Shaykh Ibn Ata'illah al-Iskandari & Shaykh 'Abdullah Gangohi
Translation of the Hikam by Victor Danner Commentary Edited by Andrew Booso & Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf
Muslim religious life not only consists of belief in orthodox tenets of faith and a determined effort to follow the Sacred Law, it also requires one to scale the heights of the spiritual path. The Kitab al-Hikam of Shaykh Ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari is the inspiring explanation of the soul’s journey through this life, as determined through the Qur’an and Sunna. Along with his treatises and intimate discourses (munajat), the substantive feature of the work is the author’s 264 spiritual aphorisms (hikam)—concise, comprehensive and sublime sayings on self purification (tazkiya), and guidelines to help strengthen the relationship between humans and their Lord. These aphorisms, which have never failed to inspire, are presented in this edition according to the systematic arrangement of the great Indian scholar Shaykh ‘Ali Muttaqi (d. 975/1567), together with the indispensable commentary of the twentieth-century sage Shaykh ‘Abdullah Gangohi.
“Sometimes you encounter works which just make you re-evaluate your whole connection to Allah Most High. They make you realise the faqr (poverty) of your affair, and your distance from that which you thought you were close. Glorified is Allah. The Kitab al-Hikam is one such text. It has been serving wayfarers throughout the ages, in their quest to know their Most Majestic Lord.”
—Gavin N. Picken, Ph.D., American University of Sharjah, UAE
“The style of the commentary reflects the intimate teachings communicated from Master to disciple; and brings the inner meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunna to life for readers on all levels of comprehension and faith traditions.”
—Kenneth L. Honerkamp, University of Georgia, USA
“Enhancing one’s love for the Divine by reforming the inner and outer self is an obligation for everyone, and is the purpose of sufism. . . and this book is the fragrant essence of sufism.”
—Mawlana Khayr Muhammad Jalandhari, Late founder of
Khayr al-Madaris, Multan, Pakistan
“[The] commentary Ikmal al-Shiyam is an invaluable addition to our understanding of Ibn ‘Ata’illah’s thought, as well as an aid to those who seek better to apply his wisdom to their daily lives.”
—Nancy Roberts, Translator of Ibn ‘Ata’illah’s Kitab al-Lata’if (The Subtle Blessings)
“Using the late Professor Victor Danner’s translation, Booso has matched the elegance of the language in Danner’s translation with his editing of Gangohi’s Ikmal al-Shiyam. A welcome addition to the field of Islam and Sufism.”
—Mary Ann Danner Fadae, Widow of Victor Danner and translator of Ibn ‘Ata’illah’s Miftah al-Falah (The Key to Salvation)
“Commentary literature on the Kitab al-Hikam has been acknowledged as a genre that has been almost overlooked by both translators and scholars and The Book of Wisdoms makes a good step towards rectifying this situation.”
—Benjamin G Cook, University of Tasmania, Australia
Shaykh Ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari (d. 709/1309) lived in Egypt during the reign of the Mamluks. Originally from Alexandria, he moved to Cairo, where his professional life involved teaching Sacred Law in various institutions including the Al-Azhar Mosque. He also led a concurrent existence as a Master for disciples of Islamic spirituality. The Hikam is his principal work, one that has attracted universal approval from his own time up to the present day.
Shaykh ‘Abdullah Gangohi (d. 1329/1921) was a teacher in various seminaries in the Indian Sub-Continent, during an era of great academic and spiritual achievement in the region. His main area of expertise was Arabic language, and some of his works have become part of the core syllabus in numerous seminaries. He took the spiritual path from the famous hadith scholar and sufi master Mawlana Khalil Ahmad Saharanpuri (d. 1346/1927), who instructed him to write this commentary and eventually made him a master of the path in his own right.
Victor Danner (d. 1410/1990) was an American academic noted for his beautiful translation of the Hikam. He taught various subjects, including Arabic Language, Classical Arabic Literature, and Sufism, at Indiana University