The following is a translation of Shaykh Ḥaydar Ḥubbullāh’s epistemic analysis of mysticism. We found this piece particularly important to translate, especially given that religious discourse in the Shī’ah world on the pulpits today often tends to glamorize ‘irfānī experience.
“From one standpoint, the religious consciousness in general and the Islamic one in particular manifests in a wide array of forms that render it beauty and elegance: in one iteration, jurisprudential; in a second, philosophical; in a third, theological; in a fourth, historical; in a fifth, Qur’ānic; and in a sixth, mystical-spiritual. This multifaceted nature is among the secrets of this religion’s elegance, especially as it pertains to how the human being conceives his interaction with it. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid distilling our understanding of religion to a monolithic one without acknowledging other dimensions; indeed, this will result in immeasurable neglect of a great corpus of Islāmic knowledge. From this point of view, it becomes evident that the study of mysticism in tandem with other religious dimensions is critical; this great treasure of knowledge amassed over the centuries is no doubt worthy of detailed investigation and analysis.
In our capacity, we will endeavor to raise some key questions while alluding to the underlying methodological considerations that thinkers may raise as it pertains to this mystical strain of Islām—this trend that has had a profound impact on our understanding of the Islāmic mode of thought and lifestyle. From the very outset, we emphasize that our goal is to simply present observations about the epistemology and pedagogy of mysticism, just as we also aim to reflect on its practical real-life implications. We hope that these observations may serve as a springboard to scrutinize mysticism more critically from a rational and intellectual perspective, away from the bias of whether we essentially believe or do not believe in its foundations.
The School of Mysticism Between Rejection and Acceptance: the Problem of Epistemology and the Rationality of ‘Irfān
‘Allāmah Al-Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabātabā’ī (d. 1981 AD) endeavored to legitimize Islamic mysticism from a religious standpoint in his book Risālat al-Walāyah (the Treatise of Friendship with God), just as his pupil Shaykh Murtaḍā Muṭahharī attempted to do the same in his “Islām and Irān.” Owing to the strong traditionist trend that had rose to prominence in Iraq and Iran at that time, these two scholars attempted to mobilize scriptural evidence for mysticism from the religious corpus.
The traditionist trend was hardly a new rival in its opposing the Ṣūfī and ‘irfānī methodology; a number of scholars—many of them from the Akhbārī school of Shī’ism—rose to vehemently repudiate the Ṣūfism which had become widespread during the Ṣafavid era. Among the most crucial arguments of this traditionist faction was that there is no clear support wrought from the religious corpus to support the mystical persuasion in the first place. Therefore, we find al-Ḥurr al-‘Āmilī (d 1104 AH) utilizing this argument as the first of his proofs against those who claimed divine intimation (al-kashf) in his book “The Treatise of the Twelvers in Refuting the Ṣūfīs;” in this same vein came the work of Sayyid Hāshim Ma’rūf al-Ḥasanī in his book “Between Tashayyu’ and Taṣawwuf.” Many of the muḥaddiths and jurists who comprised the traditionist movement therefore viewed this trend of mysticism as something altogether foreign and external to Islamic culture. In any case, we do not wish to claim that Tabātabā’ī did something completely unprecedented; rather he simply presented an amalgam of the various textual proofs the philosophers and mystics have utilized to support their methodology. We also do not claim that his work necessarily crystallized advocacy for mysticism—in fact it also generated an innumerable number of questions about the textual interpretations of the ‘Allāmah. Nonetheless, the stance that Tabātabā’ī took to textually legitimize ‘irfān was no doubt daring and monumental.
However, the larger dilemma that faces ‘irfān in fact lies in how it fares in front of epistemological legitimacy. The key question that the rational school raises for Islāmic mysticism and Ṣūfism is epistemological: to what extent can the data derived from mysticism be substantiated? Assuming it can be substantiated, from where exactly does mysticism derive this credibility?
