Abu Madyan

509–594/1115–1198

Shuʿayb b. al-Husayn al-Ansari, known simply as Abu Madyan, was probably the most influential of the Sufi masters in the West and was known in his lifetime as shaykh al-shuyūkh ('the master of masters') and al-ghawth ('the spiritual nurturer'). He studied in Fez under Ibn Hirzihim and lived most of his adult life in Bijaya (Bougie). His Sufi training was comleted at the hands of Abu Yaʿza, an unlettered master of the Maghrib. Among his many disciples were several masters and companions of Ibn 'Arabi. His teaching centred on "sobriety", where the fullest emphasis is put upon contemplative practice without any divorce from social responsibility. His extant works include a few short mystical odes (qasīdas) and some collections of maxims and advice for disciples.