“KITAB AL-MAWAQIF” AN-NIFFARY AS A SPECIFIC GUIDE IN THE SUFI TERMINOLOGY. NOTION “MA‘ARIFA” IN THE TEXTS OF AL-QUSHAYRI, AL-HUDJWIRI AND AN-NIFFARY

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Abstract


The paper deals with the non-usual interpretation of the main works of an-Niffary (Iraqi Sufi, X century) as an original and specific guide in the Sufi terminology. The specific character of the text (which expresses in the direct dialog between God and the mystique and the translation through him the divine definitions of the basic Sufi and Islamic values) obliges a reader to treat the text more attentively that to the ordinary texts created by the human being. The most famous Sufi treatises on Sufism and its terminology are Qushayri and Hudjwiri's works,which contain definitions of most important Sufi terms and notions. Niffary works are not so well-known, but they also can be regarded in a sense as a specific guidebook on Sufi terminology. The paper deals with the peculiarities of understanding by those three mystics the Sufi term “ma'arifa” (mystical knowledge), which sometimes is mistranslated as gnosis. One of the basic distinction in such an understanding is that for Niffary (in contrast with Qushairy and Hujawiri) there is no outward sign of successful attainment of mystical knowledge. Further both Qushayri and Hudjwiri point out that the Sufi practice can not contradict the Sunna. Meanwhile Niffary says that Sunna is significant only if there is ma'arifa, not vice versa.


About the authors

R V Pskhu

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
Email: pskhu-rv@rudn.ru
Moscow, Russia

References

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