Dū l-nūn al-misrī and early Islamic Mysticism

Michael Ebstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The article analyzes some of the main teachings that are attributed to du l-Nun al-Misri (died ca 245/859-860), a prominent figure in the formative period of the Sufi tradition. These teachings are reflected in the many sayings that are ascribed to du l-Nun in Sufi literature, in non-Sufi biographical dictionaries, and in several other medieval Islamic sources, all dating from the 4th/10th century onwards. The article demonstrates the historical problems related to the figure of du l-Nun al-Misri, and, in this context, particular attention is given to the occult tendencies that are attributed to him in various writings.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)559-612
Number of pages54
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • Egypt
  • Hermetic tradition
  • North Africa
  • Occult
  • alchemy
  • biographical dictionaries
  • biography
  • hagiography
  • hermeticism
  • historiography
  • ismailism
  • magic
  • neoplatonism
  • shiism
  • sufism
  • u l-Nun al-Miri


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