JĀMI ii. And Sufism




Among the several facets of Jāmi’s persona and career—Sufi, scholar, poet, associate of rulers—it may be permissible to award primacy to the first mentioned. This would certainly correspond to Jāmi’s own view and to that of one of his closest disciples, ʿAbd-al-Ḡafur Lāri: both the practice of scholarship and the composition of poetry served for Jāmi, Lāri reports, as veils for his inward state, as guarantors for the concealment of spiritual absorption that is mandated by the Naqšbandiya (Lāri, p. 3, 9; Bā-ḵarzi, p. 125). As for Jāmi’s dealings with rulers in Herat and elsewhere, they generally consisted of interventions on behalf of petitioners seeking the redress of grievances or the remission of taxes (Urunbayev and Epifanova, pp. 156-59), consonant with the practice of his friend and fellow Naqšbandi, Ḵᵛāja ʿObayd-Allāh Aḥrār (d. 1490; see further below). It must also be said, however, that Jāmi was by no means averse to receiving of costly gifts from the powerful.

Jāmi’s affiliation to the Naqšbandiya, an order swiftly rising to prominence at the time in both Transoxiana and Khorasan, was central to his understanding and practice of Sufism. His association with the order began when he was still a child: when Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Pārsā (d. 1419), one of the principal associates of its eponym, Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Bahāʾ-al-Din Naqšband (q.v.; d. 1389), was passing through Herat in 1419 en route to the Hajj; Jāmi’s father had hoisted him onto his shoulders to receive Pārsā’s blessing. Recalling the event in later years, Jāmi affirmed that this encounter had already linked him indissolubly to the Naqšbandiya (Kāšefi, I, p. 242; Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, pp. 397-98). The linkage became manifest when Jāmi joined the following of Saʿd-al-Din Kāšḡari (d. 1456), who was joined to Bahāʾ-al-Din Naqšband by two generations in the initiatic chain. Jāmi had with difficulty extricated himself from an amorous attachment in Herat in order to follow a course of study in Samarqand, and one night, when tormented by the pangs of separation, he dreamt of Kāšḡari who instructed him to take God as his beloved and as the one indispensable (nāgozir) companion. Hastening back to Herat, he submitted himself to Kāšḡari with immediate and permanent transformative effect. This was an outcome Kāšḡari himself had long desired. It was his wont to hold forth in the Masjed-e Jāmeʿ of Herat before and after each of the five daily prayers, and whenever Jāmi passed by, before his departure for Samarqand, he would remark to his followers: “This is a young man of remarkable talent; I am enchanted by him, and know not how to ensnare him.” After Jāmi’s return, he proclaimed with satisfaction: “Now a royal falcon has fallen into my trap; God has granted me a favor with the company of this young man” (Kāšefi, I, pp. 239-40). The tie thus forged between the two men was soon palpably fortified by Jāmi’s marriage to a granddaughter of Kāšḡari.

