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ERNST CURZON PRESS CURZON CURZON SUFI SERIES Series Editor: Ian Richard Netton Professor of Arabic Studies , University of Ijieds The Curzon Sufi Series attempts to provide short introductions to a variety of facets of the subject, which are accessible both to the general reader and the student and scholar in the field. Mason PERSIAN SUn POETRY An Introduction to the Mystical Use of Classical Persian Poetry J. Ernst CURZON PRESS Contents First published in 19% by Curzon Press St John’s Studios, Church Road, Richmond Surrey, TVV9 2QA © 1996 Carl YV. Massignon has suggested that Ruzbihan was forced by hostile critics to leave Shiraz for a period of exile in Pasa; although he cites no evidence for persecution, he presumably is thinking of several passages in Ruzbihan’s autobiography where critics of Sufism are castigated. From these examples it is also clear that the formula of definition at the end of most of the entries on the stations ("the gnostic said," qala al-'arif) is the statement of Ruzbihan and not of any of his masters. For I was in my youth, and in the days of my intoxication, extravagance, and effervescence.Each book will be either a synthesis of existing knowledge or a distinct contribution to, and extension of, knowledge of the particular topic. Ernst Typeset in Baskcrvillc by Before this agenda can be accomplished, but the size and stature of Ruzbihan's cruvrc demands a serious effort of interpretation. Aims of the Present Work In this book I would like to present a study of the mystical life of Ruzbihan Baqli as portrayed in three sources: his own autobiographical work The Unveiling of Secrets , and two hagiogra- phies ("lives of the saints") written by his great-grandsons, The Spirit of the Gardens and The Gift of the People of Gnosis. 22 AH that Ruzbihan tells us about this period is that he purchased an orchard in Pasa, but he could not enjoy it in the depression that he suffered on the death of a favorite wife. Unveilings of the angelic world and the manifestation of the wonders of power took place in my heart, spirit, conscience, and intellect.'Hie two major underlying principles of the Series are sound scholarship and readability. I will not attempt to construct from these sources a single definitive narrative account of Ruzbihan's external activities, though I have briefly summarized the standard consensus; my concern is rather with his mystical experiences as viewed in these different sources, each of which needs to be understood on its own terms. 21 Then Ruzbihan returned to Shiraz, completing in 570/1174 the Commentary on Ecstatic Sayings , which had been begun in Pasa. I swam in the primordial and ultimate oceans, in eternity and subsistence, and I discovered the unveiling of Attributes and the Essence, which deaf stones and lofty mountains cannot endure.In comparison to the relatively brief treatment of The Unveiling of Secrets by Corbin, this study covers much more of the text in detail, and it also has the advantage of drawing on the other writings of Ruzbihan that have come to light since Corbin’s initial essays appeared in the late 1950s. 21 Massignon maintains that Ruzbihan was invited to return by the newly installed At a beg of Fars, Takla, in 570/ 1175. If I wrote down all that happened to me from the beginning of my life to now', it would be heavy loads of books and pages (§6).Ruzbihan's diarv is contrasted • with the two biographies devoted to him by his descendants. The cry went up in the town that Shaykh Ruzbihan is cutting souls to bits with the sword of his words. (§56) The experiences that Ruzbihan is about to describe constitute a map only insofar as they reveal where he has been.This study is aimed partially at those who have a special interest in Islamic studies and Sufism, and it will also prove attractive to readers who follow the subjects of mystical literature and sainthood. Ernst is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel 1 1 ill. The people of the town turned tow-ard him and became his disciples. Although he is willing to confide these experiences to an intimate friend, he is not prescribing a method of meditation.The gap between Ruzbihan’s self-portrait and that of his descendants furnishes the opportunity to locate their aims as authors, to establish the hermeneutical approach of each individual text. 1876 (Istanbul: Edebiyat Fakultesi Matbaasi, 1974); Paul Nwyia, "Waqa’i* al-Shaykh Ruzbihan al-Baqli al-Shirazi muqtatafat min kitab Kash J al-asrar wa mukashafat al-amiar," al- Mashriq LXIV/4-5 (1970), pp. Iieonard Lewisohn (Ixrndon: Khaniqahi Nimatullahi, 1994), pp. 16-23, Persian translation by Mojde-i Bayat as "Marahil-i ‘ishq dar nakhustin advar-i tasawuf-i Iran, az Rabi'a ta Ruzbihan," in Sufi 16 (1371 [1992)), pp. It remained in a ruined state until Corbin and Muin conducted an excavation of the tomb and petitioned the archeological department of the Iranian government to undertake a full restoration in 1958, comparable to what has been done in Shiraz at the tombs of the poets Sa‘di and Hafiz. 6, 7, and 8 lived in India and Arabia, and the remainder up to Zabidi arc from North Africa (Timbuctu, Fez, ricmcen). I was then mad with love, and my heart was then a diver in the ocean of eternal recollection and in the scent of the perfumes of sanctity.
