Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Suavi, Ali - Sultan


Suavi, Ali
Suavi, Ali (1838/1839-1878).  A popular reformist figure of the nineteenth century Ottoman Empire.  Suavi exemplifies the ideas of conservative Ottomans who were drawn into a struggle for the expression of the popular will.  Although trained in the modern educational system of the rusdiye, the secular post-primary schools established during the Tanzimat reforms, he assumed the role of a spokesperson for a type of popular discontent with the Tanzimat which was expressed in a religious idiom.  His ideas acquired a wide audience when he began to contribute to a newspaper published in Istanbul, Muhbir.

Suavi joined the Young Ottoman leaders Mehmet Namik Kemal and Mehmet Ziya Pasa when they fled to Europe, and he was the editor of the first newspaper published by these exiles, also titled Muhbir.  It soon became clear that there were fundamental differences between his political ideals and those of Kemal and Ziya.  Suavi was suspicious of parliamentary government, and his idea of democracy was one in which the just ruler dealt directly with his subjects.  After leaving the Young Ottomans, Suavi devoted himself to the publication of Ulum, an encyclopedic periodical.  This attempt to demonstrate that conservative Muslims like himself could keep abreast of Western scientific knowledge predated that of better known nineteenth century Muslim thinkers, such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838/39-1897), who wrote in the same vein. 

Returning from France, where he had established himself after the dethroning of Sultan Abdulaziz (1876), he was made the director of the Galatasary Lycee, a school for training the Ottoman elite in conformity with a French program of instruction.  He was dismissed owing to his incompetence.  Abdulaziz’s successor, Murad V, had a short reign, having been found mentally unbalanced.  In 1878, Suavi attempted to reestablish Murad, but was killed during the coup that he organized.

Suavi’s populism was bolstered by an Islamic conception of politics that underscores the differences between his worldview and that of the Young Ottomans.  Suavi found Kemal’s principle of popular sovereignty to be meaningless.  In response to the Young Ottoman’s separation of powers, he proposed the “unity of the imamate,” referring to all forms of leadership.  Suavi also believed that violence was a legitimate means of achieving the just political system.  Here, too, he was at odds with Kemal.  Suavi believed that the natural social hierarchy was one where the ‘ulama’ occupied a position of arbiter of socio-political regulations.  This type of elitism coexisting with a sincere populism provides us a model of the ideas that were to appear much later in the thought of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989) and underlines the necessity to see Islamic social ideals as incommensurable with those of Western democracy.  Suavi’s literary style was also a harbinger of “pure” Turkish to be used increasingly in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  He was one of the first persons to explore the original identity of Ottomans as “Turks” in a well-known article that appeared in his Ulum, published in Europe after his split with the Young Ottomans.

Ali Suavi worked as a teacher at Bursa elementary school and preached at Sehzade Mosque in Istanbul.  He was a writer at Philip Efendi’s newspaper Muhbir and he worked in different positions at offices in Simav, Plovdiv and Sofia. He was a member of the Young Ottomans and was the editor of its official journal. He was exiled to Kastamonu because of his writings against the Abd-ul-Aziz.

Ali Suavi was one the first modern Turks to die in the pursuit of democratic ideals. Originally trained in religious sciences, Suavi was an Islamic radical who was placed in charge of the first Young Ottoman publication to appear in Europe, Muhbir. The publication eventually became an embarrassment to the Young Ottomans, after Kemal and Ziya requested that Suavi remove the Young Ottoman association with the publication. Suavi drifted around with his bitterness against the Young Ottomans growing, eventually leading him to begin publishing a periodical that lambasted Young Ottomans and Ottoman Statesmen together as enemies of the people.

After Abdulhamid became sultan, Ali attempted a coup in 1878, in an attempt to end the increasing authoritarianism and re-install Murad V, who had been sympathetic to liberal ideals. The coup failed and Ali Suavi was killed in the attempt.

Interestingly, the writings of Ali Suavi showed great respect to the institution of the Sultan.  He called for reform to be pushed through from above by a hero of the Ottomans who had fought to save its land. Unfortunately for Ali this hero figure was not to appear until after his death with the emergence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Also, as history shows, Ataturk did not come to share Ali’s view of Islam and secularism.

The works of Ali Suavi include:

    * A Propos de L'Herzegovine (Regarding Herzegovina, 1876),
    * Ali Paşa'nın Siyaseti (The Politics of Ali Paşa, 1908),
    * Defter-i Âmâl-i Ali Paşa (Defter-i Amal-i of Ali Paşa),
    * Devlet Yüz On Altı Buçuk Milyon Borçtan Kurtuluyor (The Government Gets Out of a One Hundred and Sixteen and a Half Million Debt, 1875).
    * Hive (Hive, 1873),
    * Hukuku'ş-Şevari (Ways of the Law, translation from Gazali, 1808),
    * Montenegro (Montenegro, 1876),
    * Nesayih-i Ebu Hanife Kamusu'l Ulûm ve'l Maârif (Nesayih-i Ebu Hanife, Dictionary of Science and *Education, an unfinished essay of encyclopedia, 1870),
    * Saydu'l Mefkûd (The Lost Prey, 2 volumes),
    * Taharriyat-ı Suavi alâ Tarih-i Türk (The Research of Suavi on Turkish History),
    * Usul-i Fıkıh Nam Risalenin Tercümesi (Translation of the Pamphlet named Methodology of the Canon Law, 1868).

Ali Suavi see Suavi, Ali

 

Subandrio
Subandrio (Soebandrio) (September 15, 1914 - July 3, 2004).  Indonesian politician and diplomat.  After medical training and a brief career in the Partai Sosialis Indonesia (PSI), Dr. Subandrio was posted to London in 1947 as Indonesian official representative and later ambassador.  He jointed the Partai Nasional Indonesia (PNI) in 1957 and served as foreign minister from 1957 to 1966.  He was an architect of the so-called Jakarta-Beijing Axis.  From 1963, he was deputy prime minister and was associated with the shift to the left that occurred during the later years of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy.  Arrested in March 1966, Subandrio was tried in October, convicted of participation in the 1965 Gestapu coup, and sentenced to death. 

Subandrio was born in Malang, East Java, and educated at the Sekolah Tinggi Kedokteran Jakarta (GHS) in Jakarta. As a medical student, he was active in the movement for independence. During World War II, while practicing medicine, he worked with anti-Japanese resistance forces. After the war, he was appointed secretary-general of the information ministry.

After 1945 Subandrio became a supporter of the nationalist leader Sukarno, and was sent as Sukarno's special envoy to Europe, establishing an information office in London in 1947. From 1954 to 1956, he was ambassador to the Soviet Union. During this time, he developed strong left wing views, although he was never a Communist as later alleged.

In 1956, Sukarno recalled him to Jakarta to become secretary-general of the foreign ministry, and then Foreign Minister. In 1960 he was also made Second Deputy Prime Minister, and in 1962 he was appointed Minister for Foreign Economic Relations. He held all three posts, and also acted as intelligence chief, until 1966.

Subandrio was the main architect of Indonesia's left-wing foreign policy during this period, including the alliance with the People's Republic of China and the policy of "Confrontation" with Malaysia, which created great hostility between Indonesia and the western powers, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom.

On September 30, 1965, a group of army officers, allegedly supported by the powerful Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), attacked a part of the Army leadership that was supposedly plotting to overthrow Sukarno. Six Army generals were killed but the alleged "coup attempt" failed. In the resulting anti-Communist backlash the conservative General Suharto took control of the government. Sukarno tried to retain Subandrio in the cabinet, but in 1966 he was forced to agree to his dismissal.

Subandrio was sentenced to death by the Extraordinary Military Court on charges of being involved in the "30th of September Movement," although there was no real evidence that Subandrio knew of the plot in advance or played any part in it (he was in Sumatra at the time). This sentence was afterwards reduced to life imprisonment. He served until 1995, when he was released due to ill health. He died in Jakarta in 2004.
Soebandrio see Subandrio

 

Subki
Subki. Name of a large family of Shafi‘i scholars and judges in Egypt from the fourteenth through the twentieth centuries.  The name of origin is derived from the place Subk in the region of Memphis. 

 

successors
successors (in Arabic, tabi’un).  Term used for those Muslims who belong to the generation coming after that of the Companions of the Prophet.

The Tābi‘ūn (Arabic: "Followers") are the generation of Muslims who were born after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, but who were contemporaries of the Sahaba "Companions". As such, they played an important part in the development of Islamic thought and philosophy, and in the political development of the early Caliphate. In particular, they played a vital role in the partition in the Islamic community between Sunni and Shia Muslims. To this day, interpretations of their behavior and characters are highly controversial.

Muslims from the Sunni branch of Islam define a Tabi‘i as a Muslim who:

   1. Saw at least one of the Companions of Muhammad.
   2. Was rightly guided (according to the Sunni, one who adheres to the beliefs and actions of the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jama'ah).
   3. One who died in that state. A good example to explain would be the Khawarij. They saw many of Muhammad's companions but still were not referred to as Tabi‘un, as they were not rightly guided (held by both Shia and Sunni Muslims).

Sunni Muslims also regard the Tabi‘un as the best generation after the Sahaba. According to Sunni Muslims, Muhammad said: "The best people are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation)".

A list of Tabi‘includes:

    * `Abd-Allah ibn Amr
    * `Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
    * `Abd ar-Rahman ibn `Abdillah (son of ibn `Abdullah ibn `Umar)
    * Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man
    * Abu Muslim al-Khawlani
    * Abu Zur'ah
    * Al-Hassan al-Basri (130-180 A.H.)
    * Al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah (d. 100 A.H.)
    * Alqama ibn Qays al-Nakha'i
    * Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abî Bakr (d. 103 A.H.)
    * `Atâ' ibn Abî Rabah (d. 106 A.H.)
    * `Atâ' ibn Yasar (d. 106 A.H.)
    * Habib al-`Ajami(ar)
    * Ibn Jurayj
    * Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (d. 124 A.H.)
    * Masruq ibn al-Ajda' (d. 103 A.H.)
    * Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr
    * Mujahid ibn Jabr
    * Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab (d. 93 A.H.)
    * Ubayd-Allah ibn Abd-Allah (d. 98 A.H.)
    * Urwah ibn al-Zubayr (d. 94 A.H.)
    * Zayd ibn Ali (d. 740 C.C. (122 A.H.))

tabi'un see successors
followers see successors

 

Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al- ('Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi) (Al-Sufi) ('Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi) ('Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn) ('Abdul Rahman Sufi) ('Abdurrahman Sufi) (Azophi) (December 7, 903 - May 25, 986).   One of the two most outstanding practical astronomers of the Middle Ages.  Al-Sufi was the first astronomer to describe the “nebulousity” of the nebula in Andromeda in his book of constellations (his Atlas of the Heavens).  Al-Sufi named the southern group of stars al-Baqar al-Abyad or the “White Bull” after receiving reports from Arab navigators in the Malay Archipelago.  We now know this group of stars as Nubecula Major (the greater Magellanic Cloud). 

Al-Sufi prepared charts of the heavens from his own observations and carefully adjudged their magnitudes.  His book Kitab al-Kawatib al-Thabit al-Musawwar was a masterpiece on stellar astronomy.  The Kitab al-Kawatib is considered important even now for the study of proper motions and long period variables.  In it he included Theta Eridani among the 13 brightest stars then known.  Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Timur, in 1437 found it to be of the first magnitude in his list of fixed stars.  Edmund Halley in his voyage to Saint Helena at the beginning of the eighteenth century saw it as a star of the third magnitude.

Beer and Madler in their famous work Der Mond (1837) named a surface feature of the Moon after Al-Sufi (Azophi).  It is a mountainous ring twenty-six miles in diameter.

'Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi was a Persian astronomer who was also known as 'Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi, 'Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn, 'Abdul Rahman Sufi, or 'Abdurrahman Sufi and was known in the west as Azophi. The lunar crater Azophi and the minor planet 12621 Alsufi are named after him. Al-Sufi published his famous Book of Fixed Stars in 964, describing much of his work, both in textual descriptions and pictures.

Al-Sufi's name implies that he was a Sufi Muslim. He lived at the court of Emir Adud ad-Daula in Isfahan, Persia, and worked on translating and expanding Greek astronomical works, especially the Almagest of Ptolemy. He contributed several corrections to Ptolemy's star list and did his own brightness and magnitude estimates which frequently deviated from those in Ptolemy's work.

Al-Sufi was a major translator into Arabic of the Hellenistic astronomy that had been centered in Alexandria, and was the first to attempt to relate the Greek with the traditional Arabic star names and constellations, which were completely unrelated and overlapped in complicated ways.

Al-Sufi identified the Large Magellanic Cloud, which is visible from Yemen, though not from Isfahan. It was not seen by Europeans until Magellan's voyage in the 16th century. He also made the earliest recorded observation of the Andromeda galaxy in 964; describing it as a "small cloud". These were the first galaxies other than the Milky Way to be observed from Earth.

He observed that the ecliptic plane is inclined with respect to the celestial equator and more accurately calculated the length of the tropical year. He observed and described the stars, their positions, their magnitudes and their color, setting out his results constellation by constellation. For each constellation, he provided two drawings, one from the outside of a celestial globe, and the other from the inside (as seen from the earth).

Al-Sufi also wrote about the astrolabe, finding numerous additional uses for it.  He described over 1000 different uses, in areas as diverse as astronomy, astrology, horoscopes, navigation, surveying, timekeeping, Qibla, and Salah prayer.

Since 2006, the Astronomy Society of Iran – Amateur Committee (ASIAC) has held an international Sufi Observing Competition in the memory of Al-Sufi. The first competition was held in 2006 in the north of Semnan Province and the 2nd observing competition was held in the summer of 2008 in Ladiz near the Zahedan. More than 100 observers from Iran and Iraq participated in this event.




'Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
Azophi see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
Sufi, al- see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
'Abd ar-Rahman as-Sufi see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
'Abd al-Rahman Abu al-Husayn see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-
'Abdul Rahman Sufi see Sufi, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-

 

Sufis
Sufis.  Practitioners of Sufism (in Arabic, tasawwuf).  The Arabic term refers to the practice of wearing a robe of wool (in Arabic, suf) and denotes the act of devoting oneself to the mystic life.

Sufi is an Arabic term pertaining to Muslim mystics or to their beliefs, practices, or organizations.  Sufis are ascetics who wear coarse wool clothing (suf) and are devoted to spiritual life.  In the twelfth century, the Sufis, as defenders of Sunni doctrine, were grouped together in the khanaqh and the ribat.  Both the Persian darvish (dervish) and the Arabic faqir (both meaning “poor”) are used to describe Sufis, referring to the Sufi way of life. 

The term Sufism is the name most often applied to Islamic Mysticism consisting of three overlapping but distinct historical periods: classical, medieval, and modern.

The origins of the Sufi movement are obscure.  Some hold that Sufism was intrinsic to primitive Islam, that Muhammad himself was a Sufi, as were his companions and the first four caliphs.  There is no doubt that certain Sufi concepts, e.g., faqr (“pious poverty”) and tawakkul (“total reliance on God”), as well as characteristic practices, e.g., dhikr (“constant repetition of the divine name”) and sama (listening to poetry or music), had antecedents dating back to the first century of Islam.  More difficult is the task of discerning the complex undercurrents of political and religious ideology that characterized late Umayyad and early ‘Abbasid Islam. 

