Steps of the Seekers

Steps of the Seekers (Madarij Al-Salikin): Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim’s Introduction


Low desires have put out the lamps of the hearts. The opinions of mortal men have shut the doors of divine guidance and lost the keys. Hearts are encrusted with the rust of their deeds and shut out of the realities of the Quran. The ailment of ignorance has so overcome them that even righteous deeds are of no avail. How odd, indeed! They choose to feast upon the vain opinions of mortals that neither replenish nor quell hunger, and to reject nourishment from the Words of the Lord of all the worlds, and the words of His Messenger. How shall they find their way in the darkness of men’s opinions and separate right from wrong when they fail to do this by the radiant light of the Sunnah and the Book?”

Steps of the Seekers (Madarij al-Salikin) | Translator’s Introduction


“by Ibn al-Qayyim, translated by Dr Ovamir Anjum. Widely read and admired among contemporary Arabic readers for its piercing spiritual and psychological insight, literary charm and its potential to bridge the Sufi and Salafi divide, Madârij has received little attention in Western scholarship, the most comprehensive treatment of it (prior to Livnat Holtzman’s excellent edited volume A Scholar in the Shadow), being Joseph N. Bell’s monograph on Hanbalite spirituality, which establishes Madârij as one of Ibn Al-Qayyim’s last and most mature spiritual writings. Given its liminal location in Sufi as well as Salafi tradition, Madârij offers valuable insights into the conceptual history of Sufism, and sheds light on some elusive debates on the nature of Islamic spirituality. The purpose of this Introduction is to delineate the main project of the Madârij, reflect on the nature of the well-known relationship of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’s spiritual vision to that of his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328), and on the nature of the much-debated relationship of these figures to the historical discourse of Sufism.”