Mawlana Ali ibn Husain Safi
391 pg PB
Translated from Turkish by Muhtar Holland. 'Ali ibn Husain Safi , the author of the Rashahat, lived in the beginning of the 10th Century AH. He was brother-in-law of the famous mystic and poet Jami who gave him the name 'Safi'. In the Rashahat 'Ain al-Hayat, Safi gives an account of the lives and teachings of a group of Sufi mystics known as the Khwajagan - the Masters of Wisdom. The Khwajagan lived in Central Asia between the 4th and the 9th centuries Hijri. The ranks of the Khwajagan include the great sufis 'Abd al-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani and Baha' al-Din Naqshband, who gave his name to the Naqshbandi order, though he did not found it. The many branches of the Naqshbandiyya survive to this day. This book is the first translation of the Rashahat into English and provides the present generation with clear and precise biographies of the great and genuine sufis who emerged in Turkestan at a most significant period.
The author of "Beads of Dew," Mawlana 'Ali ibn Husain, is best known by his name "Safi." He was the transmitter of the works of the ancients, the narrator of the stories of the great, the compiler of the exploits of those destined for Paradise, and the exponent of the stations of those who reached their spiritual destination. These are his own words:
"Through the endless grace and blessing of Allah, it fell to my lot, in the last days of the month of Dhu'l-Qa'da in the year [A.H.] 889, to pay humble respect to the threshold of the venerable Khwaja 'Ubaidu'llah, the alighting point of the path of sainthood, the hero of reality, the Cardinal Pole of the great, the guide of religion, worldly affairs and real life. Later, at the beginning of the month of Rabi' al-Akhir [A.H.] 893, he granted me the honour of kissing the feet of those who serve this threshold.
"At that fortunate time, in the lofty sessions held by the venerable Khwaja, mention was always made of the spiritual state and exploits of the masters of the Naqshi line [silsila], and this insignificant individual gathered light and honour from all these accounts. In particular, as a gift of the greatest good fortune, this insignificant individual enjoyed the blessed opportunity to collect the secrets and subtleties that poured from the lips of that venerable master. This poor creature stored in the mother-of-pearl shells of his memory, and set down on white sheets of paper, without wasting a single spot, the jewels of reality, resembling separate pearls, that were available to him on those occasions of fellowship.
"Misfortunes then came one upon another, squandering and erasing everything, so that no trace remained in this transitory world. I came to be far removed from that great Cardinal Pole, and I was deprived of the blessed state of attachment to the hem of his cloak. At that time, it occurred to me to gather together the incomparable words that flowed from those blessed lips, in the wisdom-filled moments of my days of good fortune, and to provide the suffering hearts with the remedy they sought.
"For a long time, however, the problems of this world prevented the realization of this hope of mine. This state of affairs continued for sixteen whole years, but then, at last, the old yearning and intention suddenly caught fire, the situation brightened, and this book was produced in the year [A.H.] 909.
"In our book, the sayings attributed to the masters of this noble group have been established as authentic. Special care has been devoted to correct reporting of the exploits of the venerable Khwaja and other distinguished figures, whether knowledge of these has been obtained by indirect or direct means. Since the original purpose of this work was to record the spiritual state and exploits of the venerable Khwaja, this topic was the first to be brought to completion. The letters of the Arabic alphabet also have numerical values, so the number 909 (the date of the work's completion) is encoded in the title: Rashahat 'Ain al-Hayat [Beads of Dew from the Source of Life]."