Some members of ascetic protest movements may have been influenced by contact with Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, and also Monophysite Christians.  Christian ascetics, for instance, were known to have worn woolen garments not dissimilar from those which the early Sufis wore and by which they came to be known.  Whatever the point of original inspiration, tasawwuf -- Sufism -- in its formative period must have reflected attitudes and activities, rituals and rigors, intrinsic to the geographic locale where the ninth and tenth century masters lived and taught.  Thus, Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad of parched Khurasan became renowned for his renunciation of family life, Dhu’l-Nun Misri of temperate Egypt for his lilting summation of ontological polarities, Abu Yazid Bistami of mountainous Bistam for his profusion of mind-staggering aphorisms, and Junayd of cosmopolitan Baghdad for his adherence to social norms while engaging in a ceaseless, inner struggle. 

Later Sufi theorists, such as Ali Hujwiri, found it convenient to ascribe ascetic, antinomian tendencies to Khurasanian masters and moderate, accommodative teachings to their Iraqi counterparts.  Yet we know too little about the actual lives of early Sufis to venture more than tentative speculations about the impact of environment on their spiritual formation.  Even major figures such as Bistami and Junayd represented not so much a place as a disposition that came to be esteemed among Sufis of a later generation and was then retrospectively associated with a ninth or tenth century master, usually through anecdotes or dicta (Bistami) and occasionally through treatises or letters (Junayd).  Sufi exemplars from the classical period were remembered as stereotypes of piety rather than historical figures.  Only Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, the dissident disciple of Junayd, was a partial exception. 

By the late tenth century theorists attempted to consolidate and synthesize the elements of Sufi teaching.  The handbooks they produced abound in correlations -- between desirable virtues and exemplary individuals, between technical terms and schools of thought.  The formative period of tasawwuf is reduced to a maze of obscure proper names and recondite Arabic key words.  Ali Hujwiri typifies this approach.  His Kashf al-mahjub, hailed as the oldest Persian treatise on Sufism, reviews the entire classical phase of Islamic mysticism in one lengthy chapter, linking each famous master to a particular doctrine and then reviewing variant interpretations of the same doctrine.  Struggle with the lower self, for instance, is set forth as the pre-eminent legacy of the Sahlis (followers of the ninth century Shaikh Sahl ibn ‘Abdallah Tustari), but its complement, ruh or spirit, is scarcely mentioned; the full assessment of ruh occurs much later in the chapter when Hujwiri exposes the heresy of the Hululis or incarnationists.

The medieval period is demarcated by a new kind of doctrinal systemization among Sufi theorists and by the popularization of Sufi teaching through the establishment of mystical orders.  After Hujwiri, there were numerous other efforts to consolidate and systematize Sufi thought.  Two of the most successful came from the pens of intellectual giants who, unlike Hujwiri, approached tasawwuf in a holistic framework, relating it to other major fields of philosophical or theological inquiry explored by the cosmopolitan elite of medieval Islam.

The first synthesizer of Sufism, Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (d. 1111), had been a professor at the major center of traditional learning in Baghdad, the Nizamiyya madrasa -- the Nizamiyya college --, before resigning his post in 1091 to become a Sufi.  Al-Ghazzali’s major work, the Ihya ‘ulum ad-din (“The Bringing to Life of the Religious Sciences”), examined every approach to knowledge before affirming that only the inner truth sought by Sufis could satisfy the comprehensive, painstaking demands of the Islamic faith.

Abu Hamid, in the opinion of many, was a lesser mystic than his brother, Ahmad (whose pithy verse is still prized among Sufi devotees), but he performed a valuable service in wedding tasawwuf (Sufism) to Sunni Islam without slighting the authority of either. 

The second catalytic genius of the medieval period was Muhyi ‘d-din ibn ‘Arabi.  A Spanish mystic, familiar with Christian as well as Islamic philosophical categories, ibn ‘Arabi probed the deepest levels of meaning in Muslim scripture and described the central concept of tawhid (oneness of God) with originality that both captivated and antagonized his fellow Muslims.

Subsequent expositions of theoretical or theosophical Sufism invariably dealt with concepts such as the perfect man (al-insan al-kamil) and the pole (quth), and touched upon the metaphysical dimensions of light and love, precisely because the prolific, influential writings of al-Ghazzali and Ibn ‘Arabi made it impossible to avoid them.  Nevertheless, in a sense, the mood of medieval Sufism was determined as much by mystical poetry as by systematic or speculative theology.  Ibn ‘Arabi had written Arabic verse, some of which cryptically extolled the beautiful Persian woman whom he had once met on the hajj, but his fame rested on his prose treaties. 

Quite different was the eclat of Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi.  A brilliant theologian, tireless raconteur, and inventive poet, Rumi channeled his spiritual vision into verse which captivated the imagination of Persian speaking Muslims everywhere.  There were numerous mystical poets who wrote in the Persian language before Rumi. 

Sa’di of Shiraz (d. 1293), moreover, was Rumi’s contemporary, and he, together with a later Shirazi lyricist, Hafiz (d. 1390), had an enormous impact on mystically minded Muslims.  Yet Rumi’s ecstatic verse, as it poured forth in mammoth collections like the Mathnavi and Divan-i Shams-i Tabrizi, epitomized a quality of medieval Sufism: its devotees plunged into the quest for love, forsaking home, reason, and even life to find their Beloved.  The alliterative, unsystematic, anecdotal versifications of Rumi came closer to the mood of that quest than the refined, comprehensive tomes of al-Ghazzali or the deft, dialectical soundings of Ibn ‘Arabi.

Rumi also inspired the formation of a Sufi order popularly known as the Whirling Dervishes.  The establishment of mystical orders signaled the development of popular Sufism on an unprecedented scale.  Prior to the eleventh century there appear to have been loosely defined communities of Sufis, gathering together for companionship.  There were rules but no rigid lines of authority or precedence among the members. 

By the end of the eleventh century and throughout the rest of the medieval period, however, the Shaikh emerged as the locus of attention and activity within Sufi communities.  The Shaikh was distinguished from other men by his daily discipline and charismatic blessing.  Usually such a person was born into a wealthy or at least respected family, educated in traditional scholarship, exposed to numerous people and places through extensive travel, converted to tasawwuf through a divine vision or unusual human encounter, and then given credentials by an already acknowledged master to be his successor.  Founders of most of the major pan-Islamic orders conform to this pattern.  In fact, many of them are spiritually interdependent.  Thus, ‘Abd-al-Qadir Jilani (d. 1166), the founder of the Qadiri order, was himself a teacher of Abu Hafs ‘Umar Suhrawardi, the pivotal organizer of the Suhrawardi order.

Major shaikhs were not only related in the same generation, but they also traced their common affiliation back to early Sufis -- in the case of the Suhrawardis and their twelfth and thirteenth century contemporaries, to the tenth century saint Junayd.  Another major pan-Islamic order, the Naqshbandiyya, traced their lineage back to Junayd’s spiritual opposite, the northwest Iranian shaikh Abu Yazid Bistami.  Other regionally based orders, such as the Badawiyya, named after the Egyptian saint Ahmad al-Badawi (d. 1276), were not as conscious of their classical roots, though they too maintained genealogies that linked them to the first generation of Muslims and even to the Prophet Muhammad.  It is, in part, because of their shared sense of spiritual interdependency that the orders, despite intense loyalty to their own shaikhs, minimized conflict with one another, and during the later medieval period some masters sought -- and frequently obtained -- simultaneous membership in two or more orders.

The social role of the orders is reflected in their buildings and organization.  A residential center or hospice was maintained for disciples, family, and visitors; often it was situated near a tomb and was linked to other similar convent tomb complexes in adjacent regions.  Death marked an important transition in the function of these complexes, for at the death of a shaikh his successor (khalifa) had to be chosen.  The principle for selection varied from order to order.  The will or last testament of the shaikh was determinative; usually it excluded women but, unlike Muslim inheritance laws, it did not invariably conform to primogeniture.  The date of the master’s death subsequently became the occasion for an annual feast (‘Urs), celebrating both his union with God and continuous intercession on behalf of his followers.

Other intensive devotional gatherings, including dhikr exercises and lengthy musical performances (mahafil-e sama’), characterized most medieval Sufi communities.  Such gatherings provoked antagonism with the ‘ulama’, learned functionaries who were custodians of ritual prayer -- salat.  Especially in regions of the world where Islamization had barely begun, the Sufi shaikhs, with their charisma, their devoted followers, and their convivial public ceremonies, attracted greater attention, sympathy, and support than the sincere but dull, educated but aloof ‘ulama’.  Since Islam, with few exceptions (e.g., India and Spain), was a state religion and public prayer an expression of political control, Sufis could, and often did, provoke not only the ‘ulama’ but also governmental authorities.  In some cases, the shaikhs chose to cooperate with devout Muslim rulers; in other cases they refused to participate in court life.

Doctrinal disputes hounded the great shaikhs and their followers throughout the medieval period.  The extreme veneration accorded the master in his group made it necessary to distinguish him from the Prophet Muhammad, who, by the intrinsic nature of Islam, had to be venerated at a still higher level than even the greatest shaikh.  Primitive Islam had forbidden worship of Muhammad or any other man.  Nevertheless, Sufis, in their love of the Prophet, did pray to him, as they did also to deceased saints.  Orthodox Muslims objected to such excesses, and the controversy gave rise to more and more refined efforts to distinguish sainthood from prophethood, to elevate one without diminishing the other and somehow to preserve the authority and integrity of each. 

For Shi‘ite Muslims, the doctrinal disputes took another form.  Always respectful of Muhammad because of their special attachment to his family, they weighed their intercessory prayers and devotional life toward Ali and Ali’s successors, the imams.  In their eyes, excessive veneration of Muhammad and invocation of the saints detracted from the pre-eminence of the hidden imam (whether he was seventh or twelfth in line from Ali), and thus was objectionable.  Because most Sufi masters also tended to support the belief structure and ritual pattern of Sunni Islam, whatever their differences with particular ‘ulama’ or rulers, the evolution of a Shi‘ite brand of Sufism was always a minor phenomenon, and after the establishment of the aggressively pro-Shi‘ite, anti-Sufi Safavid empire in sixteenth century Iran, it became even less noticeable.

It is also important to note that Islamic mysticism persisted outside the established orders (tariqa).  In addition to the magisterial shaikhs, their select disciples, and numerous lay followers, tasawwuf (Sufism) encompassed “holy fools,” spiritual ecstatics who were also social eccentrics, openly flaunting the norms of acceptable behavior.  Known as malamati or qalandar, these were the itinerant dervishes whom European travelers later dubbed faqirs.  Their rejection of conventional mores led them to mock even the patterned life that pertained in the convent tomb complexes of the famous shaikhs.  They were a throwback to the earliest Sufis, whose ascetic behavior had contrasted with the worldly piety of ninth century Baghdad, and it is probably for this reason that Sufis of the medieval period usually accepted even the vilest abuse hurled at them by anonymous qalandar.

The time of greatest influence for the Sufi orders coincided with the regional hegemony of the Ottoman and Mogul empires, spanning approximately three centuries, 1500-1800.  The number of Muslims affiliated with Sufi brotherhoods during this period was certainly not less than half the population and may have been as high as 80 percent.

One reason for the swelled ranks of Sufi orders was their catalytic role in the expansion of Islam.  Pan-Islamic brotherhoods like the Qadiriyya and the Rifa’iyya were instrumental in winning to Islam geographic areas as disparate as Anatolia (Asia Minor) and West Africa, while regional orders, such as the Badawiyya and Shadhiliyaa (both derived from the Rifa’iya) helped to intensify Islamic loyalties in Egypt and the Magrib.  From the thirteenth century on, North India was populated with the convent tomb complexes of the Chishtiyya and the Suhrawardiyya.  Distant Southeast Asia withstood any wide-scale Islamization until the late sixteenth century.  However, it was Qadiri and Shattari masters who succeeded in penetrating the complex Hindu-Javanese belief system of the archipelago.  In fact, the belated ascendancy of mystical Islam in Indonesia aptly illustrates the flexibility of the shaikhs as agents in the spread of Islam.  Affiliated with urban based craft guilds and trade corporations, many of them with headquarters in the Arabian heartland of Islam, Sufi masters traveled to the archipelago by ship with Muslim traders.  They were well received by kings in the major port cities, occasionally marrying princesses, and in other ways too gaining influence in the courts.  As they increasingly moved inland after 1600, the shaikhs converted the inhabitants of Hindu-Buddhist hermitages to Islam and transformed the indigenous structures into hospices and madrasas (schools).

What happened to Sufism subsequently, especially during the period of European colonial expansion into all parts of the Muslim world, is still not well understood.  Two interconnected developments account for the largely negative assessment of the latter-day role of the Sufi brotherhoods:

(1) The Wahhabiya, an eighteenth century puritanical revivalist movement emanating from Arabia, condemned Sufism along with all other accretions to the pristine creed declaimed by Muhammad in seventh century diatribes of Ibn Taymiyya, but with a difference.  Sufi brotherhoods were excoriated not only as syncretistic dilutions of pure Islam but also as contributing causes to the political-military weakness of Muslim ruling groups vis-a-vis resurgent Europe.

(2) Western scholars confirmed the judgment of the Wahhabis by extolling the formative period of theoretical Sufism and debunking what followed it.

Though the emergence of Sufi orders might have led to a reification of Sufi subtleties or a calcification of Sufi energies, the opposite, in fact, seems to have been the case.  Eighteenth century India, for instance, produced two of the foremost geniuses of Islamic history, both intimately related to organizational as well as theoretical tasawwuf (Sufism): Mirza ‘Abd-al-Qadir Bedil (d. 1721) and Shah Wali Allah Dihlawi (d. 1762).  During the turbulent nineteenth century, moreover, organized Sufism proved itself a unique vehicle for both reviving Islamic consciousness and mobilizing Islamic resistance to European colonialists. 

It was because the Sufi orders represented kinship groups, classes, professions and lineages integrated vertically under the authority of an all-powerful shaikh that the brotherhoods could and did assume political roles.  Nor were they an isolated phenomenon of nineteenth century Islamic society: the Mahdist and pro-Caliphate movements also emerged during this period, sometimes among overlapping constituencies of like-minded Muslims.  Their common redirection to a non-mystical sphere of activity was prompted by the same perceived threat that motivated the Wahhabis:  European encroachment on Islamic soil.  Thus, Wahhabis and Sufi activists, despite their differences, shared warriors” -- an influential group of nineteenth century North Indian Muslims, have been alternately described as neo-Sufis or neo-Wahhabis. 

The mujahidin were, in fact, both.  They espoused political and scripturalist aims similar to the Wahhabis, at the same time that they affirmed their links to reformist Naqshbandi shaikhs.  Devotion to Sufism and militant anti-colonialism also characterized several nineteenth century African revivalists, from Uthman dan Fodio of the traditional Qadiriyya to al-Hajj ‘Umar Tal of the neo-Sufi Tijaniyya.  Even African orders which de-emphasized military confrontation and confined themselves to traditional pursuits could not avoid being drawn into the escalating conflict between Christian and Muslim, European and African, foreigner and native.  The pro-Ottoman but politically quiescent Sanusiyya, for example, were victimized by the manipulation of French and Italian forces, first having to curtail and then later redirect their activities prior to the outbreak of World War I.

During the twentieth century, other Sufi orders have shared the fate of the Sanusiyya.  Nowhere in the Muslim world today does organized Sufism have political leverage comparable to that which it exercised for much of the last century. 

The earliest manifestations of a burgeoning mystical tradition in Islam date from the eighth and ninth centuries.  This ascetical movement centered primarily in the province of Khurasan, especially the city of Balkh; in Iraq, especially the cities of Baghdad, Basra, and Kufa; and in Egypt.

While our knowledge of the lives and teachings of many of the early ascetics is restricted to hagiographic sources, some early Sufis did write religious poetry, prayers, and treatises on the spiritual life.  These texts were very influential in shaping the classical Sufi tradition.   Hasan al-Basri (d. 728) and Rabi’a al-Adawiyya (d. 801) are two pivotal figures of this period.  Rabi’a is credited with introducing love mysticism into Islam.

