Bio: Imam Al-Junayd Al-Baghdadi

Bio: Imam Al-Junayd Al-Baghdadi

Abū ‘l-Qāsim al-Junayd bin Muhammad al-Baghdadi

(d. 297 H. in Baghdad)
radiya Allah anhu


Al-`Arif biAllah al-Junayd al-Baghdadi (d. 298 H. in Baghdad)
He was al-Junayd b. Muhammad b. al-Junayd al-Nehawandi al-Baghdadi, al-Khazzâr Abul Qasim. Sufi and one of the `ulema, he followed the fiqh of Abu Thawr. He took tasawwuf from his maternal uncle Sari al-Saqati and from al-Harith al-Muhasabi. He was called al-Khazzar because he was working with khazz (silk). He was the head of a large and influential school in Baghdad.


Abu’l Qasim, Junayd al-Baghdadi (d. 298 H. in Baghdad)
As-Sari as-Saqati (d. 251 H. In Baghdad)
Ma´ruf al-Karkhi (d. 201 H.)
Imam `Ali al-Rida (d. 203 H.)
ImamMusa al-Kazim (d, 182 H.)
Imam Ja`far as-Sadiq (b, 83 – d. 148 H.)
his father Muhammad al-Baqir ibn ‘Ali (b. 59 – 114 H.)
his father Zayn al ‘Abidin ‘Ali ibn Husayn (b. 38 – d. 94H.)
his father Sayyid al-shuhadaa Imam Husayn ibn ‘Ali (b. 4 – d. 61 H.)
Imam al-Anbiya, Sayyiduna wa Mawlana Muhammad ibn `AbdAllah (d 11 H.)


Al-Junayd al-Baghdadi
by Sheikh G. F. Haddad

Al-Junayd ibn Muhammad ibn al-Junayd, Abu al-Qasim al-Qawariri al-Khazzaz al-Nahawandi al-Baghdadi al-Shafi`i (d. 298). The Imam of the World in his time, shaykh of the Sufis and “Diadem of the Knowers,” he accompanied his maternal uncle Sari al-Saqati, al-Harith al-Muhasibi, and others.

Abu Sahl al-Su`luki narrates that as a boy al-Junayd heard his uncle being asked about thankfulness, whereupon he said: “It is to not use His favors for the purpose of disobeying Him.”

He took fiqh from Abu Thawr – in whose circle he would give fatwas at twenty years of age – and, it was also said, from Sufyan al-Thawri. He once said: “Allah did not bring out a single science on earth accessible to people except he gave me a share in its knowledge.” He used to go to the market every day, open his shop, and commence praying four hundred rak`as until closing time.
Among his sayings about the Sufi Path: “Whoever does not memorize the Qur’an and write hadith is not fit to be followed in this matter. For our science is controlled by the Book and the Sunna.”
To Ibn Kullab who was asking him about tasawwuf he replied: “Our madhhab is the singling out of the pre-eternal from the contingent, the desertion of human brotherhood and homes, and obliviousness to past and future.” Ibn Kullab said: “This kind of speech cannot be debated.”
His student Abu al-`Abbas ibn Surayj would say, whenever he defeated his adversaries in debate: “This is from the blessing of my sittings with al-Junayd.”

Al-Qushayri relates from al-Junayd the following definitions of tasawwuf:

* “Not the profusion of prayer and fasting, but wholeness of the breast and selflessness.”1

* “Tasawwuf means that Allah causes you to die to your self and gives you life in Him.”

* “It means that you be solely with Allah with no attachments.”

* “It is a war in which there is no peace.”

* “It is supplication together with inward concentration, ecstasy together with attentive hearing, and action combined with compliance [with the Sunna].”

* “It is the upholding of every high manner and the repudiation of every low one.”