Jāmi initially submitted himself, however, to austerities of separation from the world so extreme that on his re-emergence he had temporarily forgotten the niceties and forms of social intercourse. This retreat was intended to serve as a purgative measure, and did not represent a permanent choice; fully in accord with the Naqšbandi principle of ḵalvat dar anjoman (“solitude within society”), Jāmi soon resumed involvement in a broad range of social, intellectual and even political activities, in Herat and beyond. Indeed, while confessing to his own predilection for solitude, he frequently expressed his disdain for those who, under the pretext of piety, sought isolation from their fellows (Bāḵarzi, p. 226). Neither did Jāmi’s Sufi initiation bring to an end his endeavors in formal scholarship, the sphere in which he had displayed precocious brilliance in both Herat and Samarqand (nor, it seems, did it free him from the arrogance that frequently accompanies unusual scholarly attainment). This did not necessarily imply a contradiction, for as Kāšefi reports, there were many who believed that “engagement with the path of the Ḵʷājagān [the Naqšbandi masters and their immediate predecessors in Transoxiana] reinforces the powers of intellectual and rational perception” (Kāšefi, I, p. 237; one of his early teachers in Herat, Šahāb-al-Din Moḥammad Jājarmi, nonetheless expressed dissatisfaction with his recourse to Kāšḡari; Kāšefi, I, p. 240). Also in full conformity with Naqšbandi precepts was Jāmi’s disdain for miraculous visions and feats (karāmāt); the only such feat worth aspiring to was, he said, to experience a state of intense awareness of God (jaḏba) in the company of one blessed by Him (Kāšefi, I, p. 240). In one respect, however, Jāmi seems to have dissented from Naqšbandi norms, for he did not advocate exclusive recourse to the silent ḏekr that had been normative for the order ever since the time of its eponym. He even discerned in vocal ḏekr qualities lacking in its silent counterpart, embracing as it does in cyclical fashion the faculties of the imagination (motaḵayyela), speech, hearing, and then again the imagination; and he rejected suspicions that its practice partook of hypocrisy (Kāšefi, I, p. 266). Another sign of individual preference at variance with Naqšbandi norms was his occasional indulgence in samāʿ, ecstatic circular motion to the accompaniment of music and song, in particular when stimulated by the composition of his romantic maṯnawi, Yusof o Zoleyḵā (Lāri, p. 7).

Equally important for Jāmi’s practice of Sufism, especially after the death of Kāšḡari in 1456, were his links with the already mentioned Naqšbandi shaykh, Ḵᵛāja ʿObayd-Allāh Aḥrār, resident in Samarqand, where he wielded considerable influence in the affairs of the Timurid dynasty. Aḥrār was Jāmi’s senior by some twelve years, but the two men appear to have regarded each other as equals, judging by the compliments exchanged between them. Jāmi praised Aḥrār for his skill in the fluent exposition of Naqšbandi principles, dedicated to him one of his didactic maṯnawis, the Toḥfat al-aḥrār, and lauded him when he died. For his part, Aḥrār would encourage aspirants on the Sufi path to study with Jāmi (Kāšefi, I, p. 251). They first met in 1460 when Aḥrār came to Herat in order to appeal to Sultan Abu Saʿid for the abolition of a tax, the tamḡā, not authorized by the šariʿa (Bāḵarzi, p. 116). More significant and prolonged interaction took place some five years later in Samarqand, Jāmi having gone there expressly to visit Aḥrār. They spent whole days together for close to six months, engaged in learned and uplifting discourse. Two years later, they met again in Marv, where Aḥrār had been invited by Sultan Abu Saʿid; and Aḥrār suggested that Jāmi should join him there (Bāḵarzi, pp. 142-43). Their fourth encounter took place in 1479. Aḥrār was once again absent from Samarqand, busy with mediating between the warring sons of Abu Saʿid, but ultimately the two men met in Šāš (Tashkent) and were able to commune anew without significant disruption. Much of their time was spent in meaningful and mutual silence, but it was on this occasion that Aḥrār was able to help Jāmi understand certain problematic passages in Ebn al-ʿArabi’s Fotuḥāt (Kāšefi, I, pp. 249-50). Jāmi and Aḥrār also corresponded with each other, some of their letters being little more than concise and formulaic expressions of esteem but others recommending their bearers for some form of assistance (Jāmi, Pis’ma-avtografy, letters 121, 197, 208, 263, 267, 279; Gross and Urunbaev, p. 131, 168-69, 335, 345; Kā-šefi, I, pp. 248-49). Jāmi also paid public tribute to Aḥrār with the encomia he included in the prefatory matter of several of his maṯnawis (Yusof o Zoleyḵā, in Haft owrang (awrang), pp. 588-89; Leyli o Majnun, in Haft owrang, pp. 753-55; and Ḵerad-nāma-ye Eskandari, in Haft owrang, pp. 918-19).

