From The Walled Garden Of Hakim Sanai by David Pendlebury 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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From The Walled Garden Of Hakim Sanai by David Pendlebury
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The aim has been to put a selection of Hakim Sanai’s thoughts into readable modern English, and offer it to the growing number of informed readers from all walks of life who are beginning to discover the relevance of certain traditional Middle-Eastern ideas to contemporary preoccupations in the West.

This cutting and polishing process has not taken place entirely in a vacuum of arbitrary personal whim. We are fortunate today, in a way that eminent western scholars have regrettably not always been in the past, in having available first-hand guidance in the interpretation of the spirit, as opposed to the letter, of classical Sufi materials. I have in mind the work of Idries Shah, and others like him, who have effectively freed the study of Sufism from the distressingly irrational restrictions and distortions to which it has been subjected. Sufi studies have been lifted out of the academic arena, and placed fairly and squarely where they belong – within the reach of ordinary people. Such a process of popularization is the very reverse of a dilution or degradation of the source materials: it is an indication of a trend whereby a vital teaching is no longer being held at arm’s length but is now being allowed to weave itself, in a most timely way, into the fabric of our culture. In this present undertaking, Shah’s work has served both as an encouragement and a touchstone.

A. J. Arberry quotes Hakim Sanai as saying of his Hadiqat ul-Haqiqa “Henceforward, so long as men have speech at all, the philosophers of the world will read this book.” The book itself shows in equally forthright terms what man is, in order to afirm what he can become. For Sanai the self is unreality and God the reality. He is also ‘The Friend’, and is approached as one would a beloved friend. One of the most striking features of Sanai’s poetry – and indeed almost all Sufi poetry – is the way in which a complete analogy is drawn between the ideals of human love and divine love.

About the Author


Hakim Sanai flourished during the reign of the Ghaznavid Sultan Bahram Shah (1118-1152) and probably died in 1150. He was already a poet of some eminence at the court at Ghazna, when he underwent a sudden transition from being a mere panegyrist of kings and instead became inspired exclusively to sing the praises of God and eternal perfection. His name is commonly associated with his two more widely known successors, Attar and Rumi. Jalaluddin Rumi explicitly records his debt of gratitude to Sanai in the most generous terms:
I left off boiling while still half-cooked.
Hear the full account from the Sage of Ghazna.

It is also related that Bahram Shah offered to make him his brother-in-law; but Sanai graciously turned down the offer and set out forthwith on a pilgrimage to Mecca. On his return he began writing the Hadiqat, which he completed some time after 1130 C.E.”

Translator David Pendlebury has combined careers in language teaching, both in the UK and overseas with a lifelong interest in the ideas expressed so powerfully in Central Asia and the Middle East through the medium of poetry.

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