About The Book
Letters on the Spiritual Path is the culmination of many years‚Äô effort to present for the first time a complete rendering into English, or any other western language¬†of all 272 letters of spiritual guidance written by the renowned Sufi teacher of¬†eighteenth century Morocco,¬†Mulay al-Arabi al-Darqawi al-Hasani (d. 1239/1823). These letters are a living example of an educative process that provided the wayfarer on¬†the Sufic path with an integral vision of the principles, attitudes, and conduct that¬†constitute Islamic spirituality itself and of the self-effacing comportment that¬†leads to the experiential knowledge of the Divine (ma'rifa). They offer rare insight¬†into the teacher/student relationship within the circles of Islamic mysticism.
The¬†letters are singularly personal and touch upon nearly every conceivable aspect¬†of the Sufic path, depicting the Shaykh as a human being living among other¬†human beings, and portraying how, for a person of God such as Mulay al-Arabi,¬†everything that happens can be seen as infused with the Divine Presence. In¬†this regard these letters are his response to those, like himself, who sought to negotiate the currents of the times without compromising themselves and their¬†values, and are as relevant today as they were to those who so ardently sought¬†copies of them during the lifetime of¬†Mulay al-Arabi himself.
The translation is¬†in clear accessible English, and holds true to the intention of the translators to,¬†‚Äúkeep in mind the fact that they were written in an intimate register of Arabic¬†that could be grasped by most of the Shaykh‚Äôs disciples.‚Äù The text includes an in depth¬†introduction, is well annotated with hadith and textual referents cited, and has both detailed biographical and topical indexes. This long awaited translation is a must for the library of every serious student of Sufism and provides excellent¬†examples of Sufi literature for the university classroom.
About The Author
Abu Abdullah¬†Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi¬†(1760‚Äì1823) was a Moroccan Sufi¬†leader of the¬†Shadhili¬†tariqa and the author of letters concerning the dhikr he¬†preached and instructions for daily life. He stressed noninvolvement in worldly affairs (Dunya) and spoke against other Sufi orders exploiting claims of¬†barakah¬†(blessings).¬†He was imprisoned by the¬†Moroccan¬†ruler¬†Mulay Slimane¬†(r. 1792‚Äì1822) for supporting revolts against the throne, but was released by¬†Abderrahmane¬†(r. 1822‚Äì1859).
A branch of the Shadhili order, the¬†Darqawa, was organized around his teachings after his death, with members coming from a wide range of social groups. Though the Darqawa was once the most important¬†tariqah¬†in¬†Morocco, its power waned as it spread throughout North Africa.¬†Al-Darqawi was descended from a Hasanid/Idrissid¬†sherif¬†family that lived among the Beni Zerwal Berbers, in the hills to the north-east of¬†Fez. ¬†His tomb is in the¬†Zawiya¬†Bou Brih also in the¬†Rif.