Jāmi expounded the fundamental principles of the Naqšbandiya in a brief treatise entitled Sar-rešta-ye ṭariq-e Ḵʷājagān (“The Quintessence of the Path of the Masters”). He sets forth as the goal of their path “permanent presence with God” (davām-e ḥożur maʿa’l-Ḥaqq); once such presence has become fully assimilated, the result is witnessing (mošāheda), i.e., a witnessing of the divine manifestation in all things. The paths to this goal are threefold: ceaseless and silent ḏekr, accomplished in such fashion that one seated next to the person engaged in it would be unaware of his state; tawajjoh, interpreted in this context to mean orientation to the heart as the locus of a divine presence resulting from ḏekr; and rā-beṭa, a constant state of inward attachment to the spiritual guide. The attribution to Jāmi of another, somewhat longer treatise on the Naqšbandiya (Resāla-ye Naqšbandiya, ms. Esad Ef. 3702 [Süleymaniye]), is uncertain, for no mention of it occurs in lists of his writings drawn up by contemporaries, and it seems to rest on little more than the citation of a line of his verse at the very end of the work. Jāmi gathered some of the sayings of Ḵᵛāja Moḥammad Pārsā and supplemented them with commentary in a brief treatise, Soḵanān-e Ḵᵛāja Pārsā, and he also prepared a précis of the main source for the life of Bahāʾ-al-Din Naqšband, the Anis al-ṭālebin wa ʿoddat al-sālekin of Ṣalāḥ-al-Din b. Mobārak Boḵāri; what appears to be an autograph copy of his version is to be found in the Khudabakhsh Library in Patna (Moḥammad Ḏāker Ḥosayn, introduction, Jāmi, Ḵolāṣa-ye Anis al-ṭālebin, p. xiii). Finally, the title of Jāmi’s longest maṯnawi, Selselat al-ḏòahab (“The Golden Chain”) may be an allusion to a secondary line of Naqšbandi initiatic descent so designated, that consisting of the first eight Imams of the Prophet’s Household. This diffuse work does, in any event, sometimes address itself to matters of distinctively Naqšbandi concern, such as the true nature of the silent ḏekr (Selselat al-ḏòahab in Haft owrang, pp. 20-29). It also includes Kāšḡari’s account of how his master, Neẓām-al-Din Ḵāmuš, had swiftly freed himself from the love of a handsome young man (Selselat al-ḏòahab in Haft owrang, pp. 164-66). More informative, however, than all the foregoing for Jāmi’s understanding and personal practice of the Naqšbandi path are the dicta and anecdotes recorded by his biographers, especially ʿAbd-al-Ḡafur Lāri in his Takmela.

Although authorized by Kāšḡari to inculcate the distinctive ḏekr of the Naqšbandis in aspirants to the path and fulfill all the other tasks of formal spiritual guidance, Jāmi was notoriously averse to the tasks of preceptorship. After the death of Kāšḡari, he customarily assigned those who sought training in the path to Moḥammad Ruji, another of his ḵalifas, and similarly referred Ṣonʿ-Allāh Kuzakonāni, who customarily led the prayer at the mosque where his circle would gather, to still another successor, ʿAlāʾ-al-Din Maktabdār (Algar, 2003, p. 13, 24-25). News of this reached Aḥrār in Samarqand, and he accordingly asked Faḵr-al-Din Kāšefi, newly arrived from Herat, whether it was true that Jāmi did not accept morids, by contrast with Ruji. Kāšefi responded that this was the case, whereupon, with a mixture of regret and approval, Aḥrār cited this dictum of ʿAbd-al-Ḵāleq Ḡojdovāni, an initiatic ancestor of the Naqšbandiya: dar-e šayḵi-rā beband, dar-e yāri begošāy/ dar-e ḵalvat-rā beband, dar-e ṣoḥbat-rā gošāy (“close the door of shaikhhood, open the door of friendship/ close the door of retreat, open the door of companionship”; Kāšefi, I, pp. 251-52). Nonetheless, again according to Faḵr-al-Din Kāšefi, “if a sincere person should suddenly appear, he [i.e., Jāmi] would secretly enlighten him about this path,” a case in point being his own father, Ḥosayn Wāʿeẓ Kāšefi. The elder Kāšefi had come to Herat in the hope of joining the following of Kāšḡari, but the shaikh had expired not long before his arrival. He therefore beseeched Jāmi to accept him as his disciple. Jāmi demurred, but “by way of allusion pointed him to a certain spiritual practice” (šoḡli; Kāšefi, I, pp. 253-54); the wording seems to convey a high degree of reluctance. Perhaps anxious to enhance his spiritual legacy, Jāmi changed course toward the end of his life and began to look actively for authentic seekers (arbāb-e ṭalab), but he was disappointed, for, he said, “seekers are many, but what they seek is only the gratification of their own souls” (Kāšefi, I, p. 252).

