By Laury Silvers
The advance of early Islamic mysticism and metaphysics is gifted throughout the existence and paintings of theologian Abu Bakr al-Wasiti.
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Additional resources for A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr Al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism
Many Sufis were companions of several shaykhs, each of whom contributed to their spiritual growth in a particular way. Less often, a Sufi would be attached to one shaykh alone. 23 Junayd A. J. 24 He was a student of Qurªan and Hadith, and was a jurist according to the school of his teacher Abu Thawr Ibrahim b. Khalid al-Kalbi al-Baghdadi (d. 25 On the path of inward knowledge, he was the student of his uncle Sari al-Saqati, al-Muhasibi, and Muhammad b. ºAli al-Qassab (d. 26 According to the traditional accounts, he quickly surpassed Sari in spiritual station.
Loyalty to a particular teacher or “school” ensured continued financial subsidization. Students were still free to learn from other teachers, but there was a greater and greater tendency for scholars to press their singular authority over their students. I would argue that Baghdadi Sufism may have dominated in technical language and important doctrinal matters, but Khurasani pedagogy became the basis of the normative teaching relationship in Sufism. The biographical material shows that as this shift progresses, students are much more likely to “love” and loyally serve their teachers.
While the majority of his explanations of Qurªanic verses are complex, a number of them are simple and show a concern that those who sat with him understand the most basic meanings of the Qurªan. Consider his explanation of this verse about Jesus, He will speak to men in the cradle and of age, and righteous he will be (Q 3:46). Wasiti said, “[It is] a reply to those who disagreed that Jesus spoke in the state of infancy, a state in which another would have been incapable of it.