We do not aim to fully investigate this complicated matter here more than we seek to emphasize that ‘irfān cannot sit back with its hands folded in the face of such a grave question. Perhaps this is why many mystics have sought to paint their mystical gleanings with philosophical terminology, in turn leading to the formation of mystic-philosophers and philosopher-mystics. While these various attempts first saw actualization in the writings of Ṣadr al-Dīn Al-Qūnawī (d. 683) and Ṣā’in al-Dīn al-Iṣfāhānī (d. 835), they only truly consolidated in the persona of Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (d. 1050 AH), widely known as Ṣadr al-Muta’allihīn. The Ṣadran school of Transcendent Wisdom (al-Ḥikmah al-Muta’āliyah) was a particular attempt to philosophically substantiate the conclusions derived from the spiritual intimations of mysticism. It was through this philosophical-rational elucidation that ‘irfān came to enjoy a sense of underlying intellectualism.
Although the intellectualization of mysticism therefore had begun many centuries prior, there remains an even more pressing need today to intellectualize it from an epistemological perspective. This need cannot seriously be met by merely taking the ontological and phenomenological experiences of mystics and then plastering them with a philosophical and rational jargon. Rather, we must go deeper than this to understand the phenomenon of mysticism itself as a paradigm; we must seek to investigate how is it that one may rely upon it to expound on reality and comprehend truth? Simply taking a proposition and transforming it into a rational conception which can be philosophically justified does not necessarily substantiate the truth of said proposition, nor the methodology by which it was derived! This is especially underscored by the fact that mystical propositions are extremely varied and contradictory; hence, as per the Cartesian epistemological paradigm, it is vital to analyze the mystical methodology with skeptical rigor to ascertain how much semblance it bears with truth.
This opens up our first discussion about the capacity of the heart to uncover reality: how does a mystical apprehend external truths? What is the meaning of intuitive knowledge and how should it be conceived? We are not at all concerned with the flowery artistic and literary imagery employed to comprehend mystical phenomena, indeed a penchant of many; neither are we interested in surrealism and fantasy; rather we strive instead towards presenting a strict and objective reading that analytically critiques these phenomena. In turn, these questions raise another important issue, which is whether a mystic is conflating issues: could it be that what he terms as divine witnessing (al-shuhūd) is just an unusual product of his subconscious mind? Could it not be that the refined sentiment of a mystic—combined with his literary proclivity—renders the illusion that he is phenomenologically witnessing his rational deductions? In other words, just in the same manner that a literarian envisions nature as consisting of unparalleled elegance—rendering complex metaphors for natural phenomena—when he is only rendering them through his own subjective artistic lens?
Raising this question leads us to question the very epistemological basis of intuitive phenomena as the mystic conceives of it. Therefore, the study of ‘irfān must be studied in reference to the premises upon which its conceptions are built, given that it differs substantially from purely rational epistemologies. If it is possible for mystics to affirm the possibility that a wayfarer can be deceived by what they term “satanic deceptions” (al-iltibāsāt al-shayṭāniyyah), then this question looms ever yet larger for the mystic to address. If the matter is as ibn Khaldūn (d. 808 AH) has said that “This divine intimation (al-kashf) is not correctly realized amongst the mystics until it originates from true virtuosity (al-istiqāmah),” then the mystic must revise his own personal experience within his conscience: how can he be sure—objectively—that the conclusion he has assented to is not just utter speculation and imagination?
Merely apprehending something does not necessitate it exists; therefore, it is possible that the mystic may experience a level of witnessing that is not necessarily real. In other words, the personal conviction (al-yaqīn al-dhātī) wrought by the experience of the mystic may be acceptable at the subjective level; however, at an objective level that transcends subjective intuition and depends on the intellect, the matter becomes complicated. The intellect may not even primarily possess objective data that truly connect the realities perceived by the mystical experience, such that they ought to be secondarily rationalized. An objective rational epistemology is instead dependent on how external realities are connected and not just by how they are perceived subjectively, as philosophy itself affirms. Therefore, this means that the personal conviction that the mystic has attained should not assist the mystic in explaining external phenomena from a rational perspective; rather, he must have objective conviction (al-yaqīn al-mawḍū’ī) and primary evidence that rationally connects such realities together.
The difference between personal conviction and objective conviction as explained by Sayyid al-Ṣadr (d. 1400 AH) in his “The Logical Foundations for Induction” is that personal conviction immaterial of external data, instead being built upon internal and psychological conceptions. Meanwhile, objective conviction is not derived except through a process of weighing extrinsic data; it is this conviction that is so sought after by the rational philosophers.
The gist of what we are aiming to exposit is that the mystic is completely entitled to reach his own personal conviction and to judge based on it; however, his trying to then rationalize this personal conviction based on a philosophical paradigm that only recognizes objective conviction seems quite contrived and artificial. It is therefore necessary to solve such dilemmas as these to create a truly rational groundwork for mystical phenomena.
Now even if we were to suppose that conviction is inherently a personal matter and there is nothing objective about it, the question remains as to how the mystical experience should rationally be interpreted; this is especially for those who are not privy to mystical experience, as they cannot affirm the derived conclusions except based on solid philosophical proofs. This therefore demands that the epistemological standard should remain rational, just as Shaykh Muḥammad Taqī Miṣbāḥ al-Yazdī has emphasized. Therefore, the words of a mystic are not probative except if they are buttressed by intellectual proof as also stated by Sayyid Kamāl al-Ḥaydarī. By this, we mean to say that attempting to philosophically prove mystical gleanings renders the standard rational, even if this proof should serve to incidentally confirm an ‘irfānī ontological conclusion. Therefore, legitimacy in the end remains with a rational epistemology alone, not with a mystical one.
What we aim to specifically clarify here is this: what is the foundational standard in the study of ‘irfān? Is it intuition and personal conviction independent of rationality, such that we strive to justify our preconceived notions even before engaging in mystical experience? Or is it the intellect from only a general paradigmatic angle that superficially legitimizes the mystical epistemology, even though it is unable to fully explain it? Or is it the credal texts that present a general conception of the mystical experience without delving into the details (as expounded by Tabātabā’ī in his work)? Or is it something else entirely?
If it is intuition that gives legitimacy to itself, then it becomes necessary to explain how this legitimacy would truly differ from sophistry (al-ittijāh al-safisṭā’ī) and empiricism (al-madhhab al-ḥissī). We do not intend to provide the solution for this problem more than we seek to outline it and explain its significance. It is not possible to traverse this juncture by simply claiming intuitive knowledge; Europe passed through centuries of complete ignorance about how to legitimize the methodologies of research, including religious investigation. This issue is not so simple that it can just be flouted; it rather deserves a conscientious understanding of the issue coupled with critical acumen on how to properly treat it.
The Epistemology of Mysticism and the Problem of the Pedagogic Relationship
There is another problem that is situated in roughly the same context: if wayfaring itself is contingent upon submitting oneself to its path, then it could very well be that the element of surrendering oneself completely to another (as embodied in the relationship between a shaykh and murīd in the traditional terminology) is responsible to some degree in unquestioningly submitting oneself to the conclusions of the mystical methodology. This in turn implies that substantiating this paradigm is difficult for someone who has not been initiated into its experience. As a result, the mystic movement becomes extremely insular and cannot truly interact with other schools of thought; the charisma and personality of the teacher instead becomes the primary factor in satiating the wayfarer in what he may witness of epiphanies and intimations.
Analyzing the nature of the pedagogic relationship between the shaykh (or the ustādh as is prevalent today) and the murīd helps to shed light on the profound social and psychological construct latent within mysticism. There is a divergence within ‘irfāni circles—as professed by ‘Allāmah Al-Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-Ḥusaynī al-Ṭehrānī and others—regarding the necessity of the wayfarer having a teacher who takes him under his wing. Although a strain believes there is no necessity of this, the general history and experience of ‘irfān has confirmed that a spiritual teacher was and remains essential. The ustādh plays an active role in the training of the wayfarer; hence it is held that he should be either an initiated mystic or under the tutelage and license of an initiated mystic. Per this belief, the ustādh’s role is not only on an external level (as would be found in the study of other sciences), rather many claim that the ustādh performs a profound spiritual operation whereby he molds the personality of the student to accept his spiritual potentialities. Rather, some go as far to say that the attraction of the wayfarer to a certain ustādh and his becoming acquainted with him in the first place is predicated upon the spiritual power and esoteric walāyah that the ustādh possesses. It is through the spiritual gravity of the ustādh himself that the souls worthy of wayfaring intersect with him, even though they may not have yet physically or corporeally met. This relationship of course is based upon an esoteric theory and understanding of a walī within ‘irfānī terminology—an understanding that of course differs completely with the theological and jurisprudential conception.
