Khamsata 'Ashara Maktuban, otherwise known as Maktubat
Fifteen letters by Shaikh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani to one of his disciples. Originally written in Persian, they were translated into Arabic by 'Ali Husamu'd-din al-Muttaqi (the Devout), who said of them, "... these letters comprise nuggets of wisdom and spiritual counsel, couched in various forms of allegory, metaphor, paraphrase and quotation, including approximately two hundred and seventy-five Qur'anic verses. They also contain allusions to the experiences [adhwaq] and spiritual states [halat] of the Sufis (may Allah's good pleasure be conferred upon them all). Translated from Persian into Arabic by 'Ali Husamu'd-Din Al-Muttaqi and from Arabic into English by Muhtar Holland
In the Name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
(and invoking the help that only He can provide!)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of All the Worlds, and may Allah bless our chief, Muhammad, as well as his family and his companions, each and every one.
Let me now explain the nature of the present work: These are fifteen letters, written by the Imam, the spiritual pole-star of Lordly attributes [al-qutb ar-rabbani], the expert teacher [ustadh], the immortal spiritual helper [al-ghawth as-samadani], the bounteous gift of merciful grace [al-faid ar-rahmani], my chieftain and my master, Shaikh Muhyi'd-din 'Abd al-Qadir al-Hasani al-Jilani. May Allah sanctify his innermost being, and may He enable us to derive benefit from him, from his blessed qualities, and from the blessings of his vast range of knowledge. Amin.
Originally written in the Persian language, these letters comprise nuggets of wisdom and spiritual counsel, couched in various forms of allegory, metaphor, paraphrase and quotation, including approximately two hundred and seventy-five Qur'anic verses. They also contain allusions to the experiences [adhwaq] and spiritual states [halat] of the Sufis (may Allah's good pleasure be conferred upon them all).
An interesting idea presented itself to this poor beggar, 'Ali ibn Husamu'd-din, widely known as al-Muttaqi [the Devout]. It occurred to me that I might produce an Arabic version, and that I could at least translate the substantial meaning of the text, while admitting that I am poorly qualified in the art of expression, especially when it comes to translating from the rich fare provided by the leader of the experts in effective communication [asham imam ahl al-ishara]. Here is the translation I now have to offer:
The Thirteenth Letter
Concerning the significance of the Qur'anic verse [aya] :
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. (24:35)
[Allahu nuru 's-samawati wa 'l-ard] 22
-with reference to certain other verses [ayat].
When the brilliant rays of the lights of :
Allah is the Light of the heavens Allahu
and the earth. (24:35) nuru 's-samawati wa 'l-ard.
-start shining on the niche [mishkat] of our consciences, the glass of the heart will be so affected by them that it sparkles with the light of :
The lamp is in a glass. al-misbahu fi zujaja :
The glass is as it were az-zujajatu ka-anna-ha
a shining star. (24:35) kawkabun durriyyun
The lightning flashes of the discoveries of :
[This lamp is] kindled from yuqadu min shajaratin
a blessed tree, [an olive]€¦ (24:35) mubarakatin [zaitunatin]
-will gleam forth from the canopies of the clouds of :
neither of the East la sharqiyyatin
nor of the West€¦ (24:35) wa la gharbiyyatin
-and kindle the lamps of the concept of :
€¦whose oil whould almost glow forth yakadu zaitu-ha yudi'u
[(of itself) though no fire [wa law lam
touched it]. (24:35) tamsas-hu nar].
The skies of our innermost beings will then be adorned, in their entirety, with the stars of the wisdom of :
And by the stars wa bi'n-najmi
they are guided. (16:16) hum yahtadun.
-and with the planets of the embellishment of :
We have adorned inna
the lowest heaven with zayyanna 's-sama'a 'd-dunya
the adornment of the planets. (37:6) bi-zinatini 'l-kawakib.
The moons of present awareness will rise from the horizons of
Light upon light. (24:35) nurun 'ala nur :
-and ascend to the constellations of the lofty elevation of :
And for the moon We have appointed wa 'l-qamara qaddarna-hu
mansions. (36:39) manazila.
-so that the nights of the heedlessness of :
By the night when it is wa 'l-laili
enshrouding. (92:1) idha yaghsha
-acquire the quality of :
And the day when it is wa 'n-nahari
resplendent. (92:2) idha tajalla
The fragrant perfumes of remembrance [dhikr] will emanate from the blessed grace of :
Those who seek forgiveness al-mustaghfirina
in the watches of the night. (3:17) bi'l-ashar.
The nightingales [balabil] of the trees of :
They used to sleep only a little kanu qalilan mina 'l-laili
during the night. (51:17) ma yahja'un.
-will sing their melodious songs of sorrow and grief, until the dawn of the good fortune of :
Allah guides to His light yahdi 'llahu
whomever He will. (24:35) li-nuri-hi man yasha' :
-makes its appearance, and the suns of the insights of intuitive knowledge [shumus al-ma'arif] begin their ascension from the point of :
He whom Allah guides, he is indeed man yahdi 'llahu
the one who is guided aright. (7:178) fa-huwa 'l-muhtadi.
