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addressing more of the practical and innovative aspects of medieval Islamic medical care. Emilie Savage-Smith Oriental Institute, Oxford

The Biographical Tradition in Susm: The Tabaqat Genre from al-Sulam to Jam By Jawid A. Mojaddedi (London: Curzon, 2001), 350 pp. Price HB 45.00. ISBN 070071359X.
What is unique about classical Islamic biography, in contrast to that of contemporary traditionsChristian, Hindu, and Buddhist in particularis its lack of hagiographical emphasis. While the miraculous does play its role in the accounts, it is never as dominant as Christian and other traditions, and the Su stories go much closer to the warts-and-all realism of the present day. The precedents for this kind of grittier approach can be seen in the writings of Romans like Plutarch, but in Su works they appear in an overall spiritual context, indicating the all-embracing nature of the new dispensation, where societal and philosophical perspectives were broadened. At the same time, the stories encompassed in the biographies of the Sus differ from their nearest equivalent among the Buddhists in that they do not constitute a corpus of what would be considered wisdom literature in the classical sense of the Theravada nikayas or the Mahayana sutras, though much of the anecdotage and the quotations of the masters are certainly classiable as, respectively, parables and epigrams of wise teaching. Venturing onto this new ground of down-to-earth spiritual expression, Mojaddedi has exercised the discretion of not being too ambitious in his enterprise, leaving room for follow-up in this endeavour. He has conned his study to ve of the most signicant works of biography, and those specically in the domain of Susm. One aspect that favours this semi-realistic approach to the biography of spiritual gures in Susm is the fact that there is often a blurring of distinction between purely spiritual or Su biography and the more mundane world of the legalist and canonical jurisprudent. As a result, many of the biographies are claimed by both the Sus and one or another of the juridical schools, primarily the Sha[ite, which can claim more Su masters than any other school, followed by the Hanate. The pioneering biographical compendium is Abu Abd al-Rahman Sulams (d. 412/1021) Sulam both set the general Tabaqat al-suyya from the eleventh century ce. trend (that of a collection of notices on distinguished Sus) and launched the particular vein of Sha[ite-oriented works. This was followed by the likes of Subk and Ya[, the latter himself a Su master, as was Sulam. In fact, both Sulam and Ya[ were not only Sha[ite traditionists but also the masters of individuals who were to have a seminal effect on Susm. The former was one of the three masters of the potent Abu Sa[d b. Ab l-Khayr (d. 440/1047), in whose presence the mighty princes trembled; the latter the

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principal master of Shah Ni[mat Allah Wal (d. 834/1431), founder of the Ni[matullah order that brought together the teachings of the Suhrawardiyya and the Shadhiliyya and the practical spirituality of the Qadiriyya, together with the love doctrine of Ahmad Ghazal and integrative power of the Maghriban Abu Madyan, heir to the Khorasanian line of Abu l-Husayn Nur. In fact, Abu Madyan himself, as a link in what the Sus call the Mother Chainthe most important line of transmission from the Prophet consciously borrowed from the Sha[ite precepts of Abu Hamid Ghazal to temper the strictness of the Malikite school. The interlinking between Sha[ism and Susm is highlighted by the fact that virtually all the prominent authorities in that school have been Susand many of them masters. As Mojaddedi points out, the author of another of the compendia in his study, Abu Nu[aym Isfahan (d. 430/938), is remembered primarily as a Sha[ite transmitter (p. 41), although he was the master of his fellow townsman [Al b. Sahl Isfahan (d. 307/920), who is well remembered for his instructive epigrammatic statements on the Su path. The fact that Mojaddedi does not discussalthough he does citethe work of Taj al-Dn Subk (d. 1371) probably suggests that he felt it was outside the scope of his study, although it presents an interesting extension of the Sha[ite/Su interconnection to the more canonical sphere, in that his Tabaqat al-sha[iyyat al-kubra, principally oriented towards the juridical school, is based on the generational classication of the genre-dening Su compendia compiled by co-jurists of an earlier era. Mojaddedis study is divided into three parts: the rst consists of three chapters; the second, of two; and the third, of one. Each of the six chapters is devoted to one of the six works the author is analysing. The three chapters of Part One concentrate on the three earliest works, those of Sulam and Abu Nu[aym, together with [Abd Allah Ansars (d. 481/1089) expanded Persian version of the formers compendium by the same title. The comprehensiveness of the information given by Mojaddedi provides for pocket biographies of the biographers themselves, including the fact that Ansar, the sole non-Sha[ite among the compilers, was a zealous Hanbalite, being constantly in trouble with the authorities because of his incitements to riot and disorder. Part Two deals with two works that combine biography and instruction. In a sense, these two works are not part of the tabaqat genre in the strictest sense. Indeed, one might question Mojaddedis classication on this point, for he excludes Ya[s Mir]at from this rubric, classifying it as ta]rkh, while including the two books of Part Two: the Risala of Qushayr and Hujwrs Kashf al-mahjub, though they cover a much wider eld. In fact, Mojaddedi himself points out that the Risala combines what he calls the two major genres of Su literature, the tabaqat and the manual. The same could effectively be said of Kashf al-mahjub, which is divided into three sections, with only the middle one devoted to biography. The rest is theoretical and doctrinal. The one chapter in the third part is devoted to Jams Nafahat.

