© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012 DOI: 10.1163/221059512X617658 Journal of Sufĳi Studies 1 (2012) 3–30 brill.nl/jss The Controversy of Shaykh Awḥad al-Dīn Kirmānī and Handsome, Moon-Faced Youths: A Case Study of Shāhid-Bāzī in Medieval Suﬁsm Lloyd Ridgeon University of Glasgow UK Abstract The ability to witness the divine in creation has been one of the features that has often distin- guished Sufĳis from non-Sufĳis. One of the most controversial manifestations of this was shāhid- bāzī (“ playing the witness”), which was a practice of gazing at the form of young males in order to witness the inner, divine presence. Since medieval times a Persian Sufĳi by the name of Awḥad al-Dīn Kirmānī has been most commonly associated with shāhid-bāzī ( especially during the samāʿ —or the ritual of Sufĳi music and dance). The controversy relating to Kirmānī seems to have focused on the homoerotic nature of shāhid-bāzī , yet a close examination of the texts reveal that the criticisms about Kirmānī relate to a wide range of Sufĳi practices and doctrines. An investigation of the contexts of these criticisms indicate that thirteenth–fourteenth-century Sufĳism was diverse and fluid, and that the systematisation of Sufĳism into brotherhoods ( ṭarīqa )
Journal of Sufi Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2012
Keywords: ḥulūl; samāʿ; shāhid-bāzī; eroticism; Sufism; Awḥad al-Dīn Kirmānī
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