About the Author
Dr. Akhtar has edited and translated has so carefully and perceptively introduced is a most important one for student of history of medieval Indian Sufism, and indeed its pages throw light on the general history of Northern India during the period. The editor, therefore, has rendered great service to scholarship by giving this document to the world. And even those who, have not sufficient Persian to read the Kalimat al-Sadiqin in the original will learn a great deal from lengthy introduction and notes.
The Indian Sub-continent in medieval times was the scene of great tensions, political, economic and religious. Much of the land experienced frequent warfare, and many people of all classes must have suffered greatly as a result. Yet, in the light of history, this. period was not a dark one. Islam became an important factor in the religious life of the land, and stimulated the incipient popular devotional Hinduism associated with the word bhakti. New elements of technology, government, art, and everyday life were brought in, and the character of South Asian Civilization slowly changed and developed, culminating in the comparatively stable Mughal empire, when India reached a new level of cultural advance.
Among the factors making for change was a body of earnest religious men whose mystical doctrines had a great impact on the land, and whose influence was invariably for the good. These were the Sufis. Somewhere in the Hadis, I believe, Muhammad is recorded as having said: ‘There shall be no monasticism in Islam’ But the human soul is not always to be restrained by precepts, and after a century or two mystics began to appear in the new religion. These pious men, if they were not exactly monks, gave up all the luxuries of life and devoted themselves to spiritual striving, drawn by the indescribable beauty of the divine Lover. Hence the Sufi orders appeared, giving a new dimension to the religion of Islam.
The text which Dr. Akhtar has edited and has so carefully and perceptively introduced and annotated is a most important one for students of the history of medieval Indian Sufism, and indeed its pages throw light on the general history of Northern India during the period. The editor, therefore, has rendered great service to scholarship by giving this document to the world. And even those who, like myself, have not sufficient Persian to read the Kalimat al-Sadiqin in tile original will learn a great deal from his lengthy introduction and notes. I warmly commend this book to all students of Islam and of the history of South Asia.
Archaeological finds, remains of ancient buildings, monumental inscriptions, tombstones, old manuscripts, imperial farmans, sanads, seals, paintings, miniatures, specimens of calligraphy, and divers objects of antiquity, together with samples of traditional arts and crafts and folk literatures, are exactly the sort of material which forms the warp and woof of the variegated texture of a nation’s history and culture. How heavily a researcher has to lean on them for obtaining a kaleidoscopic view of a people’s intellectual attainments, artistic igenuities, its hopes and fears and visions and aspirations is too patent to bear a restatement here. Besides, the very feeling of joy and pride, the possession of such relics of the golden prime of a culture is capable of conferring upon a community, naturally makes it incumbent upon its members to exhibit an unalloyed commitment and dedication’ to the cause of their proper upkeep, maintenance and preservation. This responsibility devolves all the more neavelly upon us in Pakistan, whose very nationhood, the distinctiveness that we enjoy today in relation to other nations of the region, is derived from the richness and versatility of the distinctly Muslim culture and civilization created and nurtured by our forefathers through the centuries. There cannot be a better tribute to the dash and courage of these pioneers of Muslim nationhood in South Asia, and more befitting acknowledgement of our infinite indebtedness to the fruits of their tremendous labours, than guarding their legacy from all manner of neglect and oblivion and keeping aglow their worthy deeds at every level at all times and through every possible means. The publication of the present critical edition of the Kalimat al-Sadiqin, with an exhaustive introduction and comprehensive annotations, is but a tiny step towards the realization of this mighty goal.