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In addition to an introduction, a conclusion, notes, a bibliography, and an index, there is a useful series of ve appendices, as charts illustrating various points of the text thus: rst, an outline of Sulams arrangement of ve generations, and the others devoted to aspects of Jams Nafahat, namely the genealogy of the Naqshband masters cited in Jams compendium, including the poet-biographers two masters, Kashghar and Ahrar; and three clusters of biographies with a common thematic or genealogical connection. Mojaddedi sheds light on a number of key points, foremost of which is his pointing to the reason why Sulam chose to begin his rst generation (tabaqa) of Sus from the fourth/tenth century rather than from the time of the Prophet: the biographer considered the rst three generations of followers of the Prophet to be saints transcending the status or categorization of Su-ness, preceding the time when Susm could be considered to emerge as a discipline in its own right, as it became distanced from the aura of the period of the revelation. Another point is the glaring omission of Hallaj from the vast collection compiled by Abu Nu[aym Isfahan, the Hilyat al-awliya]. Given the back ground that Mojaddedi offersnamely the particularly canonical orientation of this workthe reason is made perfectly clear, even if it was put together before the incident between the martyr and Abu Nu[ayms disciple, [Al b. Sahl, an event that would surely have sealed Hallajs omission. At any rate, the martyr was as a potential heretic certainly too unconventional for the more exoterically connected Sus. A less obvious, though equally egregious, omission in Jams later Nafahat al-uns strangely fails to gain any mention in Mojaddedis analysis of that work. This is of Shah Ni[mat Allah (founder of the order bearing his name), due to disapproval of him by his Naqshband contemporary Amr Kulal, who felt that his inuence over the despot Tamerlane was being threatened by Ni[mat Allahs presence in his Central Asian domain. In both cases, the party doing the omitting was the one feeling threatened. Amr Kulal used his inuence with Tamerlane to throw Shah Ni[mat Allahhowever politely out of that part of his vast domain, while [Al b. Sahl actually egged on his followers to act as a band of hoodlums to murder Hallaj, so that the latter had to leave Isfahan by subterfuge to cover his tracks! Thus in an age when the science of history was in its infancy, the full development of the would-be objective point of view had yet to come into fruition. However, one cannot but admire the doggedness of the authors analysed in Mojaddedis study for their pioneering efforts in a world where publication meant months, if not years, of copying on parchment by committed scribes. Few texts in the eld which enjoy this relative brevity are so precise in their presentation, with the result that Mojaddedis work is exceptionally informative in its economy of words. The author charts the evolution of the genre very precisely, so that the reader is perfectly well apprised of the difference in nature yet proximity of relationship of successive works to one another. For example, we learn that the rst Tabaqat, that of Sulam, is organized on the foregoing generational framework, which the second

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work, the Hilya, expands to encyclopedic dimensions, providing a full ten volumes in the current printed edition, embracing some 650 biographies, vastly exceeding the 103 covered by the earlier work. The new component increasing the mass of the content is the lling in of the rst three generations succeeding the time of the Prophet, beginning with the four Rightly-guided Vicegerents (al-khulafa] al-rashidun) and carrying on through the tabi[un and the aslaf al-salihn (forebears of the righteous), individuals who have preceded those considered Su masters in the strict sense. Given its economy of expression and conciseness of presentation, there is ample room for the prime weakness of the study to be remedied, that is, the lack of an overall survey of the genre in its context. The whole range of biographies could have been briey reviewed, demonstrating the signicance in a broader framework of the works chosen for the study. Two contextual references in particular need lling out: one is the above-mentioned role of the Su tabaqat works in the development of the genre in related elds, as exemplied by Subks Tabaqat al-sha[iyya; the other is the relationship to what Mojaddedi, in passing, calls the ta]rkh genre, a term that he simply trots out with reference to Ya[s Mir]at al-jinan (The Mirror of the Heart, not al-janan meaning of the Paradises). He does not explain what he means by the ta]rikh genre, so that one must guess that this involves material listed in terms of chronology rather than the more vague generation. There is little essential difference between Ya[s notices and those of the tabaqat writers on the same individuals, as Jams quotation of themfurther quoted by Mojaddedidemonstrates. The fundamental distinction seems to be in arrangement according to year (in the case of the biographical notices, the year of the individuals death) and the fact that certain historical events and many purely canonical guresmostly Sha[ite, but a few members of other juridical schoolsare cited along with the Sus. This reects the dual occupation of Ya[, as both Sha[ite authority and Su master. Despite his stated cut-off point as the fteenth century, Mojaddedi could still have given a fuller account of the period under study. He admits to omitting consciously two important works of the pure tabaqat genre: Ibn al-Malaqqins Tabaqat al-awliya] and [Atttars famous Tadhkirat al-awliya], implying the criterion that they lie outside the interconnected framework of mutual inuence enjoyed by the other works. This does make the book slightly lopsided, with attention being given to books of mixed genre, like the works of Qushayr and Hujwr and the two preceding purer examples being excluded. Moreover, as suggested above, an umbrella chapter bringing in related works from other elds like the Tabaqat al-sha[iyya would have been immensely helpful in giving a broader perspective on the role of the books he discusses. Thus the clarity and content of the material given in this work leave the reader thirsting for morea notably broad survey of the eld, putting into context the signicance of the works studied in depth, which still remains to be written. Terry Graham Sulgrave, Oxfordshire

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