Jamal. J. Elias
on the life and thought of Ala al-Dawla al-Simnani.
Simnani claims that it is not possible to become a Sufi without attaching oneself to a shaykh. Those who do not attach themselves to a guide but instead pursue the mystical path according to their own wishes and ideas derive absolutely no benefit from their exercises. “The treatment of the sick heart is not possible wihtout a skillful and sympathetic doctor.”
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Originally published as Chapter 7 of Jamal Elias, The Throne-Carrier of God, SUNY Press, 1995. Republished here with thanks.