The late tenth and eleventh centuries saw the production of important manuals of the Sufi life written as guides to novices newly embarked on the Path.  Prominent examples are the Qut al-qulub of Abu Talik al-Makki (d. 996) and the Kashf al-mahjub of Ali ibn Uthman al-Jullabi al-Hujwiri (d. 1071).  A didactic genre of a different sort, the biographical dictionary, attained prominence during the same period.  These collections of the lives of Sufis provide a wealth of practical guidance in the form of the preerved teachings of Sufi masters and edifying stories, both historical and mythical, about their lives.  Well known are the Tabaqat al-sufiyya of Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami (d. 1021), which was expanded and revised first by Abd Allah Ansari (d. 1089) and later by Abd al-. Rahman Jami (d. 1492).  The most comprehensive biographical dictionary is the multi-volume Hilyat al-awliya of Abu Nu’aim al-Isfahani (d. 1037).

Theoretical speculation about the nature of mysticism developed in tandem with expressions of mystical ecstasy, exemplified by the ecstatic utterances of Abu Yazid al-Bistami (d. 874) and Husain ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d. 922).  Al-Hallaj’s “Ana al-Haqq” (“I am the Divine Truth”) and his other mystical paradoxes could not help but shock the uninitiated and raise questions about the nature of mystical experience in Islam.  For al-Hallaj and other prominent Sufis, paradox was the means to express the suprarational quality of mysticism.  None of the traditional religious sciences was believed capable of encompassing in rational discourse what mystics experience in ecstasy.

The science of paradox had serious ramifications: in certain Sufis’ understanding of ethics, good and evil are seen to have no objective basis in reality; rather, whatever God wills for the individual is good, no matter how it appears to the common folk.  For the Sufi ecstatic, God’s will is mediated by the mystical relationship of loving union, not by the synthesis of Qur’an, hadith, and shari‘a that mediates for the rest of the Muslim faithful.  This did not necessarily lead to antinomianism or to the rejection of the religious structures of the Islamic community.  The more common result was a two-tiered ethical system, the primary tier for the mass of believers, the secondary and more elitist for the Sufi adepts.

The tension in Sufism between sober and ecstatic, or “drunken,” mysticism reached a unique point of resolution in the life of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d. 1111), who strove to integrate the life of the scholar-theologian with that of the enraptured mystic.  The blueprint of his spiritual quest, His autobiography, Al-munqidh min al-dalal, and his classic theological treatise The Revivification of the Religious Sciences (Ihya ulum al-din) remain, with his numerous othe writings, major sources of inspiration and learning in the Islamic world.

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the mathnavi literary form, familiar in secular Persian literature principally through Firdausi’s Shahnama (The Epic of the Kings), became popular among a number of Sufi writers.  Several of these mystical mathnavis have become classics of Muslim spirituality, chief among them the mathnavis of Farid al-Din Attar (d. 1221) and Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273).

The literary developments of twelfth and thirteenth century Sufism must share center stage with the theoretical advances sparked by the work of one of the most creative minds of Islam, Muhyi al-Din ibn Arabi (d. 1240).  Ibn Arabi was born at Murcia in Muslim Spain in 1165.  He traveled widely, finally settling in Damascus in 1230.  The volume of his literary output was enormous, matched only by the complexity and density of his ideas. 

Sufism before Ibn Arabi focused primarily on the experience of loving union between the soul and God.  The arduous Sufi path was the means by which the initiate prepared himself or herself for this unique experience of intimacy.  The mystical encounter could not be induced, only prepared for.  The success or failure of the quest depended primarily on the desire of the Beloved to enter into union with the Lover.

Ibn Arabi’s understanding of the mystical relationship was radically different.  At the heart of his synthesis is the metaphysical principle of wahdat al-wujud, the unity of being.  It would be an oversimplification to conclude that Ibn Arabi’s system is but another form of monism, for God is not identified substantially with his creation.  God transcends all categories, even that of substance.

Creation results from God’s longing to be known and loved.  The world of plurality is, therefore, the mirror of the Ultimate.  Existents are not identical with God but reflections of his attributes.  An analogy to breathing would be most apt: as breath is exhaled and inhaled so too does God continue to create and annihilate until all is eventually reunited in the One.

Because of creation’s illusory quality, God is identified as the only true existent.  All created realities by their very nature yearn to be restored to the source from which they have sprung.  Abd al-Karim Jili (d. 1428) describes in detail how the Perfect Man, al-Insan al-Kamil, acts as the ultimate mediator between God and creation, for the Perfect Man is the reality in which God is most perfectly manifest.  When the process of return reaches its culmination, all the paradoxes and tensions of opposites that characterize the experience of the Sufi mystic will be resolved.  Good and evil, reward and punishment, union and separation -- all become empty concepts, for nothing exists but the One.

Sufism after Ibn Arabi bears his indelible imprint.  There is perhaps no other Sufi whose influence has been so pervasive.  The evolution of Sufism during the thirteenth century should not, however, be restricted to theoretical issues.  One extremely significant social phenomenon was the growth and development of Sufi orders or fraternities (tariqas).

Signs of Sufi social groupings date back as far as the eighth century, but these early organizations remained fluid in character through the eleventh century.  Individual charismatic Sufi masters (known as shaikhs or pirs) attracted a number of disciples who would settle around the master, but the group would often disband after the death of the charismatic guide.  Some disciples would seek another master; others might have begun to attract their own followers.  There were no codes, however, to regulate the structure of the group. 

The support of Sufi convents through the waqf system and the increased involvement of the civil authorities in funding and regulating Sufi convents during the Seljuk period contributed to the growing trend toward stabilization among Sufi groups.  By the thirteenth century, self-perpetuating tariqas became more the norm.  Rather than disband after the death of the founder, the Sufis would select a new leader from among the members of the group.  In some tariqas, the transmission of authority was hereditary.  The new shaikh would be entrusted with preserving and promulgating the teachings of the deceased master.  Consequently, each order began to take on a unique personality, molded by the spirit and writings of the original shaikhs as well as by the contributionsof renowned later members.

The success of the tariqas cannot be attributed solely to their charisma and social stability.  Many of them provided the wider community with a vibrant and easily accessible form of devotional piety.  Whereas the abstruse and highly sophisticated mystical theory of Ibn Arabi appealed to the Sufi intellectual elite, the rituals of dhikr and sama opened important avenues of religious experience to the majority of the faithful.

Dhikr (“remembrance”) is an exercise that can be performed alone or with a group, silently or aloud; it consists of the rhythmic repetition or chanting of phrases that often contain one or more of the ninety-nine names of God.  The performance of dhikr may also entail rhythmic body movements, breath control, and other practices usually associated with meditation techniques.  The goal of the dhikr ceremony is to foster interior states and an exterior environment conducive to an intense and intimate experience of God; for one or more of the participants this involves the attainment of mystical ecstasy.

A devotional exercise similar to dhikr is that of sama (literally, “audition”).  Sama involves the musical recital of religious poetry and is oftern accompanied by the chanting of verses from the Qur’an.  The music acts as the stimulus for various forms of Sufi dance.  The types of poetry, music, and ritual movement are as varied as the Sufi groups themselves.  The Mevlevis, for example, founded in Turkey by Jalal al-Din Rumi, are noted for the aesthetic refinement of their sama ceremony.  The mystical dance of the Mevlevis (known popularly as the Whirling Dervishes) is the consummate example of the wedding of interior religious states to the external forms of ritual movement.

Not all performances of sama are as aesthetically refined as that of the Mevlevis.  Nevertheless, sama possesses a power that is independent of aesthetics, whether the performance be encountered in a rural village or modern city in the Islamic world, whether its music and poetry be artistically sophisticated or the popular music and poetry inspired by local Sufi saints.  The sama invariably creates an environment charged with religious fervor that provides men and women with an important outlet through which to express their pent-up religious and emotional feelings.

The immediacy of the experiences of dhikr and sama contrasts dramatically with the traditional Sufi path, which demands years of dedication and training.  Yet it is the easy accessibility of these experiences that facilitated the integration of the tariqas into the religious life of the general Muslim population.

To the power of dhikr and sama must be added the widespread acknowledgment by both Sufi and layperson of the potent spiritual force known as baraka (“blessing”).  The great shaikhs of the tariqas as well as individual Sufis of spiritual renown were believed to possess a unique spiritual power that could be transmitted to their disciples or devotees.  Baraka even survived the death of the holy person: thus visits to tombs and shrines are considered particularly efficacious.

The attribution of baraka to the great Sufi shaikhs is closely related to the sophisticate theory of the Perfect Man (al-Insan al-Kamil) elaborated by Jili; the charismatic Sufi saint who possesses extraordinary baraka serves as the qutb (“pole”), that is, the unique manifestation of spiritual authority in the universe and the mediator of all religious experience. 

The pervasive influence of the tariqas is evident throughout the Muslim world, from the Levant and Central Asia through Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other Islamic lands.  In addition, to responding to the religious needs of the populace, the tariqas played an important missionary role.  A prime example is the Indian subcontinent, which first encountered Islam in 711-712 with the conquest of Sind by a representative of the Umayyad caliph.  A more extensive empire was established by Mahmud of Ghazna (d. 1030), from which Lahore emerged as an important political and intellectual center.  It is here that al-Hujwiri, the author of the Kashf al-mahjub, died in 1071.  He is still revered as the city’s patron saint under the name of Data Ganj Bakhsh.

The Chishti was the first major Sufi order in the subcontinent, established there in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries by Muinuddin Chishti (d. 1236).  The Chistis attracted many followers through their dhikr ceremonies and through their devotion to music and poetry.  The Chishti convent (jama’at-khana or khangah).functioned as a center not only for Sufis but for the wider community as well, since the Chishtis were devoted to the care of the poor and needy.  Life in the convent centered around the pit, who closely directed the lives of his followers and managed the secular affairs of the convent.

The second great order was the Suhrawardi, whose first master was Bahauddin Zakariya of Multan (d. about 1267).  In contrast to the Chishtis, the Suhrawardis placed a greater emphasis on material well-being and family life.  They accepted government support and were more intimately involved with the ruling powers. 

By no means were these the only Sufi groups to have a significant impact on Islamic life in the region.  Many other Sufi communities -- ranging from the strict, reform minded Naqshbandis (whose center of power was in Central Asia and Afghanistan) to the antinomian Qalandars -- were integral elements in the evolving religious life of South Asia. 

While it is true that the classical period of Sufism (ninth to fifteenth century) was a time of enormous religious, literary, and social creativity, the modern period possesses its own vibrancy.  Sufism remains an extremely influential force throughout the Islamic world and will continue to contribute to the evolution of Muslim religious life in the future.


Faqir see Sufis.
Dervish see Sufis.
Darvish see Sufis.

 
Sufyan al-Thawri, Abu ‘Abd Allah
Sufyan al-Thawri, Abu ‘Abd Allah (Abu ‘Abd Allah Sufyan al-Thawri) (715-778). Theologian, traditionist and ascetic from Kufa.  As a jurist, he was the founder of a law school which

however later disappeared.
'Abu 'Abd Allah Sufyan al-Thawri see Sufyan al-Thawri, Abu ‘Abd Allah

 

Suharto
Suharto (June 8, 1921, Kemusuk, Dutch East Indies - January 27, 2008, Jakarta, Indonesia).  Second president of Indonesia.  The son of a minor village official in Central Java, Suharto pursued a professional military career, joining the Dutch colonial army in 1940 and the Japanese sponsored PETA in 1943.  During the Indonesian Revolution (1945-1950), he became a prominent army commander  in the Yogyakarta region (Central Java).  He commanded the Central Java Diponegoro Division (1956-1959) but was removed following allegations of involvement in smuggling.  In 1960, however, Suharto was appointed first deputy army chief of staff and in 1961 head of the army’s strategic reserve (Kostrad).  In 1962, he commanded the Mandala military campaign to capture West Irian from the Dutch.  He was still Kostrad commander at the time of the Gestapu (also known as the 30th September Affair), an attempted coup d’etat, and as one of the most senior surviving generals he played a major role in defeating the coup.

On September 30, 1965, the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) leader, DN Aidit (apparently acting on his own), and a small group of leftwing officers launched a botched coup in which six senior generals were killed.  Suharto, who mysteriously survived, quickly suppressed the uprising.  Over the following six months, army units and local vigilante groups launched a nationwide purge of so-called communists, a catch-all label that included labor and civic leaders and thousands of others who would never have even heard of Karl Marx.  Most were shot, stabbed, beaten to death or thrown down wells in acts of horrifying violence.

The purge was masterminded by Suharto, who soon persuaded Sukarno to vest in him leadership of the armed forces.  On March 11, 1966, Suharto obtained from Sukarno the Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret, Executive Order of March 11), vesting Suharto with authority “to take all measures considered necessary to guarantee security, calm and stability of the government and the revolution.”  Suharto used trusted officers to carry out the order.  It is thought that up to 600,000 were killed.

Suharto while professing complete loyalty to the president, quickly marginalized Sukarno.  By March 1966, Sukarno had transferred most of his power to Suharto.  Suharto was sworn in as acting president in March 1967, was elected by Parliament as full president in March 1968, and was subsequently re-elected without opposition in 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, and 1998.  Sukarno remained under house arrest until his death in 1970. 

From his assumption of office until his resignation, Suharto continued Sukarno's policy of asserting Indonesian sovereignty.  Suharto shrewdly retained Sukarno's pancasila ideology, first put forward as Indonesian state philosophy in 1945 -- the five vague principles were a belief in God, national unity, humanitarianism, social justice and democracy.  Suharto presented his own regime as a rational choice between communism and Islamism, with occasional forays against overseas Chinese business interests. 

Suharto acted zealously to stake and enforce territorial claims over much of the region, through both diplomacy and military action.  In 1969, Suharto moved to end the longtime controversy over the last Dutch territory in the East Indies, western New Guinea.  Working with the United States and United Nations, an agreement was made to hold a referendum on self-determination, in which participants could choose to remain part of the Netherlands, to integrate with the Republic of Indonesia, or to become independent.  Though originally phrased to be a nationwide vote of all adult Papuans, the "Act of Free Choice" was held July - August 1969 allowed only 1022 "chiefs" to vote.  The unanimous vote was for integration with the Republic of Indonesia, leading to doubts of the validity of the vote.

In 1970, corruption prompted student protests and an investigation by a government commission.  Suharto responded by banning student protests, forcing the activists underground.  Only token prosecution of the cases recommended by the commission was pursued.  The pattern of co-opting a few of his more powerful opponents while criminalising the rest became a hallmark of Suharto's rule. 

In order to maintain a veneer of democracy, Suharto made a number of electoral reforms.  According to his electoral rules, however, only three parties were allowed to participate in the election: Suharto's own Golkar party; the Islamist United Development Party (PPP); and the Democratic Party of Indonesia (PDI).  All the previously existing political parties were forced to be part of either the PPP and PDI, with public servants under pressure to join Golkar.  In a political compromise with the powerful military, he banned its members from voting in elections, but set aside 100 seats in the electoral college for their representatives.

In 1971, Golkar won 62.8% of the vote in general elections held in July.  Golkar became entrenched as the dominant political force in Indonesia, winning 62.1 and 64.3 percent of the popular vote respectively in the general elections of 1977 and 1982.  Other parties were marginalized and forced to amalgamate and have their activities restricted.  By 1973, Suharto directly appointed over twenty percent of the members of the House of Representatives.  All Indonesia's public servants were required to join a Golkar-controlled association and were compelled to vote for Golkar at elections.

