• Recontextualizing Early Ṣūfī Figures: Rābi‘a al-‘Adawiyya and Dhū’n-Nūn

      Lucas, Scott; Cook, Rachel Nelle; Darling, Linda; Noorani, Yaseen (The University of Arizona., 2015)
      Rābi'a al-'Adawiyya and Dhū'n-Nūn are among the founding saints in the Ṣūfītradition; however, these figures are more legend than fact. Their narratives in Western scholarship have been constructed from numerous sources, a process which has stripped them of their original contexts. This work addresses this issue by examining these characters' stories in the context of three of the major works containing collections of their stories: Sulamī's Dhikr and Ṭabaqāt, Qushayrī's Risala, and 'Aṭṭār's Tadhkirat, in order to see which themes the original compilers of these stories emphasized. This approach will demonstrate that these authors were primarily focused on two issues in these works: the role of gender in the practitioner's relationship with God, and the problem of how to discuss advanced states along the Ṣūfīpath such that they do not distract novice Ṣūfīs lacking the spiritual maturity to handle these stages. Recontextualizing these stories in this way opens the door to further questions regarding the way that Western scholars approach the stories of other Ṣūfīsaints and the history of early Sufism as a whole.