A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama : Listening and Altered by Kenneth S Avery

By Kenneth S Avery

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Additional info for A Psychology of Early Sufi Sama : Listening and Altered States (Routledgecurzon Sufi Series)

Sample text

S. 15–16: Abe xl-musayn al-Warraq (d. before 320/932) is reported to have said that the way to God is difficult for one who does not come upon it with overwhelming enthusiasm (wajd ) and passionate desire (shawq). S. 290/903) heard one of his companions censuring another for being overcome by wajd and showing his inner state in a gathering where there were opponents of samAW. Abe mamza told him to stop his scolding, for wajd obliterates distinctions, makes all places one, and all eyes one. One should not be censured for being overcome by wajd which is involuntary.

One reason for this prohibition is that the act of tearing garments is wasteful of precious cloth, yet if tearing yields pieces of cloth which can be used for mending other garments, then it is acceptable! The final rule relates to obtaining the assembly’s approval and consent for whatever activities are carried out, and also following the particular group’s customs. Ghazalc mentions, for example, that some groups remove all their turbans when a person goes into trance and loses their turban; others remove outer garments when someone tears their garment and it falls off.

520/1126) has left a valuable account of the conduct of a samAW ceremonial in his short treatise, BawAriq al-IlmAW (Gleams of Guidance). The section on AdAb in the ISyAX, however, though not attempting a detailed description, is just as significant for its incidental details. It throws light, for instance, on the practice of dancing and tearing one’s clothes during trance. This allows us indirectly to gain a better picture of such sessions. Ghazalc begins his discussion with an explanation of Junayd’s saying that ‘Listening requires three things .

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