Introduction by Dr. Reza Sharafzadeh
According to most historians the 7th & 8th century of Islam (1200-1300 CE) were some of the bloodiest and saddest periods due to invasion lead by Moguls against the eastern provinces of Iran. Some of the most prominent Grand Sheikhs were slaughtered e.g. Sheikh Najmed-din Kobraa and Attar Neyshaaboori and much of the Persian religious luminaries were scattered around the neighboring countries. These attacks left indelible marks upon the society of Iran:
1.      Exodus of the Iranian scientists, Orafa (Sufi Erudite) and poets e.g. Sultanol Olamaa Bahaa Walad the father of Molawi to Qunieh and Sayfed-din Aaqsaara and etc. The net side effect of this migration was expansion of foreign centers of culture and knowledge e.g. Asia Minor and India.
2.      The previous flourishing creativity was lost and replaced by perpetual analysis and rehashing of the old subjects.
3.      Moguls had no interest in religion but found interest in Sufism, therefore they financed the rapid expansion of the Khaqneqaah and every old man collected some followers and got financed for training students. Much fraud and superstition was spread around but from amongst these schools new generation of Sufi luminaries was raised e.g. Attar Neyshaaboori, Shams Tabrizi, Sultanol Olamaa Bahaa Walad, Molawai, Shahabed-din Sahrwardi, Ibn Faredh, Ibn Arabi, Termezi, Awhed-din Kermani, Khajoo Kermani, Semnani, Hafiz, Shah Ne’matollah Wali and of course Mahmood Shabestari.
4.      Scholars at that time saw the invasions as the Divine punishment for the sins of the Muslims. Fatalistic attitudes e.g. the School of Jabariya (Fate’s Fatalism & Inescapability) drowned the spirit of resistance, bravery, endurance and chivalry—necessary characteristics for Sufism—whereupon posture of submission and complacence conquered the minds & hearts of thinkers and artists. One can see this impact upon the Molawi’s Mathnawi and Shabestari’s Haqqol-Yaqin’s 7th chapter.
5.      In this period of 7th and 8th century of Islam (1200-1300 CE) Arefs such as Ibn Arabi introduced the concept of philosophy into Sufism. Therefore the Sufi schools taught religion and Sufism and encouraged philosophical exchanges in the form of tales (Hekayat) and these additional teachings were called “Elm Irfaan” (Science of Ma’refat) or “Falsafeh Irfaan” (Philosophy of Ma’refat). The two seminal works of Ibn Arabi i.e. “Fotoohot Makki” and “Fosoosol Hekam” rendered the principles of Sufism and Irfaan (Science of Ma’refat) in a more rationalized and logical formality based upon deductions and reasoning. And Sufis like Araqi and Shebestasri expanded this trend e.g. 4th chapter for Haqqol-Yaqin is under complete influence of the Ibn Arabi’s work.
6.      Once Sufism reached India it was intermixed with the Indian intricate, complex and elegant wisdom. Although Saharwardy’s work had already spread through India, both Shah Ne’matollah Wali and his son Shah Khalil expanded the Sufism even further.
These Sufi expansions gave rise to Sufi politicians and rulers. This trend started by Sayyed Mohammad Noorbaksh and Sheikh Safied-din Ardabily used spiritual excuses to influence the political arena. Some of their children even established their own rule and government e.g. Uprising of Sarbeh Daran, Mosha’sha’in, Saadaan Mar-a’shi and the movement of Horoofieh are the remarkable resilience of Sufism to arise the spirit of combat against injustice and cruelty (around the 8th century of Islam).

© 2004-2002,  Dara O. Shayda