Despite all the foregoing, several persons are said to have been formally trained by Jāmi in the ṭariqa: Rażi-al-Din ʿAbd-al-Ḡafur Lāri (d. 1506), renowned for a number of writings, especially the supplement (takmela) he wrote to Jāmi’s Nafaḥāt al-ons, an engaging and detailed portrayal of his master as a near-perfect embodiment of the Naqšbandi ideal; Mawlānā Šahidi Qomi, who took refuge in Gujarat once the Safavids conquered Khorasan; and Ḵʷāja Żiāʾ-al-Din Yusof, Jāmi’s third son (d. 1513) (Algar, 2003, pp. 24-25). Others include ʿAlāʾ-al-Din Sāvaji (d. 1559); Masʿud Širvāni (d. 1531); Ḥāfez-al-Din Bayhaqi, whose son, Moḥammad Hāšem, having received the ṭariqa from him, passed it on to some five other persons, at least one of whom trained another generation of disciples (Kešmi, Nasamāt, pp. 108-109, 110-14, 122-23). As for ʿAlišir Navāʾi (d. 1501), minister to Mirzā Ḥosayn Bayqarā and celebrated for his poetry in both Persian and Chaghatay Turkish, he openly proclaimed his loyalty to Jāmi in this unambiguous verse: Nevâyî kim mürid ve bendesidir/ irâdet yolıda efkendesidir (“Navāʾi, his [i.e., Jāmi’s] disciple and slave/ is prostrate before him in the path of discipleship,” quoted in Lâmiî, Nefehat Tercemesi, p. 458).

In addition to these individuals, two relatively late sources, al-Entebāh fi salāsel awliyāʾiʾllāh by Šāh Wali-Allāh Dehlavi (d. 1762), and the Tebyān wasāʾel al-ḥaqāʾeq of Kamāl-al-Din Ḥaririzāda (d. 1882) mention the Jāmiya as a distinct branch of the Naqšbandiya, leading from ʿAlāʾ-al-Din Maktabdār through his son, Ḡiyāṯ-al-Din Aḥmad, to Jāmi’s nephew, Mawlānā Moḥammad Amin (al-Entebāh, p. 32, Tebyān, III, f. 201b). This account presupposes that Maktabdār had an initiatic relationship with Jāmi as well as with Kāšḡari, something not borne out by the sources. The Jāmiya is said to have spread to the Hejaz, becoming entwined there with other lines of Sufi transmission and therefore losing its independent significance. What is certain is that Jāmi’s posthumous influence on Sufism was exerted more by the broad literary corpus he carefully and deliberately assembled than by any Naqšbandi lineage descended from him.

Jāmi joined to his Naqšbandi affiliations an enthusiastic, even combative devotion to the teachings and textual legacy of Ebn al-ʿArabi. Not only had he been preceded in this devotion by other Naqšbandis, notably Moḥammad Pārsā; he also saw a clear affinity between the two foci of his loyalty: “Uttering the ḏekr softly is the method of some shaikhs, including the great master Moḥyi-al-Din Ebn al-ʿArabi . . . The method of most shaikhs is uttering the ḏekr loudly, whereas the method of imagining (taḵayyol), i.e., the silent ḏekr, is the foundation of the path of the [Naqšbandi] masters” (Lāri, Takmela, p. 28). Jāmi saw in him the supreme exponent of gnostic wisdom for the Arabs, just as Jalāl-al-Din Rumi had been for the Persians; defended in public debate Ebn al-ʿArabi’s view that the Pharaoh had died a believer; and rejected as misconceived the criticisms made of some of his teachings by the Kobrawi, ʿAlāʾ-al-Dawla Semnāni (d. 1336) (Bāḵarzi, pp. 90, 96, 103).

