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"Al-Ghazali of al-Andalus": Ibn Barrajan, Mahdism, and the Emergence of Learned Sufism on the Iberian Peninsula.

Although Ibn Barrajan (d. 536/1141) was one of the foremost Sufi masters in al-Andalus, he remains a controversial figure. He is mainly known for an accurate prediction of the Muslim capture of Jerusalem on 583/1187, for his close relationship with the other leading Andalusian Sufi master of his time. Ibn al-(Arif (d. 536/1141), and for his obscure death. Ibn Barra is not mentioned in Ibn Bashkuwal's Sila--the main source for study of the Andalusian ulema of this time--and as a result has been taken to be an outsider among the Andalusian ulema. one who threatened the theological and political establishment. However, this image is distorted by the socio-political context of the time and by the paucity of our references. The aim of this article is to shed light on the figure of Ihn Barra from a historical point of view so as to improve our understanding of the role played by Sufism in Mandist movements and in the political changes in the Islamic West during the sixth/twelfth century.


While preparing the introduction to a paper on Ibn Barrajan's prediction of the Muslim capture of Jerusalem in which I intended to summarize the biography of this Andalusian Sufi master from the Almoravid period, I could not help feeling that our historical view of him--as a rebellious Mandist leader who challenged the political authority of the Almoravids--was at odds with the quietist and pious Sufi that resonates in his works. The aim of this article is thus to reconsider the historical data we have about Ibn Barrajan (d. 536/1141), one of the foremost Sufis on the Iberian peninsula, whose volume and range of works ensured that he was known in an day already as "al-Ghazali of al-Andalus." Today, however, he remains a little-known, controversial figure whose writings have yet to be studied in depth.

Ibn Barrajan's life ran parallel to the Almoravid dominion over al-Andalus (1091-1145). He is mainly known for an accurate prediction of the Muslim capture of Jerusalem in 583/1187, for his close relationship with the other prominent Andalusian Sufi master of his time, Ibn (d. 536/1141), and for his obscure death after being summoned, along with Ibn al-(Arif, by the Almoravid sultan All b. Yihut* b. Tashufin (d. 537/1143), shortly before the revolt of the Muridan in the Algarve (539/1144) led by Ibn Qasi (d. 546/1151) and the ascent to power of the Almohads. Ibn Barra.* is referred to in a few sources as imam and it has been alleged that in some 130 villages the Friday sermons were read in his name rather than in that of the sultan. These textual references within the context of the revolt of the Muridun shortly after his death, along with his having been summoned by the sultan, his trial, imprisonment, and death, have sketched a picture of a political activist, a self-proclaimed imam, and a rebellious Mahdi who challenged the political and religious authority of his time and was eventually executed for this insubordination.

Ibn Barrajan's summons and death took place against a background of political, economic, and military crisis in al-Andalus caused by the Christian advance onto the peninsula and accentuating the decline of the Almoravids during the first half of the sixth/twelfth century. Due to Almoravid passivity in the face of the Christian threat, the Andalusian population sought the leadership of members of the judiciary, the fuqahti).

Since the fall of the Umayyads in 422/1031 and the political instability of the mulak al-tawiiI that followed, local power in Andalusian cities tended to concentrate around lineages of important families whose members in many cases inherited posts in the judiciary. These elites were mostly supported by the local population. At different times, and particularly during the crisis following the fall of the Almoravids (shortly after Ibn Barrajan's death), judges stepped into the power vacuum and ruled over local populations. Hence in order to understand the events that surrounded Ibn Barrajan's summons and imprisonment, we should bear in mind that the power structure in al-Andalus was not only linked to the Almoravid elite of governors and the military, but also to the power of the judiciary concentrated around local lineages with the endorsement of religious authority.

The aim of this article is to reconsider the historical data that we have about Ibn Barrajan in order to debunk the currently accepted view of him as a scholar on the margins and a rebellious political contender, since a careful reading of the sources shows this not to be the case. I propose that the events surrounding Ibn Barra* were a result of religious--not political--tensions brought about by the emergence of a class of learned Sufis whose increasing numbers of disciples were seen as a threat by the judiciary. With the spiritual and religious authority he had acquired, Ibn Barrajan came to personify in the Islamic West of his day an equivalent role to that of al-Ghazali in the Islamic East. These tensions resulted in Ibn Barrajan's being tried for and found guilty of bicl'a; as a mubtadi' he was omitted from the most important biographical work of his day, Ibn Bashkuwal's al-Pa, which erroneously fostered the impression that he was a minor scholar, leading to a mistaken reputation to this very day.


The treatment of Ibn Barrajan in historiographical sources has changed over time, which has caused considerable confusion regarding his role in history. The source that is chronologically closest to his lifetime--the biographical dictionary al-571a (the main source for our knowledge of the Andalusian ulema of this period)--is silent about him. Its author, Ibn Bashkuwal (d. 578/1183), was in his late thirties at the time of Ibn Barrajdn's death and although he wrote his biographical dictionary under both the Almoravids and the Almohads, he makes no reference to Ibn Barrajan. There is no evidence that Ibn Bashkuwill had a negative view of Sufism as such; among many other indications of his (generally speaking) favorable attitude, he included an entry on Ibn al-(Aiif praising his piety. Ibn Bashkuwal's silence regarding Ibn Barrajan has led some scholars to suggest that Ibn Barrajan was such a minor scholar in al-Andalus that he did not deserve mention in the most complete biographical dictionary of his time.

In the seventh century A.H., the picture of Ibn Barrajan in historiographical sources begins to change, once the prediction of the Muslim capture of Jerusalem was fulfilled. During this period 1bn Barrajan's reputation and those of others who suffered under the Almoravids were restored by the Almohads, who tended to support Sufis even though they did not entirely trust them: and the sources of this period are generally sympathetic toward Ibn Barrajan and Sufism. Even though these historiographical sources are among those closest to Ibn Barrajdn's time, none describes him as an imam in a political sense or as a contender for political authority, and none indicates a violent death or execution, although mention is made that he was summoned, judged, and imprisoned on allegedly religious grounds. The reason given for his having been summoned was the fugahe's growing envy of Ibn al-sArif. These sources include biographical dictionaries by al-Tddili, Ibn al-Abbdr, Ibn al-Zubayr, and Ibn (Abd al-Malik al-MaiTakushi. There are notices of Ibn Barrajdn in other biographical dictionaries of this period, but most rely on Ibn al-Abbar.

The first mention of Ibn Barrajdn in a biographical dictionary in this period was by Yfisuf (d. 627 or 628/1229 or 1230) in al-Tashawwuf iia rijal al-tayawwuf writ- ten ca. 617/1220, (2) some eighty years after Ibn Barrajdn's death and some fifty years after Ibn Bashkuwal completed in 564/1169. Al-Tashawwuf is a biographical dictionary devoted to Maghribi Sufi masters of the fifth and sixth centuries A.H., and is thus sympathetic to Sufism. Al-Tddili does not include an entry on Ibn Barrajdn himself, but he mentions Ibn Barrajdn's burial in the biographical notice of the Moroccan Sufi master Ibn Hirzihim (d. 559/1164), who played an important role in the events subsequent to Ibn Barrajdn's death.

The first biographical notice completely devoted to Ibn Barrajan is found in Ibn al-Abbar's (d. 658/1260) Takmila a work begun in 631/1233, one century after Ibn Barrajdn's death. (3) This is a classic biography in the Islamic tradition, with plain references to teachers, students, and works. There is no reference to the events surrounding Ibn Barrajdn's death or to any political interest of his. Later biographical dictionaries quote from this biography extensively. Ibn al-Abbar supplies additional information about Ibn Barrajdn in the biographies of some of his students and disciples. In particular, Ibn al-Abbdr's biography of Ibn al-cArif--in his dictionary of Abu 'Ali al-Sadafi's students (4)--provides some explanation regarding the summoning of Ibn Barrajan and Ibn al-Arif to Marrakesh.

This second period is completed with biographies by Ibn al-Zubayr (d. 708/1308) (5) and Ibn 'Ali al-Malik al-Marrakushi (d. 703/1303), although the latter is only extant through Ibn Hajar al-Asqaldni's Lisan a1-mizan. (6) Ibn al-Zubayr is extremely sympathetic to Ibn Barrajdn. However, his biography is mostly drawn from reading Ibn Barrajdn's works and provides little additional information. Ibn 'Ali al-Malik al-Marrdkushi provides an account of Ibn Barrajan's summons, trial, death, and burial, but no reference is made to his being a contender for political authority.

The perception of Ibn Barrajan begins to change in the seventh century A.H., with Ihn Taymiyya's (d. 728/1328) polemics against the watidat al-wujad strand of Sufism. Ibn Tay-miyya raised some concerns about Ibn Barrajan by linking him to supporters of the doctrine in which God is both transcendent and immanent, such as Abi Talib al-Malcki (d. 386/996) and the alleged Salimiyya. Even though Ibn Taymiyya's opinion of Ibn Barrajan was not entirely negative, these concerns were later voiced by other scholars, such as al-(Allama b. Mahdi al-Maqbali (d. 1108/1696), and underlie the current negative view of Ibn Barrajan. Ibn Taymiyya's student al-Dhahabi (d. 748/1348) also belongs to this period: he states that Ibn Barrajan and Ibn al-(Arif were summoned and imprisoned because 'Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin feared that, like Ibn Taman of the Almohads (d. 524/1130), they were rebelling against him. (7) To my knowledge this is the first statement to the effect that Ibn Barrajan was imprisoned--not only summoned--for political rather than religious reasons.

The last period begins in the tenth century A.H. with al-Shdrani (d. 973/1565). Aiming to extol the Sufis in opposition to the jurists, al-Shacrani states that Ibn Barrajan was considered an imam by the people; arousing envy as a result, Ibn Barrajan was brought before the sultan and killed. (8) This statement is the basis of the later scholarly view of Ibn Barrajan. The Spanish scholar Miguel Asfn Palacios (d. 1944) understood al-ShdrEini as saying that Ibn Barrajan was imam in 130 villages. (9) Later, the Jesuit scholar Paul Nwyia (d. 1985) reinforced this view of Ibn Barra.* as an imam seeking political power--in his edition of the correspondence between Ibn al-cArif and Ibn Barrajan, he interpreted the expression "my imam" addressed by Ibn al-(Arif to Ibn Barrajan in the light of AsIn Palacios's reading of al-Shdrani. (10) This view has now been qualified by scholars such as Denis Gril, who believes that Ibn Barrajdn's imamate should be understood only in a spiritual sense. (11)

Thus, the narrative we have of Ibn Barrajan is rather puzzling. He is regarded as a minor scholar, yet during his lifetime he was known as "al-Ghazali of al-Andalus"; he is seen as a rebellious Mandist imam, yet his closest disciple who addressed him as imami is respectful of established authority. A clarification of Ibn Barrajan's place in history is much needed in order to understand the role of Sufism in Mandist movements at the end of the Almoravid period, as well as to widen our knowledge of the development of intellectual Sufism in al-Andalus up to Ibn aPArabi. In this regard it is important to ascertain whether Ibn Barrajari was indeed a minor scholar and whether he sought political power and was executed as a result. To address the first of these questions, I will examine the information in biographical dictionaries in order to obtain a clearer image of him, and for the second I will try to establish a less contradictory narrative about his trial and death than the one we have at present.


