealth withstood all temptation to abandon the austere life of the desert, and their example was admired and emulated by multitudes of humbler rank. Nevertheless with the passage of time, and as Islam became increasing secularized consequent upon further victories and rapidly augmenting complications of state craft, the original ascetic impulse tended to be overwhelmed in the flood of worldly preoccupation.

Farid al-Din Attar, author of the book Tadhkirat al-Auliya here presented in an abridged translation, is to be accounted amongst the greatest poets of Persia; his dimensions as a literary genius increase with the further investigation of his writings.

Below are the biographies of Sufis and Saints, mostly as accounted by Shaykh Faridudin Attar in his book Tadhkirat al-Auliya :

Mevlana Jalaludin Rumi
Farid ud Din Attar
 Rabia Basri
Mansoor al Hallaj
Hasan of Basra
Bayazid Bestami
Al-Fozail ibn Iyaz
Habib al-Ajami
Malek ibn Dinar
Ebrahim ibn Adham
Habib al-Ajami
Beshr Ibn al-Hareth
Dhol-Nun al-Mesri
Abd Allah Ibn al-Mobarak
Shaqiq of Balkh
Dawud al-Tai
Ahmad Ibn Harb
Hatem al Asamm
Sahl Ibn Abd Allah al-Tostari
Maruf al-Karkhi
Sari al-Saqati
Yahya Ibn Mo‘adh
Shah Ibn Shoja
Yusof Ibn al-Hosain
Abu Hafs al-Haddad
Abol-Qasem al-Jonaid
Amr Ibn Othman
Abu Sa‘id al-Kharraz
Abul-Hosain al-Nuri
Abu Othman al-Hiri
Ibn Ata
Khair al-Nassaj
Abu Bakr al-Kattani
Ibn Khafif
Ebrahim al-Khauwas