Under Suharto, Indonesia enjoyed a favorable international climate.  His regime was applauded by the west for its "suppression of communism," a policy the United States covertly encouraged.  It also won approval from Moscow, which had regarded the PKI's close links with China with alarm.

Over the following decade, United States oil companies invested more than $2 billion in Indonesia's petroleum industry, accounting for 90% of the country's total production.  More than 1.5 million people were "transmigrated" from Java and Bali to relieve population pressure and colonize outlying islands. 

Suharto gained his biggest reward for destroying the Indonesian left when he invaded East Timor in December 1975, only a day after the United States president, Gerald Ford, and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, had dined with him.

Proclaiming a "new order," Suharto confined domestic politics to setpiece elections contested by two federations of former parties and an army dominated body, Golkar, which had not party members but won 60% to 70% of the vote.  

Suharto’s New Order was characterized by an emphasis on economic development and a relatively low profile in international affairs.  Internally, Suharto stressed political stability and considerably restricted political party activity.  He also sought to remove the basis for political conflict by insisting that all political organizations take the official national ideology, Pancasila, as their basic principle. 

Suharto survived the growth of discontent through the ruthless use of an intelligence apparatus.  Muslim militants were jailed and social protest suppressed.  More subtly, the older politicians whom he had supplanted were allowed to form an ineffective "group of 50" in 1980.

Suharto's real talent lay in manipulating the military elite on which he relied and yet needed to divide and rule.  Those he depended on most would find themselves discarded when they might threaten to become too powerful.  However, the 1990s saw a revival of labor unrest.  The biggest source of dissent was a huge growth in cronyism and the blatant pursuit of financial gain by the Suharto family. 

Such nepotism was not essential for the Suharto regime -- it reflected his adoption of a ruling style increasingly akin to that of a traditional Javanese king.  The village in which he had been born was graced with a palace, and it was ordained that he should be buried in the nearby family mausoleum echoing the royal custom of hilltop interment.

Following nationwide protests, he resigned in May 1998, having finally lost the confidence of even his own military clique.  After a year's silence, the former president emerged to deny claims he had amassed a fortune, filing a suit against Time magazine for publishing detailed allegations.  There were suggestions he had threatened to implicate other members of the Jakarta elite if the investigation proved too vigorous. 

After suffering a stroke, his lawyers claimed he was too ill to be questioned by the attorney general.  In April 2000, he was banned from leaving Jakarta.  He was later ruled unfit to stand trial on physical and mental grounds.

In Suharto's later years, accusations of corruption and abuse of position were leveled against members of Suharto’s immediate family, especially his wife Hartinah (Tien).  His son, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, served four years in prison for hiring a hitman to assassinate the judge who had convicted him of corruption. 

Suharto died on January 27, 2008 from multiple organ failure.  He was buried next to his wife at the family mausoleum near Solo in Central Java on January 28, 2008.  He was survived by his six children Siti Hardiyanti Hastuti Rukmana, Sigit Harjojudanto, Bambang Trihatmodjo, Siti Hediati, Hutomo Mandala Putra and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih.

 

Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al- (Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Suhrawardi) (Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yahya ibn Habash as-Suhrawardī) (Sohrevardi) (Shihāb ad-Dīn Yaḥyā ibn Ḥabash ibn Amīrak as-Suhrawardī) (al-Maqtūl) (Shaykh al-Ishrāq) (Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash ibn Amirak Abul Futuh Suhrawardi) (b. c. 1153/1155, Suhraward, near Zanjān, Iran - d. 1191, Ḥalab, Syria).  Mystic theologian and philosopher.  His best known work is called Knowledge of Illumination, in which he develops the Neoplatonic theory of light, which serves as a symbol of emanation but at the same time is regarded as the fundamental reality of things.  He was also the founder of a sect, called “the Illuminates”.  Suspected of pantheism, he was put to death (in Arabic, al-maqtul) in Aleppo in 1191 by Saladin’s son al-Malik al-Zahir.

Suhrawardi, known as Shaikh al-Ishraq (“the master of illumination”) as well as al-Maqtul (“the Martyr”), was a Persian Muslim philosopher who founded the School of Illumination (ishraq).  Because of his controversial ideas, at the age of thirty-eight he was put to death by the order of Salah al-Din Ayyubi, Saladin the Great, Syrian commander and sultan of Egypt.

Suhrawardi was born in a village near Zanjan, a northern Iranian city.  His full name is Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash ibn Amirak Abul Futuh Suhrawardi.

At an early age, he went to the city of Maragheh, where he studied hikmat with Majd al-Din Jili, and he then traveled to Isfahan, where he studied philosophy with Zahir al-Din al-Farsi and the Observations (al-Basa’ir) of ‘Umar ibn Salah al-Sawi.  He then set out upon a long journey through the Islamic lands to meet the Sufi masters, while practicing asceticism and withdrawing for long spiritual retreats.  He tells us that he had looked for a companion with spiritual insight equal to his, but he failed to find one.

Since Suhrawardi persisted in advocating a type of wisdom which was inconsistent with the views of the orthodox jurists, the jurists finally asked Malik Zahir, son of Saladin, to put Suhrawardi to death for advocating heretical ideas.  When Malik Zahir refused they signed a petition and sent it to Saladin, who ordered his son to have him killed.  Malik Zahir reluctantly carried out his father’s order and Suhrawardi was killed in the year 1191.

In light of the above factors, one can view Suhrawardi as a Persian who inherited a rich culture with Zoroastrian elements in it, a philosopher well-versed in Peripatetic (Aristotelian) philosophy, and a mystic who tried to demonstrate that at the heart of all the divinely revealed traditions of wisdom there is one universal truth. 

Suhrawardi lived at a time when the two schools of philosophy and mysticism were perceived to be irreconcilable.  In fact, the influence of discursive philosophy had been somewhat curtailed following the conversion of al-Ghazali from a philosopher to a mystic.  Suhrawardi argued that mysticism and philosophy are not irreconcilable and that the validity of the immutable principles of philosophy can be verified through the illumination of the intellect. 

Suhrawardi argued that discursive reasoning is the necessary condition for the attainment of illumination.  Toward this end, Suhrawardi composed many treatises commenting on a wide range of traditional topics pertaining to Peripatetic philosophy.  On the whole, where he speaks as a philosopher, Suhrawardi is a Peripatetic whose opinion are similar to those of Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

As to the most important debate in Islamic philosophy, the distinction between existence (wujud) and essence (mahiyyah), Suhrawardi departs from the traditional Peripatetic understanding of them.  Suhrawardi argues that the discussion concerning the principality of existence over essence neglects the fact that essence is a degree of existence.

Suhrawardi also criticizes Aristotle’s theory of hylomorphism, arguing that corporeal beings are combinations of form and matter.  Suhrawardi defines matter as a simple substance that is capable of accepting the forms of species.  He then reduces physical features into qualities which can be expressed in terms of their ontological status. 

Finally, Suhrawardi rejects the existing theories of vision that were held in the Middle Ages and proposes his own.  He maintains that vision can occur when an object is lit.  The soul of the observer then surrounds the illuminated object, and the illumination (ishraq) of the soul (nafs) that then takes place through light emanated from the Light of Lights (nur al-anwar) is vision.

Suhrawardi criticizes the traditional Aristotelian notion of categories and reduces them to four.  He then criticizes the Peripatetics’ concept of “definition” as that which provides us with the knowledge of what a thing is.  He rejects the Peripatetics’ claim that there is an essential nature of the human being indicated by the definition of the human being as a rational animal.  Suhrawardi argues that other attributes of the human being are as important as rationality.  Since there is no definition that can adequately disclose all the attributes of the human being, the definition as such remains an inadequate means of understanding.  Suhrawardi demonstrates that empiricism and rationalism also fail and that their applications in epistemology are limited.

How a human being comes to know is a mystery, which despite his meditations Suhrawardi could not resolve.  In a dream vision Suhrawardi sees Aristotle, who resolves the mystery of how the self comes to know by telling Suhrawardi that to know anything one has to first know oneself. 

Suhrawardi then argues that the fundamental principle of knowledge is that before the self is to know an object, it has to know itself.  The self knows itself through a direct and immediate relationship known as “Knowledge by Presence” (‘Ilm al-huduri).

Suhrawardi departs from traditional Islamic ontology by arguing that the source of being is not simply being but light.  Assuming that light is necessary since the cognition of everything else requires it, beings in the world are therefore defined in terms of their ontological status and the degree of their luminosity.  The beings closer to the Light of Lights are more transparent and ontologically superior.  Light, as an axiomatic truth and thereby self-evident, is made up of an infinite succession of contingent lights, and each light is the existential cause of the light below it.  The ultimate light, which is the same as the Necessary Being (wajib al-wujud), is for Suhrawardi the Light of Lights, the ultimate cause of all things.  As the ontological distance between the object and the Light of Lights grows, darkness prevails until the object in question becomes impenetrable to light.  Suhrawardi identifies the world of such objects with the corporeal world in which we live.

For Suhrawardi, just as light has degrees of intensity, so does darkness.  Although he classifies light in accordance with the extent to which light exists by necessity, his criterion for determining the ontological status of beings is whether they are conscious of themselves or not.  Self-awareness is absent when a being is impenetrable to light.

Relying on his ontological system, Suhrawardi reduces quantity to quality.  According to him, it is not the case that a two-foot stick of wood is “longer” than a one-foot stick.  For Suhrawardi, this relation should be expressed in terms of “more” or “less.”  Therefore, it is the case that a two-foot stick is “more” than the one-foot stick.  This “more” or “less” becomes meaningful within the context of a hierarchical ontology.  The closer a being is to the Light of Lights, the more it “is.”  Some beings therefore “are” more than others, depending on the degree of their closeness to the Light of Light.  Applying this concept to human beings, Suhrawardi argues that those who have mastered discursive philosophy and intellectual intuition and have practiced asceticism are more “luminous,” in the metaphysical sense of light, and are therefore closer to the Light of Lights.

Having used the symbolism of light and darkness, Suhrawardi goes on to develop an elaborate angelology based on a Zoroastrian theory of angels.  Thereby, once again, he joined two religious universes, those of Islam and Zoroastrianism.

All beings, according to Suhrawardi, are the illuminations of the Light of Lights, which has left its vice-regent in each domain.  The lordly light (nur ispahbad), which is the viceregent of the Light of Lights in the human soul, accounts for the joy of human beings when they see fire or the sun.

Between the Light of Lights and its opposite pole, the corporeal world, there are levels and degrees of light, which Suhrawardi identifies with the various levels of angelic order.  Suhrawardi’s use of Zoroastrian symbolism is partly done in the spirit of his ecumenical philosophy in order to demonstrate that since the inner truth of all religions is the same, some concepts of a religious tradition can often be used to interpret and clarify the concepts of another tradition. 

From the Light of Lights comes the “longitudinal” angelic order, which Suhrawardi identifies with a masculine aspect such as dominance, whereas contemplation and independence give rise to a “latitudinal” order.  Suhrawardi identifies the latitudinal angelic order with Platonic ideas.  From the feminine aspect of the longitudinal order comes into being the Heaven of fixed stars. 

For Suhrawardi there exists a veil between each level of light, which acts as a “purgatory” or Barzakh and allows the passage of only a certain amount of light.  The primordial, original, and all-encompassing nature of this system, through which Suhrawardi expresses a number of esoteric doctrines, is such that he calls it al-ummahat (“the mother”), since all that exists originates from this hierarchy and, therefore, contains within itself the “ideas” (a‘yan thabita) whose unfolding is the world.

Angelology in Suhrawardi’s philosophy is a two-fold concept: first, it is an attempt to map out the world.  Second, through the use of angelic symbolism, the correspondence between the human being as the microcosm and the universe as the macrocosm is further demonstrated.

This new philosophy of angels changes the traditional view of angels as the sustainers of the universe.  According to Suhrawardi, angels serve a number of functions, the most important of which is their intermediary role between the Light of Lights and humanity.  For instance, the “lordly light” (al-nur al-isfahbodi) is defined by Suhrawardi as that wich is “within the soul of man.”

Suhrawardi relies heavily upon the psychology of Ibn Sina.  In fact, his classification of the faculties of the soul is greatly influenced by Ibn Sina, as evidenced by Suhrawardi’s depiction of the soul as being divided into three parts, the vegetative soul (al-nafs al-nabatiyyah), the animal soul (al-nafs al-hayawaniyyah), and the intellectual soul (al-nafs natiqah).

Suhrawardi argues that, in addition to the five external senses, the human being possesses five internal senses that serve as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual world.  The internal senses, according to Suhrawardi are: sensus communis, fantasy, apprehension, imagination, and memory. 

In putting forth his views on physics, Suhrawardi begins with a discussion regarding the nature of the universe, which from his point of view is pure light.  The views of the ‘Asharite atomists, who were one of the predominant intellectual schools of the time, were based on the principality of form and matter and, therefore, the study of physics for them became the study of matter.  Suhrawardi argues against them by saying that since material bodies are constituted of light, the study of physics is the study of light.

Having defined the nature of things as light, Suhrawardi goes on to classify things according to the degree of their transparency.  For example, all those objects that allow light to pass through them, such as air, are in a different ontological category from those that obstruct light, such as earth.

In explaining meteorological phenomena, Suhrawardi follows Ibn Sina and Aristotle, but he rejects their views concerning change within things.  For example, whereas Aristotle argues that the boiling of water is caused by the atoms of fire coming into contact with water, Suhrawardi states that boiling depends on a quality in water such that when water comes close to fire the potentiality for boiling is actualized.  He argues that when water boils in a jug of water placed over a fire, the fire does not come in contact with the water nor does the volume of water change.  Suhrawardi draws the conclusion that there exists a special quality or attribute within water which is receptive to the influence of heat.

It is obvious that such a theory has implications not only for the field of physics but also as an esoteric doctrine that seeks to explain how the association of different things may create qualitative changes within beings.  This principle is one of the crucial elements in the development of spiritual alchemy, which appears in Islamic esoteric writings.

Suhrawardi contends that the Peripatetic argument for the subsistence of the soul is weak and insufficient.  Using his ontological scheme based on light and darkness, Suhrawardi argues that all souls, depending on the degree of their perfection, seek unity with their origin, the Light of Lights.   The degree of one’s purification in this world determines the ontological status of the soul in the other world.  According to Suhrawardi, the goal of the human being is to become illuminated and return to its origin in the other world.  The other world is only a continuation of this one, and the status of the soul in the other world depends on the degree to which a person is purified here and now.

Suhrawardi identifies three groups of people according to the degree of their purity and illumination and establishes a causal connection between their purity and their ontological status in the other world.  These three groups are:

1. Those who remain in the darkness of ignorance (‘Ashqiya’),

2. Those who purify themselves to some extent (Sudad), and

3. Those who purify themselves and reach illumination (muta ‘allihun).

Suhrawardi, who adhered to the notion of Philosophia Perennis, or what he called Hikmat al-Ladunniyah or Hikmat al-‘Atiqah, maintains that the eternal truth has existed always among the followers of divinely revealed religions.  For Suhrawardi, philosophy is identified with Sophia Perennis, the perennial wisdom, rather than with rationalizing alone.  From an Ishraqi point of view, Hermes (Prophet Idris, Enoch, or Khidr) is the father of wisdom who initiated Sophia Perennis.  From him two chains of transmission branch off; one branch is preserved and transmitted through the Persian masters and the other one through Greco-Egyptian masters, until Suhrawardi, who considers himself to be the reviver of perennial wisdom.

For Suhrawardi there are four types of people within the hierarchy of knowledge:

1. The hakims, who have mastered both discursive philosophy and gnosis.

2. The class of philosophers who are masters of practical wisdom and do not involve themselves with discursive philosophy. 

3. The philosophers who know discursive philosophy but are alien to gnosis, such as al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd. 