Written by Muhammad Sadiq Dihlawi Kashmiri Hamadani, whose ancestors came to Kashmir sometime during the 8th/14th century in the company of the famous Kubrawi itinerant preacher and celebrated author of the Dhakhirat al-Muluk, Mic Sayyid ‘An Hamadani (d. 786/ 1384), the Kalimat al-Sadiqin is essentially a hagiography of Sufis masters who flourished at Delhi from time to time and were finally buried there. Apart from being a veritable roll of honour of these Surfs of Delhi, the Kalimat also constitutes a primary source on the early history and development of the Naqshbandiyya order in India. The author’s spiritual affiliation with its founder, Khwaja Muhammad Baqi Bi’llah, and his close relations with Shaykh ‘Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dihlawi and other luminaries associated with the Naqshbandiyya Khanquh at Delhi and especially the fact that he and his maternal uncle, Maulana Hasan Kashmiri, were two of the hitherto unidentified correspondents of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi, generally known as the Mujaddid-i Alf-i Thani (‘Renewer of the Second Millennium’), endows his works, namely, the Kalimat al-Sadiqin, the Tabaqat-i Shahjahani and the it thar-i Shahjahani, with still greater authenticity and significance. These works not only highlight the hive, haven and refuge that India had been throughout the high tide of Muslim ascendancy for visitors from other Islamic lands, but also brings into bold relief the contributions of these foreign emigrants and the successive generations of their progeny towards the formulation and enrichment of Islamic heritage in the South, Asian Subcontinent. They are a living testimony to the important status of a lingua franca that Persian enjoyed here for centuries and perpetually remind us that if only to preserve our links with our hoary past, to maintain the ability of peeping into the hallowed quiets of our antiquity, we must not let this language be sacrificed at the altar of any expediency, political or economic.
Except for the re-editing of the Persian text in the light of the subsequently discovered two more manuscripts of the Kalimat, the rest of the present work is, for the most part, a thesis submitted at the Australian National University, Canberra, for the degree of M.A. (Asian Studies). The Persian text presented here i$ based upon four manuscripts belonging to the Astani-i Quds-i Radawi Library, Mashhad, the Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna, and the private collections of Mr. ‘Arif Nausnahi, of Islamabad, and Dr. Qurayshi’ Ahmad Husayn Qal’adari, of Gujarat. My warmest thanks go to these institutions and individuals for making available, to me their valuable possessions for research purposes. Among others who .put ‘the’ present writer under a heavy debt of gratitude, the following particularly deserve a mention here:
(The late) Dr Amir Hasan-i Yazdigirdi, of Tehran University, for his help in the acquisition of the photo-print of the Astan-i Quds-i Radawi manuscript of the Kalimat and Mr. Ahmad Gulchin-i Ma’ani from whose hospitality I benefited during my visit to Mashhad in 1972; Mr. Shabbir Ahmad Akhtar, of Tehran, and Dr Athar Sher, of Patna, for their assistancc in the procurement of the microfilm copy of the Patna manu cri pt ; (the late) Pir Husam al-Din Rashidi for his generosity in sending me the microfilm of all the three volumes of the Waqi at-i Dar al-Hukumat-i Delhi; (the late) ‘Allama Sayyid Wazirul Hasan-i ‘Abidi’ for giving to me on loan the unique manuscript of the lrsal al-Makatib wa i-Rasa ‘il for a number of years; Mr. Mushfiq Khwaja and my (late) father, Dr. Akhtar Amritsari, for sending me several books from karachi and Lahore without which I could not have been able to carry out my researches; (the late) Mr. Ahmad Rabbani for honouring me with an opportunity to work in the library of his illustrious father, the late Professor Khan Bahadur Maulawi Muhammad Shafi’. Mr. Mubin al-Haqq Haqqi and (the late) Mr. Salim al-Haqq Haqqi, of Model Town, Lahore, for allowing me to consult an extremely rare and important manuscript of the Risala dar Hal-i Wafat-i Shaykh al-Muhaddithin ‘Abd al-Haqq bin Sayf al-Din Dihlawi al-Bukhari; Dr.S.A.A. Rizvi for not only going through an earlier draft of the Introduction and making valuable suggestions, but also granting me an unhindered access to his personal library ; and (the late) Professor A.L. Basham who read a substantial portion of the Annotations and favoured me with his comments and advice. And finally, the staff of the Menzies Library and Chifley Library of the Australian National University, Canberra, especially Miss Enid Bishop, Mrs. Nola Clarkson, Mr. Ajit Ray and Mr. Noel Rose, who never begrudged any assistance when I needed it.
It will not be out of place to mention here that parts of the Introduction that follows have already appeared in the shape of articles in The Muslim World (Connecticut, USA), the Islamic Culture (Hyderabad, India), the Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society (Karachi) and the commemoration volume called Nadhr-i hameed Ahmad Khan complied and edited by Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi (Lahore, 1981).
Last but nut the least, I must acknowledge with thanks that were it not for the infinite kindness and consideration of Professor Waheeduz-Zaman that has been my portion throughout my stay at .the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Islamabad, the finalization of the present work for the press would not have been possible in the foreseeable future.
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