Ruzbihan Baqli

Abu Muhammad Sheikh Ruzbehan Baqli (1128–1209) was a Persian[1] poet, mystic, teacher and sufi master. He wrote about his own life as well as published commentaries on Sufi poets and ideas.

Tomb of Ruzbihan Baqli in Shiraz, Iran.

Baqli's most renowned work was his autobiography Unveiling of Secrets or Kashf al-asra.

LifeEdit

Ruzbihan Baqli was born in 1128 to a family of Daylamite origin in Fasa in what is today Iran.[2] As a teenager, Baqli worked as a grocer. Although Baqli claimed to have had religious visions at ages three, seven, and fifteen, he said that his family was not religious. He described these visions as dreams and powerful ecstasies in The Unveiling of Secrets.

At age 15, Baqli left Fasa to spend 18 months in desert, during which time he claimed to receive more visions. After leaving the desert, he joined a Sufi sect.[3] In The Unveiling of Secrets, Baqli says he had his first "unveiling" while training with the Sufis. He eventually returned to Fasa to seek a master and spiritual guide; there he met and became a disciple of Shaykh Jamal al-Din Abi al-Wafa’ ibn Khalil al-Fasa’I.[4]

It is speculated that Baqli spent the next years travelling to Syria, Iraq, Kerman in Iran, Arabia, making the hajj twice. He returned to Shiraz in 1165 and set up a hospice[5] where he taught for 50 years. He married several wives and had two sons and three daughters..

Baqli died in 1209 in Shiraz.

LegacyEdit

Baqli's center for Sufi training and his teachings remained popular several generations after his death.[6] Ruzbihan Baqli died in 1209 in Shiraz and was placed in a tomb in his ribat. For several generations after his death, Ruzbihan Baqli's legacy as a Sufi master continued and Shiraz became a place of pilgrimage. However, the popularity of his order waned and eventually disappeared and his tomb fell into disrepair.

In 1972, Baqli's tomb was restored by the Iranian Department of Antiquities.[7]

The two most important hagiographies about him were written by family members almost a century after his death: The Gift to the People of Gnosis, in Memory of the Chief Axis of the World, Ruzbihan (1300); and The Spirit of the Gardens, on the Life of the Master Ruzbihan (1305).[8] Some groups in the Middle East, Central Asia, India, and Persia still study his texts today.[9]

Literary worksEdit

Baqli wrote his spiritual experiences and his poetry in a dense, rhetorical prose style. He composed mostly in Arabic and Persian.[10] His writings are unique because, while they do not include many dates or chronology, he talks about his personal life and his family, while not mentioning other outside events.[11] Baqli was known for his fondness and defense of many early Sufis’ ecstatic sayings (shathiyat) and therefore was dubbed "Doctor Ecstaticus."

Baqli completed his book Commentary on Ecstatic Sayings or Sarh al-shathiyyat in 1174.[12] He also wrote The Spirits’ Font in 1184. The Unveiling of Secrets or Kashf al-asrar was completed in 1189 after eight years. It is both an autobiography and a diary of visions and Sufi teachings.[13] Many of his works emphasize the Sufi theories of love, and also defend early Sufi saints in their ecstatic utterances. The Sufi saint Hallaj was a primary example in Baqli's text.[14]

While direct literary references to Baqli in later Sufism were not common, perhaps because of the difficulty of the texts, he was known for his love of beauty: fine fragrances, a beautiful face, and sweet voices. His texts were studied, however, by Jāmi of the fifteenth century and a Mughal prince of the seventeenth century.[15]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Irwin, edited by Robert (2010). The new Cambridge history of Islam, Volume 4 (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-521-83824-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Shahbazi, A. Shapur. "Shiraz i. History to 1940". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Columbia University Press. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  3. ^ Baqli, Ruzbihan (1997). Trans. Carl W. Ernst (ed.). The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master. Chapel Hill, NC: Parvardigar. pp. 9–11.
  4. ^ Baqli, Ruzbihan (1997). Trans. Carl W. Ernst (ed.). The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master. Chapel Hill, NC: Parvardigar. pp. 11–12.
  5. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (1996). Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism. Surrey: Curzon. p. 2.
  6. ^ Ernst, Carl W. "Rūzbihān". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  7. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (1996). Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism. Surrey: Curzon. pp. 5–7.
  8. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (1996). Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism. Surrey: Curzon. p. 7.
  9. ^ Ernst, Carl W. "Rūzbihān". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  10. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (1996). Ruzbihan Baqli: Mysticism and the Rhetoric of Sainthood in Persian Sufism. Surrey: Curzon. p. 5.
  11. ^ Baqli, Ruzbihan (1997). Trans. Carl W. Ernst (ed.). The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master. Chapel Hill, NC: Parvardigar. pp. x–xi.
  12. ^ Ernst, Carl W. "Rūzbihān". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
  13. ^ Baqli, Ruzbihan (1996). The Unveiling of Secrets: Diary of a Sufi Master. Chapel Hill, NC: Parvardigar. pp. xi.
  14. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie (1976). Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. p. 296.
  15. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (1999). "The Symbolism of Flight in Ruzbihan Baqli". In Leonard Lewisohn (ed.). The Heritage of Sufism (2 ed.). Oxford: One World. pp. 354–366.

SourcesEdit