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al-Bistāmī, Abū Yazīd

al-Bistāmī, Abū Yazīd/ Bāyazīd (d. 875 (AH 261)). A Persian Sūfī, who was given to a life of asceticism and solitude. His only desire in life was to attain a direct experience of divine reality. He wrote no work, but his ecstatic utterances have been preserved in writing by such contemporaries as Dhuʾl-nūn and al-Junaid. His particular method of attainment was one of subtraction, or stripping away, of the attributes of personality until not even personality is left—as when a snake finally sloughs its skin; Al-Bistāmī is much quoted by the Sūfīs, and had a far-reaching influence on Sufism in the direction of a pantheistic doctrine.

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