Al-Qushayri’s Epistle on Sufism


This manuscript copy preserves Al-Risālah al-Qushayrīyah (Al-Qushayri’s epistle), one of the best-known Sufi textbooks. Written in 1045, the epistle was intended as a manual that would guide novice devotees to true Sufism. The work begins with an explanation of the Sufi view of the tawhid (the oneness of God), and discusses terms and expressions common among the Sufis. It includes 82 brief bibliographical entries on early Sufi mystics, beginning with Abu al-Hasan al-Sari al-Saqati (died circa 867), and ending with Abu Abd Allah al-Ruthbari (died circa 1006). Also included are chapters examining such concepts of Sufism as mujahadah (impulse control), khalwah (seclusion), sabr (patience), and shukr (thanksgiving). The author is ʻAbd al-Karim ibn Hawazin al-Qushayri (986–1072), a Sufi scholar who was born near Nishapur, in present-day Khorasan Province, Iran. In addition to Sufism, al-Qushayri was a trusted hadith narrator, who was equally well versed in Shafiʻi jurisprudence and kalam (speculative theology). He was a student and son-in-law of Abu ʻAli al-Daqqaq, the leading saint of Nishapur at the time. The Qushayri School in Nishapur was in fact founded by al-Daqqaq, but al-Qushayri ran the school, which subsequently carried his name. The present manuscript was copied in Fez in 1220, probably for Abu Zakariya Yahya (1203–49), the founding ruler of the Hafsid dynasty. The text is written in Maghribi script, with subtitles placed in the middle of the pages, in bold, black ink.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Fez, Morocco


Title in Original Language

الرسالة القشيرية

Type of Item

Physical Description

176 folios : 20 x 26 centimeters

Last updated: September 29, 2017