When his uncle asked him to speak from the pulpit he deprecated himself, but then saw the Prophet (s) in his dream ordering him to speak.
Ibn Kullab once asked al-Junayd to dictate for him a comprehensive definition of tawhid he had just heard him say. He replied: “If I were reading from a record I would dictate it to you.”
The Mu`tazili al-Ka`bi said: “My eyes did not see his like. Writers came to hear him for his linguistic mastery, philosophers for the sharpness of his speech, poets for his eloquence, and kalam scholars for the contents of his speech.”
Al-Khuldi said: “We never saw, among our shaykhs, anyone in whom `ilm and hal came together except al-Junayd. If you saw his hal you would think that it took precedence over his `ilm, and if he spoke you would think that his `ilm took precedence over his hal.”

Like the Sunni imams of his generation, al-Junayd hated theological disputations about Allah and His Attributes: “The least [peril] that lies within kalam is the elimination of Allah’s awe from the heart. And when the heart is left devoid of Allah’s awe, it becomes devoid of belief.”

Once a young Christian asked him: “What is the meaning of the Prophet’s hadith: ‘Beware the vision of the believer for he sees with the light of Allah’?”2 Al-Junayd remained immersed in thought then lifted his head and said: “Submit, for the time has come for you to accept Islam.” The young man embraced Islam on the spot.
Al-Junayd defined the Knower (al-`arif) as “He who addresses your secret although you are silent.” Ibn al-Jawzi cites another example of Junayd’s kashf in his Sifa al-Safwa:

Abu `Amr ibn `Alwan relates: I went out one day to the market of al-Ruhba for something I needed. I saw a funeral procession and I followed it in order to pray with the others. I stood among the people until they buried the dead man. My eyes unwittingly fell on a woman who was unveiled. I lingered looking at her. Then I held back and began to beg forgiveness of Allah the Exalted. On my way home an old woman told me: “My master, why is your face all darkened?” I took a mirror and behold! my face had turned dark. I examined my conscience and searched: Where did calamity befall me? I remembered the look I cast. Then I sat alone somewhere, asking Allah’s forgiveness assiduously. I decided to live austerely for forty days. [During that time] the thought came to my heart: “Visit your shaykh al-Junayd.” I travelled to Baghdad. When I reached the room where he lived I knocked at his door and heard him say: “Come in, O Abu `Amr! You sin in al-Ruhba and we ask forgiveness for you here in Baghdad.”3

About the Sufis al-Junayd said:

* “They are the members of a single household that none other than they can enter.”

* “The Sufi is like the earth: every kind of abomination is thrown upon it, but naught but every kind of goodness grows from it.”

* “The Sufi is like the earth: both the righteous and the sinners walk upon it. He is like the clouds: they give shade to all things. He is like the raindrop: it waters all things.”

* “If you see a Sufi caring for his outer appearance, then know that his inward being is corrupt.”

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya related from al-Sulami that al-Junayd said: “The truthful seeker (al-murid al-sadiq) has no need for the scholars of knowledge” and: “When Allah desires great goodness for the seeker, He makes him flock to the Sufis and prevents him from accompanying those who read books (al-qurra’).”4
This is similar to al-Junayd’s saying reported by al-Dhahabi: “We did not take tasawwuf from what So-and-So said and what So-and-So-said, but from hunger, abandonment of the world, and severance of comforts.”
Al-Junayd also said: “Among the marks of Allah’s wrath against a servant is that He makes him busy with that which is of no concern to him.”5

Ibn al-Qayyim in al-Fawa’id asserts the superiority of the struggle against the ego (jihad al-nafs) over all other struggles and quotes al-Junayd:

Allah said: {Those who have striven for Our sake, We guide them to Our ways} (29:96). He has thereby made guidance dependent on jihad. Therefore, the most perfect of people are those of them who struggle the most for His sake, and the most obligatory of jihads (afrad al-jihad) are the jihad against the ego, the jihad against desires, the jihad against the devil, and the jihad against the lower world. Whoever struggles against these four, Allah will guide them to the ways of His good pleasure which lead to His Paradise, and whoever leaves jihad, then he leaves guidance in proportion to his leaving jihad.
Al-Junayd said: “[The verse means] Those who have striven against their desires and repented for our sake, we shall guide them to the ways of sincerity. And one cannot struggle against his enemy outwardly except he who struggles against these enemies inwardly. Then whoever is given victory over them will be victorious over his enemy. And whoever is defeated by them, his enemy defeats him.”6