He nonetheless confessed to an initial inability to grasp certain of Ebn al-ʿArabi’s writings, and it was not until he had studied the works of Ebn al-ʿArabi’s foremost pupil, Ṣadr-al-Din Qonavi/Qunyavi (d. 1234), that matters were clarified for him. According to Lāri, he had vowed that “if this gate be opened for me, I will expound the meanings intended by this group [the Sufis of Ebn al-ʿArabi’s school] in such a way that people will easily understand them,” and all that he wrote thereafter on that subject was in fulfillment of that vow (Lāri, p. 17). There is indeed an unmistakable pedagogical intent in much of Jāmi’s writing on Sufi matters. He wrote first a commentary on Naqd al-noṣuṣ fi Šarḥ naqd al-noṣuṣ, Ebn al-ʿArabi’s own digest of the Foṣuṣ al-ḥekam, drawing on both Qonavi and other previous commentators such as Moʾayyed-al-Din Jandi (d. 1291), Saʿd-al-Din Farḡāni (q.v.; d. ca. 1299-1300), ʿAbd-al-Razzāq Kāšāni (d. 1335) and Dāʾud Qayṣari (d. 1350), from whose works he includes pages of verbatim quotation. Far bulkier than the original work, the Naqd al-noṣuṣ serves effectively as a general introduction to the mysticism of Ebn al-ʿArabi, with particular attention to the concept of the “Perfect Man” (al-ensān al-kāmel; Chittick, pp. 142-51). Later Jāmi wrote a commentary on the Foṣuṣ al-ḥekam itself, a relatively modest enterprise in that he restricts himself to elucidating the immediate meaning of each sentence in the original text and shuns theoretical digressions.

The role of Jāmi in propagating the mysticism of Ebn al-ʿArabi in the Persian-speaking world was by no means limited to these two commentaries. More accessible and aesthetically attractive was his Lawāyeḥ (“Illuminations”), a series of thirty-six meditations of varying length on metaphysical topics such as the relation of the divine attributes to the Essence (Lawāyeḥ, ed. Richard, no. 15, p. 78), the plurality of the modes of the Essence and their “inclusion” within Its unity (no. 19, p. 96), and the connection between degrees of existence and degrees of knowledge (no. 33, p. 154). Here, too, he cites previous authorities, above all Qonavi, as well as Ebn al-ʿArabi himself (pp. 123, 147, 154, 163). Jāmi is moved on several occasions in this work to criticize both the Ašʿari theologians and the philosophers (ḥokamāʾ), finding their views inferior to the insights of the Sufis (Lawāyeḥ, ed. Richard, pp. 122-24, 152). He took up the same comparative theme, systematically and in detail but more prosaically, in al-Dorrat al-fāḵera fi taḥqiq maḏhab al-Ṣufiyya wa’l-Motakallemin wa’l-Ḥokamāʾ al-Motaqaddemin, a work commissioned by Sultan Mehmed Fatih but only completed after his death in 1481. Eleven principal topics are examined in turn, with the theologians represented by Šarif Jorjāni (d. 1413) and Saʿd-al-Din Taftazāni (d. 1390), the philosophers by Naṣir-al-Din Ṭusi (d. 1274), and the Sufis by Qonavi, Mollā Fanāri (d. 1431), and Dāʾud Qayṣari, as well as Ebn al-ʿArabi himself. Not all the copious citations from these authorities are explicitly identified by Jāmi (Heer, Introduction to al-Dorrat al-fāḵera, pp. 6-9).

