Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey by V. S. Naipaul

By V. S. Naipaul

Naipaul's debatable account of his travels during the Islamic international used to be hailed by means of the hot Republic as "the such a lot impressive paintings on modern Islam to have seemed in a really lengthy time."

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245/859), 77 78 79 Abù Nu'aym, Óilya, vol. 8, p. 59; cf. Arberry, Sufism, pp. 38–39. Reinert, Die Lehre, pp. 172–175. Radtke, “Theologen,’’ p. 542; Arberry, Sufism, pp. 39–40. 34 chapter one was an itinerant ascetic who is said to have a following of 120 students (murìdùn). 80 The high “drop-out’’ rate may indicate that, despite the popularity of individual ascetics, their stringent standards of asceticism remained the domain of a few “spiritual athletes’’ who were capable of maintaining their vows throughout their lifetimes.

Given the existence of a rich tradition of Christian monasticism in Egypt before Islam,16 it seems likely that it could have exercised certain influence on the nascent Muslim asceticism. However, historical evidence as to its tendencies and social make-up is very scarce. An early Egyptian chronicle mentions the rising, in Alexandria, in the year 815, of a group of pious rebels, described collectively as “Sufis’’ (al-ßùfiyya). 17 This episode is indicative not only of the presence of Van Ess, Theologie, vol.

19 Later Sufi authors credit him with the introduction of a systematic teaching about the mystic “states’’ (a˙wàl ) and the “stations’’ (maqàmàt) of the mystic path. Thus, accordVan Ess, Theologie, vol. 2, p. 728. For a discussion of Dhu ’l-Nùn’s literary talent see Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions, pp. 45–46. , the Sufis]; they all descend from him and are related to him. ’’ In some of his statements, Dhu ’l-Nùn indeed talks about seventeen “stations’’ (maqàmàt ) on the path to God. ’’22 In one famous saying, he addresses God in the following manner, “O God!

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