4. The seekers of knowledge who have not mastered either of the two branches of wisdom, rationalist or practical philosophy.

Suhrawardi’s philosophy was a turning point in the history of Islamic philosophy in that it presents the first serious attempt at a rapprochement between mysticism and rationalist philosophy.  Suhrawardi’s methodology of reconciling discursive reasoning with intellectual intuition remained the cornerstone of Islamic philosophy, especially in the eastern part of the Islamic world.

Suhrawardi’s philosophy gave rise to the School of Isfahan during the Safavid era in Persia when such notable masters of the ishraqi doctrine as Mulla Sadra, who propagated Suhrawardi’s doctrine with substantial modifications, established a philosophical paradigm on its foundations. 

Ishraqi philosophy is a living a philosophical tradition in many parts of the Islamic world, in particular, in Iran, Pakistan, and India.

The primary concern of Suhrawardi’s entire philosophy is to demonstrate the complete journey of the human soul towards its original abode.  Having mastered rationalist philosophy, one should then follow the teachings of a master who can direct the disciple through the maze of spiritual dangers.  It is only through a combination of practical and theoretical wisdom that one reaches a state where spiritual knowledge can be obtained directly without mediation.

Suhrawardi elaborated the neo-Platonic idea of an independent intermediary world, the imaginal world (alam-e mithal). His views have exerted a powerful influence down to this day, particularly through Mulla Sadra’s combined peripatetic and illuminationist description of reality.

Suhrawardi's Illuminationist project was to have far-reaching consequences for Islamic philosophy in Shi'ite Iran. His teachings had a strong influence on subsequent esoteric Iranian thought and the idea of “Decisive Necessity” is believed to be one of the most important innovations of in the history of logical philosophical speculation, stressed by the majority of Muslim logicians and philosophers. In the seventeenth century it was to initiate an Illuminationist Zoroastrian revival in the figure of Azar Kayvan.

Suhrawardi left over 50 writings in Persian and Arabic.  His Persian writings include:

    * Partaw Nama ("Treatise on Illumination")
    * Hayakal al-Nur
    * Alwah-i imadi ("The tablets dedicated to Imad al-Din")
    * Lughat-i Muran ("The language of Termites")
    * Risalat al-Tayr ("The treatise of the Bird")
    * Safir-i Simurgh ("The Calling of the Simurgh")
    * Ruzi ba jama'at Sufiyaan ("A day with the community of Sufis")
    * Fi halat al-tifulliyah ("Treatise on the state of the childhood")
    * Awaz-i par-i Jebrail ("The Chant of the Wing of Gabriel")
    * Aql-i Surkh ("The Red Intellect")
    * Fi Haqiqat al-'Ishaq ("On the reality of love")
    * Bustan al-Qolub ("The Garden of the Heart")

Suhrawardi's Arabic writings include:

    * Kitab al-talwihat
    * Kitab al-moqawamat
    * Kitab al-mashari' wa'l-motarahat
    * Kitab Hikmat al-ishraq
    * Mantiq al-talwihat
    * Kitab hikmat al-ishraq (The Philosophy of Illumination)

As-Suhrawardī wrote voluminously. The more than 50 separate works that were attributed to him were classified into two categories: doctrinal and philosophical accounts containing commentaries on the works of Aristotle and Plato, as well as his own contribution to the illuminationist school; and shorter treatises, generally written in Persian and of an esoteric nature, meant to illustrate the paths and journeys of a mystic before he could achieve ma ʿrifah (“gnosis,” or esoteric knowledge).

Influenced by Aristotelian philosophy and Zoroastrian doctrines, he attempted to reconcile traditional philosophy and mysticism. In his best-known work, Ḥikmat al-ishrāq (“The Wisdom of Illumination”), he said that essences are creations of the intellect, having no objective reality or existence. Concentrating on the concepts of being and non-being, he held that existence is a single continuum that culminates in a pure light that he called God. Other stages of being along this continuum are a mixture of light and dark.

As-Suhrawardī also founded a mystical order known as the Ishrāqīyah. The Nūrbakhshīyah order of dervishes (itinerant holy men) also traces its origins to him.


Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs 'Umar Suhrawardi see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Suhrawardi see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Shahāb ad-Dīn" Yahya ibn Habash as-Suhrawardī see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Sohrevardi see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Shahab al-Din Yahya ibn Habash ibn Amirak Abul Futuh Suhrawardi. see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-
Shaykh al-Ishrāq see Suhrawardi, Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-

 

Suhrawardy, Hussain Shahid
Suhrawardy, Hussain Shahid (Hussain Shahid Suhrawardy) (Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy) (b. September 8, 1892, Midnapore, Bengal Presidency, British India - d. December 5, 1963, Beirut, Lebanon).  Talented and controversial leader of Bengal’s Muslims who played an important role in both pre- and post partition South Asia.  He hailed from a distinguished Muslim family, was educated in Calcutta and Britain, where he was called to the bar, and returned to enter Bengal politics.  Elected to the Bengal Legislative Council in 1921, he actively participated in its work and was also deputy mayor of Calcutta under the Swarajist leader Chittaranjan Das.  After Das’s death in 1925, Bengal politics moved in a more communal direction.  Suhrawardy worked at labor organizing and also within the legislative council.  With the 1935 reforms, he was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly and became secretary of the Bengal Provincial Muslim League.  A minister in Muslim League-dominated ministries from 1937 to 1941 and 1943 to 1945, he became chief minister of Bengal during 1946.  Although he was against the partition of Bengal, he eventually moved to Pakistan in 1949 and founded the Awami Muslim League (later Awami League), a constituent of the United Front, which overwhelmed the Muslim League in 1954.  In 1956, he became prime minister of Pakistan and served for more than a year until brought down by the turbulence of the nation’s politics. 

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was a politician from Bengal in undivided India, and later in East Bengal, who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1956 until 1957.  He was considered a favorite of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He is also considered to be the first populist leader in Pakistan's history. He joined the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League that Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani formed and finally took over the leadership from the Maulana. Later renamed the Awami League, it was the first opposition party in Pakistan in those days launched against the Muslim League.

Suhrawardy was born on September 8, 1892, to a Muslim family in the town of Midnapore, now in West Bengal. He was the younger son of Justice Sir Zahid Suhrawardy, a prominent judge of the Calcutta High Court and of Khujastha Akhtar Banu (c. 1874–1919) a noted name in Urdu literature and scholar of Persian.

Suhrawardy completed his undergraduate studies at St. Xavier's College, and completed a masters degree at the University of Calcutta. Afterwards, he moved to the United Kingdom to attend St Catherine's College, Oxford University from where he obtained a BCL degree. On leaving Oxford, he was called to the bar at Gray's Inn. He then started his practice at Calcutta High Court.

In 1920, Suhrawardy married Begum Niaz Fatima, daughter of Sir Abdur Rahim, the then home minister of the Bengal Province of British India and later President of India's Central Legislative Assembly. Suhrawardy had two children from this marriage; Ahmed Shahab Suhrawardy and Begum Akhtar Sulaiman (née Akhtar Jahan Suhrawardy). Ahmed Suhrawardy died from pneumonia whilst he was a student in London in 1940. Begum Akhtar Sulaiman was married to Shah Ahmed Sulaiman (son of Justice Sir Shah Sulaiman) and had one child, Shahida Jamil (who later became the first female Pakistani Federal Minister for Law).

Begum Niaz Fatima died in 1922. In 1940 Suhrawardy married Vera Alexandrovna Tiscenko Calder Begum Noor Jahan, a Russian actress from the Moscow Art Theatre and protege of Olga Knipper. The couple divorced in 1951 and had one child, Rashid Suhrawardy (aka Robert Ashby), who is an actor living in London. Vera later settled in the United States.

Suhrawardy returned to the subcontinent in 1921 as a practicing barrister of the Calcutta High Court. He became involved in politics in Bengal. Initially, he joined the Swaraj Party, a group within the Indian National Congress, and became an ardent follower of Chittaranjan Das. He played a major role in signing the Bengal Pact in 1923.

Suhrawardy became the Deputy Mayor of the Calcutta Corporation at the age of 31 in 1924, and the Deputy Leader of the Swaraj Party in the Provincial Assembly. However, following the death of Chittaranjan Das in 1925, he began to disassociate himself with the Swaraj Party and eventually joined the Muslim League. He served as Minister of Labour, and Minister of Civil Supplies under Khawaja Nazimuddin among other positions. In the Bengal Muslim League, Suhrawardy and Abul Hashim led a progressive line against the conservative stream led by Nazimuddin and Akram Khan.

In 1946, Suhrawardy established and headed a Muslim League government in Bengal. It was the only Muslim League government in India at that time.

Sir Frederick Burrows declared August 16, 1946 to be a public holiday following the Direct Action Day called by Jinnah to protest against the Cabinet Mission plan for the independence of India. Suhrawardy, acting on the advice of R.L. Walker, the then chief secretary of Bengal, requested Governor Burrows to declare a public holiday on that day. Walker made this proposal with the hope that the risk of conflicts, especially those related to picketing, would be minimized if government offices, commercial houses and shops remained closed throughout Calcutta on the 16th.

The intensity of Direct Action Day was at its worst in the capital Calcutta. Suhrawardy was controversially blamed by Congress leaders for both orchestrating and not taking steps to prevent the carnage and for trying to suppress the news of the same from the media. However, commentators view the riots of Direct Action Day as being caused as a result of a combination of factors including a power vacuum created by the impending withdrawal of the British from Government that led to the lack of immediate and adequate army and police involvement in trying to control the riots. Political brinkmanship by both the Congress and Muslim League leadership played a major factor in stirring the passions of the supporters of both the Hindu and Muslim communities.

On the day, Suhrawardy put forth a great deal of effort to bring reluctant British officials around to calling the army in from Sealdah Rest Camp. Unfortunately, British officials did not send the army out until 1:45am on the 17th. Accordingly, a substantial number of lives were lost that could have been saved if the army had been deployed earlier.

In 1947, the balance of power in Bengal shifted from the Muslim League to the Indian National Congress, and Suhrawardy stepped down from the Chief Ministership. Unlike other Muslim League stalwarts of India, he did not leave his hometown immediately for the newly established Pakistan. Anticipating revenge of Hindus against Muslims in Calcutta after the transfer of power, Suhrawardy sought help from Gandhi. Gandhi was persuaded to stay and pacify tempers in Calcutta, but he agreed to do so on the condition that Suhrawardy share the same roof with him so that they could appeal to Muslims and Hindus alike to live in peace. "Adversity makes strange bed-fellows," Gandhi remarked in his prayer meeting.

Upon the formation of Pakistan, Suhrawardy maintained his work in politics, continuing to focus on East Pakistan as it became after partition. In 1949, he formed the Awami Muslim League, which would develop into the Awami League.

In the 1950s, Suhrawardy worked to consolidate political parties in East Pakistan to balance the politics of West Pakistan. He, along with other leading Bengali leaders A.K. Fazlul Huq and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, formed a political alliance in the name of Jukta Front which won a landslide victory in the 1954 general election of East Pakistan. Under Muhammad Ali Bogra, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy would serve as Law Minister and later become the head of opposition parties.

In 1956, Suhrawardy was made Prime Minister by President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza after the resignation of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. Suhrawardy inherited a political schism that was forming in Pakistan between the Muslim League and newer parties, such as the Republican party. The schism was fed by the attempt to consolidate the four provinces of West Pakistan into one province, so as to balance the fact that East Pakistan existed as only one province. The plan was opposed in West Pakistan, and the cause was taken up by the Muslim League and religious parties. Suhrawardy supported the plan, but the vast opposition to it stalled its progress.

In order to divert attention from the controversy over the "One Unit" plan as it was called, Suhrawardy tried to ease economic differences between East and West Pakistan. However, despite his intentions, these initiatives only led to more political frictions, and was worsened when Suhrawardy tried to give more financial allocations to East Pakistan than West Pakistan from aids and grants. Such moves led to a threat of dismissal looming over Suhrawardy's head, and he resigned in 1957.

Suhrawardy's contribution in formulating the 1956 constitution of Pakistan was substantial as he played a vital role in incorporating provisions for civil liberties and universal adult franchise in line with his adherence to parliamentary form of liberal democracy.

In the foreign policy arena, he was considered to be one of the pioneers of Pakistan's pro-United States stand. He was also the first Pakistani Prime Minister to visit China and establish an official diplomatic friendship between Pakistan and China (a friendship that Henry Kissinger would later use to make his now-famous secret trip to China in July 1971).

During the 1950s, Pakistan was suffering from severe energy crises. It was Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy's Prime Ministerial term when the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was established by a Parliamentary Act of 1956. He also appointed Dr. Nazir Ahmad, a noted physicist and scientist, to be its first Chairman. Under Dr. Nazir Ahmad's direction, Pakistan started its civilian nuclear program. Prime Minister Suhrawardy also allotted PAEC to sat up its new pilot-nuclear labs. He played an important role in establishing of nuclear research institutes in West Pakistan. He also allowed PAEC to established the first nuclear power plant in Karachi. However, after his removal from office, the Nuclear Power Plant Project was undermined by a political turmoil in the country. The Pakistani Civilian Nuclear Program was also frozen by Ayub Khan's military regime for more than a decade.

Disqualified from politics under the military regime of Ayub Khan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy died in Lebanon in 1963. His death was officially due to complications from heart problems, though some have alleged he was poisoned or gassed in his bedroom. After a befitting funeral attended by a huge crowd, he was buried at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy in Islamabad is named after him.
Hussain Shahid Suhrawardy see Suhrawardy, Hussain Shahid
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy see Suhrawardy, Hussain Shahid

 

Sukarno
Sukarno (Soekarno) (Kusno Sosrodihardjo) (b. June 6, 1901, Blitar, Dutch East Indies - d.  June 21, 1970, Jakarta, Indonesia).  First president of the Republic of Indonesia, a position he held from August 17, 1945, the day on which he proclaimed Indonesia’s independence, until his formal deposition on March 27, 1968.  Sukarno was one of the charismatic leaders of Afro-Asian nationalism.  He could claim, with some justice, to be the founder of the Indonesian Republic, but his closing years were marked by controversy and ultimately, rejection.

Born in Surabaya, the son of a Javanese schoolteacher and a Balinese mother, Sukarno was educated in his father’s school in Mojokerto (East Java), the Dutch elementary school at Mojokerto, and the Dutch secondary school (HBS) in Surabaya.  As a secondary student he boarded in the house of Umar Said Cokroaminoto, chairman of the mass Islamic organization Sarekat Islam, and he met many of the nationalist leaders of the time there.  On graduation from HBS, Sukarno, unlike others of his generation who proceeded to tertiary education in the Netherlands, studied engineering and architecture at the Bandung Technical College.

In Bandung, he became involved in nationalist activity.  He was chairman of the local branch of Jong Java and one of the founders of the General Study Club in 1926. His article “Nationalism, Islam and Marxism,” in the Study Club’s journal, Indonesia Muda, urged the unity of the major streams of nationalist thought in the interests of the common goal of independence.  He also developed the idea of the Marhaen, the “little people” of Indonesia who were poor but who were not a proletariat. 

In 1927, he assisted in the formation of the Indonesian Nationalist Party (PNI) and became its first chairman.  Following the decline of Sarekat Islam and the destruction of the Indies Communist Party after the revolts of 1926-1927, the PNI became the main voice of Indonesian secular nationalism, and Sukarno’s skills of oratory drew large crowds to its meetings.  Its success led, in December 1929, to Sukarno’s arrest, trial, and conviction for behavior calculated to disturb public order.  His defense speech became a classic of nationalist literature.  After his release from prison in December 1931, Sukarno joined Partindo (the PNI’s successor) and was arrested again in 1933.  In spite of his resignation from Partindo and his promise to the authorities to abstain from political activity in the future, he was exiled first to Flores and then to Bengkulu.

