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AB AMZA ORSN

(d. 290/903), Sufi born and active in Npr.


AB AMZA ORSN, d. 290/903, Sufi born and active in Npr; according to Ar he died
there (Takera II, p. 97.6; Solam, abaqt, p. 326.3; abb, Tr-e Naybr, p. 150; Anr,
abaqt, p. 123.8). He received his Sufi training from Ab Torb Naab (d. 245/859), with whom he
traveled extensively (ibid., p. 123.6; Hovr, Kaf, p. 184.1). Ab amza also studied with Baghdadi
masters, being counted among the contemporaries (aqrn) of Jonayd (d. 297/910) and as a companion
(rafq) of arrz (d. 277/890-91; Solam, abaqt, p. 326.3; Anr, abaqt, p. 123.7). However he
seems not to have settled in Baghdad; significantly, he is not mentioned in Tar Badd, and the
sources depict him as a Sufi master of the east only (Solam, abaqt, p. 123.6; Hovr, Kaf, p.
183.19).
Ab amza is praised for his pious abstinence (wara), penetrating insight into people (fersa), and
especially his generous chivalry (fotwa) and his total trust in God (tawakkol) based on a feeling of
proximity to God (qorb; Kaf, p. 184.1; Solam, abaqt, p. 326.4; Anr, abaqt, p. 123.7; Ar,
Takera II, p. 95.-2). But he did not achieve note through writings on these subjects or by providing
influential definitions of them, and his spiritual legacy survives only in a dozen sayings and a few
anecdotes. This material indicates that Ab amza was primarily shaped by Khorasani Sufism. His
fotwa and tawakkol are undoubtedly Khorasani traits, and Npr was a center for the cultivation of
fotwa (see F. Meier, ursn und das Ende der klassischen fik, La Persia nel Medioevo, Rome,
1971, pp. 565ff.). He stood in the direct line of classical Khorasani tawakkol tradition through his
teacher Ab Torb, a late disciple of aqq Bal (d. 194/809-10; Massignon, Essai, pp. 258ff.). Ab
Torbs example may have especially influenced Ab amzas love of travel, habit of living hand to
mouth (cf. Qoayr, Resla, p. 27.-8 and Ar, Takera II, p. 97.3 with Solam, abaqt, p. 147.6),
and axiom of virtuous unconcern for danger (cf. Sarr, Loma, p. 331.1ff. with Solam, abaqt, p.
147.6). Ab amza gives due attention to truthfulness (edq), the fostering of which was renowned in
Khorasani Sufism (see Qoayr, Resla, p. 113.11): The one whom God distinguishes with a glance of
his grace is thereby . . . adorned with interior and exterior truthfulness (Solam, abaqt, p. 328.1f.).
Traces of Iraqi Sufism in Ab amza are much weaker than Khorasani influence. His warning of Gods
cunning (makr), from which man is not safe even in paradise, is unmistakenly Baghdadi (ibid., p.
327.12f.; on makr see al-Serr f anfs al-fya, MS Cairo, Dr al-Kotob, Taawwof 287, pp. 11-15;
Solam, aqeq, fol. 174b.-4ff. on Koran 27:50). His mysticism was quite removed from that of the
Baghdadis on major points, as is indicated by Nrs (d. 295/907-08) criticism of his concept of
proximity to God (Sarr, Loma, p. 57.7ff.; Anr, abaqt, p. 159.-3ff.). Ab amza understood by
intimacy with God (ons) the aversion to foregathering with men (Solam, abaqt, p. 326.8ff.), but
Nr could only conceive of proximity to God as mystical union (see Kalb, Taarrof, Cairo, 1933,
p. 78.1). Ab amza did not follow him in this regard, even while integrating the state of trance into
his view of Sufism (see Solam, abaqt, p. 328.9ff.).

The extent of Ab amzas influence is unclear. Only one episode in his life was widely reported: Once
he fell into an open well, which was then covered over. Mindful of his proximity to God, he did not
wish to call out; he was finally saved miraculously by a lion (see B. Reinert, Die Lehre von Tawakkul,
Berlin, 1968, p. 142). Although this story especially illustrated Ab amzas personal form of tawakkol
and proximity to God, ebl (d. 334/946) already applied it in Baghdad to the locally better known Ab
amza Badd (Tar Badd I, p. 392). Ab amza orsn is not otherwise mentioned in the
systematic works on taawwof, even in discussions of such terms as fotwa, tawakkol, qorb, fersa, or
wara. In the ayt attributed to him by Rzbehn Baql, he seems to be confused with Ab amza
Badd (see ar-e ayt, ed. H. Corbin, Paris and Tehran, 1966, p. 202; and cf. Hovr, Kaf, p.
226).

Bibliography:
Sarr, al-Loma fil-taawwof, ed. R. A. Nicholson, Leiden and London, 1914.
abb, Tr-e Nay sbr (extract by alfa), Tehran, 1339 ./1960.
Ab Abd-al-Ramn Solam, aqeq (Koran commentary), MS Fatih 262.
Idem, abaqt al-fya, ed. orayba, Cairo, 1372/1953.
Abd-al-Karm b. Hawzem Qoayr, Resla, Cairo, 1359/1940.
Abdallh Anr, abaqt al-fya, ed. Qandahr, Kabul, 1340 ./1961.
Al b. Omn Hovr, Kaf al-mab, ed. Zhukovski, Tehran, 1336 ./1957.
Fard-al-dn Ar, Takerat al-awl, Tehran, 1336 ./1957.
(B. Reinert)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 19, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, p. 295
Cite this entry:
B. Reinert, Abu Hamza Korasani, Encyclopdia Iranica, I/3, p. 295; an updated version is available
online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abu-hamza-korasani-d (accessed on 30 January 2014).