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Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī and the Salafi Approach to Sufism

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image of Die Welt des Islams

This article problematizes the general assumption about the inherent anti-Sufi tendency of the Salafiyya by looking closely at the thought of the Syrian Salafi thinker Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qāsimī. The primary text analysed in this article is a brief chapter of Qāsimī's book Dalā'il al-tawhīd, entitled Butlān al-hulūl wa-l-ittihād (The Invalidity of Incarnation and Union). Here Qāsimī discusses the notions of hulūl (incarnation) and ittihād (union), and defends the idea of wahdat al-wujūd (unity of being) attributed to the shaykh akbar Ibn 'Arabī which led Qāsimī to stand up against the shaykh al-islām Ibn Taymiyya who accused Ibn 'Arabī of being a heretic. This article discusses Qāsimī's defense of Ibn 'Arabī within a broader context of the Salafi approach to Sufism. In this context, the case of Qāsimī presents us with an insight that the Salafis took a more nuanced position than is sometimes supposed. We will conclude with a brief reflection on how we could situate Qāsimī's view of Ibn 'Arabī within the ongoing debate about the relationship between the Salafiyya and Sufism in more recent scholarship.

Affiliations: 1: Chicago, IL


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