Abu 1-Hakam 'Abd al-Salam b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Rijal Muhammad b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-Lalchmi al-Ishbil1, (12) known as Ibn Barrajan and considered during his lifetime to be "al-Ghazdri of al-Andalus," (13) was one of the foremost Sufis of al-Andalus. According to his nisba, he lived most of his life in Seville. The biographical dictionaries provide no date of birth, but we can assume that he was born shortly before or around 450/1058 and therefore lived until his mid-eighties. The presumed date of birth is based on the fact that the only teacher of his of whom we have records, Abd 'Abd Allah b. Manzur, (14) with whom he studied Sahih al-Bukhari, died in Shawwdl 469/May 1077. (15) In addition, the biographical dictionaries do not mention his longevity, which usually means that the person in question did not reach ninety years of age. He was a contemporary of Ibn Maaptir's youngest students, such as ANTI Muhammad Abd Allah b. Yarbd' (d. 522/1128), (16) Abd Bala- Muhammad al-'Amiri (d. 532/1138). (17) Abu 1-Hasan Yunus b. Mughith (d. 532/1138), (18) and the very youngest, Abu 1-Hasan Shurayb al-Rucayni (d. 539/1144). (19) Indeed, Ibn Barrajan's age is an important factor for understanding the events that surrounded his death.

According to Ibn al-Abbar, (20) Ibn Barrajan's family was from Ifriqiya. His grandfather, Ab0 Rip Muhammad b. cAbd al-Rabman, moved to Seville during the reign of the second 'Abbalid king (Abbad al-Muctaclid (r. 433-461/1042-1069). Ibn Barrajan himself is described as belonging to the people of Seville although his origins were in Ifriqiya (wa-a, sluhu min Ifriqiya); this can mean that either he was born in Ifriqiya or that his family moved from there shortly before his birth. Ibn Barrajdn's family may have emigrated to al-Andalus during a time of hardship in Ifriqiya known as fitnat al-(arab. (21) In 440/1048, al-Mucizz Ibn Bad-is, the Zirid ruler and vassal to the Fatimids, gave up the alliance with the Fatimids and recognized the (Abbasids, thus establishing Sunni Islam as the official variant in the region. In response, the Fatimids supported the invasion of Ifriqiya by Arab tribes four years later, which devastated the region's agriculture and culminated with the destruction of Kairouan in 449/1057.

Ibn Barrajan preferred to live apart from people and fame, (22) and chose to reside outside Seville. According to Ibn al-AbbAr's entry on Ibn Barrajdn's student Ibn (d. 574/1178-9), (23) Ibn Barrajan lived--at least during the last part of his life when Ibn al-Malaqi visited him--in a village (qarya) in the district (iqlim) of al-Sharaf (Aljarafe), (24) to the west of Seville in the direction of Tilyata (25) (present-day Tejada) in the district of al-Basal. This description corresponds to the modern-day village of Albaida de Aljarafe or Olivares, west of Seville.

Ibn al-Abbar describes 1bn Barrajan as "knowing the Qur'anic readings and ljadith, thoroughly versed in the science of theology (kalam) and Sufism, practicing (mda) asceticism, and striving in worship." According to Ibn al-Zubayr, "he was one of the most excellent men of the Maghrib, imam in the science of theology (kalam), in the Arabic language and literature, knower ((aril) of the Queanic esoteric commentary (talwil) as well as the exoteric (tafrir), an excellent, skilled, and penetrating grammarian, imam in whatever he mentioned without peer. He also had knowledge of arithmetic and geometry, and so forth. From any science, he chose a selection and freely applied it to Sufism and esoteric science ((am al-balin)." (26)

Ibn Barrajan has three extant works:

1. Tafsfr Ibn Barrajan, which is known and usually catalogued as Kitab al-Irshad or al-Irshad ft tafsir al-Qur'an. (27) Ibn Barraj s famous prediction of the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims in 583/1187 is found in the commentary to the beginning of cd-Ram. (28) Because of this prediction, his tafsir came to be considered as being based mainly upon the science of letters ('ilm al-ljuraf) or astrology (tanjim) and he himself therefore as a hermetic batini.

2.A second Queanic commentary, Idal. al-Itikma, which is frequently confused with the previous tafsir. (29) In the commentary of the initial verses of al-Ram, Ibn Barrajan states that he has treated their content previously, which may mean that 1da13. al-Ijikma was written after the aforementioned tafsir. Mutiyi 1-Din b. al-'Arabi refers to this commentary; (30) however, on at least one occasion he refers to Idaly al-lyikma when in fact he means Tafsir Ibn Barrajan, (31) so he may be confusing the two.

3. Sharti asma' Allah al-ljusna, in which Ibn Barrajan cites his Kitab al-Irshad at least three times. (32)

There are references to other works ascribed to Ibn Barrajan. Carl Brockelmann reports a Tanbih a1-412am ila tadabbur al-ki tab wa-l-tdarruf l-ayat wa-l-naba' al-caim, (33) which is another version of Tafsir Ibn Barrajan, (34) and Ibn al-Zubayr mentions a Kitab al-Irshad in which Ibn Barrajan tries to demonstrate the concurrence between Qur'anic verses and Prophetic traditions drawn from Muslim. (35) This latter work as described does not appear to have survived.

As noted above, Ibn Barrajan cites a Kitab al-Irshad in his Shari) asma' Allah al-ljusna. Since he states in his introduction to Tafsir Ibn Barrajan that it was composed after his commentary on the names of God, (36) Kitab al-Irshad and the Tafsir seem indeed to be different works. This is corroborated by a marginal annotation in a copy of the Tafsir noting the order of composition of his works: Kitab al-Irshad is first, followed by Sharll Asma' Allah al-ljusna, followed by the Tqfsir. (37) Idati al-trikma may thus be his last work, as a follow-up to his first tafsir.

Finally, in addition to these works there is a reference to a work entitled (ilyn al-yaqin. The reference is found in al-'Alam al-shamikh ft ithar al-ljaqq 'ala 1-aba' wa-l-masha'ikh by the Yemeni scholar Salih b. Mahdi al-Maqbali, (38) who reprints a fatwa by Ibn Khaldiin (d. 808/1406) in which this work by Ibn Barrajan, among others, is condemned to fire. This same fatwa without mention of Ibn Barrajan's 'Ayn al-yaqin, however, is also found in earlier authors such as Burhan al-Din Ibrahim (d. 885/1480). (39) Hence, this reference may be a later addition by al-Maqbali himself or by a copyist after Ibn Khaldirm. Be that as it may, since the other works mentioned in the fatwa are among the most important written by their authors, (40) 'Ayn al-yaqin may refer, if not a misattribution, (41) to one of the most important works by Ibn Barrajan.


The fact that Ibn Bashkuwal did not include Ibn Barrajan in his biographical dictionary--or even mention him--has fostered the impression among scholars and researchers that Ibn Barrajan did not belong among the religious scholars of his time, or even that he was a parvenu in the Andalusian tradition of religious scholars because of his North African origins, (42) in short, that he was an isolated and minor figure. Ibn Banajan did choose to live a discreet fife, keeping his distance from the pageantry of the class of religious scholars of his time and shunning celebrity and fame, but does this quiet lifestyle equate with not taking part in the system of transmission of religious knowledge of his time?

Ibn Bashkuwal's biographical dictionary, al-'Ala, is the main source for our knowledge of the ulema of his time and was extensively quoted by later biographical dictionaries; thus we know this period mainly through Ibn Bashkuwal's eyes. The fact that he omits Ibn Barrajan can be seen either as the consequence of the latter's outsider status or as a deliberate attempt to ignore him. Let us consider the possibility that he was an isolated and minor figure.

We have very little information on Ibn Barrajdn's life, but we can posit from the wide range of sciences in which he was skilled that he must have studied with a considerable number of teachers, probably in different Andalusian cities. (43) Only one of his teachers is known to us, however: Ibn Manziir, mentioned above, who belonged to the important Banu Man4ir family of scholars and qiidis initially based in Seville. (44) On a ritda to the East he studied with the Mliki Ash'ari scholar Abil Dharr al-Harawi (d. 430/1038). (45) Being an Ash(ari, Abu Dharr al-Harawi probably supported what may have appeared to religious scholars in al-Andalus as rationalist positions. (46) Through Ibn Manzur, Ibn Barrajan may have known of views based on the science of myrd al-din, which were innovative in the very conservative milieu of Andalusian fuqaha'. (47)

Even though Ibn Manz lir had few students, those he had were the most important scholars and religious authorities of his time in Seville and Cordoba. (48) In addition, he was important enough to attract students from Cordoba in a period in which Seville was not yet an important scholarly center. Three of Ibn Mangir's youngest students--Yibius b. Mughith, (Abd Alla b. Yarbil', and Shuray1:1 al-Rucayni--shared a similar pattern in terms of their teachers. On the basis of this pattern, Ibn Barrajdn's possible teachers were the renowned traditionists AbU 'Ali al-Ghassh.'ni al-Jayydni (d. 498/1105) (49) and cAbd al-Malik b. Siraj (d. 489/1096), (50) both from Cordoba, and 'Abd Alla b. IChazraj al-Lakhmi (d. 478/1086) (51) from Seville, since he was proficient in the disciplines they taught. It is less likely that the traditionist Abu 1-Qasim ljatim b. Muliammad (d. 469/1077) (52) from Cordoba was. Obviously Ibn Barrajdn's three co-students had many more teachers, but no more coincidences are reported.

As for those who influenced him on the Sufi path, we find similarities with Ibn Masarra (d. 319/931) (53)--for instance, the equivalent concept of symbolic transposition (i'tibiir), which plays a key role in their hermeneutics (54)--so his influence can be presumed. Ebn al-cArabi usually cites Ibn Masarra together with Sahl al-Tustari (d. 283/896) (55) when discussing the concept of al-haqq al-makhlaq bihi al-khalq, which was first used by Ibn Barrajan and which, according to Ibn al-cArabl, mirrors Sahl al-Tustari's concept of cadl (justice'). (56) In fact, if we disregard the category of traditionists, Sahl al-Tustari is one of only two later authorities who are quoted by name in Ibn Barraj5n's Shari Asma) Allah al-husna--the other being 12.5.bica al-cAdawiyya (d. 185/801). (57) In addition, the tianbali Ibn Taymiyya emphasizes Abii Talib al-Makki's (d. 386/996) influence upon Ibn Barrajan, although this may only be based on his personal impression obtained by reading their works. (58) AbQ Ida al-Makki was a disciple of the Sufi traditionist Abu Said b. al-Arabi (d. 341/952-3), who played an important role in the development of Sufism in al-Andalus. (59) In short, in spite of the paucity of references, the later authors seem to have considered Ibn Barrajan as being indirectly related in different ways to Sahl al-Tustari and his followers.

