Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Ahmad (or ibn Ja'far) ibn Salmān al-Kharaqāni or Shaikh Abul-Hassan Kharaqāni [also written Kherqāni] (Persian شیخ ابوالحسن خرقانی ) is one of the master Sufis of Islam.
He was born in 963 CE (352 Hijri) from Persian parents in Khorasan in a village called Kharaqan (today located in Semnan province of Iran, near Bustam) and died in the day of Ashura (10th of Muharram) in 1033 CE (425 Hijri)
He was the disciple of Shaikh Abul-Abbas Qassab Amili in tariqah but had deep spiritual relation with Bayazid Bastami, a well-known Sufi Master who died almost a century before him but had spoken about the personality and state of Abul Hassan Kharaqani.
Farid al-Din Attar, a famous Persian poet and sufi, devoted a large part of his book Tadhkiratul-Awliya (Biography of the Saints) about the personality, state and stories of Abul Hassan Kharaqani. Attar has called him as Sultān-e Salāteen-e Mashāyekh (The King of the kings of Sufi Masters), Ocean of the spiritual knowledge, Sun of the Lord, Mystery of the Lord and Qibla (focus of attention) of his people.
Abul Hassan Kharaqani was the Master or Shaikh of the famous Persian sufi and poet, Khwajah Abdullah Ansari. Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Shah Mahmood of Ghazna, Abu-Saïd Abul-Khair and Nasir Khusraw had traveled to Kharaqan to meet him and expressed their deep admiring feelings and respect for him.
Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumī), Farid al-Din Attar, Khwajah Abdullah Ansari, Jami and others have narrated many poems about Shaikh Abul Hassan and have reported his several stories.
He was illiterate but had wide inspirational knowledge about the Quran and Hadith; his sayings and speeches are significantly magnificent due to their philosophical views. He practiced Shafi'i sect, a school of Sunnite Islam.
The book Noorul-Uloom (The light of Sciences) is dedicated to Shaikh Abul Hassan Kharaqani. It is believed to have been written by his disciples (murids) after his death. Its single manuscript copy is currently held in the British Museum.
Some of his sayings:
Shaikh Abul Hassan had written on the door of his khaneqah: "Anyone who comes to this house, give him food and do not ask about his faith. Because, as he merits a life next to the exalted God, no doubt he deserves a meal on my table."
I feel, I hear, I speak, but I do not exist.
There are 24 hours in a day. I die a thousand times in an hour, and I cannot explain the other 23 hours.
People cannot describe me. No matter in which words or in which terms they present me, I am the opposite of what they say.
I am neither a Sufi, nor a scientist, nor a pious. Oh Lord, you are the one and only, and I am one of your oneness.
What if there were neither the Hell nor the Heaven, so that we could see the real devout person?!
A scholar wakes up early in the morning and seeks how to increase his knowledge. A pious wakes up and seeks how to increase his faith. But Abul-Hassan looks for how to make a human being happy.
The one who said "I reached Allah (to the God, to the Truth and Reality)", he did not. And the one who said "He (God) himself made me reach him", he reached Allah (or he attained the reality).
He was asked: "Where did you see the God?" He answered: "...wherever I did not see my own self."
Whatever exists in the entire universe, it is also in your own heart. You have to gain the ability to see it.
The one who fell in Love found Allah. And the one who found Allah, forgot his own self.
In the whole world only one person could understand me, and it was Bayazid.