Ibn `Abidin related in his fatwa on the permissibility of dhikr gatherings:

The Imam of the Two Groups,7 our master al-Junayd was told: “Certain people indulge in wajd or ecstatic behavior, and sway with their bodies.” He replied: “Leave them to their happiness with Allah. They are the ones whose affections have been smashed by the path and whose breasts have been torn apart by effort, and they are unable to bear it. There is no blame on them if they breathe awhile as a remedy for their intense state. If you tasted what they taste, you would excuse their exuberance.”8

In his Kitab al-Fana’ (“Book of the Annihilation of the Self”) al-Junayd states:

As for the select and the select of the select, who become alien through the strangeness of their conditions – presence for them is loss, and enjoyment of the witnessing is struggle. They have been effaced from every trace and every signification that they find in themselves or that they witness on their own. The Real has subjugated them, effaced them, annihilated them from their own attributes, so that it is the Real that works through them, on them, and for them in everything they experience. It is the Real which confirms such exigencies in and upon them through the form of its completion and perfection.9

Al-Junayd went on pilgrimage on foot thirty times. On his deathbed he recited the Qur’an incessantly. Al-Jariri related that he told him: “O Abu al-Qasim! Put yourself at ease.”
He replied: “O Abu Muhammad! Do you know anyone that is more in need of Qur’an at this time, when my record is being folded up?” He finished one khatma then started over until he recited seventy verses of Sura al-Baqara, then he died. Ibn `Imad al-Hanbali said: “If we were to speak of his merits we could fill volumes.”

Main sources: al-Qushayri, Risala 148-150; Ibn `Imad, Shadharat al-Dhahab 2:228-230; al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 11:153-155 #2555; Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra 2:260-275 #60.


1In al-Qushayri, Kitab al-Sama` in al-Rasa’il al-Qushayriyya (Sidon and Beirut: al-Maktaba al-`Asriyya, 1970) p. 60.

2Narrated from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by al-Tirmidhi (gharib) with a weak chain, Abu Imama by al-Tabarani with a fair (hasan) chain according to al-Haythami in the chapter on firasa in Majma` al-Zawa’id, Ibn `Adi, al-Hakim al-Tirmidhi, and al-Quda`i in Musnad al-Shihab (1:387). Also narrated by al-Bukhari in his Tarikh, Ibn al-Sani, and from Ibn `Umar by Ibn Abi Hatim, al-Tabari, and Ibn Kathir in their commentaries of the verse (Therein lie portents for those who read the signs( (15:75). Ibn al-Jawzi includes it in the forgeries. Al-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-Hasana (#23) rejects Ibn al-Jawzi’s grading of mawdu`, but considers its chains all weak, as do al-Albani in his Silsila Da`ifa (4:299-302) and al-Ahdab in Zawa’id Tarikh Baghdad (4:340-343 #687). However, al-Suyuti declares it hasan in al-La’ali’ al-Masnu`a (2:329-330) as do al-Shawkani in al-Fawa’id (p. 243-244) and al-Zuhayri – Albani’s student – in his edition of Ibn `Abd al-Barr’s Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm (1:677 #1197). The purported weakness of al-Tabarani’s chain revolves around the narrator `Abd Allah ibn Salih al-Juhani. Cf. al-Dhahabi, Mizan (2:440-445 #4383).

Al-Sakhawi cites another narration whereby the Prophet (s) said: “Allah has servants who know (the truth about people) through reading the signs” (tawassum). Narrated from Anas with a fair chain by al-Bazzar in his Musnad, al-Tabarani, and Abu Nu`aym in al-Tibb al-Nabawi as stated by al-`Ajluni in Kashf al-Khafa’.

3In Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifa al-Safwa 1(2):271, chapter on al-Junayd (#296).

4Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Madarij al-Salikin (2:366).

5In Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifa al-Safwa, chapter on al-Junayd.

6Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, al-Fawa’id, ed. Muhammad `Ali Qutb (al-Iskandariyya: Dar al-Da`wa, 1992) p. 50.

7I.e. Sufis and fuqaha’.

8Seventh Letter in Shifa` al-`Alil wa Ball al-Ghalil fi Hukm al-Wasiyya bi al-Khatamat wa al-Tahalil (p. 172-173).

9Translation communicated to the author by Michael Sells, Haverford College.

Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

GF Haddad ©


Ur: Al-Risala al-Qusahayriyya, översatt till svenska av Övers. Göran Ogén

1. [Han] var överhuvud [sayyid] och ledare [imām] för denna grupp (av sufier). Han hade sina släktrötter i Nihāwand men var själv född och uppvuxen i Iraq. Fadern handlade med glas och kallades därför “Flaskhandlaren” [al-qawārīrī]. Al-Djunayd var rättslärare [faqīh] enligt Abū Thawrs skola och brukade [redan] som tjogoåring avge rättsutlåtanden i dennes krets och i hans närvaro. Han umgicks med sin morbror al-Sarī (al-Saqatī) samt med al-Hārith al-Muhāsibī och Muhammad bin cAlī al-Qassāb. Al-Djunayd dog år 297 (år 910 A.D.).

2. Jag (al-Qushayrī) hörde al-Husayn {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} säga, att han hört Muhammad bin al-Husayn al-Baghdādī säga, att han hört al-Farghānī säga, att han hade hört al-Djunayd, när han tillfrågats ‘Vem är det som äger [mystik] insikt [cārif]?’, säga ‘Om någon talar om ditt innerstas hemlighet [sirr] under det att du själv förblir tyst [därom] (så äger du [mystik] insikt’.

3. Jag hörde sufimästaren al-Husayn Abū cAbd al-Rahmānī al-Sulamī {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} säga, att han hört Muhammad bin cAbd Allāh al-Rāzī säga, att han hört Abū cAbd Muhammad al-Djurayrī säga, att han hade hört al-Djunayd säga ‘Vi ansluter oss inte till sufismen på grund av det ena eller det andra som sägs om den utan på grund av hungern [djūc] (på andligt livet) och att vi önskar lämna Denna världen och kapa de band som håller oss fast vid invanda och vardagliga rutiner’.

4. Jag hörde Muhammad bin al-Husayn {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} säga, att han hört Abū Bakr al-Rāzī säga, att han hört Abū Muhammad al-Djurayrī säga, att han hört Muhammad bin al-Husayn säga, att han hade hört al-Djunayd svara en man, som diskuterat den [mystika] insikten [macrifa] och sagt, att de som äger [mystik] insikt om Gud [ahl macrifa bi’llāh] via fromhetens port och sitt närmande till Gud {mäktig och härlig är Han!} når fram till den punkt, där de lämnar gärningarna: ‘Nej, detta är verkligen prat från folk som talar om att eliminera gärningarna. Men i mina ögon är detta en stor synd. Ja, den som stjäl eller lever i skörlevnad befinner sig i ett bättre läge än den som säger detta! Ty de som äger [mystik] insikt om Gud den högste [al-ārifūn bi’llāh tacālā] tar emot gärningarna från Gud och återvänder till Honom i dem. Om jag så levde i hundra år,så skulle jag inte minska på fromhetens gärningar det minsta, såvida jag inte blev förhindrad därtill!’.

5. Al-Djunayd sade också: »Använd lera till dina hushållskärl, om det är möjligt för dig!»

6. Al-Djunayd sade också: »Alla vägar är spärrade för människorna utom för dem som följer i Apostelns spår {Gud välsigne och bevare honom!}.»