Ibn Barrajan was both a Sufi master and a teacher of religious sciences. Although biographical dictionaries, and particularly Ibn al-Abbar's Takmila, mention some of his students, it cannot be determined whether they were also his disciples, of whom we know mainly from the reports of the events surrounding his death and from Ibn al-Arif's correspondence. According to Ibn al-Zubayr, his students were among the most exalted and noble people of his time. (60) Some of his students were particularly important as, for instance, the renowned traditionist and Sufi of the sixth/twelfth century cAbd al-klaqq al-Azdi al-Ishbili, known as Ibn al-Kharrat (d. 581/1185). (61) The prominence of teachers of other students, such as the traditionist and historian Abal-Qasim al-Qantari (d. 561/1166) from Silves (62) and the Maliki .faqih Abu Abd Allah Mutiammad b. Khalil al-Qaysi (d. 570/1174) from Niebla, (63) testifies to Ibn Barrajan's being among the main teachers of his time. Ibn Khalil al-Qaysi is described as long-lived (mu'ammar, i.e., probably at least ninety). Since he was Ibn Barrajan's student and transmitted his works, it is likely that this is the Ibn Khalil from Niebla whom Ibn al-Arabi refers to as one of the greatest masters in the Maghrib and the master of Ibn Qasi, under whose guidance Ibn Qasi obtained his unveilings (kashf). (64) In addition to these students, the wealthy faqili and preacher (Abd Allah b. al-Malaqi (d. 574/1178-9) from Malaga is also known to us as Ibn Barrajdn's student. (65)

Ibn Barrajan was the Sufi master of probably the two foremost mystics of their time in al-Andalus (66) Abri 1-cAbbd.s Ahmad b. al-cArif (67) and Abil 1-Hasan Ali b. Khalaf b. GMlib (d. 568/1173). (68)

Ibn al-cArif (d. 536/1141), who was born in Ceuta though his family moved to Almeria where he lived most of his life, is well known for his Maljasin al-majalis (69) in which he described the stations on the spiritual path, recasting and expanding al-AnWi's Manazil al-sayrin. (70) Although Asir' Palacios considered Ibn al-cArif to be Ibn Barrajdn's Sufi master, Paul Nwyia inverted this relationship in his edition of letters from Ibn al-cArif to Ibn Barrajdn since Ibn al-(Arif addressed Ibn Barrajdn with shaykhi (lily master') and imami ('my imam') It can be argued that the use of such terms is merely a sign of respect and does not imply a master-disciple relationship, in which case Ibn al-(Arif might be expected to address other people in the correspondence collected by his disciple Aba Bala cAtiq b. Mu'min (d. 548/1156) in similar terms, but this is not so. In fact, the way in which Ibn al-cArif addresses Ibn Barrajan is exceptional, and he takes great care with the terms he uses as signs of respect in every situation. Moreover, Ibn Mu'min has arranged Ibn al-cArif's correspondence according to a clear pattern of closeness and importance, beginning with his letters to Ibn Barrajdn--the only one he addresses as his shaykh and imam--followed by his close friend, disciple, or even co-disciple Abii 1-Hasan (Ali b. Khalaf b. Ghdlib, his other disciples or co-disciples, and ending with people with whom he has no particular spiritual ties, such as Ibn Qasi and Ibn Mundhir. The last set of letters is addressed to Ibn Mu'min, his disciple: as a sign of humility from the editor it diverges from the aforementioned pattern. The pattern evinces the spiritual link between Ibn al-cArif and Ibn Barrajan, whose relationship is also clear from Ibn al-Abbdr's MVjam, which underlines Ibn Barrajdn's preeminence (shufq) over Ibn al-(Arif. (72)

Ibn al-(Arif belonged to a class of learned Sufis (73) who were proficient traditionists, among whom his master, Ibn Barrajan, also belonged. He was raised in a context that was fully acquainted with al-Ghazdli's views. (74) Ibn al-cArif studied with al-Sadafi and, according to Ibn Bashkuwal, with a group of his own teachers, which probably includes some or all of Ibn Manzur students, to which group Abi.1 Bala b. al-Arabi may be added. Ibn Bashkuwal spoke highly of his piety and asceticism and indicated that they had exchanged written permissions to transmit their works, which included his ,.S1la, on Ibn al-Arif's initiative. Ibn al-Arif became famous and was an influential figure who attracted a large number of disciples in the Sufi path from all over al-Andalus.

Ibn Barrajan's other disciple. Abu 1-Hasan b. Khalaf b. Ghalib from Silves, was also one of Ibn al-Arif's most beloved disciples in the Sufi path, although they were almost the same age. He was a Sufi and a traditionist who spent some time with Ibn Barrajan before moving to northern Morocco. In Fez he was the teacher of Abu Madyan, to whom he transmitted the Sunan of al-Tirmidhi (75) he finally settled in Ketama, the present-day Ksar el Kebir, in northern Morocco. Ibn Ghdlib probably played an important role in the transmission of Ibn Barrajan's works to Abu Madyan and his school in addition to Ibn al-Kharrat, who was a student of both Ibn Ghalib and Ibn Barrajan. It is said that Ibn Ghalib reached the degree of watad in the spiritual Sufi hierarchy.(76)

In addition to his direct disciples, Ibn Barrajan, along with Ibn al-Arif, had a wide spiritual authority over the Sufi circles of northern Morocco, enjoying high respect and esteem. This is shown in episodes reported in the biographies of two of AN Madyan's masters.(77)

In short, Ibn Barrajan was an important figure for a number of reasons: the depth and thorough scholarship of his works; the high esteem in which his only known teacher was held; his companions, who were among the most learned men in Cordoba and Seville; and his students and disciples, who were among the most famous hadith scholars and Sufis of their time. Even though his absence in Ibn Bashkuwal's biographical dictionary may suggest that he was not well known, he was by no means a minor figure in the scholarly circles of his time, especially in light of his being considered "al-Ghazali of al-Andalus."


Some authors have regarded Ibn Barrajan as a "political activist,"(78) a valuable member of the revolt of the Muridun (79) and Mandist rebellious movements. As noted above, he was said to have been imam in 130 villages and it was because of this that he was summoned by the sultan in Marrakesh and executed for his rebellious activities. (80) However, some scholars have doubted any involvement in politics on his part.(81) As for the evidence in favor of his being a political activist, there is his summons in 536/1141 from the Almoravid sultan 'Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin in Marrakesh, along with Ibn al-Arif and Abu Bala al-Mayurqi, and his death shortly afterwards, raising the possibility that he was executed. Second, Ibn Barrajan's imprisonment and death took place in a context of social turmoil; indeed, Ibn Qasi's revolt against the Almoravid ruling power broke out in the Algarve shortly after Ibn Barrajan's death. Ibn Qasi considered himself a Sufi and met Ibn al-Arif, and can therefore be linked, indirectly at least, to Ibn Barrajan. This allows for the possibility that Ibn Barrajan was a Sufi activist and an inspirer of the revolts that broke out after his death. Finally, some later sources, such as al-Sha rani, present him as an imam with considerable authority. In addition, Ibn al-Arif addresses Ibn Barrajan as his imam, which some authors have interpreted as an indication of political authority.(82)

Was it likely that he was involved in Mahdist movements or had any doctrine regarding the coming of the Mahdi? The correspondence between Ibn al-Arif and Ibn Qasi makes clear that Ibn Qasi was not a disciple of Ibn al-Arif, and it has been shown that Ibn Qasi's views were already established before the beginning of their correspondence.(83) In addition, the style of their correspondence does not resemble that between a master and a disciple, so no mastery of Ibn al-cArif over Ibn Qasi can be presumed. (84) There is also a letter from Ibn al-Arif to Ibn Mundhir--Ibn Qasi's disciple and lieutenant in the revolt of the Muridun--in which Ibn al-Arif strongly discourages any attempt at rebellion against the established ruling power while awaiting the advent of a MahdL (85) In general, then. Ibn al-Arif seems to have exerted little if any influence over Ibn Qasi, and is most unlikely to have inspired or participated in the revolt of the Muridun. In view of his spiritual links with Ibn Ibn Barrajan's position regarding the revolt of the Muridan was probably the same as that of his disciple.

As for whether Ibn Barrajan had any doctrine regarding the coming of the Mahdi,86 there is an illuminating allusion to the Mahdi in his famous prediction of the capture of Jerusalem by Muslims, found in Tafsir Ibn Barrajan. (87) Ibn Barrajan devises a process of alternate victories of Muslims and Christians (ram) over the centuries in order to gain control of the region of Jerusalem. This process will come to an end with the final victory of the Muslims over the Christians, which victory will be led by the Mahdi, to whom he also refers as the Just Imam (al-imam al-adl. The coming of the Mahdi must thus fulfill certain cyclical conditions that were to be met in 583/1187, sixty-one years after Ibn Barrajan wrote his prediction in 522/1128. This does not mean that Ibn Barrajan openly stated that the Mahdi will appear in 583/1187, but he considered it to be perfectly probable. Thus, though Ibn Barrajan had Mandist doctrines, he expected the Mahdi not in his own time but some sixty years later. Moreover, his Mahdism, at least as it appears in this text, was focused on the Christian advance on Jerusalem and might have been motivated by the ongoing pressure from Christians on the Iberian peninsula rather than on reform of the Islamic community. He would have dismissed contemporary Mahdist movements, such as those of Ibn Qasi and the Almohads, as idle.

Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that the famous discussion between Ibn al-Arabi and his master Abu 1-Abbas al-Uryabi about the identity of the person whose appearance was foretold by the Prophet (i.e., the Mahdi), which led to Ibn al-Arabi's. first encounter with Khidr must have taken place shortly before 583/1187.(88) Ibn al-Arabi was around twenty years old when he met Abu 1-Abbas--that is, ca. 580/1185--and he states that this discussion took place at the beginning of their relationship.89 This confirms the concerns that arose shortly before the year 583/1187, and hence is clearly linked with Ibn Barrajan's prediction of the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and the possible appearance of the Mahdi in that year."

A second point is the description of Ibn Barrajan as an imam. This term is extensively used in contemporary texts, such as Ibn Bashkuwal's al-Sila, to refer to the most learned person in a particular science, the man whom others should follow. In the textual sources in which Ibn Barrajan is addressed as imam there are two contexts that allow for a political meaning: when Ibn al-Arif addresses him with this term in a personal letter and when al-Sharani notes that he was followed as imam. Let us consider both.

According to some, Ibn al-Arif addressed Ibn Barrajan by letter as the -Supreme Guide of those who lead souls to the ways of salvation [and] the imam who possesses the benediction of Muhammad as his legitimate representative." (91) However, this address is Nwyia's interpretation and should not be quoted as Ibn al-Arif's words. (92) Nwyia based his interpretation on one of Ibn al-Atif's letters to Ibn Barrajan that he found in a manuscript belonging to Si Ben Souda. This same letter is included in Ibn al-Arif's Miftah al-sa ada.(93)

The gist and intention of this letter is fully spiritual, since it deals with the perplexity caused in Ibn al-Arif by souls inebriated by the love of the world, overcome by passions, and with hardened hearts blind to the contemplation of the hereafter: the expressions that have given rise to a political interpretation are peripheral to the gist of the letter and are placed in the complimentary sections. Therefore, a worldly political interpretation of the ways in which Ibn alArif addresses Ibn Barrapn in the complimentary sections seems to clash with the otherworldly spiritual topic of the letter.

Nwyia's understanding of Ibn BarrajZin as "supreme guide" in a political sense is mainly based on the word imam and the expression mutaqaddimi tastiman appearing in the complimentary sections of this letter. As to this latter expression, Nwyia renders it (or a similar one, since there may be differences between the manuscripts) as "le Guide a qui je tdmoigne soumission de foi," while I translate it as "the one preceding me in surrender."

There is room for different interpretations of the expression mutaqaddimi tasliman, but Nwyia's seems to me unlikely. Be that as it may, if--following Nwyia--this expression means that Ibn al-(Arif asserts his surrender to Ibn Barra*, in the context of Sufism this is more likely to be an expression of Ibn al-Arif's fully spiritual allegiance (bay a) to Ibn Barrajan without any need to look for political connotations.

Nwyia's interpretation of this letter is deeply rooted in his preconception of what the term imam meant to Ibn al-Arif Although Nwyia reverses Asin Palacios's vision of the relationship between Ibn Barrajan and Ibn al-Arif, he is still deeply influenced by Asin's interpretation of al-Sha rani's reference. (94) Thus the key point is to ascertain how Ibn al-Arif understood the term imam.