With the Japanese invasion of the Indies in 1942, Sukarno returned to Jakarta where, within the Occupation regime, he served as chairman of its mass organizations and of a Central Advisory Committee.  In those positions, he was able to soften some Japanese demands, and through acess to the radio provided in all villages he became the most widely known Indonesian leader.  He claimed that his speeches, though necessarily supporting the Japanese, kept alive the idea of nationalism.  In June 1945, he expounded his Pancasila: nationalism, internationalism, democracy, social prosperity, and belief in God.

In August 1945, Sukarno was accepted as the only person who could proclaim Indonesia’s independence and assume office as president.  During the independence struggle that followed, he agreed to demands for a parliamentary, rather than a presidential, convention in forming governments.  Giving up executive authority strengthened his independence and enabled him to be a symbol of unity against the Dutch, a mediator between rival Indonesian factions and the focus of resistance to such internal challenges to the republic as the Communist-led Madium Affair in 1948.

After the transfer of sovereignty, the provisional constitution of 1950 provided for a parliamentary system and encouraged the emergence of a large number of political parties.  Sukarno, irked by the constitutional checks on his authority, did, on occasion, interfere in politics.  Growing political instability and regional resistance to the central government eventually gave him an opportunity to intervene more directly.  In 1957, after attacking the selfishness of political parties, he called for the replacement of “50 percent plus one” democracy by a system of Guided Democracy more suited to Indonesian methods of deliberation and consensus.  In 1959, following the defeat of rebellion in Sumatra and Sulawesi, and with the support of the army, he reintroduced by decree the 1945, presidential type constitution and assumed executive authority.

Guided Democracy depended initially on a delicate balance between Sukarno and the army but with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) becoming more visible and powerful.  Sukarno’s style had echoes of court politics, govenment by access, impulse, and display.  Against a background of economic crisis and spiraling inflation, Sukarno, “President for Life,” expropriated Dutch property, embarked on grand building projects, played host to the Asian Games, and pursued an adventurist foreign policy.  Dividing the world ideologically into “new emerging” and “old established” forces, he campaigned successfully for the recovery of West Irian; opposed, by “confrontation,” the formation of Malaysia; and withdrew from the United Nations.  The frenetic character of his regime reflected, perhaps, an increasingly desperate attempt to balance opposing domestic forces, and it ended in October 1965 with an attempted coup involving PKI leaders.  Swift military action under General Suharto suppressed the coup and led to the destruction of the PKI and of the balance on which Sukarno’s power had depended.  In 1967, Suharto became acting president, and in 1968 Sukarno was formally deposed in his favor.  He died two years later.

Sukarno died June 21, 1970, at the age of 69 of a chronic kidney ailment and numerous complications. Suharto decreed a quick and quiet funeral. Nevertheless, at least 500,000 persons, including virtually all of Jakarta’s important personages, turned out to pay their last respects. The next day another 200,000 assembled in Blitar, near Surabaja, for the official service followed by burial in a simple grave alongside that of his mother. The cult and ideology of Sukarnoism were proscribed until the late 1970s, when the government undertook a rehabilitation of Sukarno’s name. His autobiography, Sukarno, was published in 1965.

Sukarno was a complex figure, combining elements of Javanese tradition and modernity in his leadership.  To some he was a catastrophic president, wasting resources on grandiose policies.  To others, he remained the father of the nation.  Politically resourceful, he was skilled in balancing rival factions, but with his mercurial style and his external appearance of confidence went signs of an inner vulnerability.  At times, he could act decisively, as in forming the PNI in 1927, handling the Japanese in 1942-1945, and introducing Guided Democracy in 1957-1959.  At other times, he appeared hesitant and uncertain.  He posed as a revolutionary but recognized the fragility of the republic, and it could be argued that his revolutionary rhetoric disguised a desire to preserve the social status quo.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was his projection of a vision of a unified Indonesian nation in an archipelago of great ethnic, religious, and geographical diversity.

Sukarno married Siti Utari circa 1920, and divorced her to marry Inggit Garnasih, who he divorced around 1931 to marry Fatmawati. Without divorcing, Sukarno also married Hartini, and around 1959 Dewi Sukarno. Other wives included Oetari, Kartini Manoppo, Ratna Sari, Haryati, Yurike Sanger, and Heldy Djafar.

Megawati Sukarnoputri, who served as the fifth president of Indonesia, is his daughter by his wife Fatmawati. Her younger brother Guruh Sukarnoputra (born 1953) has inherited Sukarno's artistic bent and is a choreographer and songwriter, who made a movie Untukmu, Indonesiaku (For You, My Indonesia) about Indonesian culture. He is also a member of the Indonesian People's Representative Council for Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle. His siblings Guntur Sukarnoputra, Rachmawati Sukarnoputri and Sukmawati Sukarnoputri have all been active in politics. Sukarno had a daughter named Kartika by Dewi Sukarno. In 2006 Kartika Sukarno married Frits Seegers, the Netherlands-born chief executive officer of the Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank. Other offspring include Taufan and Bayu by his wife Hartini, and a son named Toto Suryawan Soekarnoputra (born 1967, in Germany), by his wife Kartini Manoppo.



Kusno Sosrodihardjo see Sukarno
Sosrodihardjo, Kusno see Sukarno
Soekarno see Sukarno

 

Sukiman Wirjosandjojo
Sukiman Wirjosandjojo (Soekiman Wirjosandjojo) (b. 1898, Surakarta, Central Java, Dutch East Indies - d. 1974).  Indonesian politician and modernist Islamic leader.  Briefly chairman of the nationalist party Perhimpunan Indonesia in Holland, Sukiman was active in the Partai Sarekat Islam Indonesia and later in his own Partai Islam Indonesia.  He chaired the Masjumi on its formation in October 1945 and headed the group of modernists within the party who inclined toward radical nationalism rather than Islamic socialism.  He was interior minister in the Hatta cabinet (January 1948-August 1949), and as prime minister from April 1951 to February 1952 he attempted unsuccessfully to suppress the Partai Komunis Indonesia.  His cabinet fell over a secret aid agreement with the United States that committed Indonesia to defending the “free world.”
Wirjosandjojo, Sukiman see Sukiman Wirjosandjojo
Soekiman Wirjosandjojo see Sukiman Wirjosandjojo
Wirjosandjojo, Soekiman see Sukiman Wirjosandjojo

 

Sulayhids
Sulayhids.  Shi‘i dynasty which ruled over Yemen as nominal vassals of the Fatimids (1047-1138).  It was founded by ‘Ali ibn Muhammad, who chased the Abyssinian slave dynasty of the Najahids from Zabid, fought the Zaydi Imam al-Qasim ibn ‘Ali and took San‘a’ in 1063, Zabid in 1064 and Aden in 1065.  He restored order in Mecca and appointed Abu Hashim Muhammad (r.1063-1094) as Sharif.  He was killed by the Najahid Sa‘id ibn Najah (d. 1088) in 1067.  His son al-Mukarram (r. 1067-1091) again conquered Zabid from the Najahids and rescued his mother Asma’ bint Shihab (d. 1086).  In the same year (1086) he instituted a new coinage called “Maliki Dinars,” but left state affairs to his wife al-Sayyida Arwa (b. 1052) who ruled from 1084 to 1138 and who transferred her residence from San‘a’ to Dhu Jibal in winter, making the castle of Ta‘kar, wher the treasures of the Sulayhids were stored, her residence in summer.  In 1119, the Fatimid Caliph al-‘Amir sent Ibn Najib al-Dawla as an emissary to Yemen.  He reduced the smaller principalities to obedience but Queen Arwa was able to resist his endeavors.  At her death, the Sulayhid dynasty came to an end, and power passed to the Zuray‘ids, who were to hold it until the arrival of the Ayyubid Turan-Shah in 1174.

The Sulayhid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty nominally subject to the Fāṭimid caliph in Egypt, responsible for restoring the Ismāʿīliyyah (an extremist Islamic sect) in Yemen.

The Ṣulayḥid family was brought to power by ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad (reigned 1047–67), who, through his association with the Fāṭimid dāʿī (propagandist) in the area, established a state in the mountains of Yemen. Within 20 years he displaced the Najāḥids, north of Yemen in the Tihāmah coastlands; the Zaydī imams in Ṣanʿāʾ, north Yemen (1063); and the Maʿnids of Aden, southeast of Yemen (1064). In the Hejaz (northwest coast of Arabia), once the stronghold of the Mūsāwid sharifs (descendants of Muḥammad), ʿAlī set up the Hāshimid sharifs (1063), who were to rule Mecca until the 1920s. By the end of the 11th century, however, al-Mukarram Aḥmad (r. 1067–84), ʿAlī’s son, saw the Ṣulayḥid possessions begin to diminish. The Najāḥids reappeared in the north, while in the south Aden was given to the Zurayʿids, a related dynasty also of Ismāʿīlī persuasion. Late in his reign, Aḥmad transferred effective control of the principality to his wife, al-Sayyidah Arwā. The Fāṭimids recognized her as suzerain of the kings of Yemen until her death in 1138, when Yemen passed into Zurayʿid hands.

 

Sulayman
Sulayman (Suleyman) (d. 1360).  Ruler of the Mali Empire (1341-1360).  When the famous Mansa Musa died in 1337, Sulayman, the oldest surviving brother, was first in line for succession.  Musa’s son, Magha, gained the throne instead.  Magha ruled only four years, and may have been deposed by Sulayman.  Sulayman’s reign was chronicled by three noted Arabic authors: al-‘Umari, Ibn Khaldun, and Ibn Battuta.  They reported that Sulayman continued his brother’s policies of encouraging Islam, maintaining diplomatic relations with North Africa, and promoting trade.  Ibn Khaldun noted that in 1353 a caravan of 12,000 loaded camels travelled from Cairo to Mali.  Sulayman was a more frugal ruler than Musa ( one of the reasons why he was less popular than his brother).  Ibn Battuta reported an unsuccessful coup attempt by the king’s senior wife and a prince.  A war of succession broke out soon after his death in 1360.

Suleyman was mansa of the Mali Empire from 1341 to 1360. The brother of the powerful Kankan Musa I (Mansa Musa), he succeeded Musa's son Maghan (Magha) to the throne in 1341. His son Kassa briefly assumed the throne following his death in 1360, but was succeeded the same year by Maghan's son Mari Diata II.

Moroccan historian Ibn Battuta traveled to Timbuktu to visit Sulayman's court for a period of eight months in 1352–1353. While there, Ibn Battuta recorded a substantial description of life at the court, including complaints about Suleyman's miserliness, a sharp contrast to Sulayman's famously generous brother Kankan Musa.

Suleyman see Sulayman

 

Sulayman al-Mahri
Sulayman al-Mahri  (Sulaiman al-Mahri) (Sulaiman Al Mahri ibn Ahmad ibn Sulayman) (1480-1550/1553).  Arab navigator and author of five Sailing Instructions.  Besides all the various aspects of navigation, they contain some detailed itineraries which are remarkably accurate, like that from Diu to Malacca.

Sulaiman Al Mahri ibn Ahmad ibn Sulayman was a 16th century Arab navigator.  He was called "Al-Mahri," because he was a descendant of the Turkish tribe of Mahara. He was one of the most famous students of the philosopher and scientist Ibn Majid and lived during the reign of Ottoman Turks. He sailed across the Indian Ocean and wrote a book on the geography of the Indian Ocean and the islands of the Malay archipelago. He is best known for reducing Ibn Majids's list of stars for navigation from 70 to 15.  Combinations of these lists of stars were used by Arab navigators and mariners up to the early 16th century.

The fifteenth-century Arabic book Kitab al-Fawa'id fi wal al-ilmi al bahri wa'l qawa'id (Book of Useful Information on the Principles and Rules of Navigation) was compiled by Ibn Majid and his student Sulaiman Al Mahri. In his journals, Al-Mahri noted the Islands off the west coast of Siam (Malaya). The most important destination covered by these navigational texts was Malaca, which had risen as the regions principle trading center for Arab navigators during the 15th century. Singapore, parts of Samarra, Jawa, China, the coasts of Burma and Andaman and Nicobar Islands were the fiscal points of his texts.

Al-Mahri grouped the shores of Malaya with Siam, and the mainland to the east with China as a single kingdom.  Al-Mahri's division of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in to two parts helped Arab and Portuguese navigators. Even in the mid 16th century Sidi Ali Celeb translated Al Mahri's texts into Turkish and embroidered his work.
Sulaiman al-Mahri  see Sulayman al-Mahri
Sulaiman Al Mahri ibn Ahmad ibn Sulayman  see Sulayman al-Mahri
Mahri, Sulayman al- see Sulayman al-Mahri
Al-Mahri see Sulayman al-Mahri

 

Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik
Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (Sulayman bin Abd al-Malik) (674/680-717).  Umayyad Caliph (r. 715-717).  He founded al-Ramla, where he continued to live after becoming caliph.  In 715, Maslama ibn ‘Abd al-Malik besieged Constantinople.

Sulayman bin Abd al-Malik was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 715 until 717. His father was Abd al-Malik, and he was a younger brother of the previous caliph, al-Walid I.

Under the rule of his brother al-Walid, Sulayman had been the governor of Palestine. In the tribal politics of the Near East at that time he allied himself to the Yamani grouping. When Yazid ibn al-Muhallab escaped from al-Hajjaj, he made his way to Sulayman in Palestine. Sulayman granted him refuge. Al-Hajjaj pressed al-Walid about this and the caliph commanded Sulayman to send him Yazid in chains. Sulayman had his own son chained to Yazid approach al-Walid and present Sulayman's forcefully written letter insisting on sanctuary for Yazid. Al-Walid accepted this and so informed al-Hajjaj.

Sulayman was hailed as caliph on February 23, 715, the day al-Walid died. He appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab governor of Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Salih ibn Abd al-Rahman financial administrator there. Salih was also instructed to arrest and execute the family of al-Hajjaj, one of two prominent leaders (the other was Qutaibah bin Muslim) who had supported the succession of al-Walid's son Yazid, rather than Sulayman. Al-Hajjaj had predeceased al-Walid, so he was no longer alive to pose a threat.

Qutaibah was considerably alarmed at the ascension of Sulayman to the throne. He first sent an envoy to the caliph with letters asserting his loyalty as he was loyal to previous caliphs, urging Sulayman not to replace Qutaibah as governor of Khurasan with Yazid ibn al-Muhallab and, finally, if the envoy saw Sulayman favoring Yazid, with Qutaibah's renunciation of allegiance to Sulayman. Sulayman sent the envoy back with a confirmation of Qutaibah's governorship. However, Qutaibah had already attempted to rebel. Qutaibah's troops rejected his appeal to revolt, killed him and sent his head to Sulayman.

Sulayman appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab governor of Khurasan. Yazid was happy to escape the financial strictness of Salih ibn Abd al-Rahman in Mesopotamia (Iraq).

As he remained close to the Yamanis, Sulayman did not move to Damascus on becoming Caliph, but rather he remained in Ramla in Palestine. His Khurasani governor Yazid continued expansion into mountainous parts of Iran such as Tabaristan. Sulayman also sent a large army under Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik to attack the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. This was a determined attack that lasted through the winter. The caliph's armies also advanced beyond Byzantine territory and took a Slavic stronghold. The siege of Constantinople occasioned hunger inside the city and among the besiegers. It ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. Sulayman was on his way to attack the Byzantine border when he died in 717.

On the domestic scene, Sulayman had wells built in Mecca for pilgrims, and organized enforcement of prayers. Suleiman was known for his exceptional oratory skills and was fondly remembered.

