Hasidism and Sufism: Spirituality in Judaism and Islam


Hasidism and Sufism: Spirituality in Judaism and Islam

(Hamid Mahmood)


In an era when media and politics over-shadow relations between Muslims and Jews, maybe there is a solution – spirituality. I will initiate by defining Ṣūfism and Ḥasidism, alongside the definition process I will analyse and contrast between the two. Thereafter, I will focus my attention on the Pīr (sheikh) / Tsaddik and murīd / ḥasidim, and examine their centrality in both spiritualities using Arabic, Persian and Urdu poetry. I will examine the notion of the Tsaddik through four channels as approached by Rachel Elior. I will conclude by briefly analysing individuals, Abraham Maimonides and Baṣīr, who in the medieval period were inclined towards Islamic mysticism – taṣawwuf. And alongside the medieval, I will also look at similar examples in the contemporary modern period – Pīr Ināyat Khan and Rabbi Zalman Shalomi.

Defining Ṣūfism and Ḥasidism

Jonathan Brown and Martin Lings simply explain Sūfism as: the ‘the art of knocking’ on the door of the divine.[1] Brown further quotes a famous Sūfi saint Abū Bakr al-Shiblī as describing Sufism as, ‘comforting the heart with the fan of purity, clothing the mind with the cloak of faithfulness, acquiring generosity and rejoicing in meeting God’.[2] Pīr Dhul-Fiqār of the Naqshbandī ṭarīqat (order) illustrates how one is to acquire taṣawwuf, he quotes Hasan al-Basrī, ‘hum ne taṣawwuf qīl wa qāl se nahī balke tark-e-lazzāt se sīkhā’ – we acquired taṣawwuf not through argumentation and debate, but by casting aside materialistic and worldly desires.[3] Junaid al-Baghdādī once said in a poem:

الصوفی من لبس الصوف علی الصفیٰ ۔ و لزم طریق المصطفیٰ

و جعل الدنیا علی العفا ۔ و الا کلب الکوفی احسن من الصوفی[4]

A Sūfī is he: who dons al-ṣuf (woollen clothing) with the purity of heart

who holds firmly to the ṭarīq (path) of the ‘chosen one’ (Muḥammad) [5]

who leaves behind and transcends the world

if not, then a kūfī [6] dog is superior to the ṣufī.

I believe Ṣūfism is very similar to Ḥasidism in the way that it initiated and transformed into diverse number of ṭuruq (pl. of ṭarīqh – paths). For instance the chishti ṭarīqa, despite claiming silsila to the Prophet, is named after the place in contemporary Afghanistan called Chisht, and similar reasons for other ṭarīqas. However, when defining and analysing Ḥasidism, Rachel Elior presents four factors that umbrella all the ḥasidic groups: (1) A relationship to the Ba’al Shem Tov; (2) Tsadik and community; (3) Being and nothingness; and (4) The ḥasidic congregation.[7]

I will focus my attention on the second and fourth points. It is evident that if the tsadik is viewed so highly, then the master and founder of this spiritual path is bound to be central. The second notion, Tsadik and community, will be dealt with in depth and throughout the essay. But, in simple words Elior assesses, ‘The tsadik links the terrestrial world of his followers with the supernal worlds… the link between the tsadik and his followers is intimate, based on charismatic leadership of the community in a spirit of holiness. All members are of the community are equal in their relationship to the tsadik, which fosters a strong sense of brotherhood’.[8] The third, being (Yesh) and nothingness (Ayin)’ is a ḥasidic idea of the unity and meeting of opposites. Elior elaborates as, ‘this two-way process takes place continuously from the ayin to the yesh and from the yesh to the ayin: every limited element strives to expand, to divest itself of corporeality, and to return to its abstract source, and every abstract element strives to contract, to clothe itself, and to be revealed in its limited expression’.[9] This notion is similar to Muhammad Iqbal’s idea of the Prophet Muhammad and his ascent to the source, he believes, ‘Muhammad of Arabia ascended the highest Heaven and returned. I swear by God that if I had reached that point, I should never have returned’.[10] Finally, the ‘ḥasidic congregation’ is similar to the second notion, but I view it as a result of the powerful bond between the tsadik and the follower. As Elior stresses that there was a relation from both channels, tsadik was the sole channel of divine mercy and sustenance for his followers…[on the other hand] the tsadik also depended on the recognition and support of his followers’.[11] In the ṣūfism of the sub-continent, the masters at times stress the importance of murāqaba (meditation) of the master despite it being repudiated by the ulema’. Similar to this is the incident of Junaid al-Baghdādī and his murīds who claimed to have walked on water by calling the name of their master, Oh Junaid instead of Oh Allah: and once they said, ‘Oh Allah’ they began to sink. Interestingly, Junaid explained, “You are trying to reach Allah and yet you haven’t even reached Junaid!”.[12] However it is ‘tales’ of these kind that the wahhābī and orthodox Islamic mind is forced to reject ṣūfism, and at times in its entirety.