I believe the idea that Ibn al-Arif understood imam in a political sense can be dismissed, as this would contradict his general approach to political authority. In addition to his explicit disapproval of rebellion against the established ruling power, his position towards the ruling authority, which he considers appointed by God, is one of respect, as evidenced in Miftah al-sa eda. (95)

If we rule out a political interpretation for Ibn al-Arif's use of the term imam when he addresses Ibn Barrajan, how then does he use it? In one of his letters he lists the causes for committing reproachable errors regarding the law and sciences. One of these causes is arbitrariness (istibdad), which he understands as "reliance on oneself before attaining the degree of imamate (darajat al-imama) in knowledge (ilm) or practice (amal)": the imam is thus one who has attained sufficient competence to be able to rely on his own judgment. (96) Since what defines an imam is his competence to rely on his own judgment, nothing prevents the existence of multiple imams at any particular time and place. In another letter Ibn al-Arif equates the imamate (imam) to teaching (talim).(97) In his interpretation of the final part of Q 3:79--"Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching (tuallimuna) of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof" (Pickthall)--he notes that tu'allimuna can also be read as form I (talamuna) 'you know', and points out that both teaching and knowing have precedence over studying from books alone, as studying comes after teaching (and knowing) in this verse. He then equates teaching to the imamate and contrasts the duo of sage (Wirtz) and imam--i.e., the one who teaches--to those who learn only from books. The reference to Ibn Barrajan as Ibn al-Arif's imam might therefore be understood in this sense, of one who has attained sufficient competence in matters dealing with knowledge or religious and spiritual practice so as to be able to teach and interpret the sources of the tradition based on his sound judgment and knowledge. In support of this, there is to my knowledge no reference in Ibn al-Arirs works to the use of the term imam in a political sense or even as a spiritual guide in the sense understood in Shi ism. In fact, when Ibn al-Arif refers to a political contender, he uses the term mahdi, as in his letter to Ibn Mundhir.

Ibn Barrajan is also addressed as imam in al-Sha rani's al-Tabaqat al-kubra, and this time it may involve a political sense. Al-Tabaqat al-kubra is a late source with a distinct hagio-graphical and apologetic purpose, a defense of the great figures in Sufism against the ulema. From a historical point of view, al-Sha rani's work is barely reliable. When al-Sha rani enumerates jurists' attacks on Sufis in his introduction, he links Ibn Barrajan with Ibn Qasi and states that both were recognized as imams. The text is as follows:

  They [who deny the exalted spiritual rank of the saints (awliya)]
  killed Imam Abu I-Qasim b. Qasi, Ibn Barrajan, al-Khawli, (98) and
  al-Marjani (99) for being considered imams by the people and being
  imitated to the point that envy of them grew. So they bore witness
  that they were infidels, although they did not kill them. Instead
  they acted against them with a stratagem (hila) by telling the
  sultan that in some 130 villages (bilad) the sermons of the Friday
  prayers were performed in Ibn Barrajan's name. So he was sent
   [to the sultan] to be killed; and his entire group was
  killed. (100)

The Tabaqat al-kubra does not actually suggest that Ibn Barrajan was recognized as imam in 130 villages; the assertion that the Friday sermons were performed in his name in some 130 villages was a machination or a trick (hila) of the jurists, and should not be taken as a representation of the truth. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that the sultan would have been unaware of the fact that so many villages were not performing the Friday prayers in his name; this would have been considered a revolt, and it would have been recorded in detail in later sources. In addition, there are some striking historical inaccuracies: for instance, Ibn Qasi was not executed by the ruling power but by his followers. Overall, the general impression is that al-Sharani is confusing the summons of Ibn Barrajan to Marrakesh with the revolt of the Muridun led by Ibn Qasi in an account of the events aimed to extol the Sufis. In any case, al-Sharani's text does not provide grounds for the claim that Ibn Barrajan was recognized as an imam in 130 villages.

Ibn Barrajan was indeed held in high esteem in Sufi circles, as was Ibn al-Arif, as we have seen from the anecdotes of Abu Madyan's masters. However, other than al-Sharani, none of the textual sources alludes to Ibn Barrajan having a large or growing number of followers, unlike Ibn al-Arif, (101) although the relationship between the two is well established. This may suggest that Ibn al-Arif played a more public role as spiritual master and counselor than Ibn Barrajan, who remained in a more closed inner circle, which would square with Ibn al-Zubayr's reference to Ibn Barrajan's reserved character. In short, there is not enough textual basis to assert that Ibn Barrajan was widely regarded and followed as an imam, even in the spiritual sense, or that he led a wide socio-political movement despite his fame in Sufi circles. Nevertheless, he exerted an important spiritual authority over a number of people, such as 1bn al-Arif, who in turn exerted spiritual authority over an increasing number of followers.

The final reason for concluding that Ibn Barrajan was not a political activist is his age. He was in his mid-eighties when he was summoned to the sultan, which makes him an unlikely active rebel or contender for any kind of political authority.


At the end of 535 or the beginning of 536/1141, the Almoravid sultan Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin summoned Ibn Barrajan from Seville, Ibn al-Arif from Almeria, and Abu Bakr al-Mayurqi from Granada (102) to his presence in Marrakesh. According to al-Tadili, the qadi Ibn Aswad (d. 536/1142) (103) in Almeria discredited Ibn al-Arif before the sultan and made him so fearful of Ibn al-Arif that he summoned him with Ibn Barrajan and al-Mayurqi. (104) Al-Tadili notes that Ibn Aswad ordered 1bn al-Arif to be placed in fetters during the sea crossing to Ceuta. There a messenger from the sultan gave him a safe-conduct, freed him, and escorted him to Marrakesh, where the sultan honored him and allowed him to go back to Almeria. He died on his way home, some say from illness, while others--according to al-Tadili, but dismissed by Ibn al-Abbar--say he was poisoned by Ibn Aswad. In addition, al-Tadili states that when the sultan heard that Ibn al-Arif had been poisoned by Ibn Aswad, he ordered that Ibn Aswad be poisoned in return. Whatever the case, Ibn Aswad died the same year.

There are also two different versions regarding al-Mayurqi. According to Ibn al-Abbar, when he was about to be summoned to Marrakesh, he escaped to Bejaya;(105) according to Ibn al-Khatib, he was summoned to Marrakesh where he was questioned and condemned to be whipped and imprisoned; upon his release, he first went back to al-Andalus and then to Alge-ria.(106) He died shortly afterwards, in 537/1143.

As for Ibn Barrajan, there are two detailed accounts of these events. One is found in al-Tadili's biographical entry on Ibn Hirzihim, which is the closest source to the events:

  When Abu I-Hakam b. Barrajan was summoned from Cordoba to His
  Excellency [the sultan] in Marrakesh, he was questioned about
  some matters for which he had been rebuked (ibat alayhi). He
  answered based on what was supported by interpretation of the
  sacred sources (tawil) and thus distanced himself from the
  criticism he was forced to answer. Abu l-Hakam said: "By God,
  I am not going to live, nor is the one who has summoned me--that
  is, the sultan--going to live for long after my death." Abu
  I-Hakan died and the sultan ordered [his corpse] to be thrown
  onto the dump without funeral prayers, mitating in this what the
  jurists (fuqaha) had said.

  A black man, who was in Ibn Hirzihim's service and who attended
  his meetings, went to Ibn Hirzihim's house and reported to Abu
  l-Hasan [b. Hirzihim] what the sultan had ordered regarding Abu
  l-Hakam [b. Barrajan]. Abu 1-Hasan told him: "If you want to sell
  your soul to God, do what I tell you." He answered: "Order me and
  I will do what you want me to do." Ibn Hirzihim said: "Go and claim
  throughout the markets and streets of Marrakesh, 'Ibn Hirzihim says
  to you: Attend the funeral prayers for the excellent shaykh, the
  ascetic jurist, Abu 1-Hakam b. Barrajan. The one who is able to
  attend and does not, may the curse of God fall upon him." [The
  servant] did as he was ordered. When the news reached the
  sultan's ears, he  said: "The one who knows his excellence
  and does not attend his funeral, may the curse of
  God fall upon him." (107)

The second significant account of his death, although it has attracted little attention, is found in Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani's Lisan al-mizan, which quotes al-Marrakushi's al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila li-kitabay al-Mawsul wa-l-si1a. (108) Only parts of al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila have survived, and Ibn Barrajan's entry is not among them. The text in Lisan al-mizan reads as follows:

  Ibn Abd al-Malik [al-Marrakushi] in his Dhayl al-Sila li-Ibn
  Bashkuwal said: [Ibn Barrajan] was falsely accused before [the
  sultan] (Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin. So [the sultan] summoned Ibn
  Barrajan to Marrakesh. On his arrival, [Ibn Barrajan] said: "I
  am only going to live for a short time, and he who summoned me
  will outlive me only for a short time as well." An examining
  committee (majlis munazara) was convened and they laid before
  him the different matters they condemned.  [Ibn Barrajan]
  answered based on accepted interpretations (makharij muhtamala),
  but they were not satisfied with [his answers] since they did not
  understand the meaning of what he said. They affirmed in the
  sultan's presence that [Ibn Barrajan] was introducing innovations
  [in religious matters]. [Ibn Barrajan] fell ill some days later
  and died in the month of Muharram, while Ali b. Yusuf died after
  him in Rajab of the year [5]37. Since he had been told [by Ibn
  Barrajan] that he was going to die, [the sultan] ordered that his
  corpse be thrown onto the dump without [funeral] prayers and
  without burial, in accordance with what he had determined
  following the calumnies of the jurists against [Ibn Barrajan].
  But someone from among the people of excellence, upon hearing
  of [Ibn Barrajan's] death, sent a black servant to publicly
  proclaim in the markets: "Attend the funeral of this man."
  So the squares were filled with people. They performed the
  ritual washing of his body, offered the funeral prayers,
  and buried him.

Neither of these two texts references a Sufi uprising or fear of one like that of the Almno-hads.(109) Instead, Ibn Barrajan was condemned for committing bida. He defended himself by using arguments relying (ihtimal) on interpretation of the sacred sources (tawil). In the context of bida, the term tawil is a technical one. If an opinion was obtained through ta'wit and was seen as being heterodox, it would not usually lead to a sentence of zandaqa 'heresy' but to bida, innovation in religious matters. (110) Hence the reference to tawil has a legal significance as well.

The fact that Ibn Bashkuwal excluded Ibn Barrajan from al-Sila strongly supports the argument that Ibn Barrajan was condemned for bida. Since Ibn Barrajan was a major scholar of his time, as the import of his works shows, in normal circumstances he would have been included in a biographical dictionary. There were many links between Ibn Barrajan and Ibn Bashkuwal. They had some students in common, and although Ibn Bashkuwal does not name Ibn Barrajan as his teacher, it makes sense to believe that Ibn Bashkuwal would have known him or even been his student, just as he was a student of all of Ibn Manzur's other students in Cordoba and Seville. His omission is also not for reasons of being completed before or very shortly after Ibn Barrajan's death: it was completed during or shortly after 564/1169, the date of the last death recorded, long after the Almoravids had disappeared. Perhaps he was omitted for political reasons or because of his imprisonment. However, we know of no political pressure that Ibn Bashkuwal was under to withhold an entry on Ibn Barrajan--whose fellow prisoner, Ibn al-Arif, was included--and Ibn Bashkuwal included other ulema who had been imprisoned and had had political difficulties, such as his teacher Abu Bala b. al-Arabi. It would seem therefore that the most plausible reason for Ibn Barrajan's absence in al-Sila is his condemnation for religious matters and probably for bida, although we do not have any account of his books being burned. Indeed, exclusion from biographical dictionaries was a common practice in such cases. " (111)

Even though we cannot be absolutely certain of the cause of Ibn Barrajan's death, it is doubtful that he was executed. His advanced age makes it unlikely; in fact it is more plausible that at that age the hardship of his journey to Marrakesh, possibly in chains, at the height of summer, and his ensuing imprisonment, arguably in very tough conditions, would have caused his death. Indeed, al-Marrakushi text in Lisan al-mizan suggests that after a few days of imprisonment Ibn Barrajan fell ill and died. We recall the case of AbU Madyan, also in his mid-eighties, who died of old age and illness on his way to Marrakesh after being summoned by the Almohad sultan to answer a number of suspicions and accusations. (112)

According to Andalusian and Maghribi custom, had Ibn Barrajan been executed for a religious matter, it would have been by crucifixion, although the actual legal punishment was beheading. We know that al-Mayurqi was lashed, at least according to Ibn al-Khatib. Had Ibn Barrajan died from beheading, crucifixion, or lashing, we would be aware of it, as his corpse, thrown onto the dump, was ritually washed by the population of Marrakesh, who later performed the funeral prayers and buried him. It is unlikely that any signs of violence inflicted on him would have passed unnoticed during the washing of his corpse. Al-Tadili, who was fully acquainted with Abu Madyan's disciples and willing to extol the Sufis against the jurists, as in his report of Ibn al-Arif's death, would have pointed it out. The fact that we do not have any account of a violent death after such a popular burial suggests that he was not executed. In addition, the earliest sources do not mention any reports or any suspicion of a violent death, only death by illness. Thus an execution seems unlikely. However, this may mean little since in view of his advanced age and the hardship of imprisonment, those judging him would have known that a prison sentence would most probably have meant that death would be imminent.


