“The secret of Sufism is that it has no secret at all” ― Idries Shah
‘The essential truths of Sufism exist in all religions’, and no one knows this better than a Sufi practitioner who are often know to be mystic; and Sufi practices are considered as the mystical practices of Islam. Mysticism often refers to the collective of all the outer forms of a religious practice, along with living a life based on certain moral and ethical principles. If religious laws give religion a firm base to stand strong, it is often mysticism that helps one to reach the ultimate truth or God. The many saints and sages of the Islam religion were in fact all Sufi masters. For thousands of years, Sufi practices have co-existed and grown and helped grow Islam’s reach throughout the world along with its other practices & cultures.
Teachings of Sufi too are very practical in nature. Even though one would attribute teachings told within a mystical framework as something one would find difficult to comprehend, but surprisingly this isn’t the case with Sufism; the idea to spread the word and wisdom of God in such a way that even the lay man can understand him better is its main goal. Becoming one with God, becoming whole once again is what a Sufi practitioner strives to achieve.
In author Ahmad Javid’s latest book, ‘The Spirit of a Sultan’, the author narrates a historical novel centered around the life and times of one of history’s most revered and venerated Muslim scholar and poet, Hazrat Sultan Bahu. Bahu whose name itself means ‘with God’ was a saint and a Sufi poet who founded the Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order. Most books on Sufism and Islam and its mysticism are attributed to him. His couplets and poems have had a lasting impact and are sung even today in qawali and kafi forms. Although based on true events and historical people, the novel employs certain fictional liberties to tell a biographical story of a great poet and saint. It follows Sultan Bahu’s life history, his spiritual journey and the impact he had on the world, all the while showing us how to connect better with God in our hearts and minds.
The Spirit of a Sultan is a biographical account of Hazrat Sultan Bahu’s life and times. Whatever it is that we know today about Sultan Bahu has been in the form of tales and written works like the Manaqib-e-Sultani written by Sultan Hamid Sarwari Qaderi in the Persian language. Dr Ahmad Javid has brought out a very thoroughly researched and well written book that not only introduces to the reader the life of a gentle spirit but also shows a fictionalized account of a glimpse into the life in the Mughal times and their various conflicts all of which transports the reader to a historical world.
The book starts with a bang and the thrilling and mind captivating battle scenes will pull you right into the story. Bazaid Muhammad Awan’s courage and fighting skills will enthral the readers completely and sets up the first chapter and the book just perfect. Bazaid marries Bibi Rasti and out of their union is born the great Bahu. The rest of the book shows Sultan Bahu’s quest for divine knowledge and the way his teachings & messages of mystic Sufism, journeys your soul on a path of spiritual highway and towards the final destination that is God. All things present comes from him and will eventually need to find its way back home, getting immersed in the oneness and wholeness of the single God.
The Spirit of a Sultan oscillates between telling a story and telling about the history behind an event, and this works well because this is also probably the best way to teach history to students. And although narration of history can never be full and final or complete, as each historian will have his own way to interpret the happening of events to better suit the message he has chosen to send out; Dr Ahmad Javid’s book is pretty accurate in its retelling of events and you won’t find anything controversial in them. All in all there are four parts to the book, each part dealing with a particular phase in Sultan Bahu’s life. And the last chapter is devoted to Faqir Nur Muhammad who was Sultan Bahu’s devotee and disciple and whose efforts bore fruit to ensure that the saint’s teaching spread all across the world.
I recommend this book to both Muslims and non Muslims alike and anyone who is interested in learning more about the life of the great Sufi saint Sultan Bahu. This fictional style of writing makes this book a must read and the real photographs and original poems and prayers are a definite bonus. The Spirit of the Sultan enjoys the best of both what the fiction and nonfiction worlds has to offer and is a wonderful work from a very learned mind.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 18, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1484917944
- ISBN-13: 978-1484917947