ʿABDAK AL-ṢŪFĪ, an eccentric religious devotee of Kūfa, who also lived for periods at Baghdad, late 2nd/8th to early 3rd/9th centuries. He and the “ʿAbdakites” who were named after him advanced the teaching that the acquisition and possession of worldly goods was permissible only under a righteous leader of the Muslim theocracy. Thus such activities were unlawful in their own time, and a person should acquire only what was absolutely necessary for survival (qūt). The manner of acquisition apparently was not dealt with by the ʿAbdakites. The sources do not specify that ʿAbdak practiced vegetarianism and hoped for the imminent coming of the Mahdī (as indicated in Massignon, Essai, p. 61), but such beliefs follow from his line of thought. 


Primary sources: Moḥāsebī, Ketāb al-makāseb wa’l-waraʿ wa’l-šobha, Ms. Carullah 1101, fol. 43b, lines 5ff.

Malaṭī, Tanbīh wa’l-radd ʿalā ahl al-ahwāʾ wa’l-bedaʿ, ed. J. Dedering, Leipzig, 1936, p. 73.7ff.

L. Massignon, Receuil de textes inédits, Paris, 1929, p. 11.

Other literature: Massignon, Essai, p. 113.

J. van Ess, Die Gedankenwelt des Ḥāriṯ al-Muḥāsibī, Bonn, 1961, p. 104.

B. Reinert, Die Lehre vom tawakkul, Berlin, 1968, p. 188.


(B. Reinert)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 15, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 172-173

Cite this entry:

B. Reinert, “Abdak Al-Sufi,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 172-173; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abdak-al-sufi-eccentric-religious-devotee-of-kufa-8th-9th-centuries (accessed on 17 January 2014).