Tomb of Bayazid Bastami in Bastam near Shahroud.
|Main interests||mysticism, philosophy, panentheism|
The name Bastami means "from the city of Bastam". Bayazid's grandfather was a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam. His grandfather had three sons, Adam, Tayfur and 'Ali. All of them were ascetics. Bayazid was born to Tayfur. Not much is known of his childhood, but Bayazid spent most of his time in isolation in his house and the mosque. Although he remained in isolation, he did not isolate himself from the Sufi realm. He welcomed people into his house to discuss Islam. Bayazid also led a life of asceticism and renounced all worldly pleasures in order to be one with Allah The Exalted. Ultimately, this led Bayazid to a state of "self anhiliation", which, according to Islam, is the only state a person could be in order to attain union with God. Bayazid became known as the first "intoxicated" Sufi because of the openness of his expressions he felt towards God (shatahat).
Bayazid was in close contact with the Twelve Imams of Islam. He received initiation from Imam Ali ar-Ridha and died in either 874 or 877/8, indicating it is most likely he would have also associated with the succeeding Imams of the Family of the Prophet Muhammad, including Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (d.835 CE), Imam Ali al-Hadi (d.868 CE), and Imam Hasan al-Askari (d.874 CE), the paternal ancestors Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, who would later lend his name to the chain of Central Asian Sufi Masters from the 10th to the 16th century known collectively as the Khwajagan. Bayazid's successor was Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani, who transmitted belief in the Twelve Imams to both Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, at whose shrine the names of the Twelve Imams are inscribed, and to Abu al-Hassan al-Kharaqani's successor Abul Qasim Gurgani (d. 1076), at whose shrine these names are also inscribed.
Bastami's predecessor Dhu'l-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859) was a murid of Jābir ibn Hayyān, who was a student of the sixth Imam of Islam Ja'far al-Sadiq, as well. Al-Misri had formulated the doctrine of ma'rifa (gnosis), presenting a system which helped the murid (initiate) and the shaykh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this a step further and emphasized the importance of ecstasy in Islam, referred to in his words as drunkenness (shukr or wajd), a means of self-annihilation in the Divine Presence of the Creator, Allah. Before him, the Sufi path of Islam was mainly based on piety and obedience and he played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.
Bastami was one of the first to speak of "annihilation of the self in God" (fana fi 'Allah') and "subsistence through God" (baqa' bi 'Allah). The "annihilation of the self" (fana fi 'Allah') refers to the annihilation of the ego or the individualized self with all its attachments which results in attaining union with God or becoming God realized. When a person enters the state of fana it is believed that one has merged in God. His paradoxical sayings gained a wide circulation and soon exerted a captivating influence over the minds of students who aspired to understand the meaning of the wahdat al-wujud, Unity of Being.
When Bayazid died he was over seventy years old. Before he died, someone asked him his age. He said: "I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled. I got rid of my veils only four years ago.”
Intoxicated Sufi 
An intoxicated Sufi is one that expresses their feelings openly without disregarding the social consequences in doing so. Bayazid was most famous for openly expressing himself. Unlike the sufi Junayd who was a sober sufi, meaning that he reserved his feelings within himself and not allowing for such expressions to be observed to the outside world. This was the acceptable comportment of a Sufi, however when Bayazid began to express himself openly, many shunned him. The people opposed to his openness accused Bayazid of being a heretic due to his bizarre sayings. Not only his sayings are controversial, but Bayazid also claimed to have traveled through the 7 heavens in his dream. This journey proclaimed by Bayazid is similar to the Mi'raj of the Prophet Muhammad (Sells, pg 213).
These sayings are some of Bayazid's famous sayings that caused him to be labeled as an intoxicated Sufi.
- "Glory be to me! How great is My majesty!"
- "Thy obedience to me is greater than my obedience to Thee"
- "I am the throne and the footstool"
- "By my life, my grasp is firmer than His"
- "I saw the Kaba walking round me"
- "Moses desired to see God; I do not desire to see God;He desires to see me"
Bangladesh shrine 
A Sufi shrine in Chittagong, Bangladesh is dedicated to Bayazid. Local legend holds that either he or his followers visited Bengal as missionaries enroute to India or China. While there is no recorded evidence to suggest that Bayazid did indeed visit the region, Chittagong was a major port on the southern silk route and attracted Muslim missionaries and merchants since the 8th century. Moreover, Sufism played a central role in the spread of Islam in Bengal.
- I never saw any lamp shining more brilliantly than the lamp of silence.
- I went to a wilderness, love had rained and had covered earth, as feet penetrate snow, I found my feet covered with love.
- I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’
- Abdul Karim. "Bayazid Bostami". Banglapedia. Retrieved 2013-02-04.
- The Darvishes: Or Oriental Spiritualism By John Pair Brown, p. 141
- Walbridge, John. "Suhrawardi and Illumination" in "The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy" edited by Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor, Cambridge University Press, 2005. pg 206.
- Abu 'l-Qasim Al-Qushayri, "Al-qushayri's Epistle on Sufism: Al-risala Al-qushayriyya Fi 'ilm Al-tasawwuf", Translated by Alexander D. Knysh, Garnet & Ithaca Press, 2007. pg 32
- (This means Bayazid (or just the author of this page) had claimed that Bayazid was able to travel in time and meet some mystic Imams from the past, quite against science and hence Wikipedia) The Heirs of the Prophet: Charisma and Religious Authority in Shi'ite Islam By Liyakat N. Takim, p.69
- “Hacegan Hanedani”, by H. L. Shushud, Istanbul 1958. Originally published in “Systematics”Volume 6, No. 4 March 1969 by J. G. Bennett
- Abdullah Ansari Shrine Complex, Herat, Afghanistan http://www.kufic.info/architecture/ansari/ansari.htm
- al-Qifti, Tarikh al-Hukama' [Leipzig, 1903], 185; al-Shibi, op. cit., 360
See also 
- Ritter, H. "Abū Yazīd (Bāyazīd) Tayfūr B. Īsā B. Surūshān al- Bistāmī." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 28 September 2009 http://www.brillonline.nl/subscriber/entry?entry=islam_SIM-0275
- Quasem, Muhammad Abul. "Al-Ghazali's evaluation of Abu Yazid al-Bistami and his disapproval of the mystical concepts of..." Asian Philosophy 3.2 (Oct. 1993): 143. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Augustana College, Rock Island, IL. 28 Sep. 2009 <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9706053117&site=ehost-live>.
- Majaddedi, Jawid A. "Getting Drunk with Abu Yazid or Staying Sober with Junayd: The Creation of Popular Typology of Sufism" bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Nov. 2003): pg 1-13.
- Sells, Michael A., ed. Early Islamic Mysticism. New Jersey: Paulist, 1996. Print.
- Böwering,Gerhard. BESṬĀMĪ BĀYAZĪD. "Encyclopædia Iranica Online, 2005, available at www.iranicaonline.org.
- Biography of Bayazid al-Bistami in Urdu
- Biography of Bayazid al-Bistami
- Bayazid's Tomb in Iran
- Banglapedia article of Bastami
- Bayazidian Sufism: Annihilation without Ritual - Article by Alireza Nurbakhsh in SUFI: a journal of Sufism
- The Naqshbandiya Khalidiya Haqqaniya Tariqa in Italy
|Sufism and Tariqa|