The Lawāyeḥ is written in a mixture of rhymed prose and verse, mostly quatrains appended to the end of each section and serving to summarize it. The relationship between poetry and prose is the exact opposite in the case of his Šarḥ-e robāʿiyāt: here, the quatrains come first, forty-eight in number, and they are each followed by an average of one page of commentary. The quatrains express concisely some gnostic or metaphysical theme, which is then developed in greater detail in the commentary. Similarly compounded of prose and verse are two commentaries Jāmi wrote on the works of others: Lawāmeʿ (“Gleams”), on the celebrated wine poem of Ebn al-Fāreż (d. 1235); and Ašeʿat al-lamaʿāt (“Rays from the Flashes”), on the Lamaʿāt of Faḵr-al-Din ʿErāqi (d. 1289). Both of these address themselves primarily to the theme of love (ʿešq) as articulated by Ebn al-ʿArabi and his school.

The same topic is frequently encountered in the vast body of ghazals that make up about three quarters of Jāmi’s three successive divāns, later assembled into a single whole. Many of the poems in question are suffused with homoerotic undertones that were by then conventional in Persian Sufi poetry. By way of explanation, Jāmi had recourse to the equally conventional adage that love of the metaphorical—the divine beauty as manifested in a human—serves as a bridge to love of the Real, but it seems that Jāmi tarried indefinitely on the bridge in question, for he confessed that even in old age he was appreciative of the beauty of young men (Bāḵarzi, p. 138). Certain of the ghazals do, however, lend themselves reasonably to allegorical explanation, given the inclusion in them of technical terms of gnosis and metaphysics such as momken and wājeb (contingent and necessary [being]) or mabdaʾ and maʿād (the beginning and return [of all things]) (Divān-e Kāmel, ḡazals 292 (392), p. 283, and 879 (979), p. 509).

Jāmi’s most substantial and widely read contribution to the Sufi canon was perhaps his Nafaḥāt al-ons men ḥaża-rāt al-qods, a hagiographical compendium that marked the apex of this genre in Persian. Here as in several of the instances already enumerated, he built carefully and respectfully on the work of his predecessors. The foundation had been laid by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Solami (d. 1021) with his Ṭabaqāt al-Ṣufiya in Arabic. This book was then rendered by Ḵᵛāja ʿAbd-Allāh Anṣāri (d. 1089), using the same title, into the Persian dialect of Herat; he rearranged much of the contents and added material of his own. Jāmi recounts this history in his introduction to the Nafaḥāt; the language used by Anṣāri, he claimed, had become incomprehensibly archaic and liable to misinterpretation, apart from which Sufis of the four centuries that had elapsed since Anṣāri had completed his work also deserved to be memorialized. Hence the Nafaḥāt, a compendium based on the Ṭabaqāt al-Ṣufiya but incorporating material from other “reputable books;” the final impetus for its composition was supposedly provided by an earnest request from Navāʾi (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, p. 2). Before proceeding thus to update the Ṭabaqāt al-Ṣufiya in terms of both content and language, Jāmi takes care to define key concepts relating to the history of Sufism: the meanings of sainthood (walāya) and the saint (wali); the difference between the Sufi (the fully accomplished wayfarer), the motaṣawwef (the one still striving on the path); the malāmati (“the seeker of blame”); various levels of tawḥid; and the charismatic feats (karāmāt) of the saints (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, pp. 3-25).

Among the new biographies he includes are those of numerous Naqšbandis and their immediate ancestors, beginning with Yusof Hamadāni (d. 1140) and ending with Aḥrār, who was still alive at the time of writing; the inclusion of a living figure in a work of this type was unusual, and it may be taken as another mark of Jāmi’s esteem for Aḥrār (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, pp. 380-416). He allots even more space to the other order important at the time in the eastern Persian world, the Kobrawiya, together with its Sohrawardi antecedents (pp. 420-55). Remarkable, too, is that he includes towards the end of his work notices of eleven poets, ranging chronologically from Sanāʾi (d. ca. 1131) to Hafez (Ḥāfeẓ, pp. 593-612). It is by no means certain, as Jāmi would have it, that Sanāʾi was a disciple of Yusof Hamadāni, or that ʿAṭṭār (d. 1221) followed Majd-al-Din Baḡdādi (d. 1220) (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, p. 593, 596), still less that some of the poets he refers to can with confidence be identified as Sufi. Jāmi’s efforts to make a Sufi of Ḵāqani (d. 1199) are particularly unconvincing (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, p. 605); but to his credit he confesses to uncertainty whether Hafez “ever stretched out the hand of discipleship to an elder” (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, p. 612). In all, what have been termed “eight clusters” of entirely new entries can be discerned in the Nafaḥāt (Mojaddedi, p. 169).

