Najm al-Din Razi : biography
Abū Bakr 'Abdollāh b. Moḥammad b. Šahāvar b. Anūšervān al-Rāzī () commonly know by the laqab, or sobriquet, of Najm al-Dīn Dāya, meaning "wetnurse". Hamid Algar, translator of the Persian Merṣād to English, states the application of "wetnurse" to the author of the Merṣād derives from the idea of the initiate on the Path being a newborn infant who needs suckling to surviveThe Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return. Islamic Publications International. North Haledon, New Jersey (1980), Page 8, Footnote 21. (573 AH/1177 - 654 AH/1256) was a 13th century Sufi Persian from Khwarezmia. Dāya followed the Sufi order, Kubrawiyya, established by one of his greatest influences, Najm al-Dīn Kubrā. Dāya traveled to Kārazm and soon became a morīd (pupil, one who follows the shaykh master and learns from him, undergoing spiritual trainingDr. Cyrus Ali Zargar. Augustana College. (2009)) of Najm al-Dīn Kubrā. Kubrā then appointed Shaikh Majd al-Dīn Bagdādī as the spiritual trainer who also became Dāya's biggest influence. Dāya constantly refers to al-Dīn Bagdādī as "our shaikh.""The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return.", Page 9
When his master, Najm al-Dīn Kubrā, was murdered in 618/1221, Dāya fled to Hamadan, then to Ardabil, and then to Anatolia where he finally settled with a fellow contemporary master Rumi.
There he put the teachings of his master Najmeddin Kubra into a writing in Persian called Merṣād al-ʻebād men al-mabdāʼ elāʼl-maʻād (Persian: مرصاد العباد من المبدا الی المعاد) which is shortly known as Merṣād al-ʻebād, and has gained prominence as a major reference text on Sufism and Islamic theology. The critical edition of Merṣād al-ʻebād by Mohammad-Amin Riahi was published in 1973 in Tehran and since then has been continued to be in print. This is a closely annotated scholarly edition, along with a comprehensive introduction on the life and works of Najmeddin Razi, which has been the major reference for later studies on Najmeddin Razi and Sufism. Merṣād al-ʻebād was translated by Hamid Algar into English as The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return.
The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return
The term Merṣād refers to the path from Qur'anic verse 89:14; "Verily thy Lord watches over the path". The divine vigilance implied here is generally taken as referring to God's omniscience of men's deeds, but it is plain that Dāya takes it in a slightly different sense, that of a protective and guarding vigilance. The second part of the title, men al-mabda' elā' l-ma'ād ("from origin to return") is to be found in the titles of many works that purport to treat in comprehensive fashion both cosmogony and eschatology and all that lies between."The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return."page 16-17
The comprehensiveness promised in this title of the work is amply fulfilled in its text. It deals, in a systematic manner, with the origins of the various realms and orders of creation, prophethood and the different dimensions of religion, the ritual practices, mores, and institutions of Sufism, the destinations that await different classes of men in the hereafter, and the fashion in which different professions and trades may come to yield spiritual benefit and heavenly reward."The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return." Islamic Publications International. North Haledon, New Jersey (1980). Quoted from page 17
A particular virtue of the book is its clear demonstration of the Qur'anic origins of Sufism. The numerous quotations from the Qur'an are not to be regarded as mere ornament, nor even as scriptural proofs adduced in support of various statements. Rather, they bear witness to the fact that for Dāya, as for other Sufis, the Qur'an constitutes a well-structured, seamless, and coherent universe. The Qur'anic verses encountered throughout the book are the loom on which it is woven, a particular sense for each verse being implied by the context in which it occurs."The Path of God's Bondsmen: From Origin to Return." Quoted from page 17-18
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