05 April 2003, 02:35

al-Fukai

Al-Fukai Yusuf ibn Ahmad Abul Kasim ad-Darbandi (died in mid-11th century) ? one of the most influential and respected Sufi sheikh and ascetic (zakhid) in Bab al-abvab (Derbent), shafiit law expert, counselor of many Derbent fakikhs and Sufis. Al-Fukai was the founder of a Sufi cenoby (zaviya) on the outskirts of Derbent, not far from the Sasanides' fortress citadel and a township of Kyrkhlyar, the place of burial of 40 faith martyrs. Many murids after studying in the cenoby stayed to live in Derbent in their sheikh's community (e.g. Ibn za-Zan-djani, Abu-l-Hasan al-Djurdjani, and others).

Al-Fukai spent much time in "Islamic centers" (al-marakiz al-islamiya) ? Arabic frontier settlements in Derbent area. In particular, in Humaydiya (modern Gemeydi), he taught shafiit law to a blind ascetic Munabbih al-Humaydi. Al-Fukai's fame outside Derbent is proved, inter alia, by the fact that this righteous old man was well known to the sheikhs of Tabaristan. Asharit Sufi Abul Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Asadabadi (died ca. 1096) who had studied in Derbent zaviya in his time, advised the Tabaristani scientists to visit Bab al-abvab to express their respect to the sheikh, fakikh, and ascetic named Abul Kasim al-Fukai.

Al-Fukai died in Derbent and is buried in the North cemetery next to the citadel. The headstone of his grave was discovered in 1938 by E.A. Pakhomov. Unfortunately, the date of death has not withstood the ravages of time. The Arabic text of the headstone epitaph, published by L.I. Lavrov, was read imprecisely by the researchers, and the person of the buried was not identified at that time.

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