Type of Spiritual Experience
Bayazid Bastami (Persian: بايزيد بسطامى; also known as Abu Yazid Bistami or Tayfur Abu Yazid al-Bustami, (804-874 or 877/8 CE) was a Persian Sufi. He was born in Bastam, Iran.
Bayazid's grandfather was a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam. His grandfather had three sons, Adam, Tayfur and 'Ali. All of them were ascetics. Bayazid was born to Tayfur. Not much is known of his childhood, but Bayazid spent most of his time in isolation in his house and the mosque. Although he remained in isolation, he did not isolate himself from the Sufi realm. Bayazid also led a life of asceticism and renounced all worldly pleasures.
‘Ultimately, this led Bayazid to a state of "self annihilation",’
Bayazid became known as the first "intoxicated" Sufi. An intoxicated Sufi is one that expresses their feelings openly without regarding the social consequences in doing so. ‘when Bayazid began to express himself openly, many shunned him. The people opposed to his openness accused Bayazid of being a heretic'. Not only his sayings are controversial, but Bayazid also claimed to have traveled through the 7 heavens.
These sayings are some of Bayazid's famous sayings that caused him to be labeled as an intoxicated Sufi.
"Glory be to me! How great is My majesty!"
"Thy obedience to me is greater than my obedience to Thee"
"I am the throne and the footstool"
"By my life, my grasp is firmer than His"
"I saw the Kaba walking round me"
"Moses desired to see God; I do not desire to see God; He desires to see me"
None of which would be meaningful to the average person unless you realise he is talking about the divine in him - his Higher spirit.
A description of the experience
Bayazid of Bastami
For 12 years I was smith of my soul. I put it in the furnace of austerity and burned it in the fire of combat, I laid it on the anvil of reproach and smote it with the hammer of blame until I made of my soul a mirror. Five years I was the mirror of myself and was ever polishing that mirror with diverse acts of worship and piety. Then for a year I gazed in contemplation. On my waist I saw a girdle of pride and vanity and self conceit and reliance on devotion and approbation of my works. I laboured for 5 years more …… through God’s help alone I attained unto God.
Quoted in Al-Ghazzali - The Alchemy of Happiness
Yahya Ibn Muaz relates,
“I watched Bayazid Bistami at prayer through one entire night. When he had finished he stood up and said, ‘O Lord! some of Thy servants have asked and obtained of Thee the power to perform miracles, to walk on the sea, and to fly in the air, but this I do not ask; some have asked and obtained treasures, but these I do not ask.’
Then he turned, and, seeing me, said, ‘Are you there, Yahya?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ He asked, ‘Since when?’ I answered, ‘For a long time.’ I then asked him to reveal to me some of his spiritual experiences.
‘I will reveal,’ he answered, ‘what is lawful to tell you. The Almighty showed me His kingdom, from its loftiest to its lowest; He raised me above the throne and the seat and all the seven heavens. Then He said, “Ask of me whatsoever thing thou desirest.” I answered, “Lord! I wish for nothing beside Thee.” “Verily,” He said, “thou art My servant.”’”
The source of the experienceSufism
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps
SuppressionsContemplation and detachment