Bearing in mind this understanding of the ustādh, we are enabled to understand what is meant when it is said that the ustādh manipulates the soul of his murīd and apprehends his secrets and inner thoughts. The murīd is considered completely naked in front of his ustādh, and this in turn implies that he will approach the field of spiritual training as though he has absolutely nothing except what is provided to him by his teacher. We don’t mean this in the sense of compulsion necessarily; rather that the murīd strips himself completely and surrenders himself over to the initiated mystic so that he may rejuvenate his soul through his spiritual faculties.
Now if we desire to understand—through objective analysis—the pedagogic construct imbued in the relationship between the shaykh and the murīd, we will quickly comprehend that the entire blueprint of wayfaring is envisioned as being completely outside the control of the wayfarer himself. It is assumed that a wayfarer who selects a particular ustādh does not do so on his own accord, since his rational and intellectual faculties are incapable of understanding matters of the soul. The mystics insist that there are veils and curtains between the intellect and the metaphysical realities of intuition. Therefore, the wayfarer is himself viewed as ignorant of how to differentiate one ustādh from another, even if there may be some minimal degree of choice in the sense of eschewing a teacher who contradicts the sharī’ah.
When a wayfarer enters the kingdom of any ustādh in this manner, one of the key factors in his spiritual journey lies in the charisma of the teacher. It is as though an external curriculum is being superimposed onto the wayfarer that forces him to embark on his spiritual path according to its dictates. This implies that his mystical conclusions may not always properly be weighed, especially when they are rooted in personal conviction; this is especially because it is deemed that the human intellect is incapable of objective understanding. Hence, as long as the wayfarer is not given any freedom at the start of his spiritual path, there will remain a breach in the pedagogic structure; unless of course he has reached the level of spiritual refinement that he can properly differentiate whims and satanic artifices from true mysticism.
It is in the nature of the human intellectual sciences to enact standardized criteria whereby their scholars may distinguish between realities; whether in mathematics, biology, or philosophy, we find that the door is open for the student to revise and critically evaluate the knowledge he may have previously garnered. However, in the ‘irfānī atmosphere such criteria are nebulous given the subjectivity of the conviction that is attained; that which ‘irfānī jargon terms ‘divine witnessing’ and ‘intuitive knowledge’ are propositions themselves, not objective or rational criteria. Even further, given that ‘irfān is a very privatized discipline, this complicates its use as an epistemic source in the practical life of an average human being.
The mechanism whereby one enters this mystical world and the pedagogy peculiar to spiritual wayfaring pose to us certain questions about their rational dimension; that is, the intellectual interpretation of this phenomenon remains convoluted and somewhat reserved: just as a child who finds adults engaging in intellectual conflict without being able to pass judgement due to his own presupposed incapability to understand; therefore, he is bound to simply imitate what one of his elders dictate until he attains to his own maturity. This is precisely the problem with ‘irfānī issues: the mystics speak of “a mode of thinking beyond the bounds of the intellect.” Well then how exactly is one supposed to rationally study such phenomena to derive objective criteria from them, instead of merely taking their prescriptions to heart? The intellect therefore finds itself between two options here:
- It completely rejects the ‘irfānī paradigm based on these suppositions. Of course, the mystics will then respond by saying: what transcends the intellect cannot be subject to intellectual judgement. Rather, acquired knowledge (al-‘ilm al-huṣūlī) cannot pass any evaluation upon intuitive knowledge (al-‘ilm al-ḥuḍūrī), as Shaykh Jawādī Āmulī has stated. This resembles what the rationalists say in response to the empiricists that it is impossible for the senses to deny that which transcends them. Rather all we can say is that they are incapable of passing judgement. This is why we see ibn Khaldūn state, “Rational argumentation and proof to refute or affirm do not avail in this regard, because these matters are intuitional (al-wijdāniyyāt).”
- The other option is as we alluded: for rationality to suspend judgement at the level of methodologically evaluating mysticism (however, we still do call for a rational analysis of the prescriptions derived from mysticism). Of course, it should be said that the mystical trend has taken advantage of this situation by claiming that there is something only comprehensible to the heart, as though to state: “Your world is exoteric and lowly, while ours completely transcends yours.”
