Al-Furqānī’s Qurʼanic “Duʻā”
This 13-page manuscript is a Muslim mystic duʻā (prayer) attributed to Sayf ibn ʻAlī ibn ʻĀmir al-Furqānī, an Omani Ibadite (also seen as Ibadhite and Ibadi) scholar who is known for his writings on Islamic esotericism. Ibadism (also seen as Ibadhism) is an Islamic denomination that traces its roots to the seventh century, at the time of the Sunni−Shiite schism. It is named after Abdullāh ibn Ibāḍ, one of the founding scholars of the doctrine. Today’s adherents of Ibadism are found primarily in Oman, in addition to other communities in North and East Africa. Al-Furqānī’s additional name attribute, al-Nizwī, suggests he hailed from Nizwā, one of the oldest cities and centers of scholarship in the interior of Oman. It is unclear when he lived, but a note at the end of the prayer states that the manuscript is in his own hand, and another note, albeit in a different ink, adds that it was copied in Rabīʿ al-Awwal 1318 AH (June 1900). It is believed that al-Furqānī used to perform this duʻā after each of the five daily Muslim prayers. The text on the margins of the first two pages gives guidance about the nature of the duʻā and how to perform it. The language is clearly of Sufi nature, with frequent use of terms such as nūr (luminosity), ʻilm (knowledge), luṭf (sublimity), and sirr (mystery). The last page of the manuscript shows another prayer, in the form of a grid consisting of six-by-six squares. Each square is divided into two triangles that are inscribed with the phrase Allāhu ʿalīm (Allah is all-knowing) and the number of times the phrase should be repeated. The use of the root letters ʻa-l-m (to know), together with the numbers, suggests a belief in the so-called ʻilm al-ḥurūf (knowledge of the letters), where the letters, especially those comprising the name of God, are believed to carry divine secrets that may be perceived only by those who worship diligently.
Title in Original Language
الدعاء القرآني للشيخ الفرقاني
Type of Item
16 pages : black ink; 22 centimeters
- Hussein Ghubash, Oman—The Islamic Democratic Tradition (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).
Last updated: May 2, 2015