We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt

The Wafa Sufi Order and the Legacy of Ibn 'Arabi

Richard J. A. McGregor

Publication Year: 2004

Using the original writings of two Egyptian Sufis, Muh\ammad Wafaµ< and his son >Aliµ, this book shows how the Islamic idea of sainthood developed in the medieval period. Although without a church to canonize its “saints,” the Islamic tradition nevertheless debated and developed a variety of ideas concerning miracles, sanctity, saintly intermediaries, and pious role models. In the writings of the WafaµAliµ Wafaµ< drew on earlier philosophical and gnostic currents to construct their own mystical theories and notes their debt to the Sufi order of the Shaµdhiliyya, the mystic al-Tirmidhiµ, and the great Sufi thinker Ibn >Arabiµ. Notably, although located firmly within the Sunni tradition, the Wafaµ

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Islam


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. C


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. i-vi


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. vii-viii


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
p. xi

The research for this book has received financial support from the following institutions: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; the J. W. McConnell Foundation (Canada); and the Ministère de l’éducation nationale, de la recherche et de la technologie...

read more

Note on Transliteration

pdf iconDownload PDF
p. xiii

I have not italicized or transliterated Arabic words found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Arabic words considered technical terms, and perhaps familiar to the non-Arabic reader, have been transliterated...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-8

Today, any visitor to Cairo will certainly notice the huge mosque of Mu˙ammad 'Ali, perched above the ramparts of the Citadel on the eastern edge of the city. Not of great historical interest, the visitor might not spend much time at this nineteenth-century mosque before moving farther into...

read more

Chapter 1: Tirmidh, Ibn Arab, and Others on Sanctity

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 9-26

The earliest thinker to systematically address the subject of sanctity was al- Hakm al-Tirmidh(d. cir. 300/910).1 Of course he was not the only thinker to discuss saints and sainthood; two Iraqi contemporaries,...

read more

Chapter 2: The Early Shådhiliyya and Sanctity

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 27-47

As mentioned in the introduction, the Wafå’iyya order is a derivative of the Shådhiliyya order. In chapters 4 and 5 it will be seen in detail the ways by which Al• and Mu˙ammad Wafå’ carried on, or diverged from, Ab¥ al-Óasan al-Shådhil’s teachings on sainthood. The task of the...

read more

Chapter 3: The Wafå’iyya in Time and Space

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 49-62

Before moving to discuss the writings of Mu˙ammad and Al• Wafå’ we should first take up the essential outline of their lives and the wider context in which they lived. The Wafå’iyya is certainly an Egyptian order, but its origins are to be found within the currents of a much...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 63-70

read more

Chapter 4: The Writings of the Wafå’s

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 71-87

Before discussing the thought of Mu˙ammad and Al• Wafå’, we should take a closer look at their literary production. Since almost all of this material remains in manuscript form, something of a preliminary description seems in order. Beyond our immediate project, which is a better...

read more

Chapter 5: Sanctity and Mu˙ammad Wafå’

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 89-117

So far we have described the understanding of sainthood among the spiritual predecessors of the Wafå’iyya. These may be divided generally into two camps, that of Tirmidh• Ibn Arab•, and that of the early Shådhiliyya. In a summary way, we can point to Ibn Arab•’s concept...

read more

Chapter 6: Sanctity according to Al• Wafå’

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 119-155

The medieval Egyptian intellectual milieu in which the Wafå’s functioned has yet to be reconstructed in detail. As for Al• Wafå’ personally, it will be seen in the following discussion that he was well versed in mystical thought—from the early Shådhiliyya, the Akbarian school, and the classical...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 157-162

The goal of this study has been to explore the idea of sainthood as it developed within the mystical philosophy of Mu˙ammad and Al• Wafå’. For these two eighth/fourteenth-century Cairene sufis the idea...


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 163-217


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 219-237

Index to the Qur’an

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 239-240


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 241-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780791485477
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791460115
Print-ISBN-10: 0791460118

Page Count: 260
Illustrations: 6 b/w photographs, 1 map
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: SUNY series in Islam
Series Editor Byline: Seyyed Hossein Nasr See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 57566518
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Sanctity and Mysticism in Medieval Egypt

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Muslim saints -- Egypt -- History.
  • Ibn al-ʻArabī, 1165-1240.
  • Sufism -- Egypt -- History.
  • Wafā, Muḥammad, 1302 or 3-1363.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access