Marûf eL-karkhi, eBen-mahfond
Marûf El-Karkhi, Eben-Mahfond an Arabic mystic, was born at Carkh, between Hamadan and Ispahan, about the year 750. The son of a Christian, he became a Mussulman, under the name of Ali. While attached to the house of the imam Ali Riza, at Bagdad, where he discharged the duties of a door-keeper, he formed a firm friendship with one of the most ancient mystic chiefs, Daud el-Thayi, and became himself one of the most celebrated mystics of Arabia. He died in 816, at Bagdad. The mystical system of Marûf is neither the ascetic system of the ancient Indian and Christian Coenobites, which he rejected, nor that of the more recent Persian mystics, who are entirely absorbed in contemplations of divine love. He lays stress on the practical virtues; and if he preaches humility in saying that we should never appear before God except with the exterior of a poor mendicant, he still is not led astray in his reflections upon divine love, which, according to him, is a gift of God's grace, and not learned by the lessons of masters. Maruf, it is true, elsewhere carries out his thoughts, by saying that we must turn to God if we expect God's favor upon us. These ideas have caused him to be regarded as one of the orthodox mystics of Islam. His maxims are found dispersed throughout the ascetic works of Abûlfaray Mansûr ibn al-Yanzi, especially in the Manakhib-Marûf; or Panegyrics of Maruf, and in the Kenzel Modzakkirin, or Treasure of the Deistical Panegyrists. In the Monutekhab fi'l Nowle is found the most complete selection of Marûf's utterances. — Hadj'l Chalfa, Lexikon Bibliographicum et Encyclopoedicam; Djami, Biographie des Soufis; Hammer, Gesch. der Arsabischen Literatzur; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, vol. 33, s. V.