In 716-717. Sulayman named his son Ayyub heir to the throne. However, Ayyub died that same year. Sulayman considered naming a son to replace him. However, he received advice that it was uncertain the son fighting at Constantinople was still alive and others were too young. So, he passed these over, broke with tradition by not maintaining a hereditary dynasty and appointed Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz as his successor. Umar had a reputation as being one of the most wise, capable and pious persons of that era. This appointment was rare, although it technically fulfilled the Sunni Islamic method of appointing a successor, whereas hereditary succession did not.

Sulayman donned an impressive green robe and turban and seeing himself in the mirror commented on how he looked to be in the prime of life. A week later he was dead. He died on either September 22 or October 1, 717. Al-Tabari records the following anecdote: "According to 'Ali--Suhaym b. Hafs: A slave girl belonging to Sulayman looked at him one day, and he asked, "How do you like what you see?" She recited:

You are the best object of delight—if only you would last./ But man does not possess immortality.

I do not know of any blemish in you / that other people have, except that you will pass away.
Sulayman bin Abd al-Malik see Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik

 

Sulayman ibn Qutlumish
Sulayman ibn Qutlumish (d. 1086).  Ancestor of the Rum Saljuqs.  He became chief of the Saljuqs after the death of his father in the battle against his relative Alp Arslan in 1064 and founded an independent kingdom.  He defeated the Byzantine general Isaac Comnenos, weakened by a mutiny of his Norman mercenaries, and concluded a treaty with Emperor Michael VII.  In 1081, he conquered Izniq (Nicaea) and made it his capital.  He defeated the ‘Uqaylid Muslim ibn Quraysh in 1085.

 

Sulayman ibn Surad al-Khuza‘i
Sulayman ibn Surad al-Khuza‘i (Yasar) (d.685).  Early Shi‘a.  Having adopted Islam in the time of the Prophet, he became an ardent supporter of al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali but did nothing to support him when he approached Kufa.  Later he led the so-called “Penitents,” the people of Kufa who regretted not having supported al-Husayn.  In the battle at ‘Ayn al-Warda against Husayn ibn al-Numayr al-Sakuni, Sulayman was killed and the Shi‘a cause routed.
Yasar see Sulayman ibn Surad al-Khuza‘i

 

Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad
Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad (Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad Sulayman) (Mulay Slimane) (Mulay Suleiman) (1760 – 1822).  Sharifian Filali of Morocco (r.1792-1822).  After many campaigns inside his country and against the Ottomans of Algiers, the learned and pious Sulayman was able to assure his authority by 1803.  After several years of peace and prosperity, he had to take the field again, especially against the Berbers of the central Atlas.

Mulay Slimane was the Sultan of Morocco from 1792 to 1822. Slimane was one of five sons of Mohammed III who fought a civil war for control of the kingdom. Slimane emerged victorious in 1795, and the country remained largely passive for the subsequent decades of his rule. He was a member of the Alaouite dynasty.

Slimane continued his father's centralization and expansion of the kingdom, and most notably ended the piracy that had long operated from Morocco's coast. As part of Morocco's long running conflict with Spain and Portugal, Slimane halted all trade with Europe. However, he continued his father's policies of close relations with the United States.

Mulay Slimane is also the author of some literary works. Most famous is his Inayat Ula li al-Majd. It is dedicated to one of his teachers, Mohammed ibn Abd al-Salam al-Fasi and discusses the origins of the Fasi al-Fihris. Another famous essay is his Hawashi 'ala Sharh al-Kharshi a work on religion. Some of his other works are Taqayid fi Hukm al-Ghina and Risala fi Hukm al-Ghina (The latter was modeled after Ibn Taymiyya's Kitlb al-Sama' wa al-Raqs). Mulay Slimane is also the author of several letters.
Mawlay Abu'l-Rabi' ibn Sulayman see Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad
Mulay Slimane see Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad
Slimane, Mulay see Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad
Mulay Suleiman see Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad
Suleiman, Mulay see Sulayman, Mawlay Abu’l-Rabi’ ibn Muhammad

 

Sulaym ibn Mansur
Sulaym ibn Mansur.  Name of a powerful tribe belonging to the Banu Qays ‘Aylan.  They commanded the road to Medina as well as the access to Najd and the Persian Gulf, possessing mineral wealth of gold and silver.  At first hostile to the Prophet, they adopted Islam around 630.  The Sulaymi Abu’l-A‘war was one of the lieutenants of the Umayyad Caliph Mu‘awiya I.  They refused to recognize Marwan I ibn al-Hakan and supported the anti-caliph ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr.  Later they took the side of the Carmathians.  In 1052, the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir sent the Egyptian branch, together with the Banu Hilal, to conquer North Africa.

 

Suleiman Bal
Suleiman Bal (d. c. 1776).  Leader of the Tukolor Islamic revolution in Futa Toro.  Upon returning from the pilgrimage to Mecca, he preached conversion to Islam throughout Futa Toro (around 1769).  At the time, Futa Toro was subjected to invasions from the neighboring Berbers.  Soule-Budu, the Futa Toro ruler of the Denianke dynasty, was unable to repel the attacks.  Suleiman rallied disaffected soldiers, nobles, and Muslims to fight both the Berbers and the Denianke.  The revolution triumphed in 1776, about the same time as the Futa Islamic revolution in Futa Jalon (Guinea).  Suleiman declined to rule the new Islamic state, handing over power to Abdul Kader.  He himself was killed in a campaign against the Berbers.
Bal, Suleiman see Suleiman Bal

 

Suleyman I
Suleyman I (Qanuni) (Suleyman the Magnificent) (Süleyman the Lawgiver) (Süleyman Muhteşem) (Kanuni) (b. November 6, 1494–April 1495 — d. September 5/6, 1566, near Szigetvár, Hungary).  Greatest of the Ottoman sultans.  Peace loving by nature, he took part in thirteen great campaigns in Europe and Asia.  In 1521, he conquered Belgrade and the next year the island of Rhodes.  In 1526, the Hungarians were defeated at Mohacs and Buda was temporarily occupied.   1529 saw the siege of Vienna, which was however raised soon.  The various embassies to Austria had no success, and in 1532 Suleyman started upon what the Turkish sources call “the German campaign against the king of Spain.”  However, in 1533, an armistice was concluded with Austria.

Suleyman’s next campaign was directed against Persia, which avoided the battle.  In 1534, the sultan made his ceremonial entrance in Baghdad, where he stayed for four months and built the mausoleum of Abu Hanifa.  He also visited Najaf, Kufa and Karbala’.  In 1541 and 1543, he was again in Hungary, where Turkish administration was introduced.  The war against Persia was resumed in 1548 but without success, and in 1555 a treaty was concluded at Amasia, where Suleyman received the Austrian embassy under Ogier Giselin de Busbecq.  It could only obtain an armistice.  The sultan died during the siege of Szigeth.

Suleyman was a pious man, and must have been a born ruler.  As a poet, he used the pen-name of Muhibbi.  Following the principles of his predecessors, he elaborated the system of state institutions by promulgating the “Canon,” which deals mainly with the organization of the army, the laws of landed property, the police and the feudal code.  During his reign, the Ottoman Empire established its place in international affairs.  The Christian states had lost all hope of driving the Turks out of Europe, and King Francis concluded an alliance with the Ottoman sultan.  The Turkish fleet began to be active in the Mediterranean, in the Red Sea and in the Indian Ocean.  The possession of Aden and Yemen was secured for the empire.

Under Suleyman, Ottoman civilization gained its own special character in the field of literature and especially in that of architecture with the works of Sinan in Istanbul, Baghdad, Konya, Jerusalem and Mecca.

A chronology of Suleyman’s life reads as follows:

Suleyman was born in November of 1494 as the only son of Sultan Selim I.

Early in the sixteenth century, Suleyman became sacak beyi, the governor of Kaffa in the Crimea. 

Around 1512, Suleyman moved to Anatolia, where he became governor in Manisa.

In 1520, following the death of his father, Suleyman became the new sultan.  He immediately set out on campaigns against the Christian powers in Europe.

In 1521, Belgrade (today’s Serbia) fell to the Ottomans.

In 1522, the island of Rhodes fell to the Ottomans.  This meant the end of the rule of the Knights of St. John. 

In 1526, Suleyman struck a final defeat on the Hungarians at the battle of Mohacs.  Their king was killed, and Suleyman supported the new king John.  John became the vassal king under the Ottomans.

In 1529, Suleyman started a short-lived and unsuccessful siege to Vienna.

In 1532, there was an important victory against Austria, where Ottoman forces looted large parts of the country.  However, Austria still was not put under direct Ottoman rule, as the sultan was mainly occupied with his Asian neighbors at this time.

In 1534, a campaign was launched against Persia.

In 1535, both Iraq and the region of Erzurum was conquered after the defeat of the Persians.

In 1538, the Ottomans won the sea battle off Preveza under the leadership of Khayr ud-Din, known in Europe as Barbarossa.  This made the Ottomans the leading power in the Mediterranean Sea.

From 1541 to 1562, there was a war in Hungary that led to few changes in the situation with regards to Ottoman dominance.
In 1548, a second campaign was launched against Persia. 

In 1549, the region around Van Lake came under Ottoman control. 

In 1551, Tripoli fell to the Ottomans, giving the empire control over all of the eastern Mediterranean coast from today’s Macedonia to southern Tunisia (including today’s Greece (EU), Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Libya.)

In 1553, Suleyman’s son, Mustafa, rebelled against his father’s rule and received many supporters in Anatolia. Suleyman’s reaction was to have Mustafa executed.

In 1554, a third campaign was launched against Persia.

In 1555, a formal peace was signed between the Safavids of Persia and the Ottomans, without substantial changes in the borders between the states.

In 1559, two other sons of Suleyman, Selim and Bayazid, began fighting over the succession to the sultanate.

In 1560, a strong Spanish campaign against Jerba was crushed by Ottoman troops.  Suleyman’s son Bayazid was executed, leaving Selim heir of the sultanate.

In 1565, the Ottomans do not succeed in capturing Malta from the Knights of St. John.

On September 5, 1566, Suleyman died near Szigetvar in Hungary.

Süleyman I, as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566, not only undertook bold military campaigns that enlarged his realm, he also oversaw the development of what came to be regarded as the most characteristic achievements of Ottoman civilization in the fields of law, literature, art, and architecture.

Süleyman was the only son of Sultan Selim I. He became sancak beyi (governor) of Kaffa in the Crimea during the reign of his grandfather Bayezid II and of Manisa in western Asia Minor in the reign of Selim I.

Süleyman succeeded his father as sultan in September 1520 and began his reign with campaigns against the Christian powers in central Europe and the Mediterranean. Belgrade fell to him in 1521 and Rhodes, long under the rule of the Knights of St. John, in 1522. At Mohács, in August 1526, Süleyman broke the military strength of Hungary, and the Hungarian king, Louis II, lost his life in the battle.

The vacant throne of Hungary was claimed by Ferdinand I, the Habsburg archduke of Austria, and by John (János Zápolya), who was voivode (lord) of Transylvania, and the candidates of the “native” party opposed to the prospect of Habsburg rule. Süleyman agreed to recognize John as a vassal king of Hungary, and in 1529, hoping to remove at one blow all further intervention by the Habsburgs, he laid siege to Vienna. Difficulties of time and distance and of bad weather and lack of supplies, no less than the resistance of the Christians, forced the sultan to raise the siege.

The campaign was successful, however, in a more immediate sense, for John was to rule thereafter over most of Hungary until his death, in 1540. A second great campaign in 1532, notable for the brilliant Christian defense of Güns, ended as a mere foray into Austrian border territories. The sultan, preoccupied with affairs in the East and convinced that Austria was not to be overcome at one stroke, granted a truce to the archduke Ferdinand in 1533.

The death of John in 1540 and the prompt advance of Austrian forces once more into central Hungary drove Süleyman to modify profoundly the solution that he had imposed in the time of John. His campaigns of 1541 and 1543 led to the emergence of three distinct Hungarys—Habsburg Hungary in the extreme north and west; Ottoman Hungary along the middle Danube, a region under direct and permanent military occupation by the Ottomans and with its main center at Buda; and Transylvania, a vassal state dependent on the Porte and in the hands of John Sigismund, the son of John Zápolya.

Between 1543 and 1562 the war in Hungary continued, broken by truces and with few notable changes on either side. The most important was the Ottoman capture of the Banat of Temesvár (Timişoara) in 1532. After long negotiations a peace recognizing the status quo in Hungary was signed in 1562.

Süleyman waged three major campaigns against Persia. The first (1534–35) gave the Ottomans control over the region of Erzurum in eastern Asia Minor and also witnessed the Ottoman conquest of Iraq, a success that rounded off the achievements of Selim I. The second campaign (1548–49) brought much of the area around Lake Van under Ottoman rule, but the third (1554–55) served rather as a warning to the Ottomans of the difficulty of subduing the Ṣafavid state in Persia. The first formal peace between the Ottomans and the Ṣafavids was signed in 1555, but it offered no clear solution to the problems confronting the Ottoman sultan on his eastern frontier.

The naval strength of the Ottomans became formidable in the reign of Süleyman. Khayr al-Dīn, known in the West as Barbarossa, became kapudan (admiral) of the Ottoman fleet and won a sea fight off Preveza, Greece (1538), against the combined fleets of Venice and Spain, which gave to the Ottomans the naval initiative in the Mediterranean until the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Tripoli in North Africa fell to the Ottomans in 1551. A strong Spanish expedition against Tripoli was crushed at Jarbah (Djerba) in 1560, but the Ottomans failed to capture Malta from the Knights of St. John in 1565. Ottoman naval power was felt at this time even as far afield as India, where a fleet sent out from Egypt made an unsuccessful attempt in 1538 to take the town of Diu from the Portuguese.

The later years of Süleyman were troubled by conflict between his sons. Mustafa had become by 1553 a focus of disaffection in Asia Minor and was executed in that year on the order of the sultan. There followed during 1559–61 a conflict between the princes Selim and Bayezid over the succession to the throne, which ended with the defeat and execution of Bayezid. Süleyman himself died while besieging the fortress of Szigetvár in Hungary.

Süleyman surrounded himself with administrators and statesmen of unusual ability, men such as his grand viziers (chief ministers) İbrahim, Rüstem, and Mehmed Sokollu. ʿUlamāʾ (specialists in Islamic law), notably Abū al-Suʿūd (Hoca Çelebi) and Kemalpaşazade, made the period memorable, as did the great Turkish poet Bâkî and the architect Sinan. Süleyman built strong fortresses to defend the places he took from the Christians and adorned the cities of the Islamic world (including Mecca, Damascus, and Baghdad) with mosques, bridges, aqueducts, and other public works. In general, Süleyman completed the task of transforming the previously Byzantine city of Constantinople into Istanbul, a worthy center for a great Turkish and Islamic empire.

Suleyman’s regime was marked by strong territorial advances in North Africa, central Europe, Bessarabia and Iraq.  However, he also oversaw great advances in fields like law, literature, art and architecture.  His nickname, Kanuni, is best translated into “the Lawgiver,” indicating his importance in these fields.

Suleyman put strong emphasis on building strong fortresses to defend captured Christian cities, and he improved the infrastructure of many cities in the Muslim world, like Mecca, Damascus and Baghdad.  However, most remarkable was that during his time, Istanbul, formerly Constantinople, was fully transformed into a Muslim city through its new organization, architecture and institutions.

