The preface to the book Muslim Saints & MYSTICS (The Tadhkerat al-auliya'

Discussion in 'Siyar an-Nubala' started by Unbeknown, Feb 25, 2014.

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  1. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    I downloaded the book from the following link:

    Very well-written (translated I mean). I was searching for something like this for almost a year. This translation is great cause it gives a feeling as though one is reading some original work.

    However there are some flaws I would like to point out:
    1. The most glaring one is the 'Introduction'- it's obnoxious to say the least. One would think that translating a book about saints must have some positive effect on the translator but no there appears to be none. A.J Aberry remained a condescending, insinuating Orientalist. He just can't help comparing the saints to one famous personality or another. The most annoying of all is his likening Sayyiduna Ibrahim-bin-Adham's repentance to Buddha's awakening.

    2. Readers should try not to derive any fiqhi rulings from the incidents. Fiqh books are the best for that purpose.

    3. There is an apparent lack of reverence in the manner/style/tone of narration. Readers need be extra careful so as not to allow this to affect their own high opinion of the awliya or indeed Shaykh Fariduddin himself.


    on a different note: Is shaykh Faridudeen included in the list of the awliya? The other day I heard mawlana ilyas qadri say that he is not sure if the shaykh was a wali and he doesn't know anyone who called him such. In fact, he went one step further and said, "maine jo abhi inko wali kaha, to mai apne alfaz waapas leta hoon."

    that's odd.

  2. subhan Allah!

  3. hafeezanwar

    hafeezanwar Guest

    The preface to the book Muslim Saints & MYSTICS (The Tadhkerat al-auliya')

    In the preface to the Memorial Attar lists his reasons for writing the book, but not the sources used by him. His declared motives, as summarized by R. A. Nicholson, were as follows:

    1) He was begged to do so by his religious

    2) He hoped that some of those who read the
    work would bless the author and thus, possibly,
    secure his welfare beyond the grave.

    3) He believes that the words of the Saints are
    profitable even to those who cannot put them
    into practice, inasmuch as they strengthen aspiration
    and destroy self-conceit.

    4) Jonaid said, "Their sayings are one of the
    armies of Almighty God whereby He confirms and
    reinforces the disciple, if his heart be dejected."

    5) According to the Prophet, "Mercy descends
    at the mention of the pious": peradventure, if one
    introduction xxv
    spreads a table on which Mercy falls like rain, he
    will not be turned away portionless.

    6) Attar trusts that the blessed influence of the
    Saints may be vouchsafed to him and bring him
    into happiness before he dies.

    7) He busied himself with their sayings in the
    hope that he might make himself to resemble

    8) The Koran and the Traditions cannot be
    understood without knowledge of Arabic, wherefore
    most people are unable to profit by them;
    and the Sayings of the Saints, which form a commentary
    on the Koran and the Traditions, were
    likewise uttered, for the most part, in Arabic.
    Consequently the author has translated them into
    Persian, in order that they may become accessible
    to all.

    9) Since an idle word often excites keen resentment,
    the word of Truth is capable of having a
    thousandfold effect even though you are unconscious
    thereof. Similarly, Abd al-Rahman Eskafi
    said that the reading of the Koran was effectual,
    although the reader might not understand it, just
    as a potion of which the ingredients are

    10) Spiritual words alone appeal to the author.
    Hence he composed this "daily task" for his conxxvi
    temporaries, hoping to find some persons to share
    the meal which he has provided.

    11) The Imam Yusof Hamadhani advised some
    people, who asked him what they should do when
    the Saints had passed away from the earth, to
    read eight pages of their Sayings every day. Attar
    felt that it was incumbent upon him to supply this

    12) From his childhood he had a predilection
    for the Sufis and took delight in their sayings.
    Now, when such words are spoken only by
    impostors and when true spiritualists have
    become as rare as the philosopher's stone, he is
    resolved to popularize literature of this kind so
    far as lies in his power'

    13) In the present age the best men are bad, and
    holy men have been forgotten. The Memorial is
    designed to remedy this state of things.

    14) The Sayings of the Saints dispose men to
    renounce the world, meditate on the future life,
    love God, and set about preparing for their last
    journey. "One may say that there does not exist in
    all creation a better book than this, for their
    words are a commentary on the Koran and
    Traditions, which are the best of all words. Any
    one who reads it properly will perceive what passion
    must have been in the souls of those men to
    introduction xxvii
    bring forth such deeds and words as they have
    done and said."

    I5) A further motive was the hope of obtaining
    their intercession hereafter and of being pardoned,
    like the dog of the Seven Sleepers which,
    though it be all skin and bone, will nevertheless
    be admitted to Paradise.

