‘Ayn al-Qudat Al-Hamadani, Abu ’l-Ma‘ali ‘Abdallah [or Muhammad] b. Abi Bakr Muhammad b. [Abi ’l-Hasan] ‘Ali b. al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Mayanaji [or al-Miyanaji] was an influential Sufi and important author of original works on mystical theology and spiritual practice in both Arabic and Persian; famous as a Sufi martyr.

He was publicly executed (crucified or hanged - more cruel details as depicted in some sources probably belong to the imagination of a later age) by order of the Saljuq Sultan Mahmud b. Muhammad b. Malikshah at Hamadan, on 6-7 Jumada II 525 AH / 6-7 May 1131 CE.

Until recently, it has been commonly assumed that he was born in 492/1099, so that he would have reached the age of thirty-three lunar years only. This, however, is inconsistent with a number of other data, as was convincingly shown by ‘A. N. Munzawi, ed., Namaha-yi ‘Aynulqudat-i Hamadani III, Tehran 1377 Sh./1998, intro, 25 and passim. As Munzawi also points out, ‘Ayn al-Qudat’s year of birth as given by Ibn al-Fuwati (d. 723/1323), the only historical source to mention it explicitly, is in fact 490/1097, not 492/1099 (Talkhis majma‘ al-adab fi mu‘jam al-alqab, ed. M. Jawad, Damascus 1963, IV, 2, 1131).

Ibn al-Fuwati also mentions (ibid., 1132) that he himself paid a visit to ‘Ayn al-Qudat’s tomb at Hamadan, which was then a frequently visited sanctuary; it was demolished only in Safawid times.

Author

Professor Hermann Landolt

A major contributor to modern scholarship on Sufism and Iranian Philosophy, and a student of Fritz Meier and Henry Corbin, Hermann Landolt was educated at Basel University, Switzerland and Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Sorbonne), Paris. He taught Islamic Studies and Persian at McGill University in Montreal, Canada from 1964 to 1999, during which he was also affiliated to the University's Tehran Branch.

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