At the time of Suleyman's death the Ottoman Empire, with its unrivaled military strength, economic riches and territorial extent, was the world's foremost power. Suleyman's conquests had brought under the control of the Empire the major Muslim cities (Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad), many Balkan provinces (reaching present day Croatia and Austria), and most of North Africa. His expansion into Europe had given the Ottoman Turks a powerful presence in the European balance of power. Indeed, such was the perceived threat of the Ottoman Empire under the reign of Suleyman that many believed that the Ottoman conquest of Europe was imminent.

Even thirty years after his death "Sultan Solyman" was quoted by the English author William Shakespeare as a military prodigy in The Merchant of Venice (Act 2, Scene 1).

Suleyman's legacy was not, however, merely in the military field. The administrative and legal reforms which earned Suleyman the name Law Giver ensured the Empire's survival long after his death, an achievement which took many generations of decadent heirs to undo.

Through his personal patronage, Suleiman also presided over the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire, representing the pinnacle of the Ottoman Turks' cultural achievement in the realm of architecture, literature, art, theology and philosophy. Today, the skyline of the Bosphorus, and of many cities in modern Turkey and the former Ottoman provinces, are still adorned with the architectural works of Mimar Sinan. One of these, the Süleymaniye Mosque, is the final resting place of Suleyman and Herenzaltan. They are buried in separate domed mausoleums attached to the mosque.



Qanuni see Suleyman I
Suleyman the Magnificent see Suleyman I
Suleyman the Lawgiver see Suleyman I
Suleyman Muhtesem see Suleyman I
Kanuni see Suleyman I

 

Suleyman II
Suleyman II (Suleiman II) (Suleyman-i sani) (Suleyman Ibrahim II) (April 15, 1642, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire - June 22/23, 1691, Edirne, Ottoman Empire).  Ottoman sultan (r. November 8, 1687 - June 22, 1691).

Suleiman II (Süleymān-i sānī) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1687 to 1691. The younger brother of Mehmed IV (1648–87), Suleiman II was born at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and spent most of his life in the kafes (cage), a kind of luxurious prison for princes of the blood within the Topkapı Palace (it was designed to ensure that none could organize a rebellion). His mother was Saliha Dilâşub Sultan, a Valide Sultan of Serbian descent.

When he was approached to accept the throne after his brother's deposition in 1687, Suleiman II assumed that the delegation had come to kill him and it was only with the greatest persuasion that he could be tempted out of the palace to be ceremonially girded with the Sword of Osman.

Hardly able to take control of events himself, Suleiman II nevertheless made a shrewd choice by appointing Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha as his Grand Vizier. Under Köprülü's leadership the Turks halted an Austrian advance into Serbia and crushed an uprising in Bulgaria. Suleiman II died at Edirne Palace in 1691. He married Khadija, without issue.

Despite only four years in power, Suleyman was able to strengthren structures and administration in the Ottoman Empire, as well as reconquer territory lost under the last years of the preceding sultans (his brother’s) regime.

The army mutiny that brought Süleyman to the throne and deposed his brother continued violently through the early part of his reign, and the Ottomans suffered a series of military defeats in the Balkans. In 1689, however, a member of the Köprülü family, which earlier in the century had given Turkey two outstanding viziers (ministers), came to power. Fazıl Mustafa Paşa became grand vizier, re-established order, drove the Austrians out of Bulgaria and Transylvania, and retook Belgrade and Niš in 1690. Süleyman, allowing Fazıl Mustafa Paşa a free hand in the government, succeeded in introducing reforms to lighten the tax burden and to improve the condition of his Christian subjects.

Suleiman II see Suleyman II
Suleyman-i sani see Suleyman II
Suleyman Ibrahim II see Suleyman II

 

Suleyman Celebi
Suleyman Celebi (Suleyman Dede) (d.1421/1429, Bursa, Ottoman Empire).  Ottoman poet from Bursa.  He is the earliest Ottoman poet of whom an original poem written in Turkish has survived.  It is the Hymn on the Prophet’s nativity, often recited at religious ceremonies, in particular at the festival of the Prophet’s birthday (in Arabic, mawlid).

Suleyman Celebi was one of the most famous early poets of Anatolia.  Süleyman appears to have been the son of an Ottoman minister, Ahmed Paşa, who served in the court of Sultan Murad I. Süleyman became a leader of the Khalwatīyah dervish order and then imam (religious leader) to the court of the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I (1389–1402). After Bayezid’s death, Süleyman took the position of imam in a mosque in Bursa.

Süleyman’s most famous and only surviving work is the great religious poem Mevlûd-i Nebi, or Mevlûd-i Peygamberi (“Hymn on the Prophet’s Nativity").

The Mevlûd, as it is more commonly called, tells the story of the Prophet Muḥammad’s birth, life, and death; his miracles; and his journey to heaven. Written in simple 15th-century Ottoman Turkish style, it is a work inspired with religious fervor and is often recited at religious ceremonies, particularly funerals in present Turkey. It is chanted during the celebrations of the Prophet’s birthday.

Celebi, Suleyman see Suleyman Celebi
Suleyman Dede see Suleyman Celebi
Dede, Suleyman see Suleyman Celebi

 

Suleyman Pasha
Suleyman Pasha (1316-1357/1359).  Eldest son of the Ottoman sultan Orkhan.  He was the first to cross to the European shore of the Dardanelles with permanent results by taking Gallipoli and the whole of Rumelia. He was buried in Bulayr, a symbol of the firm resolve never again to abandon the new won ground.  His tomb became a place of national pilgrimage.

Suleyman Pasha struck a bold blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire on behalf of the Turkish people, which gave the Turks a permanent establishment on the European side of the Hellespont. This event took place in 1354.

The Ottoman writers pass over in silence the previous incursions of the Turks into Europe, which gained no conquest and led to no definite advantage, but they dwell fully on this expedition of Suleyman, and adorn it with poetic legends of the vision that appeared to the young chieftain as he mused on the sea-shore near the ruins of Cyzicus. They tell how the crescent of the moon rose before him as the emblem of his race, and united the continents of Europe and Asia with a chain of silver light, while temples and palaces floated up out of the great deep, and mysterious voices blended with the sounding sea, exciting in his heart a yearning for predestined enterprise, and a sense of supernatural summons. The dream may have been both the effect of previous schemes, and the immediate stimulant that "made Suleyman put his scheming into act".

With only thirty-nine of his chosen warriors, he embarked at night in a Genoese bark on the Asiatic side of the Hellespont, and surprised the Castle of Tzympe (Cinbi), on the opposite coast. Reinforcements soon pushed across to the adventurers, and in three days Tzympe was garrisoned by three thousand Ottoman troops.

At this crisis, Cantacuzene was so severely pressed by his rival Palaeologus, that, instead of trying to dislodge the invaders from Tzympe, or even remonstrating against their occupation of that fortress, he implored the help of Orhan against his domestic enemy. Orhan gave up his brother-in-law's cause, and provided assistance to the old emperor. But he ordered that assistance to be administered by Suleyman, the conqueror of Tzympe, an axillary the most formidable to those with whom he was to operate. Ten thousand more Turks were sent across to Suleyman, who defeated the Slavonic forces which Palaeologus had brought to the empire, but the victors never left the continent on which they hid conquered. Cantacuzene offered Suleyman ten thousand ducats to retire from Tzympe. The sum was agreed on, but before the ransom was paid, a terrible earthquake shook the whole district of Thrace, and threw down the walls of its fenced cities.

The Greeks trembled at this visitation of Providence, and the Turks saw it as the hand of God acting in their favor. They thought He was smoothing the path for their conquest of the Promised Land. Two of Suleyman's captains, Adjé Bey, and Ghas Fasil, instantly occupied the important town of Gallipoli, marching in over the walls which the earthquake had shattered, meeting no resistance by the awe-struck inhabitants. The fields in the neighborhood still are named after Adjé; and the tombs of these two captains of the Osmanli host are still to be seen in Gallipoli. They were buried on the scene of their great exploit. Turkish pilgrims gather there in veneration of the warriors, who gave to the Turkish people the strong city, the key of the Hellespont, the gate to easy passage into Europe.

Suleyman, on hearing that his troops had occupied Gallipoli, refused to give up Tzympe. He threw large colonies of Turks and Arabs across the straits, which he planted in the territory, which had been thus acquired. The fortifications of Gallipoli were repaired, and that important post was strongly garrisoned. Suleyman took possession of other places in the Thracian Chersonese, which he strengthened with new walls and secured with detachments of his best troops.

The Greek Emperor made a formal complaint of these aggressions to Orhan, who replied that it was not the force of arms that had opened the Greek cities to his son, but the will of God, manifested in the earthquake. The Emperor rejoined that the question was not how the Turks had marched into the cities, but whether they had any right to retain them. Orhan asked for time to think, and afterward made proposals for negotiating the restoration of the cities, but he had firmly resolved to take full advantage of the opportunities for expanding the Ottoman power.

The Ottoman power was now the basis for operations in Europe which had been acquired, and was afforded by the perpetual dissensions that raged between Cantacuzene and his son-in-law Palaeologus – each of whom was continually soliciting Orhan's aid against the other, and obtaining that aid according to what seemed best for the interests of the Turkish sovereign, who was the real enemy of them both.

Suleyman, in whom Orhan Gazi saw grand prospects of further success for the house of Ottoman, died before his father. An accidental fall from his horse, while he was engaged in the favorite Turkish sport of falconry, caused his death. Suleyman was not buried at Bursa, but, by Orhan's order, a tomb was built for him on the shore of the Hellespont, over which he had led the Turkish people to a second empire.

 

Suleyman Pasha
Suleyman Pasha (Khadim -- “the eunuch”) (d.1548).  Ottoman general and Grand Vizier.  From 1524 until 1534, he was governor of Egypt, and the first to send the yearly revenue, the so-called Egyptian treasure, to Istanbul.  In reply to the appeal to Bahadur, the sultan of Gujarat (r.1526-1537), he was ordered by Sultan Suleyman II to equip a fleet to strengthen Turkish power in the Red Sea and to drive the Portuguese out of India.  On his way out, he conquered Aden and Yemen, but failed in India for lack of support.
Khadim see Suleyman Pasha
The Eunuch see Suleyman Pasha

 

Suli, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-
Suli, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al- (Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Suli) (al-Suli) (c.880-946). Chess-player, historian and man of letters of Turkish origin.  At the court of the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Muktafi bi-‘llah he defeated the leading chess-player of his time al-Mawardi.  He wrote a history of the ‘Abbasids, a handbook for clerks in the chancelleries, and compiled a collection from ‘Abbasid poets.  Criticized for his plagiarism and vanity, his compilations nevertheless had influence on later literature.

Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Yahya al-Suli was a nadim (boon companion) of successive Abbasid caliphs. He was noted for his poetry and scholarship and wrote a chronicle called Akhbar al-Radi wa'l-Muttaqi, detailing the reigns of the caliphs al-Radi and al-Muttaqi. He was a legendary shatranj (an ancestor of chess) player, still remembered to this day.

Upon the death of al-Radi in 940, al-Suli fell into disfavor with the new ruler due to his sympathies towards Shi'a Islam and as a result had to go into exile at Basra, where he spent the rest of his life in poverty. Al-Suli's great-grandfather was the Turkish prince Sul-takin and his uncle the poet Ibrahim ibn al-'Abbas as-Suli.

Al-Suli's chronicle has long been in the shadow of more famous chronicles such as those of al-Mas'udi and Miskawayh, perhaps because al-Suli was seen as a nadim and not a serious scholar. However, the account is significant for offering an eyewitness account of the transition to Buyid rule. It was during al-Radi's caliphate in 936 that the position of "amir al-umara" was created, which allowed for the transfer of executive power from the caliph to an "amir", a position that the Buyids later used to establish a new dynasty alongside the Abbasids. After this point, the Abbasids never regained their full power. However, al-Suli's account makes it clear that not all power was transferred to the amirs. He treats the period as a time of crisis, but not the end of the Abbasid caliphate.

Al-Suli came to prominence as a shatranj player sometime in between 902 and 908 when he beat al-Mawardi, the court shatranj champion of al-Muktafi, the Caliph of Baghdad. Al-Mawardi was so thoroughly beaten he fell from favor, and was replaced by al-Suli. After al-Muktafi's death, al-Suli remained in the favor of the succeeding ruler, al-Muqtadir and in turn ar-Radi.

Al-Suli's shatranj-playing ability became legendary and he is still considered one of the best Arab players of all time. His biographer ben Khalliken, who died in 1282, said that even in his lifetime great shatranj players were said to play like al-Suli. Documentary evidence from his lifetime is limited, but the endgames of some of the matches he played are still in existence. His skill in blindfold chess was also mentioned by contemporaries. Al-Suli also taught shatranj. His most well known pupil is al-Lajlaj ("the stammerer").

One of his most prominent achievements is his book, Kitab Ash-Shatranj (Book of Chess), which was the first scientific book ever written on chess strategy. It contained information on common chess openings, standard problems in middle game, and annotated end games. It also contains the first known description of the knight's tour problem. Many later European writers based their work on modern chess on al-Suli's work. Apart from his chess book he also wrote several historical books.

Al-Suli created a shatranj problem called "al-Suli's Diamond" that went unsolved for over a thousand years. David Hooper and Ken Whyld studied this problem in the mid-1980s but were unable to crack it. It was finally solved by Russian Grandmaster Yuri Averbakh.

As this is a shatranj, the "queen" (counsellor) is a very weak piece, able to move only a single square diagonally. It is also possible to win in shatranj by capturing all pieces except the king.

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Suli see Suli, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-
Suli, al- see Suli, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Yahya al-

 

Sultan
Sultan.  Originally, the term "sultan" was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", or "rulership", derived from the masdar sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain Muslim rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms (i.e. the lack of dependence on any higher ruler), without claiming the overall caliphate, or it was used to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate. The term then developed some further meanings in certain contexts.

The title sultan was first given by the caliph to the Seljuk Amir al-Umara’, at first without political significance.   The first to hold the title was Togril-Beg.  Following the fall of the caliphate of Baghdad, the title sultan came to indicate the political independence of the prince.  Eventually, the title sultan came to be the title held by the ruler of various Muslim states including the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.

The term sultan occurs frequently in the Qur’an with the meaning of a moral or magical authority.  In hadith literature, it has exclusively the sense of power, usually governmental.  As a personal title, the word was used for the first time by the great usurpers of power of the caliph such as the Buyids, the Ghaznavids and the Saljuqs.  In 1051, the Great Saljuq Tughril I received from the caliph the title al-Sultan Rukn al-Dawla.  It was with the Saljuqs that sultan became a regular sovereign title, to which such titles as malik and shah were subordinate.  It was later adopted by the Mamelukes and the Ottomans.  Jurists and historians then set themselves to construct theories to find a justification for the existence of potentates for whom the old conception of the Muslim caliphate had no place.  Sultan is also the title given to Sufi shaykhs from the thirteenth century onwards, especially in Anatolia and countries influenced by Ottoman civilization.

Sultan is a title used by monarchs in Muslim countries.  The title was one of indirect religious meaning, as the sultan was supposed to have both moral and spiritual authority as defined by the Qur’an.  However, the sultan was not a religious leader.  He was more a secular leader who ruled in accordance with Islam. 

The first to carry the title was the Turkmen chief Mahmud of Ghasna (r.998-1030).  Later both the Seljuks, Mamluks and Ottomans called their leaders sultans.

The religious element of the title was well illustrated by the fact that it was the shadow caliph in Cairo that bestowed the title “sultan” on the fourth leader of the Ottomans (the earlier leaders had been beys.). 

At later stages, even smaller rulers took the title “sultan,” as was the case for the earlier leaders of today’s royal family of Morocco. 

Today, the use of the title sultan is limited to such rulers as those in Oman and Brunei.


Strength see Sultan.
Authority see Sultan.
Rulership see Sultan.
Power see Sultan.

 

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