BTS 37

Adab al-Mulūk. Ein Handbuch zur islamischen Mystik aus dem 4./10. Jahrhundert

Bernd Radtke

1991. 34 pp. german text, 145 pp. arabic text.

The first among the thirteen, and undoubtedly the most important, is the anonymous Adab al-Mulūk. In a way comparable to Kalabaḏī's Taʿarruf and other "Sufi handbooks" of the late 4th/10th century, this treatise covers the major topics of classical Sufism in twenty-eight chapters ranging from "the basis of Sufism", i.e."poverty" (faqr), "ecstasy" (wağd). Of particular interest is chapter 27, on "Listening to Music" (samāʾ), where this practice is introduced as a "specialty" of the Sufis and one of their "essentials" (aṣl min uṣul aṣ-ṣūfīya). Generally emphasizing conduct rather than specifically legal or theological concerns, he describes the Sufis, with particular assurance in chapter 17, as the supporters of tradition (sunnah) having a mission to fight the "Innovators." Their "inspired knowledge" (ilm al-batin=ilham, ch. 9) is far superior to the science of the fuqaha, Hadith scholars, Quran readers, Quran commentators and philologists.


Bernd Rudolf Radtke wrote his dissertation at-Tirmidhī and was Professor at the University of Bergen and Utrecht. His researches focus on Islamic mystic.

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