It is difficult to ascertain which doctrines based on his tawil might have motivated his conviction as they were not reported in the account. Later biographical texts claim that he was falsely accused and that the examining committee did not understand what he intended to say. One possibility is the link with al-Ghazali, whose doctrines were condemned in the Islamic West; after all, Ibn Barrajan was considered "al-Ghaari of al-Andalus" and (Qadi lyad issued his fatwa to burn al-Ghazali's Ihya' shortly after Ibn Barrajan was summoned to Marrakesh.(113)

The Maliki fuqaha' in the Islamic West criticized different points of what they took to be al-Ghazali's position in his Ihya). First, they believed that al-Ghazali held the opinion that the purification of the soul through deeds grants knowledge of God and, therefore, God does not freely bestow knowledge. 114 Second, as a consequence of the previous statement, prophecy can be obtained through effort by purifying one's own soul; in other words, prophets are not appointed by God and are like any other person. (115) And third, since al-Ghazali placed the awliya second to the Prophet in the rank of knowledge and al-Qushayri identified the awliya with the Sufis--i.e., those who gain knowledge through purification--this would give the Sufis a position of preeminence over the scholars, which posed a particular threat to traditional religious authority and to political authority as well. (116)

Ibn Barrajan explicitly denied the most important theological point criticized in MA' in the Islamic West--that knowledge of God could be gained through effort in the purification of one's heart, which could be interpreted as suggesting that prophecy can be gained through effort. In his commentary on God's name al-Tayyib, he states:

  Know that purification (tatyib) of bad qualities of character
  (khubth khalqi) cannot be acquired. This only applies to
  God--exalted may He be, the One without associate--since it
  is at the root of the manufacture and the composition of
  [the different elements of] the constitution [of human beings],
  while the servant cannot change the constitution. Only God can
  improve it [...]. However, He--glorified and exalted may He
  be--does not create an illness without providing a medicine and
  does not shut a door without finding a key for it [...] and the
  key for this lock is supplication [in addition to] imploration,
  resignation, the detachment from lone's] strength and power, and
  waiting for the opening and release from God [...]. And you do
  not know when the fulfillment of your petition will take place.

Even though Ibn Barrajan asserts God's preeminence in freely bestowing His mercy upon His servant, he holds nonetheless that God provides the means necessary for the servant to overcome with his effort every particular spiritual situation by asking for God's mercy, which is to some extent close to al-Ghazali's position--at least as it was understood in the Islamic West--according to which effort grants knowledge of God. As to the position Ibn Barrajan grants to the awliya, he sees those in the highest ranks as intermediaries between the prophets and the believers: "Nearness to God (wilaya) originates (tansha'u) among the generations of the chosen (mustafin) to the point that it reaches prophecy (nubuwwa). the mission of messengers (risala), the most intimate friendship (khilla), and the utmost love; and then [it reaches] the highest rank of intercession and the most exalted degree. The most elevated people among the close intimates (awliya) are the link (was1) between the prophets and the believers."(118)

Some other criticisms raised by later authors may help us figure out additional motivations for his conviction. Ibn Taymiyya links him with the Salimiyya--the alleged followers of Sahl al-Tustari in Basra--and accuses him of belonging to those who understand God as both transcendent and immanent and thus defending a doctrine that Ibn Taymiyya says is close to incarnation (hulul).(119) He also mentions Ibn Barrajan on the occasion of his criticism of al-Ghazali's concept of takhalluq, which Ibn Barrajan renames taabbud in his commentary to the names of God--that is, the adoption of God's attributes by the believer, although in the Sufi view attributes only applicable to God are excluded.

Other authors, such as Abu Shama al-Muqaddasi, criticized Ibn Barrajan's doctrine of temporal cycles on which he based his prediction of the conquest of Jerusalem. (120) This doctrine was confused with astrology, although Ibn Barrajan took it from the Qur'an and it bore no relationship to astrology of any kind. Abil Shama particularly criticizes Ibn Barrajan's commentary to the verse "the Night of Might is better (khayr) than 1,000 months" (Q 97:3) found in his Tafsir. Abu Shama attributes to Ibn Barrajan the idea that if the time of the descent of the Qur'an were known, the time of its ascent would also be known. However, Ibn Barrajan does not say this; he says that this time remains unknown since the period (mudda) related to the word "better" (khayr) in the verse is unknown. (121)

The Maliki faqih al-Hassar criticized Abu Bakr b. al-Arabi for introducing names of God that were not obtained either from the Qur'an or the Sunna in his commentary on the names of God, al-Amad al-aqsa. (122) According to al-Hassar, Abu Bakr b. al-Arabi followed Ibn Barrajan's Sharh Asma Allah al-husna. Al-Qurtubi, who himself quotes Ibn Barrajan in many instances in his ai-Asna fi shalt Asma) Allah al-husna, defended both scholars by giving some examples of names found in the Sunna or names not literally found in the Quran and Sunna but easily derived from them. (123) These are thus potentially controversial topics that could have left Ibn Barrajan open to accusations of bida.


The story of Ibn Barrajan's trial and death reflects the complex situation of Sufism in al-Andalus during the final years of Almoravid rule.

Ibn Barrajan's works suggest that Sufism had reached a substantial degree of maturity during his lifetime in al-Andalus. The importance of his works, the depth of his doctrines, the books quoted, his practical advice regarding the path, and his spiritual creativity through the aid of his symbolic transposition (itibar), as, for instance, in the development of the doctrine of the creative Truth (al-haqq al-makhluq bihi al-khalq), show that he was firmly established in a long-standing but at the same time innovative tradition in al-Andalus. Except for the fact that there were no great Sufi authors in al-Andalus prior to him (if one accepts that Ibn Masarra was not a Sufi author), nothing in his works suggests that Sufism was in its early stages in his homeland at that time. All in all, it appears that Sufism must already have been present for a relatively long time in al-Andalus.

This presence came to a head in Andalusian society with Ibn Barrajan and particularly with Ibn al-Arif, who threatened the existing balance in religious authority in al-Andalus. With Ibn Barrajan and Ibn al-Arif, along with others such as Abu 'Abd Allah b. Khalil, Sufism was no longer a movement supported only by low-profile groups; it was now followed by members of the class of the ulema. Ibn Barrajan and Ibn al-Arif embody the emergence of Sufism among the learned and the emergence of learned Sufism in al-Andalus.

Moreover, Sufism was gaining respect among the Almoravid ruling powers and the population, at least in the Maghrib. This is evidenced by Ibn Hirzihim being the teacher of the Almoravid sultan sultan. Ali b.Yusuf b. Tashufin and by the events that surrounded Ibn al-Arif and Ibn Barrajan's summons and deaths: the sultan's warmth towards Ibn al-Arif, and Ibn Hirzihim's appeal to the population concerning Ibn Barrajan's burial, on the basis of his own spiritual authority.

Nonetheless, 'Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin had shown weakness toward the Andalusian class of the fuqaha and the judiciary, 124 which shaped the Andalusian power structure around local lineages. Bearing in mind this weakness and also Ibn Barrajan's profile and old age, his being summoned and imprisoned were probably the result of the growing tensions produced by the shifting of religious authority from transmitted knowledge to purity of heart and intimacy with God rather than the result of his leading or inspiring a Sufi uprising against the Almoravids, as was the case with Ibn Qasi. All the same, the ongoing editing of Ibn Barrajan's works will help to clarify the role of this important figure in Andalusian Sufism.


God be the intimate friend and protector of the faqih, the imam Abu 1-Hakam [ibn Barrajan], my master (shaykh) and my senior (kabir) [in age; as spiritual figure?] and may the mercy and the benediction of God be upon him.

From the one learning from him, the one eager of knowing what is with him, the weak servant of God, Ahmad ibn Muhammad [ibn al-Arif].

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Most-Merciful; and the benediction and peace of God upon Muhammad, His Messenger. May peace, God's mercy, and blessings be upon you.

0, my God! Unite the essential reality (haqiqa) of the existence (wujud) of the master (shaykh)--my imam and my senior (kabir)--with the existence of the essential reality of the knowledge (marifa) of You and the acquaintance (taarruf) with You; make him a guide (zimam) of those who are signs in the paths leading to the purification of souls and an imam of those principals who are banners (didn't) in the guidance to salvation; and bless him and through him with the benediction which begins and ends in Muhammad, may God's blessings be upon him.

I was concerned with receiving a letter from the master--my only one in consideration nazaran), the one preceding me in surrender (mutaqaddimi tasliman) and in being held in high estimation (wa-mutabaran)(126)--since the bearer of arguments to be listened to from me is moving him to interpose a separation between (hala bayna) [my] soul and its desire and to bring shame on it [i.e., on my soul] from its Lord (mawla). For this reason, [my master's] supplication, letter, writing, and information were received bringing love and affection to me.

All this is part of the signs (athar) I asked [God]--exalted be His name--and it was not His very Essence (ayn) [that I asked]. So I was expecting one of His allusions regarding knowledge or practice.

And the explanation in a detailed and general manner of one point is obscure to me: [this point is] how to treat a drunk or how to treat him when his inebriety overcomes him, when his friend is inattentive and his claimer is awakened.

0, my God! Such is the perplexity caused by a weak one with no excuse, an existence upon which no power is exerted through regulations. And [this perplexity is such] except for a misled and weak one.

0, my God! Cover with Your veil the one with overflowing inebriety caused by the love of the world, the one whose inner reality is dead with regard to the contemplation of the visions of the Hereafter. He has no Lord taking over him except You, while every wild beast he finds stays with him for a long time and his passions overcome him.

And when Your generosity draws him to You, the vile aspects of his being draw him from You; so have mercy and pay no attention to what You know [of us] and open a hardened heart with the keys of solicitude, so that we can look at You and be ashamed before You.

And you--my imam--imbued with the veneration deserved by your white hair, remember me when you lie down to rest with Whom you lie down, so that the One you have loved for me loves you.

And may the eternal ever-recurring peace, God's mercy, and blessings be upon you. close touch with the qadi of almeria, Abu 1-Hasan al-Barji (d. 509/1115). who in turn is well known for being the first qadi in al-Andalus to oppose the burnintg of al-Ghazali's writings ordered in 503/1109 by abu abd allah b. Hamdin, qadi of Cordoba (d. 508/1114). In addition, al-Barji was one of Ibn al-Arif's teachers. For al-Balawi, see Ibn al-Abbar, Takmila, 2:562-63 (no.1597). For al-Balaghi, see Ibn Bashkuwal, Sila. 3:834-35 (no. 1270). For al-Barji, see M. Fierro, "Opposition to Sufism," (186).