7. Jag hörde Muhammad bin al-Husayn {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} säga, att han hört Mansūr bin cAbd Allāh säga, att han hört Abū cUmar al-cAnmātī säga, att han hade hört al-Djunayd säga ‘Om en rättfärdighetens företrädare(2) så vore vänd mot Gud under tiotusen år men sedan vände sig bort från Honom för blott ett ögonblick, så skulle det som gick honom förlorat vara mer [värt] än det som tillföll honom!’.

8. Al-Djunayd sade också: »Man skall inte ta den till ledare i sufism som inte kan Koranen helt och hållet utantill och som inte upptecknar Traditionsuppgifter om Profetens seder och bruk [hadīth](3), ty vårt sufiska vetande är knutet till Skriften och till Profetens goda exempel [sunna].»

9. Jag hörde Muhammad bin al-Husayn säga, att han hört Abū Nasr al-Isbahānī säga, att han hade hört Abū cAlī al-Rūdhabārī citera al-Djunayd ‘Vår sufiska skolbildning [madhhab] är knuten till de grundprinciper som finns i Skriften och i Profetens goda exempel [sunna].’

10. Och han sade: »Vårt sufiska vetande är grundat på det som finns i Traditionsuppgifterna om Guds Utsändes {Gud välsigne och bevare honom!} seder och bruk [hadīth].»

11. Muhammad bin al-Husayn {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} berättade för oss, att han hört Abū ‘l-Husayn bin Fāris säga, att han hade hört Abū ‘l-Husayn cAlī bin Ibrāhīm al-Haddād säga ‘Jag var närvarande under en sammankomst med domaren Abū ‘l-cAbbās bin Shuraydj, som talade om [den av Gud uppenbarade] lagens [sharīca] överordnade och underordnade principer på ett så vackert sätt att jag förundrades över det. När han såg min förundran sade han ‘Vet du vad detta kommer ifrån?’, och jag svarade ‘Domaren talar om detta’. Då svarde han ‘Detta kommer genom välsignelsen från Abū ‘l-Qāsim al-Djunayds sammankomster!’.

12. Al-Djunayd tillfrågades ‘Varifrån har du inhämtat detta vetande?’, och svarade ‘Genom att jag i trettio år suttit ned framför Gud under den där trappan’ – och pekade på en trappa till sitt hus.

13. Jag hörde mäster Abū cAlī al-Daqqāq {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} berätta detta och jag hörde honom säga, att al-Djunayd sågs ha ett radband i sin hand och att man då hade frågat honom ‘Tar du trots din ädla ställning ett radband i din hand?’, och han hade svarat ‘Det, med vars hjälp jag har nått fram till min Herre, skiljer jag mig inte ifrån!’.

14. Jag hörde mäster Abū cAlī al-Daqqāq {Gud förbarme sig över honom!} säga ‘Al-Djunayd gick varje dag till sin affär, lät förhänget falla ned, förrättade fyra hundra prostrationer(4) och återvände sedan hem till sig’.

15. Abū Bakr al-cAtawī sade: »Jag befann mig hos al-Djunayd när han dog. Jag såg honom läsa igenom hela Koranen, varpå han började om från början med Suran om kon [sūrat al-baqara] och läste [sedan] sjuttio verser till. Därpå dog han {Gud förbarme sig över honom!}.»

1) Död 297/910. Erik Hermelins översättning av kapitlet om Al-Djunayd i cAttārs Tadhkiratu’l-awliyā´ finns att läsa i hans TAZKIRATÚL’L-AWLIYÁ – VÄNNERNAS MINNE, del II, pp. 293-246: Djunáid Bagh-dādī (Hermelin vill antagligen genom särskrivningen “Bagh-dādī” framhålla att al-Djunayd var “given av Gud” i analogi med etymologin till staden Bagdad, som på medelpersiska betyder “[staden] given av Gud”.

2) en rättfärdighetens företrädare: sādiq.

3) Jag översätter den komprimerade tekniska termen hadīth i lam yaktub al-hadīth med Traditionsuppgifter om Profetens seder och bruk.

4) prostration: rakca. En prostration eller rakca innebär att man sätter sig på knä, lägger pannan mot marken och därpå återgår till knäsittande läge.

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