By Nicholas Michael (Author), Gerry Embleton (Illustrator)

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Men like Harith b. Asad al-MuhasibI (d. 245/857) and ^A§im al-AntakI (d. 215/850) were sophisticated rationaUsts and master dialecticians, adepts at the accommodation o f scholastic vocabulary to writing methods. Indeed, they and their adherents were able to harmonize the extreme positions of the 56 57 Mu'^tazilites on the one hand and the orthodox ulema on the other. Ibn Karram (d. 241/85 5) o f Khurasan excelled at using analytical techniques to differentiate between matters o f faith and those o f gnosis.

He is credited with steering the caliph ‘^Umar II (reigned 99-101/717-20) toward a life o f piety. Khalid b. ^afwan and alAw za'i (d. 157/774) also addressed correspondence and sermons to princes and caliphs, samples o f which are preserved in Ibn Qutaybah’s ''Uyun al-akhhar. This type o f literature remained in vogue during the second Muslim century, expressed now in the maqamah style. This was later to be cultivated fully by al-HamadhanI (d. 398/1007) and al-liarlrl (d. 516/1122), thanks to its popularization by Dhu ’ 1-Nun al-Mi§rI, who used it to good advantage in his correspondence with al-Mutawakkil (reigned 232-47/847-61), and also by al-TujTbl in his story-like adages preserved in Muhammad b.

DhahabI, al-Tafslr wa- l-mufassirun, ii, 400-1; cf. Gatjc, Koran und Koranexegese, 62. Goldziher, Kichtungtn, 225; Tihs^aakii, al-Tafstr wa-l-mufassiriin, 11, 542. THE ROLE OF INTUITION 55 fuller development, extending into the spiritual dimension from which the traditional tafstr had fallen sadly short. '^^ Ibn al-'Arabl’s §ufism, far from antinomian, coming not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, embraced and insisted upon the fullest implementation o f the sharfah to the smallest detail. The mystic’s role was to illumine, to vivify the law by unveiling its spiritual fullness and by uncovering the hidden splendours o f the revelation.

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