Souls” between Al-Andalus and Persia:
Presence, Stories, and
University of Granada,
It is widely
known that Sufism, the mystical tendency of Islam, was
conceived in the East, experimenting a growing influence and
development in the societies of those territories
incorporated to the Islamic empire throughout centuries.
Through this process, Islamic mysticism ended up taking
roots in such a broad and diverse geographical framework as
that covered from Persia and India, in the Muslim East, to
the Maghreb and al-Andalus, in the West.
territory always tried to maintain alive its links with the
Orient, for being the cradle of the Islamic civilization and
for constituting, therefore, a religious and cultural
reference in very different aspects. Within Sufism, the
tendency of benefitting personally from the wisdom of
celebrated Oriental masters (shuyýkh)
constantly took many Andalusi mystics to travel to the
Islamic East, taking advantage of their journeys to Mecca.
This spiritual need was still felt by many “travelling
souls” of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada (13th–15th
centuries), who reached the far-off lands of Persia
searching for the saintly advice of its Spiritual leaders.
In addition to that, the works composed by exponential
figures of Iranian Sufism –such as al-Hall×¥
(d. 244/857)–were well-known and spread within the spiritual
in al-Andalus. As for Persia, it is also known that this
land was interested in the spiritual atmosphere of
al-Andalus, to where several mystics guided their steps.
According to some Arabic sources, some Iranian Sufis visited
the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, participating in the
religious festivals held in Granada that had the palace of
the Alhambra as a privileged setting.
Throughout this paper, both the presence and the influence
of Nasrid Sufis in Persia and Persian mystics in al-Andalus
will be analyzed, paying special attention to their
respective experiences in such distant lands.