(1.) There are other cases of important Sufis being summoned for questioning by the political authority or accused of seeking power. Abil Madyan (d. 594/1198), for instance, was summoned and died on his way to answer a number of accusations, and Abu 1-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 656/1258) was accused of being a Fatitnid pretender. Nevertheless. their reputations have not suffered in the same way as that of lbn Barra*. For Aba Madyan, see Vincent J. Cornell, The Way of Abit Madyan: Doctrinal and Poetic Works of Abu Madyan Shu'ayb al-tfusayn al-Ansi-ill (Cambridge, 1996), 15, For Abu 1-Hasan al-Shadhili, see Vincent J. Cornell. Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism (Austin, 1998). 149.

(2.) Ed. A. Toulic (Rabat, 1984), 156 (no. 41), 168-170 (no. 51).

(3.) Ed. F. Codera (Madrid. 1887), 2: 559 (no. 1588), 645 (no. 1797). The work appeared under his father's name, (Abd al-Rahman b. Abi Rijal Muhammad b. (Abd al-Rahman. Entry no. 1588 was taken from MS Escorial, while no. 1797 was taken from MS Alger.

(4.) Ibn al-Abbar, Mucjam ft cl., stab al-imarn Abi 'Abi al-Sadaft, ed. F. Codera (Madrid, 1886), 19 (no. 14).

(5.) Ibn al-Zubayr, Pat al-fila, ed. E. Levi-Provencal (Rabat, 1938), 31-33 (no. 45).

(6.) Ed. 'A. F. Aba Ghudda (Aleppo, 2002), 5: 173-74 (no. 4761).

(7.) Al-Dhahabi, Siyar dlam al-nubala' (Beirut, 1984-1988), 20: 72-74 (no. 44).

(8.) This is to my knowledge the first acknowledgment that Ibn Barrajan was executed. appearing some four centuries after his death.

(9.) Miguel Asin Palacios, Tres estudios sobre pensamiento y mistica hispanomusulmanes (Madrid, 1995): 222 (originally published as "E1 mistico Aba-1-(Abbas ibn al-'Arif de Almeria y su Maltasin," Boletin de la Universidad de Madrid 3 [1931]: 441-58).

(10.) Paul Nwyia. "Note sur quelques fragments inedits de la correspondance d'Ibn al-(Arif avec Ibn Barrajan." Hesperis 43 (1956): 2 1 7-21; idem. "RasiVil Ibn al-cArif ila ashab thawrat al-muridin fi 1-Andalus," al-Abliath 27 (Beirut, 1979): 43-56.

(11.) Denis Gill, "La lecture sup6rieure du Coran," Arabica 47 (2000): 510-22, esp. 511.

(12.) Additional notices on Ibn Barrajan can be found in Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat al-dyan, ed. I. 'Abbas (Beirut. 1986), 4: 230, 236-37; 7: 340; 8: 71; al-YAWL Mirtu al-janan (Hyderabad, 1918), 3: 267-68; al-Safadi, al-Wafi bi-l-wafayat (Beirut, 2000), 18: 260 (no. 6994); Ibn Shakir al-Kutubi, Fawat al-wafayat (BOlaq, 1882). 1: 274; Kitab Tabaqat al-mufassirin (Leiden, 1839), 20 (no. 58); al-Shacrani, al-Tabaqat al-kubra (Cairo, 1315), 1: IS: al-Baghdadi, Hadiffat al-cat-Pt, ed. R. Bilge and M. Kemal (Istanbul, 1951). 1: col. 570; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-zahira (Cairo, 1.929-1956), 5: 270; Ibn al-Muwaqqit, al-Sdada al-abadiyya (Fes, 1918), I: 106; Ibn al-clmad. Shadharat al-dhahab (Beirut, n.d.), 4: 113: al-Nasiri, li-akhbar duwal al-maghrib al-aqsa (Casa- blanca. 1954-1956), 2: 68-69, 184; al-Zirikli. al-A'lam (Beirut. 2002), 4: 6; Hajji Khania, Kashf al-unan (Leipzig, 1835-1858), 1: 257; 2: 344, 346; 4: 22, 24, 26; 5: 38; 7: 767, 1079-80; al-Dawfidi. Tabacrat al-rnuticssirin (Cairo, 1972), 1: 300 (no. 280); A. Faure. "Ibn Barradian," Ea 3: 754-55; CU. R. Kabbala, Miejam al-mu'clllifin (Beirut, 1993), 5: 226; Carl Brockelmann, GAL, I: 434 (559), Supp. I, 775; I. Goldziher, "Ibn Barragiin," Zeitschrift der deutsche morgenlandischen Gesellschaft 68 (1914): 544-46; Purificacidn de la Torre, "Ibn Barrajian," Dicciona-rio de autores y obras andalusies (DADA). 1: 578-81 (no. 309). This Ibn Barra* should not be confused with his grandson of the same name (d. 627/1230) who excelled as a scholar of the Arabic language. See Ibn al-Abbar, Takmila, 2: 646 (no. 1798): al-DhahabT, Siyar, 22: 334 (no. 205).

(13.) Ibn al-Abbar, Mu'jam, 20.

(14.) 1bn Bashkuwal, al-Sila, ed. I. al-Abyari (Beirut. 1989). 3: 803-4 (no. 1208); al-Dabbi, Bughyat ed. I. al-Abyari (Beirut. 1989). 1: 75 (no. 28); al-Dhahabi. Siyar, 18: 389-90 (no. 190). Ibn Manzar and Ibn Hazm (d. 456/1064) were masters of (Abd Allah b. al-(Arabi (Cl. 492/1099), father of the famous Malik' scholar Abu Bala b. al-cArabi (d. 543/1148). In addition, Abu Bakr b. al-(Arabi co-taught some of Ibn Barrajan's disciples.

(15.) Hassan al-Qari ("Ibn Barrajan al-Andalusi fi tafsir al-suff wa-m al-kalam." Majallat Jamrat Dimashq li-lJulam al-ivisadiyyat wa-l-qananiyya 23 [2007]: 363-424) believes Ibn Barrajan to have been born before or .around 455/1063, that is, five years later. This would mean that Ibn Barra* would have begun studying Sahih al-Bukharl around the age often. if we assume that his time of study with Ibn Manziir was long enough to be recalled by later biographers and there was a short period of inactivity before Ibn Manzur's death, which I think is late. At ten years of age Ibn Barra.* would probably have been studying the Qur'an and qirea before progressing to hadith. In fact, the youngest disciple of Ibn Manzur of whom we know--Abu 1-Hasan Shurayb al-Ru'ayni--was born in 451/1059.

(16.) Born 444/1052-3. Ibn Bashkuwal, al-Sila. 2: 444 (no. 650). He was also one of Ibn Bashkuwal's teachers.

(17.) Born 446/1054. For al-eAmiri, who was a preacher in Silves and famous for his knowledge, see Ibn Bashkuwal, 3: 846 (no. 1289).

(18.) Born 447/1055. Ibn Bashkuwal, al-Sila, 3: 985-86 (no. 1530). He was also one of Ibn Bashkuwars teachers.

(19.) A leading traditionist, faqih of the Maliki school, and celebrated preacher of the .great mosque of Seville. Ibn Hazm gave him an ijaza to transmit his works on Zahiri figh. 1bn Bashkuwal, 1: 366-67 (no. 541). Al-Rucayni was one of Ibn Bashkuwal's teachers.

(20.) Takmila, 2: 559 (no. 1588).

(21.) Similar emigrations are reported during this period, although mainly to the Almeria area, because of the fitnat al Jarab. 1bn Bashkuwal, al-Sila, 1:214 (no. 302); 3:871 (no. 1332). See also Ibn Bashkuwal, 2:589 (no. 876) and 3: 871 (no. 1331).

(22.) Ibn al-Zubayr, Pat al-sila, 33 (no. 45).

(23.) Ibn al-Abbar, Takmila, 2: 486 (no. 1394); Hassan "Ibn Barrajan al-Andalusi," 366.

(24.) For the location of the district of Aljarafe, see Jacinto Bosch Vila, La Sevilla iskimica 712-1248 (Seville, 1984), 333-39.

(25.) A village midway between Seville and Niebla, twenty miles from both. Al-klimyari, Sifat jazirat al-Andalus (Beirut, 1988), 128-29 (no. 121). Al-Yaqilt (Mdjam al-ba/dein [Beirut, 1977_1,4: 39) identifies it as a district of Ecija in Cordoba, which seems mistaken. A number of Ibn Barrajdn's disciples were from Niebla, while others like Ibn al-Kharrat sought refuge in Niebla when civil strife broke out between the MuridAn and the fugahe in 540/1145.

(26.) Ibn al-Zubayr. Pat (Oda, 31-33 (no. 45).

(27.) A critical edition of this tafsir is currently being prepared by Yousef Casewit. Denis Gril's study of this commentary (supra, n. 11) presents a general account of Ibn Barrajan and his works and analyzes Ibn Barrajdn's spiritual hermeneutics as revealed in his commentary to al-Rail:a and to the first verses of al-Bayara. Elsewhere. Gril compares the hermeneutics of fbn al-(Arabi and Ibn Barrajan within the tradition of Sahl al-Tustari and Ibn Masarra. See D. Gril, "L' interpretation par transposition symbolique (gtibar), selon Ibn Barrayin et Ibn 'Arabi," in Symbolisme et herindneutique dans la pens& d'Ibn 'Arabi. ed. B. Aladdin (Damascus, 2007), 147-61. klassan al-Qdri (supra, n. 15) describes the Tafsir's methodology as based on a close reading of the Qur'an and hadith. He aims to correct the general view of Ibn Barrajan as a batini Sufi and to place him inside the boundaries of the mainstream Islamic tradition.

(28.) See Jose Beliver, "Ibn Barrajan and Ibn 'Arabi on the Prediction of the Capture of Jerusalem in 583/1187 by Saladin," Arabica 61 (2013), forthcoming.

(29.) For a preliminary description of this tafsir, see Amina Gonzalez-Costa. "Un ejemplo de hermen6utica sal del Coran en al-Andalus: El comentario coranico Idah al-l2ikma de Ibn Barra9an (m. 536/1141) de Sevilla," in Histaria del Sufismo en al-Andalus, ed. A. Gonzalez-Costa and G. Lopez-Anguita (Cordoba, 2009), 41-65. Gonzalez-Costa is currently preparing an edition.

(30.) Ibid., 55-56.

(31.) Ibn al-Arabi, Mawaqi' al-nujam (Sidon, 2004). 132, where he traces the prediction of the conquest of Jeru- salem to TM Ibn al-Arabi wrote Mawagic al-nujiim in 595/1199, five years after his first sojourn with 'Abd al-Aziz al-Mahdawi, with whom he studied Ibn Barrajan's tafsir. This may mean that Ibn Barrajan's first and major commentary catalogued as al-Irsheid was known under the name of Mali al-hikma, as otherwise Ibn a1-Arabi would not have mistaken it. This may help explain why idah al-hikma seems more widespread than the number of extant mss. would suggest.

(32.) Ibn Barrajan, Shari Amia' Allah al-husna, ed. Puriticaci6n de la Torre (Madrid. 2000).

(33.) MS Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek BSB-Hss Cod. Arab. 83. Only the second volume of a two-volume set is extant, now published, ed. Muhammad al-cAdliini (Casablanca, 2011).

(34.) Gril made this point in his study (supra, n. 11), 512.

(35.) Ibid.

(36.) Ibid.

(37.) Ibid., 513-14. The copy is MS Carullah 51 M.

(38.) Ed. Cairo, 1328h, 500.

