This is the first translation of a significant portion of the Risala, the famous compendium of Sufi knowledge and practice by Al-Qushayri (d.1072).
Principles of Sufism includes all sections of the Risala concerning the fundamental principles of Sufism; it omits only the biographical notices at the beginning of the work and various highly technical matters at its end. One of the most widely read Sufi treatises in Arabic, the Risala defines classical Sufism through the use of quotations from the Qur'an, the Prophetic Traditions and reference to the exemplary behavior of the ascetics and saints. Al-Qushayri illustrates the principles of Sufism with tales and sayings of the first generation of Muslims and of his contemporaries in the 5/11th century. Readers are given a rich account of what Sufism as a way of life implied for the early Muslims.