This was the first book of spirituality that Rumi (blessings upon his soul) recommended his students to read. It is extremely thorough, deep, thought provoking, stimulating, and practical at the same time.
About the author:
Al Qushayri was born in Ustava in 986 CE (Near Nishapur). As a child he memorized the Qur’an and received a thorough literary education. He was known for writing beautiful poetry and being a courageous rider and swordsman. His father died when Al Qushayri was very young – and thus Al Qushayri inherited a village. From the income that was derived from that village, he moved to Nishapur and studied mathematics in the hopes to work in financial administration for the ruling Ghaznavids.
Nishapur was an intellectual center of Sunni Islam – and a home of the Ashari theology. Hallaj had taught here and was well received. Al Qushayri found himself sitting amongst the teacher Abu Ali Al-Hasan al-Daqqaq, student of the well versed scholar Nasrabadhi. Al Daqqaq took special interest in Al Qushayri, who had now left finance and dedicated his life to learning under Al-Daqqaq. Al Qushayri began to study fiqh (jurisprudence) and Ashari theology with other prominent teachers that Al-Daqqaq recommended. Al Qushayri eventually married Al Daqqaq’s daughter, who herself was a scholar and hadith transmitter. After Al Daqqaq passed away, AL Qushayri studied briefly under Al Sulami (d. CE 1021).
Al Qushayri eventually rose to be the greatest scholar of Sufism in Nishapur and eventually all of Khurasan. At age 51 he wrote a great commentary on the Qur’an. His Risalah, became the most widely disseminated handbook of Sufism in the Islamic world. One of Al-Qusharyi’s six sons became the teacher of Imam Ghazali. Al-Qushayri died in 1072 CE.