Adab al-Suluk

Adab al-Suluk: A Treatise on Spiritual Wayfaring by Shaykh Najm al-Din Kubra  The Persian Translator’s Introduction


Shaykh Najm al‑Din Kubra is one of the leading shaykhs of the Sufi path (Tariqah). His name is Ahmad, his title is “al‑Tammat al­-Kubra” and his birthplace was Khwarazm. His fruitful life lasted nearly seventy‑eight years. It is said that he died in 618/1221.


In his youth he set out for travelling. In Egypt he joined the circle of Shaykh Ruzbahan Misri and attended his lectures and sermons. The teacher, impressed by the intelligence and purity of heart of his disciple, loved him as his own son and later married his daughter to him. After some time the young farer of the Sufi path (salik) resumed his journey and benefited from the leading shaykh of every city. When he returned to Egypt, Ruzbahan found that he had become a perfect man who knew the secret of spiritual wayfaring (suluk) and had learned the rules and ways of the various stages of love (Ishq)and that he was capable of teaching and guiding others. Therefore, he advised him to return to his native place, Khiyuk, situated in Khwarazm, and engage in guiding the seekers of the path and disseminate Sufi teachings.


Shaykh Najm al‑Din left for Khwarazm along with his wife and children and set up a hospice (khaniqah)and founded the Dhahabiyyah and Qurbaniyyah and other Sufi orders. He trained many disciples who themselves later became saints (wali)and teachers (murshid), like Majd al‑Din Baghdadi, Shaykh `Attar, Sa’d al‑Din Hamawi and Najm al‑Din Razi. As to the date of his death, his biographers are unanimous that the Shaykh was martyred, along with his disciples, on the tenth of Jamadi al‑’Awwal 618/1221, while defending his city against the attack of the Mongols.


Among the eight works attributed to him by historians, there is one exegesis of the Qur’an, of which not even a single copy has been found. Another is a small treatise in Persian under the title of Fi adab al‑salikin (“The Rules of the Wayfarers”) which exists in the Asian Museum. The present tract is the translation of one of the Shaykh’s treatises in Arabic entitled Adab al‑suluk ila Hadrat Malik al‑Muluk, which consists of two sections. One is a spiritual journey towards God (Haqq)through removal of the veils of negligence and the veils of distance and darkness. The other is a physical journey in the vast earth of God. Out of these two journeys, here we have translated the one related to esoteric wayfaring, on the basis of a manuscript in the. Central Library of the Tehran University. I dedicate this work to those steeped in mysticism and intoxicated by the wine of Tawhid.


It is hoped that this brief work will invoke interest among re­searchers so that they are inspired to translate other works of the great Shaykh as well as to do research on his life.


Husayn Muhyi al‑Din Qumshehi    Adab al-Suluk


هو الحق


He is the Truth.


All praise and gratitude is due to God, the Wise and the Merciful; the God Who enables His slaves to travel through the horizons (afaq)so that they may observe the wonders of His Might and Wisdom and discover the proofs of His Majesty, as well as the signs of His Grace and Mercy in all directions and corners of the world; the God Who makes the (satanic) selves of ‑ the wayfarers to die and makes manifest the hidden secret of their inner selves, and brings what is concealed to light through the hardships of journey, the taking of risks, and the separation from home and children and the avoidance of association with others (than Allah) and shunning all except Allah, the Master of the Kingdom (Malik al‑Mulk). May God’s peace and praise be upon the chief of mankind and the noblest of the human species, Muhammad al‑Mustafa, his pure Family, his Companions and his Ummah. Therefore, surrender yourself totally to Hadrat‑e Haqq (The Truth, i.e. God).


O slave of Allah! Know that you are a wayfarer (salik)seeking your Lord and ultimately one day you would meet Him, as said in a tradition: Whoever hopes to meet God should know that the time of the meeting will come. And you should know that God, the Exalted, by leis perfect Might and Wisdom has destined two journeys for the Children of Adam. One of them is involuntary (qahri), and the other one is voluntary (ikhtiyari).


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