The Essence of Sufism


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  • Author: Shaykh Abu Bakr al-Mulla
  • ISBN: 9780957693791

Edited and annotated by Shaykh Yahya ibn Muhammad al-Mulla
Translated by Amjad Mahmood
92 pages

Sufism, or taṣawwuf, has been the classical name given to the Islamic discipline of purifying the heart of its spiritual maladies. The Qur’an has warned: A Day [of Judgement] in which neither wealth nor children shall be of any benefit [to anyone], except one who comes to Allah with a sound heart (26:88–9). The masters of Sufism speak of there being two thousand definitions of Sufism; however, the most inclusive of them was provided by their supreme authority, al-Junayd: ‘Sufism is to adopt every lofty character trait and renounce every base character trait.’

This short treatise was penned by Shaykh Abū Bakr al-Mullā (d. 1270 AH), a traditional scholar from a learned family from al-Aḥsā’ī, in modern-day Saudi Arabia, wherein he elaborates on the foundations of this discipline. These principles are contextualised through Qur’anic verses, hadiths and axial aphorisms from leading Sufi masters of the past. Although brief, the manual is full of profound and moving wisdom that every Muslim should be characterised by.