Mystical Qur’anic Exegesis and the Canonization of Early Sufis in Sulamī’s “Ḥaqāʾiq al-Tafsīr”

By Sara Abdel-Latif.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 27, 2016 $US5.00

This paper seeks to demonstrate Sulamī’s role in changing notions of authority in the traditions of Islamic scriptural exegesis. By analyzing Sulamī’s sociopolitical historical circumstances and exploring his presentation of proto-mystics as masters of mystical qur’anic meaning, this paper brings to the forefront Sulamī’s innovative contributions to understandings of who is an authentic interpreter of qur’anic meaning. Sulamī’s work earned the Sufis recognition as authorities of qur’anic knowledge and allowed the teachings of early proto-Sufis to live on as expositions of qur’anic meaning—thereby preserving the earliest mystical teachings in the garb of a new genre. Sulamī redefined the paradigm of qur’anic exegesis by presenting mystical teachers as authorities of qur’anic meaning, and thus deserves more attention as an innovator in the tradition of “tafsīr.”

Keywords: Qur’an, Islamic Mysticism, Sufism, Scriptural Exegesis, Tafsir, Hadith, Sulamī

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 27, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 348.803KB)).

Sara Abdel-Latif

Ph.D. Student, Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada