The true Sufi must be neither jealous, egotistical nor arrogant with his knowledge nor miserly with his money. Rather, he must act as a guide: not confused, but merciful of heart and companionate with all of creation. To him, every person is as [useful as] one of his hands. He is an ascetic: everything is equal to him, whether it be praise or blame, receiving or giving, acceptance or rejection, wealth or poverty. He is neither joyful about what comes to him nor sad about what has been lost.
'The Way of Abu Madyan: The Works of Abu Madyan Shuayb'
By Abu Madyan Shuayb (Author), Vincent J. Cornell (Translator)
This is the first English translation of works attributed to Abu Madyan, a seminal figure of Sufism in Muslim Spain and North Africa. The oeuvre includes doctrinal treatises, aphorisms, and poetical works, and so introduces readers to several of the most important genres of religious writing in Islamic Middle Period.
Abu Madyan Shu'ayb ibn al-Husayn al-Ansari, 1115/16-1198, poet, teacher and Sufi mystic, was born in the town of Cantillana near Seville in Muslim Spain and is buried at al-Ubbad outside the city of Tlemcen in Western Algeria. After spending many years of his life learning from the most famous Sufis of Morocco, he settled in the Algerian city of Bijaya, where he spread his particular brand of orthodox mysticism to Sufi adepts and the general public alike. Called 'Shaykh of Shaykhs' and 'the Nurturer', al-Ghawth, by his contemporaries, Abu Madyan was the most influential Sufi of the formative period of mysticism in North Africa and had a profound influence on the eventual Qadiri and Shadhili Sufi traditions.