Saint Maruf Karkhi
|Born||c. 750-60 C.E.|
|Died||c. 815-20 C.E.|
|Influences||Muhammad, Ali ibn Musa and Dawud Ta'i|
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Maruf Karkhi (Persian: معروف کرخی), known also by his full name Abu Mahfuz Maruf Ibn Firuz al-Karkhi, was a Sufi Saint who is a pivotal figure in Sufism. He came from a Christian background and the story of his conversion to Islam is one of the most famous in Islamic lore.
Maruf was born in the district of Wasit or Karkh in Baghdad. His father's name was Firuz, which suggests that he was of Persian origin. His original religion is usually understood to have been Christian, which may mean that the Armenian Islamic preacher and mystic, Farqad Sabakhi, may have mentored Maruf Karkhi  Attar narrates in his Memorial of the Saints that Maruf converted to Islam at a young age at the hands of Ali ibn Musa, after rejecting all forms of polytheism. Tradition recounts that he immediately went and told his father and mother, who rejoiced at his decision and became Muslims themselves. After accepting Islam, Maruf became a student of Dawud Ta'i, and underwent a severe trial of his discipleship. Maruf, however, remained steadfast and proved himself so devout that his righteousness became locally famous.
In Sufism, those of the order of Marufi are those connected to Maruf Karkhi. Maruf thus forms a penultimate link in what is known as the Golden Chain (silsilah) of Sufism, the initiation line which forms an unbroken chain to Muhammad. Maruf, being the disciple of Ali ar-Ridha, formed part of that lineage, while at the same time maintaining the teachings of his master Dawud Ta'i and thus being his successor as well. Sufis venerate Maruf highly for the multiple spiritual chains which interlock in his teachings.
- Memorial of the Saints, Attar, Maruf al-Karkhi, pg. 161
- Cyril Glasse, "The New Encyclopedia of Islam", Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2008
- Historical dictionary of Sufism By John Renard, pg. 87
- What is Sufism?, M. Lings, pg. 120, Suhail Academy Publishing
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