The Pīr (master) and the murīd (follower) | The Tsaddik and the Hasidim

I believe, in both spiritual paths within Judaism and Islam, the relationship between the master and follower is central. The utmost significance in this relation is the deeper and real experience of the holy letters: in ṣufism the sheikh is seen as someone who has attained a higher status; he has survived temptation and reached the maqām (station) where he now stands. However, now he must pass his experience of reaching that maqām to his murīds and the silsila of the previous sheikhs must continue till the Last Day. I will later look at the difference between the ‘master’ in ṣūfism and ḥasidism – the silsila. The sheikh in ṣufism provides the murīd with esoteric knowledge, which is believed by the ṣufī to be such ‘ilm ladunnī that cannot be acquired through extensive study. The story of Rūmī’s conversion to ṣufism is an interesting one, in which a contrast between ‘ilm al-kasabī (acquired knowledge) and ‘ilm-e-ladunnī / kashf (spiritual esoteric knowledge) is given:

‘One day Mawlana Rumi was sitting with his students and disciples near a pond which was in the middle of his garden giving them a lesson in one of the Islamic ‘intellectual sciences’. The Mawlana was surrounded by a large pile of handwritten books and scrolls and was teaching from them when suddenly a strange fellow approached him and, smiling, pointed to the pile of books and asked, “What is this?”

Taking the man to be a wandering dervish and illiterate, Rumi smiled and said, “This is something which you do not know!” [exoteric knowledge].

Still smiling, the dervish picked up the pile of books and threw them into the pond. Rumi was horrified and cried out, “You ignorant fellow! What have you done? You have ruined all my precious books!”

The dervish continued to smile and, nonchalantly approaching the pond and putting his hand into the water, retrieved all the books. Amazingly, all the books instantly became dry and as good as new!

Astonished at this charismatic miracle Rumi cried out, “What is this?”

“This is something which you do not know!” [referring here to esoteric knowledge]. answered Shams of Tabriz.[13]

Subsequent to Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī’s struggles through the maqāmāt (stations) he said what is now quoted by ṣūfī’s throughout the ṭarīqa in Persian:

مولوی ھر گز نشد “مولاے روم”

تا غلامِ شمس تبریز نشد [14]

Mevlawī could never have become the Maula (Master) of Rūm,

till he became the slave [15] of Shams Tabrez

However, even for the famous jurist of Islam, al-Shāfi’ī, the acquiring of exoteric knowledge depended upon a spiritual state of taqwā and tark al-ma’āṣī. Imām al-Shāfi’ī once complained to his teacher regarding his weakness in memory and expressed this incident in a poem:

شکوتُ الیٰ وکیع سوءَ حفظی ۔ فاوصانی الیٰ ترک المعاصی

فان العلمَ نور من الاھی ۔ و نور اللہ لا یُعطیٰ لِعاصی[16]

“I complained to [my teacher / my sheikh] Waqī’ regarding the weakness of my memory. He prescribed for me the abstinence from sins. For indeed al-‘ilm [sacred knowledge] is a nūr (light) from my Lord. And the light of Allah is not given to a sinner”.

