Kitāb al-Miʿrāj

Abū’l-Qāsim al-Qushayrī composed a treatise on the heavenly ascension which addressed the subject from several different disciplinary perspectives and entertained a number of intriguing theological questions such as the possibility of heavenly ascensions for prophets other than the Prophet Muhammad (s) and for the friends of God (awliyāʾ).

The work appears to survive in a single manuscript. Two edition of the Arabic text have also been published. Apparently the efforts were independently conducted as they appear only a year apart. The first was published in Cairo by ʿAlī Ḥasan ʿAbd al-Qādir in 1964. The second was part of Qāsim al-Samarrāʾī’s dissertation submitted to the University of Cambridge in 1965.

Al-Qushayrī, ʿAbd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin. 1964. Kitāb al-Miʿrāj. Edited by ʿAlī Ḥasan ʿAbd al-Qādir. Cairo: Dār al-Kutub al-Ḥadītha.

Al-Samarrāʾī, Qāssim Sayyid Aḥmad. 1965. “The Theme of the Ascension in Sufi Writings, with Special Reference to Kitāb al-miʿrāj of Al-Qushairī.” PhD diss., University of Cambridge.

I became interested in the text during the course of my research on al-Qushayrī’s Laṭāʾif al-ishārāt since the final chapter of the Kitāb al-Miʿrāj was a tafsīr of the first 18 verses of sūrat al-najm (Q. 53:1-18). In 2008 I began translating the book but only completed the final exegetical chapter in 2009. That segment is one of the appendices to my dissertation and will appear as part of a chapter to a forthcoming edited volume. At present I have resumed the translation of the entire treatise.

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