“Islamic Non-Dualism: The Sufi Poetry of al-Shuhstari” – Filip HOLM | LET’S TALK RELIGION

This episode is a sort of remake of an earlier one I did on al-Shushtari a few years back, with some added content. Join me as we explore on of the most fascinating Sufi poets in history.

Translations of poems and the Baghdad Treatise are from the works of Lourdes Maria Alvarez. Translations from Risalat al-Qusariyya are by Yousef Casewit.

Sources/Recomended Reading:

Abou-Bakr, Omaima (1992). “The Symbolic Function of Metaphor in Medieval Sufi Poetry: The Case of Shushtari”. Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 12, Metaphor and Allegory in the Middle Ages (1992), pp. 40-57.

Alvarez, Lourdes Maria (2009). “Abu-l Hasan al-Shushtari: Songs of Love and Devotion”. In the “Classics of Western Spirituality” series. Paulist Press.

Alvarez, Lourdes Maria (2005). “The Mystical Language of Everyday Life”: Vernacular Sufi Poetry and the Songs of Abu Al-Hasan Al-Shustari”. Exemplaria. 17:1, 1-32, DOI: 10.1179/exm.2005.17.1.1.

Ceballos, Carlos Berbil (2015). “Journeying from the Apparent to Absolute Being: Ibn Sab’in and his Predecessors”. Journal of the Muhydin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, Vol. 58.

Casewit, Yousef (2017). “The Mystics of Al-Andalus: Ibn Barrajan and Islamic Thought in the Twelfth Century”. Cambridge University Press.

Casewit, Yousef (2020). “Shushtarī’s Treatise on the Limits of Theology and Sufism: Discursive Knowledge (ʿilm), Direct Recognition (maʿrifa), and Mystical Realization (taḥqīq) in al-Risāla al-Quṣāriyya”. Article. Divinity School, The University of Chicago.

Casewit, Yousef (2020). “The Treatise on the Ascension (al-Risāla al-miʿrājiyya): Cosmology and Time in the Writings of Abū l-Ḥasan al-Shushtarī (d. 668/1269)”. In “Light upon Light: Essays in Islamic Thought and History in Honor of Gerhard Bowering”. Edited by Jamal J. Elias & Bilal Orfali. Brill.

Cornell, Vincent J. (1998). “Realm of the Saint: Power and Authority in Moroccan Sufism”. University of Texas Press.

Cornell, Vincent J. (2007). “The All-Comprehensive Circle (al-Ihata): Soul, Intellect, and the Oneness of Existence in the Doctrine of Ibn Sab’in”. In “Sufism and Theology”, edited by Ayman Shihadeh. Edinburgh University Press.

Ebstein, Michael (2014). “Mysticism and Philosophy in al-Andalus: Ibn Masarra, Ibn al-‘Arabi and the Isma’ili Tradition”. Brill.

Johnson. N. Scott (1995). “Ocean and Pearls: Ibn Sab’in, Shustari and the Doctrine of Absolute Unity”. In “Sufi: Journal of Sufism” Issue 25.


  1. Intro
  2. Shushtari’s Life
  3. Wahdat al-Mutlaqa (Absolute Oneness)
  4. Mysticism in the Islamic West
  5. Tahqiq (Wahdat al-Mutlaqa cont.)
  6. Shushtari’s Final Years
  7. The Poetry of al-Shushtari
  8. Shushtari’s defense of Sufism
  9. Legacy & Conclusions