Interestingly, when Thānwī was asked the definition of a ṣūfī, he replied with determination, ‘عالم با عمل’ ‘ālim bā amal’ – ‘A scholar, who implements his knowledge’.[17] Hence, it is bringing to life the letters of the sacred texts and becoming the embodiment of the sacred knowledge that is the spiritual aim of Islamic spirituality. Iqbal expresses this notion in his poem, of how a mu’min (believer) is not the one who merely recites the sacred text, but is in reality the sacred text.

ہمسایۂ جبریلِ امیں بندہ خاکی

! ہے اس کا نشیمن‘ نہ بخارا نہ بدخشان

یہ راز کسی کو نہیں معلوم کہ مومن

[18]! قاری نظر آتا ہے‘ حقیقت میں ہے قرآن

With Gabriel trusted and steadfast
this clay-born man has kinship close
a dwelling in some land or clime
for himself Muslim never chose.
This secret yet none has grasped
that a mu’min by appearance is a reciter [of the Qur’an],

But in reality he is the Qur’an.[19]

There is a similar approach to the Pīr of Ḥasidism, and his relation to his ḥasidim.

As the rabbi of Rizhyn once said,

“Just as the holy letters of the alphabet are voiceless without the vowel signs, and the vowel signs cannot stand without the letters, so zaddikim and ḥasidim are bound up with one another. The zaddikim are the letters and the ḥasidim who journey to them are the vowel signs. The ḥasidim need the zaddik, but he has just as much need of them. Through them he can be uplifted. Because of them he can sink – God forbid! They carry his voice, they sow his work in the world…’[20]

But, the reason for the ḥasidim’s need to go to the tsaddik I believe is similar to the ṣūfī idea, of reaching the ultimate source, the reality of God and the tsaddik is the intermediary for that. Rabbi Mordecai elaborated the need for the ḥasidim to come to the tsaddikim, which is homogeneous to the ṣūfī idea of transferring ‘ishq (Love) from ‘fānī’ (the mortal) to ‘bāqī’ (the immortal). He once said, “people go to the tsaddikim for many different reasons. One goes to the tsaddik to learn how to pray with fear and love; another to acquire strength to study the Torah for its own sake. Still another goes because he wants to mount to a higher rung of spiritual life, and so on. But none of these things should be the true purpose of going, for each of them can be attained, and then it is no longer necessary to toil for it. The only, the true purpose, should be to seek the reality of God. No bounds are set to this, and it has no end’.[21]

Rābi’ah Baṣriyyah, a famous female ṣūfī of her era, emotionally expressed the very notion:

“O my Lord, if I worship you from fear of hell, burn me in hell.

If I worship you in hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.

But if I worship you for yourself alone,

grant me then the beauty of your Face”.[22]

However, I believe, the most significant contrasting difference between the tsaddik and the pīr is the silsila (the chain of narrators), which the Ṣūfis believe leads back to the Prophet himself. An idea which, I believe is influenced by principles of ḥadīth tradition likewise shi’ite belief of connecting the imams to the genealogy of the Prophet. But at times these silsilas seem to be problematic when one finds unauthentic sources in the chain of transmission. For instance, when figures like Khidr [23] are mentioned in the chain they become dubious. I present an example of a silsila of my own ṣūfī lineage, where one could see how the methodology used in ṣufism are assumed to be taught down the ages from the Messenger himself, but alongside that I will point towards a problem within the silsila:

