Reviews

In the wake of the documental discoveries of the past two decades on Yasawi’s teaching and tradition, the author treats the significance of a Persian-language treatise, the “Delights of the Holy Breaths” by the scholar of Sunni Islam and apologist of the Yasawiyya Muhammad ‘Alim Shaykh al-Siddiqi al-‘Alawi ‘Aliyabadi (1564-1633/4), known through his own work, testimonies (in Abu Tahir Khwaja’s Samariyya, among others), and some modern studies (eg., Devin DeWeese, “The Yasavi Order and Persian Hagiography in Seventeenth-Century Central Asia: Alim Shaykh of Aliyabad and His ‘Lamahat min nafahat al-quds,’” in Leonard Lewisohn, ed., The Heritage of Sufism, 3: Late Classical Persianate Sufism (1501-1750), Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2000: 389-414).  The article successively evokes ‘Alim Shaykh’s education—notably his initiation with Pirim Shaykh (d. 1598) in Samarqand—, his personality—with reference to his activity as a mosque and madrasa builder in Samarqand and ‘Aliyabad—, his wedding (with a granddaughter of Shaykh Khudaydad (1461-1532)) and his family—mentioning the establishment of his sons at the Mughal court under Shah Jahan and Awrangzeb—, the circumstances of the writing of the Lamahat in 1624 for the apology of the the Yasawi shaykhs and of the dhikr-i jahr—the work containing information on the “holy sayings” and deeds of the prominent figures of the Sultaniyya-Jahriyya path from the eleventh to the seventeenth century (with insistence on key notions such as faqr, tawakkul, futuwwat, ‘ilm-i laduni, etc.).  The last paragraphs on the Lamahat’s audience and influence sheds light on the  Shaybanid ruler’s interest in Yasawi studies, and on the echo granted to ‘Alim Shaykh’s thought by his disciples’ work (see notably the Takmila-yi lamahat by his khalifa Khwaja Fath-Allah ‘Azizagi).

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-5.3.D-475