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'Urafa' of the Sixth/Twelfth Century

1. 'Ayn al-Qudat al-Hamadani

Of the most enthusiastic of mystics, 'Ayn al-Qudat al-Hamadani was the disciple of Ahmad al-Ghazali's, younger brother of Muhammad, who was also a mystic. The author of many books, he also composed some brilliant poetry that, however, was not altogether free of theopathetic exclamations (shathiyyat). Charges of heresy were brought against him; he was executed, and his body burnt and his ashes cast to the winds. He was killed around 525-533/ 1131-1139.

2. Sanai Ghaznawi

A famous poet, his verse is loaded with profound mystic sentiments. Rumi, in his Mathnawi, has cited some of his sayings and expounded them. He died around the middle of the 6th/12th century.

3. Ahmad Jami

Known as “Zhand-e Pil”, Jami is one of the most celebrated of 'urafa' and sufis. His tomb lies at Turbat-e Jam, near the border between Iran and Afghanistan, and is well-known. Following lines are among the verses he composed on fear (khawf) and hope (raja'):

Be not haughty, for the mount of many a mighty man

Has been hamstrung among rocks in the desert;

But neither despair, for even wine-drinking libertines

Have suddenly arrived at the destination by a single song.

Similarly, on moderation between generosity and thrift he offers the following advice:

Be not like an adze, drawing all to yourself,

Nor like a plane, gaining nothing for your work;

In matters of livelihood, learn from the saw,

It draws some to itself, and lets some scatter.

Ahmad Jami died around the year 536/1141.

4. 'Abd al-Qadir al-Gilani

He is one of the most controversial figures of the Islamic world. To him is attributed the Qadiriyyah order of sufis.

His grave at Baghdad is well known and famous. He is amongst those from whom many supplications and high-flying sayings have been recorded. He was a sayyid descended from al-'Imam al-Hasan (A). He died in 560/1164 or 561/1165.

5. Shaykh Ruzbihan Baqli Shirazi

He is known as Shaykh-e Shattah on account of his prolific theopathetic exclamations. In recent years some of his books have been published, mainly through the efforts of the orientalists. He died in 606/1209.

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