However, the suspension of rationality here does not imply the legitimacy of mystical conclusions; it rather implies that there is no proof that they are not legitimate. This difference is extremely poignant and fundamental; the mystic is completely entitled to demand that others not reject ‘irfān as Imam Khomeinī has stated in his “The Spiritual Etiquettes of Prayer.” However, he is not entitled to leverage rationality’s inability to pass judgment to imply that his methodology is authentic.
As we can see, the war between the intellect and intuitive knowledge is highly complex, given that the former objectively questions how the pedagogy and personal conviction of ‘irfān create true knowledge. However, at the same time rationality cannot reject the mystical paradigm. There is no solution that gathers these two faculties on a level playing field. On one hand, the intellect will always consider the possibility that mystical conclusions could have been wrought by psychological, neuronal, or imaginative means; on the other hand, those who experience mysticism in the strength of its personal conviction may well disregard intellectual objections. While the Ṣadran school as well as its predecessors (al-Qūnawī and al-Iṣfahānī) attempted to rationalize mystical premises, they could not address how the intellect may become confident that what is termed “spiritual witnessing” is not merely complex interactions of the unconscious mind with heuristic tools (āliyāt al-tafkīr).
The gist of what we aim to exposit about the rationalization of mystical experience and the problem of epistemology is as follows: the attempts to ontologically rationalize and philosophize mystical conclusions may be fruitful. However, it is also necessary to interpret and adjudicate mystical experience in light of rationality and this is an important frontier that needs to be opened; however, the mystics’ claim that the intellect is incapable of judging mystical experience complicates this picture immensely. In its wake, the mystical movement has been able to sometimes create chaos by stripping the intellect of being able to pass any judgement. Perhaps a prescriptive rational study of mysticism as a global trend—if it should develop—would provide us in the future with more information that would change our current stance.
Out of this epistemic analysis, it becomes obvious that analyzing mystical phenomena is critical—especially from a systematic phenomenological and prescriptive perspective. In addition, this analysis ought to take into consideration the modern findings of the contemporary humanities such as sociology and psychology.
In our discussion here, we do not mean to say that the mystical methodology ought to be completely relegated to the intellect to pass final judgement upon it. It should be said that one can similarly posit how it is that the intellect can be relied upon to tell us of realities in the first place. This issue of course has been a source of great consternation in the study of epistemology, and we do not want to delve into this deep discussion here. We only wish to shed light on what is needed to create a robust paradigm capable of withstanding critique. Of course, we also should note that many mystics have attacked the epistemic probativity of the intellect with mystical arguments. Among famous mystics who have interpreted the intellect a barrier towards understanding truth are Sayyid Ḥaydar al-Āmuli, Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn ‘Arabī, Ibn Finārī, al-Ghazālī, Imam Khomeinī, etc. Rather, the claim that rational argumentation does not avail to disclose reality appears deeply embedded within the mystical culture.
‘Irfān and Comparative Studies
Emerging from our comments regarding a rational study of mysticism, it is necessary to remember that mysticism (al-‘irfān) and asceticism (al-taṣawwuf) are not movements monopolized by a single creed or religion. Rather they exist in various forms within all faiths, including the so-called “natural religions” like Buddhism. From this perspective, mysticism may resemble philosophy; outside of historical and prescriptive studies, it is not rational to speak of philosophy as a Muslim or Christian enterprise owing to its universality. In the same light, mysticism can be seen as a human spiritual science, not specific to a single faction. One notable difference however is that philosophy only focuses on self-evident truths of the mind and their primacy (which is shared among all humans) while strands of mysticism are usually heavily tied to a specific faith tradition and are influenced by them. However, aside from these particularities, the mystical experience may be regarded as a shared heritage.
If this observation is more-or-less legitimate, then this implies that we can also speak of a mysticism that transcends faith traditions—this implies that comparative mysticism may well be leveraged to understand mystical phenomena on a deeper and more substantial level.
Comparing the mysticism of John Eckhardt (b 1957 AD) and Rudolf Otto (d 1937 AD) with the ‘irfān of Ibn ‘Arabī (d 638 AH) and ibn al-Fāriḍ (d 632 AH) certainly seems important to understand the general phenomenology of mysticism. It will also allow us to understand the role of time and place in the mystic’s experience and understanding of realities. For instance, ibn ‘Arabī has an ontological mysticism in which there is a full theory of existence; however, Rudolf Otto’s modern mysticism is devoid of this.