Hazrat Mufti Moosa Badat Khalifah of > Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi (died 1417 AH) > Shaikhul Hadith Maulana Zakaria Kandhelvi (died 1402 AH) > Hazrat Maulana Khalil Ahmed Saharanpuri (died 1346 AH) > Qutbul Alam Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (died 1323 AH) > Hajee Imdaadullah Makki (died 1317 AH) > Hazrat Miajee Noor Muhammad (died 1259 AH) >Shaikh Abdur Raheem (died 1246 AH) >Shah Abdul Bari Siddiqi (died 1226 AH) >Shaikh Abdul Haadi (died 1190 AH) >Shah Adhduddin (died 1170 AH) >Shah Muhammad Makki Ja’fari (diedAH) >Shaikh Sayyed Muhammadi (died 1107 AH) >Khwaajah Muhibullah Ilahabadi (died 1058 AH) >Shah Abu Saeed Nu’mani (died 1040 AH) >Shaikh Nizaamuddin Thaneseri (died 1024 AH) >Shaikh Jalaaluddin Thaneseri (died989 AH) >Shah Abdul Quddus Gangohi (died944 AH) >Khwaajah Muhammad bin Shaikh Aarif (died898 AH) >Khwaajah Aarif (died882 AH) >Khwaajah Ahmad Abdul Haq Radolvi (died837 AH) >Khwaajah Jalaaluddin Kabirul Auliya (died765 AH) >Shaikh Shamsuddin Turk Panipatti (died718 AH) >Khwaajah Alaauddin Sabir Kalyeri (died690 AH) >Shaikh Fareeduddin Shakar Ganj (died668 AH) >Hazrat Shaikh Qutbuddin Bukhtiyaar Kaki (died633 AH) >Khwaajah Muinuddin Chishti (died632 AH) >Khwaajah Uthmaan Harooni (died597 AH) >Khwaajah Shareef Zandani (died584 AH) >Khwaajah Maudood Chisti (died527 AH) >Khwaajah Sayyed Abu Yusuf (died459 AH) >Khwaajah Abu Muhammad (died411 AH) >Khwaajah Abu Ahmad Abdaal Chishti (died355 AH) >Khwaajah Abu Ishaaq (died329 AH) >Khwaajah Alawi Mumshaad Dinywari (died298 AH) >Khwaajah Abu Habeerah Basri (died287 AH) >Khwaajah Huzaifah Mur-ashi (died202 AH) >Hazrat Sultan Ibraahim bin Adham (died 162 AH) > Khwaajah Fuzail bin Ayaaz (died187 AH) > Khwaajah Abdul Waahid bin Zaid (died176 AH) > Hazrat Hasan al-Basri (died110 AH) > AMMERUL MU’MINEEN SAYYIDINA HAZRAT ALI radiyallahu anhu (died 40 AH) > SAYYIDINA MUHAMMAD RASULULLAH [The Messenger of Allah] Sallallahu alaihi wasallam (died 11 AH). [24]

Here the silsila ends at the Prophet through his cousin Ali: the ṣūfīs from the chishtī ṭarīqa claim that their teachings and methods have been acquired through the time which lead back to the Prophet. So henceforth there is a spiritual connection between the pīr and the murīd, which is acquired directly from the Prophet through this chain. However, towards the end of the silsila we have the famous Hasan al-Basrī acquiring his ṣūfī teachings from the Prophet’s cousin Ali, but it is still debated whether Hasan al-Basri had actually met Ali and heard from him let alone acquired the complete ṣūfī ṭarīqat.

Within ṣufism there still lies the question of learning from the ‘other’ master, whom one has not pledged an allegiance (bai’at) to. Thanwi, interestingly explains this in his ṣūfī exegesis of the Qur’an:

قولہ تعالی وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبۡلِكَ وَبِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ يُوقِنُونَ اسی پر یہ قیاس کیا جاوے گا کہ اعتقاد تو تمام مشاءخ اہلِ حق کے ساتھ ایسا ہی رکھنا چاہے جیسے اپنے شیخ کے ساتھ البتہ اتباع صرف اپنے شیخ کا ہوتا ہے۔ جیسا بعینہ یہی حکم ہے انبیاء علیھم السلام میں ۔ [25]

‘those who believe in the revelation sent down to you [Muhammad], and in what was sent before you, those who have firm faith in the hereafter’ (Qur’an 1:4). It will be deduced [from this verse] that belief will be on all mashā’ikh ahl al-ḥaq (the masters of the true path) just as i’tiqād (belief) with one’s own master, however ittibā’ (following the ṣūfī path) is only of one’s own sheikh. Just as the identical command regarding the following of Prophets. It is evident from this exegesis that the ṣūfī’s, despite their silsilas, have resorted to deducing uṣūl (principles) of taṣawwuf from interpretations of the Qur’an.