This is not a particularly radical approach in studies of sainthood and hagiography in Christianity, but the study of the Islamic humanities continues to lag behind theoretically in dealing with the interpretation of religious texts. Sadr al-Din Ibrahim ibn Fakhr al- Din Ahmad Ruzbihan Thani (615/1218 or 603/1206 685/1286) 4a. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Khafif al-Shlrazl Branch I 8. He had some followers in other regions, such as ‘Imad al-Dm Muhammad ibn Ra’is, who 5 Ruzbihan Baq B became a disciple when Ruzbihan preached in Kirman; the two exchanged letters in flowery Persian in 583/ 1 188. The overtly chronological memoir forms a relatively small part of the text, and it is worth examining in detail.Ruzbihan Baqli is the first full-length study devoted to the life and mystical experiences of one of the outstanding figures in Persian Sufism. 1 209) was long recognized within the Sufi tradition, it is only within the past few decades that his works have been rediscovered and printed. 18 In the oldest version, the story goes like this: When the shaykh came from Pasa to Shiraz, the first day that he preached in the ‘Atiq mosque, in the midst of his sermon, he said, "When I entered the mosque, in the comer of the herb sellers a woman was advising her daughter, saying, ‘My dear, your mother advises you to cover your face, and don’t show everyone your beauty from the window. While Ruzbihan is to a certain extent acting as a spiritual master for his Sufi friend, he does so in an informal manner, occasionally making side remarks to him (c.g., §105, 1 12, 162, 193).This study introduces and analyses the most important sources for the life of Ruzbihan, his own visionary diary (The Unveiling of Secrets), written in Arabic, and two Persian hagiographies written by his great-grandsons a century after his death; extensive excerpts from these works are- presented here in translation. This should not be, for by reason of your loveliness and beauty, someone may fall into temptation. ’" When Ruzbihan heard these words, he wanted to tell that woman, "Although you advise her and forbid her, let her show herself! Ruzbihan regularly asks God to assist both him and his friend (§158, 175, 185, 193), but he regards spiritual states and ecstasy as a grace, not as the result of striving, as we see from a passage at the end of the first part: % Not a day or night has gone by me, by God, during all the time extending up to now, when I am fifty-five years old, without an unveiling of the hidden world.In overall approach, this book differs from the learned and detailed intellectual biography of Ibn ‘Arab! 2 ’ The evidence for this postulated political connection derives entirely from the hagiographies, and it will be examined in Chapter III. But once Ruzbihan picks up his pen, the revelations begin to flow.
by Claude Addas, which seeks to reconstruct his spiritual itinerary and mystical experiences as described in his own wiitings; despite her critical attitude toward hagiographies, by taking somewhat literally Ibn • •• Xlll Ruzbihan Baqll ‘Arabi’s claims to sainthood, Addas ends by presenting her subject hagiographically. Of the remaining years of Ruzbihan we have only a few hints. Slowly at first, he relates his spiritual experiences and life circumstances from his earliest memories up to the age of fifteen, w'hen he left his profession of selling vegetables and joined the Sufis.
15 I am concerned rather to articulate and describe the structure of mystical experience in Ruzbihan’s writings through analysis of his rhetoric of sainthood. I he colophon to his treatise on spiritual states, Ihe Spirits' Font, states that it was completed in 579/ 1 184 when Ruzbihan was fifty-two. On the date of the ribat, Danish-Puzhuh, Introduction, p. Ironically, it is from this brief youthful period as a green- grocer (baqlt) that the surname derives, by which Ruzbihan the Sufi is distinguished from several lesser-known religious scholars of the same name who lived in Persia during that time.