Author: A J Arberry
Publisher: Islamic Book Trust (2008)
Pages: 356 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
The ascetic outlook and practice characterized the life not only of Prophet Muhammad himself, but many of his earliest followers. Even at the height of the spread of Islam and its astonishing military conquests, many leading men withstood all temptation to abandon the austere life of the desert, and their example was admired and emulated by multitudes of humbler rank.
This book, abridged from the famous Tadhkirah al-Awliya by Farid al-Din Attar, one of Persia's greatest poets, devotes a short chapter to each of the early Sufis.
Farid al-Din ‘Attar (d. circa 1220-1230) was the principal Muslim mystic poet of the second half of the 12th century.
The son of a chemist, ‘Attar received excellent education in Arabic, theosophy and medicine. On his father’s death, he continued running the pharmacy store, hence the pen name ‘Attar, which means druggist, herbalist of perfumist. He eventually abandoned his pharmacy store, traveling widely to places such as Kufa, Makkah, Damascus, Turkistan and India, where he met some of the great Sufi masters of that time.
‘Attar composed six important works of poetry. His masterpiece Mantiq al-Tayr of the Conference of the Birds is consecrated to the tale of the spiritual quest of thirty birds to find their supreme sovereign. His other well known works include the Book of Adversity, the Divine Book, the Book of Selections, and his Diwan containing some 10,000 heart rendering couplets.
‘Attar;s works had such an impact on both the Sufi community and the literate public. His works are considered amoung the finest examples if Sufi poetry in the Persian language. His successor Jalal al-Din Rumi, said of him: “’Attar roamed the seven sities of love – We are still just in one alley.”