The Tsaddik

Rachel Elior has systematically explained the role of the Tsaddik in Hasidism through four notions; (1) Charisma; (2) Mutual devotion and responsibility; (3) Embodiment of the divine dialectic; and (4) linking the divine and the material. Elior explains the notion of Charisma, ‘The Tsadik derives his authority from the charisma of divine election, a sense of divinely inspired mission and a consciousness of revelation through immediate contact with higher worlds. [26]

The ṣūfī sheikh, in this notion, is one with the Tsaddik, but as elaborated earlier the difference between both in this context would be the silsila, which is believed to reach back to the Prophet himself. However, there is a distinction between the function of the ulemā’ and the ṣufī masters, similar to that of the tzaddikim and the normative rabbis. However, it is clear that both do merge, so there will certainly be ‘ulemā who are also ṣūfī masters, and this I believe to be the normative practice now in the Muslim world. For instance the madrasa (Islamic Seminary) of Bury is famously known for its ṣufī influence on traditional subjects and methodology. Sūfī mystic-jurists of the sub-continent, such as Mufti Taqī ‘Uthmānī, call for a merging of the sciences of taṣawwuf and fiqh. However, at times it is felt that ṣufism begins to influence jurisprudence and vice versa. But this is then rebuked by jurists by differentiating the status of taqwā (تقویٰ) and fatwā (فتویٰ).

Elior further explains the notion of ‘Mutual devotion and responsibility’, The relationship between the tsaddik and his Hasidim is based on an all-embracing nexus of spiritual brotherhood and social responsibility’. [27] This relationship is termed hitkasherut vehitkalelut (affiliation and absorption), it could be seen as the two wheels of the same cycle, as they both need each other for this spiritual movement on a difficult path. ‘Embodiment of the divine dialectic’, Elior elaborates as, the tsaddik embodies the dialectical tension between transcendence and sublimation, the process of emanation from nothingness so as to bring abundance into the world. He moves between different states of consciousness so as to confront both divine nothingness and physical being.[28] This notion I believe is quite unique to Hasidism.

Lastly the idea of ‘Linking the divine and the material’, Elior understands as, the tsaddik devotes himself simultaneously to God and to the world. In an attempt to reunite the divine element in the material world with its source in the heavenly world, he strives to elevate the mundane; at the same time he attempts to draw down the divine abundance from on high for the benefit of the world’.[29] This idea is similar to Rūmī’s dervish, when he circles in the ṣūfī dance, with one hand up towards the divine and the other lowered towards the world: it is where he takes from the divine and distributes to the world. Further to this point at the death of Umar ibn Abd al-Azīz (Umar II), the Byzantine emperor exclaimed, ‘If a man subsequent to Jesus Christ had the miracle to bring people back from the dead, it would have been Umar ibn Abd al-Azīz. I dislike the monk, who escapes from the world and resides in his abode of worship. That monk amazes me, who kept the material world beneath his feet and even then lived a life of an ascetic’ [referring here to Umar II].[30]

It is interesting to note all the similarities in the tales; poetry; purposes and above all the belief in One God; and a belief system that leads back to Prophet Abraham: surely there must be some inclination of both towards the other. Recently, when the ‘kosher’ phone came into the market designed for the needs of the Hasidim, the Muslim was the first to say, ‘right, I am certainly buying that for my child’.[31] And delightful is what Dr Jonathan Gorsky believes, that despite differences in theology, the Abrahamic faiths come together in spirituality.[32] In the medieval period there are many examples of Jews, who were inclined towards ṣufism such as Abraham Maimonides who once said,

“Thou art aware of the ways of the ancient saints of Israel, which are not or but little practiced among our contemporaries, that have now become the practice of the Sufis of Islam, on account of the iniquities of Israel.” [33]

Goiten has written an article ‘A Jewish Addict to Sufism’ focusing on a Jewish Sūfī Baṣīr, and a letter from his wife to the Rabbi urging the Jewish community to bring him back from the mountain.[34] Similarly Pīr Ināyat Khān has also confirmed the idea of Abraham Maimonides by giving form to an innovative ṭarīqa called the ‘Ināyatī-Maimūnī ṭarīqat’, and also once stated,

“The Sufi is an Israelite, especially in his study and mastery of the different names of God. The miraculous powers of Moses can also be found in the lives of the Sufis both past and present. In fact the Sufi is the master of the Hebrew mysticism; the divine voice heard by Moses on Mount Sinai in the past is audible to many a Sufi today”.[35]

Also in contemporary times Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi too has spent time in the Zāwiya with Sūfī masters in the ‘Holy Land’. From an article by Rabbi Zalman he explains how the Sufī master began discussing whether it was kosher for a non-Muslim to do dhikr. Rabbi Zalman recalls the incident when asked by the Sūfiīs:

“Why don’t you go with your own people?”

