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Sufism and Tariqat
Bayazid Bastami (Persian: بايزيد بسطامى; also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, (804-874 or 877/8 CE) was a Persian sufi. He was born in Bastam, Greater Iran. He is also known as sultan ul arifeen.
The name Bastami means "from 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 annihilation", which, according to many Sufi orders, is the only state a person could be in order to attain union with God.
Bastami's predecessor Dhul-Nun al-Misri (d. CE 859) was a murid "initiate" as well. Al-Misri had formulated the doctrine of ma'rifa (gnosis), presenting a system which helped the murid and the sheikh (guide) to communicate. Bayazid Bastami took this a step further and emphasized the importance of religious 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. Before him, the sufi path 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.
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.”
Shrine in Chittagong, Bangladesh
A Sufi shrine in Chittagong, dating back to 850 AD, is dedicated to the Bayazid. While there is no recorded evidence of his visit to the region, Chittagong was a major port on the southern silk route connecting India, China and the Middle East, and the first Muslims to travel to China may have used the Chittagong-Burma-Sichuan trade route. Chittagong was a religious city and also a center of Sufism and Muslim merchants in the subcontinent since the 9th century, and it is plausible that either Bayazid or his followers visited the port city around the middle of the 9th century.
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- 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.
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