BAḠDĀDĪ, ABU’L-FAŻL (d. 550/1155), sixth/twelfth century Sufi whose name appears in the initiatic chain of the Neʿmatallāhī order. Together with Shaikh Abu’l-Najīb ʿAbd-al-Qāher Sohrawardī (d. 563/1168), he is said to have been a morīd of the celebrated mystic and writer, Aḥmad Ḡazālī (d. 520/1126). In his versified account of the Neʿmatallāhī selsela, Shah Neʿmat-Allāh Walī (d. 834/1431), describes Abu’l-Fażl Baḡdādī as “the most accomplished of the accomplished” (afżal-e fāżelān), and regards him as the tenth link in the initiatic chain (quoted in Maʿṣūm-ʿAlīšāh, Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq, ed. Moḥammad-Jaʿfar Maḥjūb, Tehran, 1339 Š./1960, I, p. 458 and II, p. 326). Apart from the fact that Baḡdādī was known for his extreme asceticism, and that his successor was a certain Abu’l-Barakāt (d. 570/1174), little else is known of him. The great Neʿmatallāhī encyclopedist, Maʿṣūm-ʿAlīšāh, has stated that Abu’l-Fażl Baḡdādī is also to be found in the Refāʿī selsela (Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq II, p. 351), but this is doubtful. Various accounts of the Refāʿī selsela do mention a certain Abu’l-Fażl b. Kāmel (or Kāmeḵ) as living two generations before Shaikh Aḥmad Refāʿī, but the moršed of this Abu’l-Fażl was ʿAlī Qāreʾ Wāseṭī, not Aḥmad Ḡazālī (see Asʿad Madanī, al-Mosalsal, Istanbul, n.d., p. 13, and introduction by Ḥosayn Nāẓem Helwānī to Shaikh Aḥmad Refāʿī, al-Borhān al-moʾayyad, Damascus, n.d., p. 13).
Maʿṣūm-ʿAlīšāh, Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq II, pp. 283-85.
R. Gramlich, Die Schiitischen Derwischorden Persiens; erster Teil: die Affiliationen, AKM 36, 1, pp. 8, 9, 29.
J. Nurbakhsh, Masters of the Path, New York, 1980, pp. 32-33.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 22, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 4, p. 410