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Writing Authority

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Chapter Summary

This chapter moves from the narratives of prosopographers and historiographers to Suhrawardī’s own representation of himself. Interrogating an important cluster of his written works which deal with the ‘sciences of the Sufis’ ('ulūm al-ṣūfiyya/ al-qawm), their genealogy, content, and authority, the chapter fleshes out the ways in which this particular actor represented himself both within and across multiple centers of affiliation and identity. Arguing that Suhrawardī envisioned himself and the self-identified group (ṭā'ifa)for whom he spoke as the only legitimate ‘heirs to the Prophet’, the chapter maps out the details of Suhrawardī’s project of co-opting the spiritual and exegetical authority of any number of competing groups (ṭawā'if ) populating the Islamic body politic. Suhrawardī accomplished this task through delineating a universalizing vision of theory and praxis which systematically re-centers the totality of Islamic revelatory, cosmologic, and soteriological traditions in the hands of the particular Junaydī-Sufi tradition for which he spoke.

Keywords: ṭāifa; ṭawāif; Islamic revelatory; Junaydī Sufi tradition; Prophet Muḥammad; Suhrawardī’s writing; ulūm al-ṣūfiyya



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