Nizam Ad-Din Awliya: Morals for Heart - Translated by Bruce B. Lawrence
Nizam Ad-Din Awliya: Morals for the Heart translated and annotated by Bruce B. Lawrence introduction by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami preface by Simon Digby He next spoke briefly about the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad. A dear one who was present asked: "How did the Ascension take place?" The master- may God remember him with favor-replied: "From Mecca to Jerusalem was the Night Journey (isra; Q.17: 1), from Jerusalem to the first heaven was the Ascension (mi'raj), and from the first heaven to the place of 'two bows' length' (Q.53: 7) was the Ascent (ciraj)." Then that dear one elaborated his question, asking: "Some claim that the Ascension was bodily, others that it was spiritual. How can it be both?" On the blessed tongue of the master-may God remember him with favor-came this verse: "Imagine the best, ask not for details!" Fawa'id al-Fu'ad (ca. 1325) The first and foremost representative of a literary genre that attained great popularity among South Asian Sufis, Fawa'id al-Fu'ad or Morals for the Heart, contains the conversations of a major Indian saint, Shaykh Nizam ad-din Awliya (d. 1325). Though recorded by a poet-disciple Amir Hasan, they were edited by the saint himself, and reflect his chaste, understated tone. In its style Morals for the Heart exemplifies the virtue of Persian prose as a didactic instrument. It communicates the numerous skills, the diverse moods, and the remarkable sensibilities of its austere subject. It captures the spirit of Shaykh Nizam ad-din's towering presence, his absolute loyalty to his spiritual master, his taste for poetry and music, and his empathy with the sufferings of others. We see him crying and laughing and praying. Passionate in his quest for God, he has left in Morals for the Heart a spiritual legacy that still animates and satisfies others who never knew him. Here Muslims discover one more treasure from their pre-modern past. Here non-Muslims encounter an Islam that brings peace and spiritual insight. Here all humanity is stilled by the saga of a Muslim exemplar who enshrined sacrifice and love as the highest goals of human existence when framed by faith in God.