Ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari

Tāj al-Dīn Abū'l-Faḍl Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Karīm ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Isa ibn Hussein ibn ʿAṭā Allāh al-Judhami al-Iskandarī al-Shādhilī was an Egyptian Malikite jurist, muhaddith and the third murshid (spiritual "guide" or "master") of the Shadhili Sufi order.

Ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari
Born658 AH / 1259 CE
Died709 AH / 1310 CE [2]
DenominationSunni Sufi

Life and workEdit

He was born in Alexandria and taught at both the al-Azhar Mosque and the Mansuriyyah madrasa in Cairo. He was responsible for systematizing Shādhilī doctrines and recording the biographies of the order's founder, Abu-l-Hassan ash-Shadhili, and his successor, Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi. He is credited with having authored the first systematic treatise on dhikr, The Key to Salvation (Miftāḥ al-Falāḥ), but is mostly known for his compilation of aphorisms, the Ḥikam al-ʿAtā‘iyya.

Ibn ʿAṭā Allāh was one of those who confronted the controversial theologian Ibn Taymiyya, who was jailed several times for his views on religious issues and for his perceived excesses in attacking the Sufis.[3] His confrontations with Ibn Taymiyya saw Ibn ʿAṭā Allāh leading a procession of some 200 Sufis against Ibn Taymiyya as well as confronting him on issues.

Death and legacyEdit

He died in 1309 while in Cairo.

The wide circulation of Ibn ʿAṭā Allāh's written works led to the spread of the Shādhilī order in North Africa, where the order's founder had been rejected in earlier attempts. The Wafai Sufi order was also derived from his works. Over the past 700 years the teachings of Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah have been repeatedly studied, commented on, reiterated, and have spread to the point where they are available across the globe, having been translated into almost every major language.[4]

Commentaries on the Ḥikam have been made by some of the most famous masters of the Shadhili order such as Ibn Abbad al-Rundi, Ahmad Zarruq and Ahmad ibn Ajiba as well as non-Shadhilis like the Indian Chishti Sufi ʿAbd Allah Gangohi and the Syrian Islamic law Professor Sa'id Ramadan al-Bouti. A modern English translation of Ḥikam by Muhammed Nafih Wafy was published under the title "The Book of Aphorism" by Islamic Book Trust in Malaysia in 2010.[5]


  1. ^ a b Danner, Victor (1978). The Book of Wisdom (Classics of Western Spirituality). Paulist Press. p. 37. ISBN 0809121824.
  2. ^ Lewis, B.; Menage, V.L.; Pellat, Ch.; Schacht, J. (1986) [1st. pub. 1971]. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Vol. III (H-Iram) (New ed.). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 722. ISBN 9004081186.
  3. ^ Lewis, B.; Menage, V.L.; Pellat, Ch.; Schacht, J. (1986) [1st. pub. 1971]. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Vol. III (H-Iram) (New ed.). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 723. ISBN 9004081186.
  4. ^ "The Relevance and the Beauty of the Teaching of Shaykh Ibn 'Ata' Allah". Sirajuddin.com.au. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  5. ^ The Book of Aphorisms – Islamic Book Trust Online Bookstore https://ibtbooks.com/shop/the-book-of-aphorisms/

External linksEdit