    In his preface Attar mentions three books which
    he recommends for those ambitious to attain a full
    understanding of the pronouncement of the Sufis.
    These he entitles: Ketab Sharh al-qalb ("The
    Exposition of the Heart"), Ketab Kashf al-asrar
    ("The Revelation of the Secrets"), and Ketab
    Ma'refat al-nafs wa'l-Rabb ("The Knowledge of
    the Self and of the Lord"). No clue is given here to
    the authorship of these works, but Attar refers in
    one other context (II, 99) to the Sharh al-qalb as a
    book of his own composition; see also Attar's
    introduction to his own Mokhtar-nama. It may
    therefore be deduced that Attar was the author of
    the other two titles. No copy of any of the three
    has so far been recovered.

    Sources of Attar's "Memorial"Since Attar did not
    trouble to specify the precise sources upon which he
    drew in compiling the xxviii introduction
    Memorial, these are to be identified on the basis
    of internal evidence. It cannot be claimed that
    anything like a complete analysis has been
    attempted, for such a task (wanting direct clues)
    is obviously very intricate and laborious, requiring
    a prolonged research. So far, however, it has
    been established as certain that Attar consulted
    the authors and texts here listed.

    1) Hekayat al-mashayekh of Abu Mohammad
    Ja'fer ibn Mohammad al-Kholdi (d. 348/959).
    Attar quotes from al-Kholdi once directly (II, 51);
    in the supplementary section of the Memorial his
    biography is briefly given (II, 284-85), but that
    part of the text is of very doubtful authenticity.
    For further in formation on al-Kholdi, described
    by Hojwiri (Kashf al-mahjub, trans. R. A.
    Nicholson, p. 156) as "the well-known biographer
    of the Saints", see C. Brockelmann, Geschichte
    der arabischen Litteratur, Suppl. I, p. 358.

    2) Ketab al-Loma' of Abu Nasr 'Abd Allah ibn
    'Ali al-Sarraj (d. 378/988). Mentioned specifically
    in the supplement (II, I82-83) where a biographical
    notice is given; though this reference is
    of questionable value, the section in which it
    occurs being very likely a later addition, Attar's
    use of this fundamental text can be deduced from
    many contexts.
    introduction xxix

    3) Tabaqat al-Sufiva of Abu 'Abd al-Rahman
    Mohammad ibn al-Hosain al-Solami (d.
    412/1021). This celebrated author, whose biographies
    of the Sufis Attar undoubtedly used, is cited
    thrice in the supplement (II, 263, 308, 326).

    4) Helyat al-auliya of Abu No'aim Ahmad ibn
    'Abd Allah al-E'fahani (d. 430/1038). Though
    Abu No'aim is not specifically named, it is clear
    that Attar knew and used this encyclopaedic

    5) al Resala of Abu 'l-Qasem al-Qoshairi (d.
    465/1072). Cited by name in the main text (II,
    135) and the supplement (II, 200, 207, 309, 332,
    333), it is abundantly evident that Attar leaned
    very heavily on this authoritative exposition of
    Sufi doctrine.

    6 ) Kashf al-mahjub of Abu'l-Hasan al-Hojwiri
    (d. c. 467/1075. Named once in the main text (II,
    68), Hojwiri is verbally cited without acknowledgment
    in a number of passages. This was the easier to
    contrive, since Hojwiri himself wrote in
    Persian .When dealing with certain individual Sufis,
    Attar appears to have had access to some of their
    own writings, either direct or through quotation
    by others, as well as to special monographs on
    their lives and acts. Two obvious instances are alxxx

    Sahlaji's biography of Abu Yazid al-Bestami, and
    al-Dailami's biography of Ibn Khafif. Further
    reference to these two books will be found in my
    notes on the relevant texts.

    Though in his prefatory remarks Attar lays
    much weight upon the "words" of the Sufis as
    his overriding preoccupation, in fact he put at
    least equal stress on their "acts" or the legends of
    their preternatural powers. In setting out his
    materials he took as his model the Tabaqat al-
    Sufiya of al-Solami, in which the Sufis are treated
    more or less in chronological order; he may
    well also have known al-Ansari's Persian version
    of this book, which Jami later used as the foundation
    of his Nafahat al-ons. It is to be noticed,
    however, that Attar abandoned al-Solami's
    arrangement of the Sufis by "classes"; he also
    found the Tabaqat inadequate on the human
    side. For valuable as that work undoubtedly is as
    an anthology of Sufi dicta, to Attar, who was
    interested at least as much in the personalities of
    the Sufis as in what they said and wrote, it needed
    to be supplemented with biographical details.
    So to eke out al-Solami's somewhat austere fare,
    he combined with the Tabaqat the human and
    superhuman materials contained in the Hekayat
    of al-Kholdi, the Resala of al-Qoshairi, and the
    introduction xxxi


    FROM SOURCE / WEB SITE/ from the following book

    MUSLIM SAINTS & MYSTICS (the Tadhkerat al-auliya')
    by A. J. ARBERRY
    EMAIL ; hafeezanwar@



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