Copious mention in the Nafaḥāt of one’s near ancestors was evidently a matter of prestige for some of Jāmi’s contemporaries in Herat, for they complained to him that he had not written enough concerning them. He was, however, deliberate in his exclusions as well as inclusions, and he claimed to rely only on the most trustworthy authorities. He was particularly adamant in excluding from the Nafaḥāt Moḥammad Nurbaḵš (d. 1464), eponym of the Nurbaḵšiya, an offshoot of the Kobrawiya, and a claimant to Mahdihood, despite the appeal of the son, Qāsem Nurbaḵš, that he make mention of him; were he to do so, Jāmi responded, Qāsem would find the result highly displeasing (Maqāmāt, pp. 195-96). The absence from the Nafaḥāt of Šāh Neʿmat-Allāh Wali (d. 1431), an undeniably eminent figure, cannot be ascribed to any doctrinal deviance comparable to that of Moḥammad Nurbaḵš, for he was indubitably a Sunni. The fact that Neʿmat-Allāh’s descendants had moved in the direction of Shiʿism must, however, have sufficed for Jāmi—bitterly hostile to all manifestations of that creed—to expunge him from the roster of the Sufis. A similar explanation might be advanced for the omission of Ṣafi-al-Din Ardabili (d. 1334), were it not that his immediate successor, Ṣadr-al-Din (d. 1393), is respectfully mentioned in the context of Jāmi’s notice of Qāsem-e Tabrizi (d. 1433), better known as Qāsem al-Anwār (Jāmi, Nafaḥāt, p. 590).

Some three years after the death of Jāmi, ʿAlišir Navāʾi translated the Nafaḥāt into Chaghatay Turkish as Nesâyimüʾl-Mahabbe min Şemâyimi’l-Fütüvve (ed. Kemal Eraslan). On the one hand, he abbreviated some of the entries found in the original, and on the other, he expanded it by including material on Jāmi himself as well as his companions, some Indian Sufis, and, most importantly, numerous Turkic shaykhs of Central Asia. In 1520, Lâmiî Çelebi completed a translation of the Nafaḥāt into Ottoman Turkish. His version was originally entitled Futûhu’l-Mücahidîn li Tervîhi Kulûbi’l-Müşâhidîn because its completion happily coincided with the Ottoman conquest of Belgrade but it became popularly known simply as Nefehat Tercemesi (first printed Istanbul, 1872); and includes entries on early Ottoman Sufis, including those who brought the Naqšbandiya to Anatolia and Istanbul. A still unpublished Arabic translation of the Nafaḥāt was made by Tāj-al-Din Zakariā ʿOṯmāni (d. 1592), an Indian Naqšbandi shaikh resident in Mecca.

In sum, whether by design or not, with his affiliations and enthusiasms, his original works and his commentaries, Jāmi represented a summation of the learned and spiritual traditions of the Persian-speaking world, especially Khorasan, on the eve of the transformations wrought by the Safavid conquest.


Works by Jāmi. Ašeʿat al-lamaʿāt, in Ganjina-ye ʿerfān, ed. Ḥamid Rabbāni, Tehran, 1974.

Divān-e kāmel, ed. Hāšem Rażi, Tehran, 1962.

al-Dorrat al-fāḵera fi taḥqiq maḏhab al-Ṣufiyya wa’l-Motakallemin wa’l-Ḥokamāʾ al-Motaqaddemin, ed. Nicholas Heer, Tehran, 1979.

Haft Owrang, ed. Modarres Gilāni, Tehran, 1984.