I said, “I davened this morning with my own people.”… and I’d like to be able to say dhikr with you.”

“Are you a Muslim?”

I say, “La. Ana Mu’min.” I’m a believer. I’m not a Muslim, I’m a believer.

“What do you believe in?”

And I say, “Ash-hadu.” I bear witness. “La illaha ill Allah al-ahad.” There is no G-d but G-d, and that G-d is one.

… [subsequent to being asked what sharī’ah he follows]

“Then why not follow the Shariya of Islam?”

I say, “Because it is not fitting, it isn’t ‘Adab [respectful],’ it’s not fitting for a son to go in paths different than his father. So I come from the banī Yitzhak and banī Yakub and not from the banī Ismail, and so I have to follow the Shariya of my parents.”

“What about Ṭarīqat?”

So we were talking about the higher levels of the Sufi. I said, “With that, I’m with you at one.”

Then somebody gives a kick on the side and says, “Ask him! Ask him! What about rasuliyat [prophethood]?” What has he got to say about Muhammed? Ah, they got me, ah!

So I say, “Ash-hadu.” I bear witness. “La illaha il Allah, wa Muhammed rasul Allah.” There is no G-d but Allah. And Muhammed is His messenger.

So they say to me, “Then you’re a Muslim!”

And I say, “La. Ana Yahudi.” No, I’m a Jew.

“Then how could you say, how could you say such a thing?”

So I said, “Allow me to go back with you in your history. There was Ismail [Ishmael], the son of Ibrahim ha-lililai, Abraham the friend of G-d. Ismail – his children – Ismail still had the Tawḥīd – the knowledge of the oneness of G-d, but his children fell into the dark ages, into the jāhiliyya, into the unknowing. And so, they had lost their way to the oneness of G-d. So, Ya rahim, Ya rahman, the merciful, the compassionate, sent out a messenger to the children of Ismail to bring them back to Tawḥīd – to the oneness . I believe that he was a true messenger.”

The Imam said, “I don’t want to talk anymore. I want to say dhikr with this man!”

And they brought in the drums, and we start to say dhikr.[36]

It seems that at the end of this essay one possibly could conclude that there is light at the end of the tunnel when relations between Judaism and Islam are approached through spirituality and mysticism. I initiated by defining the two spiritualities and in the process compared and contrasted the two through diverse tales and poems. I then analysed, what I believed to be the most significant aspect of Ṣūfism and Ḥasidism, the role of the Sheikh and Tsaddik. I found that the outlook of both notions very similar, but the only real difference was the silsila in Sūfism. I thereafter analysed medieval and the continuation up to the modern period of a merge between both spiritualities within Judaism and Islam.


The Qur’an: A New Translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem

Ahmad, Z. F. (2003). Majālis-e-Faqīr (مجالسِ فقیر), Vol. 1. 3rd edition. Maktabatul Faqīr: Faisalabad, Pakistan [Urdu]

Badāt, M (2003). Nisbat wa Iḥsān aur A’māl – e – Qalbiyyah (نسبت و احسان اور اعمالِ قلبییہ). Majlis – e – Maḥmoodia: Bately, UK

Badāt, M (2006). An Introduction to the Science of Tasawwuf: A Translation of Nisbat wa Iḥsān aur A’māl – e – Qalbiyyah (نسبت و احسان اور اعمالِ قلبییہ) by Khalil Ahmed Kazi.