(39.) Al-Biqra Masrd al-tasawwuf wa-huwa kitethem: Tanbih al-ghabi ilii takfir Ihn 'Arabi wa-tahdhir min atilt l-(int7d bi-bid'ati I-110dd, ed. A. R. al-Wald] (Cairo, 1953), 167. Although al-Biqn makes no reference to ctlyn. al - yaqin by Ibn Barrajan. the editor supplies it by citing al-Maqbali.

(40.) Viz., Ibn al-cArabi's al-Futahat al-makkiyya. Ibn Sab'In's Budd alJarif and Ibn Qasi's Khal al-ndlayn.

(41.) A disciple of both Ibn Barrajan and Ibn aVArif. Ali b. Khalaf b. Ghalib (d. 568/1173), wrote a nab al-yaqin. Al-Marriikushi, al-Dhayl wa-l-taktnila al-Mawsal wa-I-57la. ed. I. (Abba-s (Beirut, 1965), 5: 210.

(42.) Cf. D. Urvoy, Le monde des ulemas andalous du VIXIe au VIIIXIlle siecle (Geneva, 1978), 55: M. Fierro, "Opposition to Sutisin in al-Andalus," Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversies and Polemics. ed. E de Jong and B. Radtke (Leiden. 1999), 187.

(43.) Cf. P. de la Torre's introduction to her edition of Sharh Asmer'' Allah al-husnii, 34 (supra, n. 32). For the different fields of study that could be pursued at that time in Seville, see D. Urvoy, Le monde des ulemas andalous. 55.

(44.) For the Bang Manzur family, see Marfa Luisa Avila, "Los Barn] Manzfir al-Qaysi." in Familias andalusies: Estudios onomdstico-hiogrcificos de al-Andalus. ed. M. Marin and J. Zanon (Madrid, 1992), 5: 23-37.

(45.) Jonathan Brown, The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim (Leiden, 2007), 121.

(46.) Ibid., 143.

(47.) Ibn Barrajan was proficient in kalam and had knowledge of arithmetic and geometry. This background is unusual for a religious scholar of that time in al-Andalus, to which Ibn Barrajan added a hermeneutic approach.

(48.) D. Urvoy, Le monde des uldmas andalous. 172-77. In addition to Abil 1-Hasan Shurayh and Abu 1-Hasan Ibn WO-11th. the main authority of this period was Abu Bakr b. al-cArabi, who was a disciple of Abi cAbd Allah b. Marv.iir through his father.

(49.) Ibn Bashkuwal describes him as the principal transmitter of hadith of his time in Cordoba (reis al-muhaddithin ft Qurtuba) and as being well versed in Arabic language and poetry. Ibn Bashkuwal, 1: 233-35 (no. 333); al-Dhahabi, Siyar, 20: 148-51 (no. 77).

(50.) He is described as the imam of Arabic language--mainly lexicography--and literature in al-Andalus, hav- ing no rival. Ibn Bashkuwal, 2: 530-32 (no. 780); al-Dhahabi, Siyar, 20: 133-34 (no. 70). Al-Ghassani and Ibn Siraj were the teachers of YCinus b, Mughith and cAbd Allah b. Yarbii'. They also gave written permission (ijazat) to Shurayb al-Rucayni to transmit their works.

(51.) He was the teacher of Shurayb al-Rucayni and (Abd Allah b. Yarbuc, and excelled in the knowledge of hadith, history. and Malikifiqh. lbn Bashkuwal. al-Sila. 2: 433 (no. 631); al-Dhahabi. Siyar, 18: 488-89 (no. 251).

(52.) The teacher of Ibn Mughith and Ibn Yarbd, but since he died in the same year as Ibn Man?ar, Ibn Barrajan was probably too young to attend his classes in Cordoba. Ibn Bashkuwal. I: 253-55 (no. 358): al-Dhahabi, .Siyar, 18: 336-67 (no. 157).

(53.) For Ibn Masarra, see Miguel Asin Palacios, Ilm Masarra y cu escuela: Orfgenes de la filosofict hispano-musulmana (Madrid, 1914); Claude Addas, "Andalusi Mysticism and the Rise of Ibn Arabi,- in The Legacy of Muslim Spain, ed. S. K. Jayyusi (Leiden. 1992). 913-19; Emilio Tomer[degrees], "Noticia sobre la publicacian de obras ineditas de Ibn Masarra," al-Qantara 14 (1993): 47-64; L. E. Goodman, "Ibn Masarrah." in History of Islamic Philosophy, ed. S. H. Nasr and 0. Leaman (London, 1996), 277-93; Sarah Stroumsa, "Ibn Masarra and the Beginnings of Mystical Thought in al-Andalus," in Mystical Approaches to God, ed. P. Schafer (Oldenburg, 2006), 97-112.

(54.) For the i'tibari tradition in al-Andalus ranging from Ibn Masarra to Ibn Barrajan and Ibn a1-Arabi. see Denis Gril. "L'interprdtation par transposition symbolique." 147-61. Gril shows the continuity between Ibn Masarra's and Ibn Barrajan's hermeneutics.

(55.) In Khali Khaweig al-hurt-if Ibn Masarra cites Sahl al-Tustarrs Risalat al-huraf. For the former work, see Muhammad 'Carnal Ibrahim Jacfar, Min qaclaya l-jikr al-islami: Dirasa wa-nugq (Cairo, 1978), 311-44; Pilar Garrido. "Edicion critica del K. jawass al-hurilf" de Ibn Masarra," al-Andalus-Magreb: Estudios drabes e isldmicos 14 (2007): 51-89. For Sahl al-Tustari's Rica/at al-hurl:If, see Muhammad Kamal Ibrahim Ja(far, Min al-turath al-saft li-Sahl b. (Abd Allah al-Tustari (Cairo, 1974), 1: 366-75; Pilar Garrido Clemente. "El 'Tratado de las letras (Risalat al-Iitirtiff del suff Sahl al-Tustari," Anuario de estudios filolOgicos 29 (2006): 87-100, esp. 89, where she posits that Ibn Masarra was inspired by Sahl al-Thstari. Later Muslim authors also acknowledged the relationship between the two. See al-Qurtubi, al-Asna.ft sharh Asma' Allah al-husna (Beirut. 2008), 83, where the two works on huriif are quoted together. For Ibn Masarrass Risulat al-ictibdr. see Muhammad Kama! Ibrahim Jear, Min qadaya al-fikr al-islami, 346-60; J. Kenny, "Ibn-Masarra: His Risala Orita: lbadan Journal of Religious Studies 34 (2002): 1-26.

(56.) Ibn al-'Arabi, al-Futahat al-makkinla (Cairo, 1329/1911). 2: 60, 104: 3: 77.

(57.) Ibn Barrajan, Shartz Asma' Allah 267.

(58.) Ibn Taymiyya, Majmffat al-fatawa. ed. A. al-Biz and A. al-Jazzar (al-Mansura, 1997), 2: 182; 5: 81, 142, 289.

(59.) See Manuela Marin, "Abu Said ibn al-A'rfibi et le developpement du safisme dans al-Andalus." Revue du monde musulman et la Mediterratide 63-64 (1992): 28-38.

(60.) Ibn al-Zubayr, Pat al-sila, 33 (no. 45).

(61.) Ibn al-Kharrat was one of the youngest of Ibn BarrajAn's students. He wrote compendiums on ltadith and ascetic literature. During Ibn Qasi's rebellion, he moved to Niebla and to Bejaya where he had a close relationship with the Sufi master Abil Madyan. Ibn al-Kharrat was one of Muhyi 1-Din Ibn al-sArabi's teachers, although probably only through correspondence. Hence he became an important link between Ibn Barrajdn and both Aba Madyan and Ibn al-(Arabi. For Ibn al-Kharrat, see Ibn al-Abbar, Takmila, 2: 647-48 (no. 1805); al-Dhahabi, Siyar, 21: 198 (no. 99). For his relationship with Abfi Madyan, see al-Ghubrini, 'Limy& al-diraya (Algiers. 1970), 73 (no. 5); Ibn Qunfudh al-Qusantini, Uns al-faqir wa-cizz al-luufir, ed. M. El Fasi and A. Faure (Rabat, 1965), 34-35.

(62.) He was also a student of al-cAmiri and Ibn Mughith; and while in Seville a student of the qadi Abii Bala b. a1-9krabi and Ibn Bashkuwiil alongside Ibn Barra*. Hence Ibn Bashkuwal ought to have known Ibn Barrajan. See Ibn al-Abbar. Takmila, I: 216 (no. 734); al-Dhahabi, Siyar. 20: 455 (no. 291).

(63.) Ibn Khalil had important teachers, such as Abu cAll al-Ghassani (d. 498/1105), ciaai Abfi Bakr b. al-cArabl, Ibn Rushd al-Jadd (d. 520/1126), and Abil GAIT al-Sadafi (d. 514/1120). For Ibn Khalil, see Ibn al-Abbar, Takmila, I: 233 (no. 764); al-Dhahabi, Siyar. 20: 517 (no. 330).

(64.) This information was reported to Ibn al-(Arabi (al-Futaltat, I: 136) in Tunis by Ibn Qasi's son. 1bn Khalil lived in Fes and died in Marrakesh.

(65.) For whom, see Ibn Takmila, 2: 486 (no. 1394); al-Dhahabi, Ta'rikh al-islam (Beirut. 1987), 40: 150 (no. 119); al-Zirikli, al-A'lam. 4: 123.

(66.) He was also the master of, inter alia, 'Abd al-Salcani (d. after 540/1145) from Niebla. See Ibn al-Zubayr, $ilat al-yila. 33 (no. 45) and 37-38 (no. 52); M. Fierro, "Opposition to Sufism," 190.

(67.) Ibn al-Abbar. Mucjam. 18-22 (no. 14): 1bn Bashkuwal, Sila, I: 136-37 (no. 176); al-Tadili, Tashawwuf, 118-23 (no. 18): 'Abbas b. Ibrahim, bi-man hallo marrakush wa-aghmat mit: al-dram (Rabat, 1974), 1: 5-24; al-Dhahabi. Siyar, 20: 111-14 (no. 68); (Abd al-Wahhab b. Mansdr, glatn al-nzaghrib (Rabat, 1983), 3: 231ff. See also J. Lirola, "Ibn al-cArif." Diccionario de autores y ohms andalusies, 1: 469-76 (no. 245).

(68.) Ibn al-Abbdr, Takmila. 2: 672 (no. 1870); al-Marrakushi. al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 5: 208-12. no. 415; Tashawwuf, 228 (no. 81).

(69.) Ed. Asfn Palacios (Paris, 1933).

(70.) See Bruno Half. "Le Mahasin al-magalis d'Ibn al-cArif et l'oeuvre du soufi banbalite al-Ansari," Revue des etudes islamiques 39 (1971): 321-35.

(71.) Paul Nwyia. "Ras-eil Ibn al-cArif," 43-56. For the collection of Ibn al-(Arif's correspondence by his disciple Ibn Mu'min, compiled from MS Rabat Hassania 1562, see Ibn al-sdadat wa-tattqiq tariq al-sdada, ed. 'I. 'A. L. Dandash (Beirut, 1993).

(72.) Ibn al-Abbar. Mdjam, 19 (no. 14).

(73.) According to al-Dhahabi, he wore the khirqa and entered the Sufi path with Abfi Bala b. Buryal (d. 502/1108), the last disciple of al-Talamanki (d. 429/1037).

