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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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Forming Spiritual Fuṣaḥāʾ

Forming Spiritual Fuṣaḥāʾ

Qushayrī’s Advanced Grammar of Hearts

(p.150) 5 Forming Spiritual Fuṣaḥāʾ
Spiritual Grammar

F. Dominic Longo

Fordham University Press

This chapter explains how to read Qushayrī’s Grammar of Hearts through providing a textual analysis of 20 of the 60 sections in the text, including background ideas necessary for understanding this “spiritual grammar.” Qushayrī, like Gerson, takes as his starting point an assumption of his reader’s familiarity with Arabic grammar. As such, he does not dwell on linguistic niceties or details, for they are not his concern. He rather invokes grammatical terms, concepts, and phenomena familiar to his reader in order to proceed to spiritual matters. Like the foundational grammatical text of the Arabic linguistic tradition, Sībawayhi’s famous Kitāb, Qushayrī’s Grammar of Hearts combines prescriptive and descriptive grammar for the purpose of developing Sufi “grammatical competence” among his readers. Ever the shaykh in both the pedagogical and spiritual dimensions, Qushayrī is a “spiritual faṣīḥ” and wants his students to become similarly adept in the grammar of ultimate reality.

Keywords:   al-Qushayrī, ʿAbd al-Karīm, grammar – Arabic, grammar – Islamic, grammar – Sufi, heart – Sufism, Naḥw al-qulūb, Sībawayhi

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