Accessed online [29.04.2011]:


Buber, M. (1991). Tales of the Hasidim. Schocken Books: New York, USA

Brown, J. A. C. (2009). Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Oneworld Publications: Oxford, England

Brown, J. A. C. (2011). Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK

Elior, R. (2008). The Mystical Origins of Hasidism. English ed. The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization: Portland, USA

Elior, R. (No date). Chapter: ‘The Infinity of Meaning embedded in the Sacred Text’.

Accessed online [08.05.2011]:


Goitein, S. D. (1953). ‘A Jewish Addict to Sufism: In the Time of the Nagid David II Maimonides’. The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series. Vol. 44, No. 1 (July 1953), pp. 37-49.

Iqbal, M. (2008). The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. 10th ed. Kitab Bhavan: New Delhi, India.

Iqbal, M. (No date). کلیاتِ اقبال؛ متن، اردو ترجمہ اور تشریح Kulliyyat-e-Iqbal: matan, urdu tarjumah, tashreeh. Sheikh Muhammad Bashir & Sons: Lahore, Pakistan [Urdu]

Iqbal, M. ḍarb-e-kalīm (ضرب کلیم): The Rod of Moses.

Accessed online [08.05.2011]:


(search under prose works, translation of ḍarb-e-kalīm)

McAuliffe, J. D. (2003). Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān. Vol. 3. Brill: Leiden, Boston

‘Reb Zalman Among the Sufis’. Transcribed by Reuven Goldfarb with the assistance of Eliyahu (Khaled) McLean.

Accessed online [18.04.2011]:


Rūmī, J. (2009). Ḥikāyāt-e-Rūmī (حکایات رومی). Trans. by Sufi Asif Mahmood. Book Corner Show Room: Jehlum, Pakistan [Urdu]

Sajjad, Z. A. and Shahabi, I. A (1991). Tārīkh-e-Millet (تاریخِ ملت). Vol. 1. Idara Islāmiyyāt: Lahore / Karachi, Pakistan

Thānwī, A. A. (1424H). Bayān al-Qur’ān (بیان القراٰن: رفع الشکوک اردو ترجمہ مساءل السلوک من کلام ملک الملوک وجوہ المثانی مع توجیہ الکلمات والمعانی). Idārah Tālīfāt e Ashrafiyyah: Multan, Pakistan [Urdu]

Thānwī, A. A. (1425H) . Tuḥfa al-‘Ulemā’ (حضرت حکیم الامت تھانوی رحمہ اللہ کی سینکڑوں تصانیف کا نچوڑ: تحفۃ العلماء) Idara-e-taleefat-e-Ashrafiyya: Multan, Pakistan. [Urdu]


Accessed online [27.04.2011]


Accessed online: [10.05.2011]

‘Inayati-Maimuni Tariqat of Sufi Hasidim | The Desert Fellowship of the Message’

Accessed online [10.05.2011]: http://www.zimbio.com/Judaism/articles/144/Inayati+Maimuni+Tariqat+Sufi+Hasidim+Desert

[1] Brown, J. A. C. (2009). Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. (p. 184).

[2] ibid.

[3] Ahmad, Z. F. (2003). Majālis-e-Faqīr (مجالسِ فقیر), Vol. 1. (p. 196)

[4] ibid.

[5] In all instances of a Muslim’s speech and traditional writings the phrase ‘Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH)’ (صلی اللہ علیہ و سلم) is followed by the name of the Prophet, but in this article I intend the phrase, hence on the understanding that it is intended and assumed no disrespect is intended.

[6] Kūfī refers to the resident of Kūfa

[7] Elior, R. (2008). The Mystical Origins of Hasidism. (pp. 2-4)

[8] ibid., (p. 2)

[9] Elior, R. (No date). Chapter: ‘The Infinity of Meaning embedded in the Sacred Text’, p. 39. Accessed online [08.05.2011]: http://members.ngfp.org/Courses/Elior/EliorNave_Mil-Ch2.pdf

[10] Iqbal, M. (2008). The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. (p. 124) – Iqbal, here has quoted a mystic from Gangoh, pointing towards the difference between the experience between the Prophet and a mystic.

[11] Elior, R. (2008). The Mystical Origins of Hasidism. (p. 3)

[12] Naqshbandi, A. Three Tales of Sufi Wisdom.