(74.) In addition to the Sevillian Aba Bakr b. al-(Arabi and his father Abd Allah b. al-'Arabi, the two other Andalusian students of al-Ghazali either came from or settled in Almeria. The Sufi and Qur'an reciter Abil (Abd al-Rabman al-Balawi (d. 545/1150-1), born near Guadix, studied with al-GhazalT and received permission from him to transmit his works. After his rilyla, he settled in Almeria and was appointed leader of the prayer and preacher at the great mosque. This important position shows the wide acceptance of al-Ghazali's writings and of Sufism in general in Almeria at that time. In turn. AbO Abd Allah Muhammad al-Khulani of Almeria, known as al-Balaghi (d. 515/1121), also undertook a ri/j/a and studied with al-Ghazali. Both students of al-Ghazali must have been in

(75.) Ibn Qunfudh al-Qusantini, Uns al-faqir,14,26: Cornell. The Way of Abu Madyan, 5-6.

(76.) On the night of Ibn Ghalib's death, his disciple Abd al-Jalil b. Musa saw written in the sky that a "support" (watad, pl. awtad; lit, tent peg) had disappeared. See al-Marrakushi, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 5: 211.

(77.) These were the malamati Sufis Abu Abd Allah al-Daqqaq (fl. first half of sixth century/twelfth century) and Abu 1-Hasan Ali Ibn Hirzihim. For these episodes, see al-Tadili, Tashawwuf 156 (no. 41) and 168-70 (no. 51).

(78.) See, for instance, Cornell. Realm of the Saint, 20.

(79.) Vincent Lagardere, "La tariqa et la revolte des Muridun en 539 H/I 144 en Andalus," Revue de l'Occident musultman et de la Mediterranee 35 (1983): 157-70.

(80.) Cornell, Realm of the Saint, 25-26 and n. 96. 81. Cf. Grit, "La lecture superieure du Coran," 511.

(82.) Cornell, Realm of the Saint, 20.

(83.) Addas, "Andalusi Mysticism," 923.

(84.) David Goodrich also does not find any influence of Ibn al-Arif's Mahasin al-majalis on Ibn Qasi's Khal al-na layn. He also underlines that Ibn al-Arabi does not refer to Ibn Qasi being influenced by Ibn Barrajan or Ibn al-Arif, bearing in mind that he knew in depth their works. See David R. Goodrich, "A 'Sufi' Revolt in Portugal: Ibn Qasi and His 'Kitab Khal al-Na layn' (Arabic Text)" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia Univ., 1978), 17.

(85.) Addas, "Andalusi Mysticism," 923; Paul Nwyia, "Rani Ibn al-Arif," 43-56.

(86.) I do not aim to explore this topic exhaustively since two of his major works remain unedited. For an account of Messianic movements in al-Andalus, see Maribel Fierro, "Doctrinas y movimientos de tipo mesianico en al-Andalus," in Milenarismos y milenaristas en la Europa medieval: IX Semana de Estudios Medievales, Najera, 1998, ed. J. Ignacio de la Iglesia Duarte (Logrono, 1999), 159-76. For the Mahdist movements in the Maghrib, see Garcia-Arenal. "La conjonction"; eadem, Messianism and Puritanical Reform: Mahdis of the Muslim West, tr. M. Beagles (Leiden, 2006).

(87.) MS Reisulkuttab 31, 1. 96b; MS Sehid Ali Paga 73, f. 321b.

(88.) Al-Futuhat al-makiyya, I: 186.

(89.) For this event, see Claude Addas, Quest for the Red Sulphur: The Life of Ibn Arabi, tr. P. Kingsley (Cambridge, 1993). 62-64.

(90.) There was a major eruption of Mahdism in the Islamic West after 583/1187. See Garcia-Arenal. "La conjonction." 237.

(91.) Nwyia, "Note sur quelques fragments inedits.- 220; Cornell. Realm of the Saint, 20.

(92.) This quotation erroneously ascribed to Ibn al-Arif has shaped the perception later scholars have of Ibn Barrajan. See, e.g.. Ken Garden, "Al-Ghazali's Contested Revival: Ihya ulum al-din and Its Critics in Khorasan and the Maghrib" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Chicago. 2005). 219-20.

(93.) A translation is appended to this article.

(94.) See n. 9, supra.

(95.) Ibn al-Arif, Miftah al-saada, 33-35. where Dandash lists the few instances of Ibn al-Arif's attitude toward political authority, e.g., "The worst kinds of censure (inkar) are two: [First,] censure of the sultan, since he is the Proof (hujja) of God [on earth] [and the] second [worst] censure is of those in a lower rank criticizing those above them in knowledge or [spiritual] state (hal)." Ibid., 170.

(96.) Ibid., 90. See also p. 92. for the same concept.

(97.) Ibid.. 134-35.

(98.) Probably the Shafii jurist and Sufi Abu (Abd Allah al-Khawli (d. 545/1150-1), who had a great many companions. See al-Subki, Tabagat al-shafiiyya al-kubra (Cairo, 1964), 6: 159-60 (no. 674); Ibn al-Athir, fi I-tarikh (Beirut, 2003). 9: 368.

(99.) The renowned Tunisian Sufi master Abu Muhammad (Abd al-Marjani (d. 699/1299), for whom see al-Sharani, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, 1: 172; al-Dhahabi, Ta'rikh al-islam. 52: 465-66 (no. 760); al-Safadi, al-Wafi bi-l-wafayat, 17: 320 (no. 6465).

(100.) Al-Sharani. al-Tabaqat al-kubra, 1: 15.

(101.) 1bn al-Arif's growing following is well attested in contemporary sources such as Ibn Bashkuwal's See Ibn al-Abbar. Mujam, 19 (no. 14); Ibn Bashkuwal, pa. 1: 137; al-Tadili. Tashawwuf, 118.

(102.) For Abu Bake Muhammad al-Mayurqi, a pious Zahiri scholar with ascetic tendencies, see Ibn al-Abbar, Mujam, 139 (no. 123) and Takmila, 1:173 (no. 608); al-Marrakushi, al-Dhayl wa-l-takmila, 6:169-70, no.452; Ibn al-Khatib, al-Ikhata fi akhbar Gharnata (Cairo, 1973), 3:190.

(103.) For Ibn Aswad, see Ibn al-Abbar, Mujam, 126 (no.116); Ibn Bashkuwal, al-Sila, 3:849 (no. 1294). One of the teachers with whom he studied the longest was Abu Bakr al-Turtushi.

(104.) Al-Tadili, Tashawwuf, 118-22 (no.18).

(105.) Ibn al-Abbar, Mujam. 139 (no.123)

(106.) Ibn al-Khatib, al-Ikhata, 3:190.

(107.) Al-Tadili, Tashawwuf, 170 (no.51).

(108.) Al-Asqalani, Lisan al-mizan, 5:173-74 (no.4761).

(109.) Ken Garden, following al-Dhahabi, links the arrest of Ibn Barrajan and 1bn al-Arif to Ali b. Yusuf b. Tashufin's fear of a revolt by Sufi groups like that of Ibn Tumart. See Garden, "Al-Ghazali's Contested Revival," 208-20: and al-Dhahabi, Siyar. 20: 72-74 (no. 44).

(110.) See Maribel Fierro, "El castigo de los herejes y su relacion con formas de poder politico y religioso en al-Andalus (ss. II/VIII-VII/XIII)," in El cuerpo derrotado: Como trataban musulmanes y cristianos a los enemigos veneidos. Peninsula Iberica, ss. VIII-XIII, ed. M. Fierro and F. Garcia-Fitz (Madrid. 2008), 283-316, esp. 312 n. 69.

(111.) Maribel Herm "Religious Dissension in al-Andalus: Ways of Exclusion and Inclusion,"al-Qantara 22 (2001): 482.

(112.) Cornell, The Way of Abu Mad an, 15.

(113.) Ibn Barrajan and al-Ghazali shared some common features. They were roughly the same age (al-Ghazali was born in 447 h) and both were learned Sufis who wrote commentaries on the names of God. In the later tradition. this comparison can be seen as complimentary to Ibn Barrajan, although during the time of the Almoravids it could have meant quite the opposite. For a discussion of the various refutations of al-Ghazali in the Islamic West, see Delfina Serrano, "Why Did the Scholars of al-Andalus Distrust al-Ghazali? Ibn Rushd al-Jadd's Fatwa on Awliya' Allah," Der Islam 83 (2006): 137-56.

(114.) For this criticism, see. e.g.. Abu Bakr b. al-Arabi, al-Awa.min al-qawasim, ed. A. Talibi (Cairo, 1997), 23-24, according to whom al-Ghazali supported the notion that knowledge is only to be achieved through purification. See Frank Griffel, Al-Ghazali's Philosophical Theology (New York. 2009), 67-70.

(115.) This is one of al-Turtushi main criticisms. See al-Dhahabi, Siyar, 19: 494-96 (no: 285) and particularly p. 495 for his linking of al-Ghazali with those who were accused of believing that prophecy could be acquired (ikta-saba) through purification. For a summary of al-Mazari and al-Turtushi's criticisms of al-Ghazali and al-Subki's answer, see al-Subki. Tabaqat al-shafiiyya al-kubra. 6: 240-58. For al-Ghazati's theory of prophecy, see Frank Griffel. "Al-Gazali's Concept of Prophecy: The Introduction of Avicennan Psychology into Asarite Theology," Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 14 (2004): 101-44.

(116.) For an analysis of the fatwa issued by the Maliki jurist Ibn Rushd al-Jadd on this point, see Serrano, "Why Did the Scholars of al-Andalus Distrust al-Ghazali?" 137-56.

(117.) Ibn Barrajan. Sharh Asma' Allah al-husna. 142-43. See also p. 218 for a similar statement on knowledge understood through purification (tatahhur) in the measure of one's effort, although bestowed by God's mercy.

(118.) Ibid., 488.

(119.) Ibn Taymiyya. Majmuat al-fatawa, 2: 299/182: 5: 485/289.

(120.) Abu Shama al-Muqaddasi. Uyun al-rawdatayn fi akhbar al-dawlatayn al-nuriyya wa-l-salahjyya, ed. A. Baysami (Damascus, 1991), 2: 107-8.

(121.) MS Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek BSB-Hss Cod. Arab. 83, f. 229b.

(122.) Abu 1-Hasan Ali a1-Hassar (d. 611/1224). See 1bn a1-Abbar, Takmila. 2: 686 (no. 1918).

(123.) Al-Qurtubi cites -1bn a1-Hassar." Al-Qurtubi, al-Jami li-ahkam al-Qur'an (Beirut. 2006), 9: 394-95.

(124.) Viz.. 'Ali b. Yusuf b. Ibn Tashufin's letter to his governor al-Zubayr b. Umar reproaching his attitude toward the qadi Abu Bala b. Aswad and warning him against the power of the judiciary in al-Andalus. The qadi Ibn Aswad was the one who accused Ibn al-Arif before the sultan. See M. Mu'nis, "Sab watha iq jadida an dawlat al-murabitin." Revista del Instituto egipcio de estudios isldmicos 2 (1954): 55-84, esp. 71.

(125.) Ibn al-Arif, Miftah al-saada, 109-10. Differences of translation from Nwyia's version may partially arise from differences in the base manuscripts. My translation is based on Dandash's edition (supra, n. 71).

(126.) If we read mutabir instead of mutabar, it can be translated as "the one preceding me [...] as interpreter," that is, the one who precedes me in exerting the symbolic transposition (itibar).

JOSE BELLVER University of Barcelona

Author's note: I am most thankful to Maribel Fierro and James W. Morris for reading a first draft of this paper and making extremely valuable suggestions; the comments by the anonymous reviewers and the editor, to whom I express my gratitude, were equally very helpful. I am also indebted to the Department of Theology at Boston College where I wrote most of this paper during my Beatriu de Pin & postdoctoral stay. This article has been prepared as part of the research program "La evolucidn de la ciencia en la sociedad de al-Andalus desde la Alta Edad Media al pre-Renacimiento y su repercusion en las culturas europeas y Arabes (siglos X--XV)," sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (FFI2008-00234/FILO) and FEDER.
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