al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami (d. 660)  

Dr. Gabriel Haddad

His nickname is "Sultan of the Scholars." The Shaykh al-Islam of his time, he took hadith from the hafiz al-Qasim ibn `Ali ibn `Asakir al-Dimashqi, and tasawwuf from the Shafi`i Shaykh al-Islam Shihab al-Din al-Suhrawardi (539-632). He also studied under Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 656) and his disciple al-Mursi. It is related that al-`Izz would say, upon hearing al-Shadhili and al-Mursi speaking: "This is a kind of speech that is fresh from Allah."2

The shaykh said, “Most of the time scholars are veiled from their knowledge of Allah and His attributes, otherwise they would be among the gnostics whose knowledge is continuous, as befits the demand of true virtue. And how could the gnostics and the jurists be the same, when Allah says: "The noblest among you in Allah's sight are the most godwary" (49:13)?... and by the "erudite" (`ulama) in His saying "The erudite among His bondsmen fear Allah alone" (35:28), He means those who know Him, His attributes, and His actions, not those who know His rulings... A sign of the superiority of the gnostics over the jurists is that Allah effects miracles at the hands of the former, but never at the hands of the latter, except when they enter the path of the gnostics and acquire their characteristics.

© As-Sunna Foundation of America