Al-Bistami was a Persian Sufi who had great influence on Sufi mysticism and is considered to be one of the important early teachers of Sufi Islam.
See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayazid_Bistami
Bayazid Al-Bistami's grandfather was a Zoroastrian from Persia. Bayazid made a detailed study of the statutes of Islamic law (sharia) and practised a strict regimen of self-denial (zuhd). All his life he was assiduous in the practice of his religious obligations and in observing voluntary worship.
He urged his students (murids) to put their affairs in the hands of Allah and he encouraged them to accept sincerely the pure doctrine of tawhid (the Oneness of God). This doctrine consisted of five essentials: to keep the obligations according to the Qur'an and Sunnah, to always speak the truth, to keep the heart free from hatred, to avoid forbidden food and to shun innovations (bida).
"I never saw any lamp shining more brilliantly than the lamp of silence." Bayazid Bastami
"I stood with the pious and I didn’t find any progress with them. I
stood with the warriors in the cause and I didn’t find a single step of
progress with them. Then I said, ‘O Allah, what is the way to You?’ and
Allah said, ‘Leave yourself and come.’ " Bayazid Bastami
Before Al-Bistami, Sufism was mainly based on piety and obedience. He played a major role in placing the concept of divine love at the core of Sufism.
Bistami was the first to speak openly of "annihilation of the self in God"
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayazid_Bistami
"I went to a wilderness, love had rained and had covered earth, as feet penetrate snow, I found my feet covered with love." Bayazid Bastami
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