These comparative studies will allow for the dissolution of dogma in how we understand the paradigm of mysticism; we will be able to appreciate the particularities that Islamic mysticism enjoys, whether they be points of strength or weakness. In fact, the dearth of such comparative mysticism has led to the fragmented understanding of mystical experience, as though contrived from prior suppositions. The study of mysticism has become insulated to specific religious and sectarian circles—nay, this fragmentation has reached such a point that even within one sect you have multiple strains of mysticism! Instead of one form of mysticism completing and clarifying the other, they are all therefore left in a state of utter contradiction and disharmony.
We do not mean to imply that there is no variance in mysticism; rather what we seek is a spirit of mysticism that transcends a specific religious boundary, without necessarily neglecting religious teachings. This would play a vital role in confirming the validity of intuitive experience and increase the rich spiritual culture of humankind. Furthermore, it would perhaps be a vital means of rejuvenation amid the spiritually lackadaisical and materialistic movements of modernity and post-modernity.
Reviewing the Islamic corpus shows us that there is a gaping hole in comparative mysticism; perhaps the reason for this is that phenomenological prescriptive analysis of ‘irfān and Ṣūfism is still a relatively new field, especially on the epistemological frontier. We have seen a dearth of literature in this vital discipline, for the majority of what has been written on this topic has been the product of individual experience rather than an all-encompassing investigation into this phenomenon in human knowledge.
The absence of such comparative studies—as we have hinted—has led to the creation of mystical strains that are only specific to the prior dogma of a certain faction. This is unfortunately a reality that will continue to plague mysticism: the preconceived notions of a mystic are what guides the mystical experience in all its formulations. Nonetheless, the spirit of the experience remains arguably similar. Therefore, if we adopt the viewpoint that mystical and spiritual experience is strictly contingent upon preconceived notions, then we ought to delegate the epistemic validity of ‘irfān to some degree upon the intellect. However, if we should believe that the preconceived dogma of the mystic has no bearing upon the nature of the experience and only plays a role in how it is verbally framed, then this comparative study will allow us to uncover the points of convergence that connect these disparate strains of mystical experience. Furthermore, perhaps they shall aid the mystic in creating a mystical terminology that could be universalized for all of humanity.
 For advanced readers, you can find this discussion in his “Mas’alat al-Manhaj fī al-Fikr al-Dīnī: Waqafāt wa Mulāḥaẓāt,” pages 189-206
 ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Khaldūn, al-Muqaddimah page 464
 Al-Usus al-Manṭiqiyyah li al-Istiqrā’, pages 326-327
 Muḥāḍarāt fī al-Aydiyūlujiyyah al-Muqāranah page 24 and al-Manhaj al-Jadīd fī Ta’līm al-Falsafa volumen 1 page 125
 Durūs al-Ḥikmah al-Muta’āliyah page 63
 Al-Rūḥ al-Mujarrad page 43, where he mentions the reasons given for not needing an ustādh and rebuts all of them. Among the books I recommend for studying the relationship between the shaykh and the murīd is ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Aḥmad Manṣūr’s “The Peculiarities of Islamic Taṣawwuf: Between its Proponents and Opponents,” volume 1 pages 7-105.
 In his ‘Ali ibn Musā al-Riḍā and the Divine Philosophy, page 106
 ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Khaldūn in his al-Muqaddimah page 465
 The Spiritual Etiquettes of Prayer pages 301 and 307
 Kamāl al-Ḥaydarī has gathered some of the major proofs used by the mystics to critique the rational movement and claim that the mystical paradigm is more suitable for uncovering truth. This can be found in his book Durūs fī al-Ḥikmah al-Muta’āliyah, volume 1, pages 58-61.
 See Miṣbāḥ al-Yazdī’s Muḥāḍarāt fī al-Aydiyūlujiyyah al-Muqāranah page 24 and al-Manhaj al-Jadīd volume 1 page 128
 The extent of what has been accomplished thus far is simply a historical analysis of taṣawwuf and its various strains, such as the work of Zakī Mubārak in ‘Islamic Taṣawwuf,’ or Muṣtafā al-Shabībī in his “The Connection between Taṣawwuf and Tashayyu’.”
Muhammad Jaffer is a neurologist by profession, and his field of interest is Islamic literature. He enjoys translating Arabic poetry in particular.