The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals & Ethics by Imam Birgivi (Spiritual Classics)

The Path of Muhammad: A Book on Islamic Morals & Ethics by Imam Birgivi (Spiritual Classics)

R 799


This long-awaited classic of Islamic spirituality fulfills important needs in scholarship on the history of Sufism and in the contemporary search for spiritual direction in today’s troubled world. Imam Birgivi’s manual of ethical conduct and spiritual practice details the "Path of Muhammad" (al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah), a Sufi method created in late fifteenth century Morocco and disseminated as far as India and beyond through the mediation of Ottoman Sufi masters. This path seeks to instill the sunnah of Muhammad not only through imitation of the Prophet’s outward behavior, but more importantly, by teaching one to assimilate the Prophet’s inner spiritual states. In this way, the seeker becomes empowered to find a personal solution to the challenges of the times without merely repeating the answers of the past. Shaykh Tosun Bayrak’s lucid and at times lyrical translation of Imam Birgivi’s text gives new life to this work and makes the reader believe it was written yesterday, not five centuries ago. In an era of rampant fundamentalism and simplistic and politicized responses to the world’s problems, this work reminds us that the greater struggle is within ourselves, and that the life of the body cannot be improved without the transformation of the soul. The term, al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah, appears to have been used for the first time by the Moroccan Sufi ‘Abdallah al-Ghazwani (d. 1528-9). A Bedouin by origin, Ghazwani is one of the famous "Seven Saints" of Marrakech and is known locally as Mul al-Qusur (Master of Palaces). In his works, Ghazwani also refers to the Path of Muhammad as the "Method of the Muhammadan Sunnah" (Madhhab al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah) and the "Technique of Archetypal Perception" (Suluk al-Nazrah al-Azaliyyah). The link between this Moroccan Sufi and Imam Birgivi’s teachers may have been the Egyptian jurist, Sufi, and Qur’an commentator Muhammad al-Laqani (d. 1528-9), who corresponded extensively with Ghazwani about the details of al-Tariqah al-Muhammadiyyah. Sufis of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order ultimately passed on these doctrines throughout the Ottoman Empire and South Asia. In Ghazwani’s version of the Path of Muhammad, the key figure is the "Bell Saint" (al-Jaras), the axial Sufi teacher of his time, who can hear the "pealing" or reverberation of the divine archetypes on the verge of their actualization into forms. The ability of the Bell Saint to teach his followers to perceive these reverberations is based on his assumption of the Prophetic Inheritance (al-wirathah al-nabawiyyah), which comes about through the assimilation of the Prophet’s inner sunnah or spiritual consciousness. Ghazwani’s concept of the Bell Saint comes from a famous tradition, found in the hadith collections of Bukhari, Tirmidhi, and Nasa’i, where the Prophet describes the sound of divine revelation as like the clanging of a bell. In the words of Ahmad al-Buni (d. 1225), an earlier Sufi who used this metaphor, "The bell tolls for each man. He who listens to it is elevated and is taken from the world for union with Allah, which is the goal of prayer."


Foreword by Shaykh Abdul Mabud

Introduction by Vincent J. Cornell

The Last Will and Testament

The Path of Muhammad (s.a.w.s)

1. On Holding Firm to the Holy Book and the Traditions of the Prophet

2. On Pernicious Innovations

3. On Economy of Deeds

4. Belief in the Religion brought by the Prophet

5. On Knowledge

6. On Righteousness

7. On the Denial of God

8. On Self-Indulgence and Blind Imitation

9. On Sanctimony and Hypocrisy

10. On Ambition

11. On Identifying Evil

12. On Arrogance and Humility

13. On Envy

14. On Anger

15. On Forbearance

16. Relating to the Goods of this World: Avarice, Wastefulness, Generosity, Detachment

17. On Money: How to Use It and Not Waste It

18. On Careless Haste

19. On Hopelessness

20. The Use of the Tongue

21. On Listening

22. On Looking

23. On Touching

24. On Eating and Drinking

25. On Sex

26. On Coming and Going

27. Other Private and Social Offences to be Avoided


ISBN: 9780941532686
AUTHOR: Imam Birgivi & Shaykh Tosun Bayrak
BINDING: Paperback
PAGES: 368 pages
DIMENSIONS: 6.11 x 0.96 x 9.11 inches
PUBLISHER: World Wisdom


Imam Birgivi was an Ottoman Muslim scholar and moralist who lived during the height of the Ottoman Empire, in the 16th century of the common era. Muhammad ibn Pir Ali, later called Birgivi, was born in Balikesir, Turkey, in 1522. In young manhood Muhammad was sent to Istanbul, the capital, to study theology under Ahizade Mehmed Efendi. After the completion of his education, he taught in various schools. During this time he became a dervish, attaching himself to a Sufi master of the order of Bayramiyyah. After briefly serving in a government position, Imam Birgivi abandoned all worldly concerns, dedicated his life to God, and became an ascetic. But his Sufi master, who appreciated both the virtue and the knowledge of his student, directed him to become a teacher of religion, religious jurisprudence, and morals, and to write books as well. Shortly, through his teaching and the writing of twenty-seven books, Muhammad ibn Pir Ali (now called by the title and name of Imam Birgivi) became very famous. Imam Birgivi fought against the distortion of Islamic teachings for the benefit of the ruling classes. He continued to live in the small distant town of Birgiv until he died of a plague in 1573, at the age of fifty-one.

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