Ḵolāṣa-ye Anis a-ṭālebin, ed. Moḥammad Ḏāker Ḥosayn, Patna, 1996.

Lawāmeʿ, in Majmuʿa-ye Monlā Jāmi, Istanbul, 1309 A.H.; repr. in Seh resāla dar taṣawwof with introduction by Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1981, pp. 104-89.

Nafaḥāt al-ons, ed. Maḥmud ʿĀbedi, Tehran, 1991.

Lawāyeḥ, in Majmuʿa-ye Monlā Jāmi, Istanbul, 1309 A.H.; repr. in Seh resāla dar taṣawwof with introduction by Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1981, pp. 3-103; ed. and tr. Yann Richard as Les Jaillissements de Lumière, Paris, 1982; ed. Moḥammad Ḥosayn Tasbiḥi, Tehran, n.d. Naqd al-noṣuṣ fi Šarḥ Naqš al-foṣuṣ, ed. William C. Chittick, Tehran, 1977.

Pis’ma-avtografy Abdarrakhmana Dzhami iz “Al’boma Navoi,” ed. A. Urunbaev, Tashkent, 1982 (Persian text in facsimile and Russian translation). Resāla-ye Naqšbandiyya, ms. Esad Ef. (Süleymaniye), 372.

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Šarḥ-e Robāʿiyāt, ed. Māyel Heravi, Kabul, n.d.; ibid, in Majmuʿa-ye Monlā Jāmi, Istanbul, 1309 A.H.; repr. in Seh resāla dar taṣawwof with introduction by Iraj Afšār, Tehran, 1981, pp. 42-103.

Soḵanān-e Ḵᵛāja Pārsā, in “Quelques Traités Naqshbandis,” ed. Marijan Molé, FIZ 6 1958, pp. 294-303. Tafsir Surat al-Fāteḥa, ed. Sajjad Rizvi, forthcoming.

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Hamid Algar, “Reflections of Ibn ʿArabi in Early Naqshbandi Tradition,” Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ʿArabi Society 10, 1991, pp. 45-66.

Idem, “Naqshbandis and Safavids: A Contribution to the Religious History of Iran and Her Neighbors,” in Michel Mazzaoui, ed., Safavid Iran and Her Neighbors, Salt Lake City, 2003, pp. 28-31.

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Šāh Wali-Allāh Dehlawi, al-Entebāh fi salāsel awliyāʾiʾllāh, Lyallpur, n.d. Jo-Ann Gross and Asom Urunbaev, eds., The Letters of Khwāja ʿUbayd Allāh Aḥrār and his Associates, Leiden, 2002.

Kamāl-al-Din Ḥaririzāda, Tebyān wasāʾel al-ḥaqāʾeq, ms. Ibrahim Efendi (Süley-maniye) 432.

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Lâmiî Çelebi, Nefehat Tercemesi, Istanbul, 1872.

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Esmāʿil Moballeḡ, Jāmi va Ebn ʿArabi, Kabul, 1964.

Jawid Mojaddedi, The Biographical Tradition in Sufism: the Ṭabaqāt Genre from al-Sulami to Jāmi, Richmond, U.K., 2001, pp. 151-76.

ʿAlišir Navāʾi, Ḵamsat al-motaḥayyerin, ms. Institut Vostokovedeniya po imeni Biruni Tashkent, 2242.

Moḥammad b. Ḥosayn Qazvini, Selsela-nāma-ye Ḵᵛājagān, ms. Bibliothèque Nationale, supplément persan, 1418.

Necdet Tosun, Bahâeddîn Nakşbend: Hayatı, Görüşleri, Tarikatı, Istanbul, 2002, pp. 135-45.

A. Urunbayev and L. Epifanova, “The Letters of Abdarrahman Jami as a Source of the Characteristics of the Poet’s Personality,” Yádnáme-ye Jan Rypka, Prague and the Hague, 1967, pp. 155-59.

(Hamid Algar)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

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Vol. XIV, Fasc. 5, pp. 475-479