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The “Wisdom of Sīniyyah” and Messianic Taxonomies in Sa‘d al-Dīn Ḥamūyeh’s ( 1252 CE) Kitāb al-Maḥbūb
Through the lens of Ḥamūyeh’s Kitāb al-Maḥbūb, this proposed paper approaches how the figurations of the Mahdī, the Messiah (Masīḥ), the seal of divine guidance (khātim al-walāyah), and the pole (quṭb) became the scheme of configured hierarchies that open up the question of mystical messianism within Sufism. 13th-century Sufism- in theory and practice- poses different challenges for scholars as they explore vectors of Islamization, intellectual exchanges, and transmissions of Islamic traditions and practices from Central Asia, to Anatolia, and Southeastern Europe. Current scholarship, however, gives very little attention to mystical messianic discourses and mystical sovereignties in 13th-century Sufism. At one level of memory, Ḥamūyeh’s poetic verses stand in relation to both his mysticism and his messianism, prominently in later works authored by Nūrbakhsh (d. 1464 CE), and in both biographical and hagiographical works, such as the Murīd al-Murīdīn, Nafaḥāt al-Uns, and Nigāristān. In the Maḥbūb, Ḥamūyeh’s Sufi graphology points to eschatological registers and inflections of “points” (nuqaṭ) and letters (ḥurūf). As this paper will explore, his is a graphology which alludes to spherical sequences of seven, linked to the figuration of messianic taxonomies, the standing of the pole, and the letter sīn (letter ‘s’) with unfolding the apparition of the Mahdī. Attention will also be given to how, preserved alongside of Ḥamūyeh’s short treatises, in collective manuscripts from 13th CE onward, such as BnF MS. Anciens fonds persan 286, and the short treatises of the Kubravī author Simnānī (d. 1336 CE), Ḥamūyeh’s little-known students speak to a concept of “polarity/poleness” (quṭbiyyah), which was central to their messianic predictions, and the figurations interlocked with prophethood and divine guidance, against which Simnānī argues for a hidden continuity of a hierarchy of unrecognizable poles, and a messianism shaped through soul (nafs), with a permanent and in-actual opening of the End Time. This study therefore will contribute to much of the work that remains to be done on the rise and the elaboration of messianisms during the Mongol period of Islamic history, and what part did Ḥamūyeh’s often-controversial Sufi teachings play in a global shift to mystical messianisms in post-13th-century societies, where many of these taxonomies become a shared discourse of multiple lineages, schools of thought, approaches, and traditions in post-13th-century Sufism, and especially, in the Ottoman period.
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