Into plain view will then emerge the mysteries of :
It is not for the sun to overtake la 'sh-shamsu
the moon, yanbaghi la-ha
nor does the night outstrip the day. an yudrika 'l-qamara wa la 'l-lailu
They are floating sabiqu 'n-nahar :
each in a separate orbit. (36:40) wa kullun fi falakin yasbahun.
-and disclosed from the shapes of concealment will be the subtle enigmas of the secrets of:
And Allah speaks to mankind wa yadribu 'llahu 'l-amthala
in allegories, for li'n-nas :
Allah is Knower of all things. (24:35) wa 'llahu bi-kulli shai'in 'Alim.
The Fourteenth Letter
Concerning the perfection of intuitive knowledge [ma'rifa], the perfection of religion [din], and the fruits of thereof.
My dear friend!
When the sun of the sky of intuitive knowledge [ma'rifa] has reached the constellations of the perfection of :
Today I have perfected al-yawma akmaltu
your religion for you. (5:3) la-kum dina-kum
-and the sun of loving affection [yuh al-mahabba] has ascended to the point of complete surveillance over the highway systems of :
And I have completed wa atmamtu
My blessing upon you. (5:3) 'alai-kum ni'mati.
-the brilliant rays of the lights of :
And I have approved Islam wa raditu
for you as religion. (5:3) la-kumu 'l-islama dina.
-will shine forth, and the eye of certainty ['ain al-yaqin] will witness the explicit proofs of the implications of :
Is he whose breast Allah has expanded a-fa-man sharaha 'llahu
to receive Islam, so that he is guided sadra-hu li'l-islami
by a light from his Lord€¦? (39:22) fa-huwa 'ala nurin min Rabbi-h.
-in the sublime demonstration of :
The truth has come to you la-qad ja'a-ka 'l-haqqu
from your Lord. (10:94) min Rabbi-ka
It will discover the hidden treasures of the secrets of :
And unto Allah belong the treasuries wa li'llahi khaza'inu 's-samawati
of the heavens and of the earth. (63:7) wa 'l-ardi.
-and survey the subtle details of the real meanings [daqa'iq haqa'iq] of :
And in the earth there are signs wa fi 'l-ardi ayatun
for those who have sure faith, li'l-muqinin :
as well as in your own selves. wa fi anfusi-kum
What, do you not see? (51:20,21) a-fa-la tubsirun.
-and become privy to the enigmatic indications of :
So whichever way you turn, fa-aina-ma tuwallu
there is the Face of Allah. (2:115) fa-thamma wajhu 'llah.
The winds of the copious bounty of :
And We send the winds wa arsalna 'r-riyaha
fertilizing. (15:22) lawaqiha.
-will blow, and so will the winds of the gracious favor of :
We visit with Our mercy whom nusibu bi-rahmati-na
We will, and We leave not to waste the man nasha'u wa la nudi'u
reward of those who do good. (12:56) ajra 'l-muhsinin.
-from the direction of :
Allah is Ever-Gentle Allahu Latifun
to His servants. (42:19) bi-'ibadi-hi
-in the orchards of :
We do not leave to waste the reward inna la nudi'u
of one who does good works. (18:30) ajra man ahsana 'amala.
The trees of the gardens of :
Surely Allah is with those who are inna 'llaha ma'a 'lladhina 'ttaqaw
careful of their duty to Him, and those wa 'lladhina
who are doers of good. (16:128) hum muhsinun.
-will put forth the leaves direct perception [shuhud], and they will bear the fruits of manifestation [tajalli] to the utmost limit of perfection.
The fountains of the attainment of :
Such is the bounty of Allah; dhalika fadlu 'llahi
He bestows it on whom He will. (62:4) yu'ti-hi man yasha'.
-will flow from the heights of the mountains of
Allah is the Lord wa 'llahu
of infinite bounty. (62:4) Dhu 'l-fadli 'l-'aDim.
-into the river bed of the valleys of the heart.
Then the mysterious voice of the Unseen [hatif al-ghaib] will use the tongues of creatures to let it be known that :
As for those who believe and do inna 'lladhina amanu
righteous deeds, the All-Merciful wa 'amilu 's-salihati sa-yaj'alu
will surely assign them love. (19:96) la-humu 'r-Rahmanu wudda.
The herald of good fortune will pronounce the good tidings of :
O My servants, for you there is no fear ya 'ibadi la khawfun
this Day, and you are not the ones 'alai-kumu 'l-yawma
who will be feeling sad. (43:68) wa la antum tahzanun.
-and Ridwan [the custodian of the Garden of Paradise] will come to meet them from the abodes of :
A fair land, baldatun tayyibatun
and an All-Forgiving Lord. (34:15) wa Rabbun Ghafur.
-and he will say :
And therein you shall have all wa la-kum fi-ha
that you yourselves desire, and therein ma tashtahi anfusu-kum
you shall have all that you call for, wa la-kum fi-ha
as an offering of hospitality ma tadda'un :
from One who is All-Forgiving, nuzulan min
All-Compassionate. (41:31,32) Ghafurin Rahim.