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Spiritual GrammarGenre and the Saintly Subject in Islam and Christianity$
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F. Dominic Longo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275724

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275724.001.0001

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From the Names of God to the Grammar of Hearts

From the Names of God to the Grammar of Hearts

(p.117) 4 From the Names of God to the Grammar of Hearts
Spiritual Grammar

F. Dominic Longo

Fordham University Press

The genres in which Qushayrī wrote exemplify both the early historical role of the Sufi shaykh as a scholarly pedagogue and the later role of the Sufi shaykh as a spiritual guide. The theme of dhikr, that is, the ritual recitation of the names of God, provides a red thread to trace throughout a range of literary genres where the intersection of spiritual and linguistic concerns are particularly evident in Qushayrī’s thought. This chapter examines as examples of the genres of Sufi literature in which Qushayrī wrote, his Risālah, the handbook used for centuries to introduce students to Sufism; Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt, his work of tafsīr or Qur’anic exegisis; Sharḥ ʾasmāʾ Allāh al-ḥusnā, his commentary on the names of God; and a work of Qushayrī’s on spiritual direction,Tartīb al-sulūk fī ṭarīq Allāh. Besides analyzing how Qushayrī used genre in the Sufi literature he produced, this chapter provides familiarity with Qushayrī’s scholarly concerns, historical milieu, and authorial character so as to prepare for a close reading of his Grammar of Hearts.

Keywords:   al-Qushayrī, ʿAbd al-Karīm, dhikr – Sufi, literary genres – Islamic, literary genres – Sufi, Risālah genre, spirituality – Sufi, Sufism – History

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