Accessed online [09.05.2011]: http://www.chowk.com/Views/Three-Tales-Of-Sufi-Wisdom

[13] Accessed online [07.05.2011]: http://www.chowk.com/Views/Three-Tales-Of-Sufi-Wisdom also in Urdu: Rūmī, J. (2009). Ḥikāyāt-e-Rūmī (حکایات رومی). Trans. by Sufi Asif Mahmood.

[14] Rūmī, J. (2009). Ḥikāyāt-e-Rūmī (حکایات رومی). Trans. by Sufi Asif Mahmood. (p. 21)

[15] Slave here refers to murīd (follower).

[16] Thānwī, A. A. (1425H) . Tuḥfa al-‘Ulemā’ حضرت حکیم الامت تھانوی رحمہ اللہ کی سینکڑوں تصانیف کا نچوڑ: تحفۃ العلماء – (p. 41)

[17] ibid., (p. 159)

[18] Iqbal, M. ḍarb-e-kalīm (ضرب کلیم): The Rod of Moses. Accessed online [08.05.2011]: http://www.allamaiqbal.com/

(search under prose works, ḍarb-e-kalīm.)

[19] ibid., (search under prose works, translation of ḍarb-e-kalīm)

[20] Buber, M. (1991). Tales of the Hasidim. (p. 54)

[21] ibid., (p. 164)

[22] Rābi’ah Baṣri’s (717-801) Ṣūfism. [Accessed online 27.04.2011]:


[23] There are a multitude of interpretations as to who Khiḍr. Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an (vol. 3) states that Al-Zamakhsharī asserts that Khiḍr lived from the time of Dhū l-Qarnayn to that of Moses; Sayyid Qub sets that tradition aside, calling him only “the righteous servant.” However, some ṣūfī tradtions believe that Khiḍr is still alive and witnessed by some mashā’ikh.

[24] Silsila taken from: Badāt, M (2003). Nisbat wa Iḥsān aur A’māl – e – Qalbiyyah (نسبت و احسان اور اعمالِ قلبییہ). Also available online from the English Translation:

Badāt, M (2006). An Introduction to the Science of Tasawwuf: A Translation of Nisbat wa Iḥsān aur A’māl – e – Qalbiyyah (نسبت و احسان اور اعمالِ قلبییہ) by Khalil Ahmed Kazi.

Accessed online [29.04.2011]:


[25] Thānwī, A. A. (1424H). Bayān al-Qur’ān (بیان القراٰن: رفع الشکوک اردو ترجمہ مساءل السلوک من کلام ملک الملوک وجوہ المثانی مع توجیہ الکلمات والمعانی). (p. 4)

[26] Elior, R. (2008). The Mystical Origins of Hasidism. (p. 130)

[27] ibid.

[28] ibid.

[29] ibid.

[30] Sajjad, Z. A. and Shahabi, I. A (1991). Tārīkh-e-Millet (تاریخِ ملت). Vol. 1. (p. 668)

[31] Article ‘Is that cell phone Kosher’ on BBC. Accessed online [10.05.2011]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7636021.stm

[32] Lecture at Heythrop College.

[34] Goitein, S. D. (1953). ‘A Jewish Addict to Sufism: In the Time of the Nagid David II Maimonides’. The Jewish Quarterly Review, (pp. 37-49)

[35] Cited from article, ‘Inayati-Maimuni Tariqat of Sufi Hasidim | The Desert Fellowship of the Message’

Accessed online [10.05.2011]: http://www.zimbio.com/Judaism/articles/144/Inayati+Maimuni+Tariqat+Sufi+Hasidim+Desert

[36] For full article refer to:

‘Reb Zalman Among the Sufis’. Transcribed by Reuven Goldfarb with the assistance of Eliyahu (Khaled) McLean.

Excerpt from an audio tape of the Farbrengen with Rabbis Zalman Schachter-Shalomi at the Hillel Foundation, Berkeley, California, March 19, 1994. Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi is speaking.

Accessed online [18.04.2011]: http://www.sufi-tariqah.de/tarchiv/rebzalman.html

2 thoughts on “Hasidism and Sufism: Spirituality in Judaism and Islam

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s