The four dervishes

Have you read the book attributed to Amir Khusraw called ‘The four dervishes’? It has been translated into English by Amina Shah, the sister of Idries Shah. It is a book of tales with a structure like the one of the Arabian nights (‘the structure is the message’ is a sentence calling for comments!).

The peculiar thing that can be said about the original is that it is said to have a healing quality. I have stayed for some time in a sufi khaneqah in India and there I have seen it being read aloud near the bed of someone who was ill. I am wondering about this healing quality. Why is it that this book is used for such a purpose? Are there other books used for this purpose?

It is BTW not established that Amir Khusraw really is its author. In a practical sense this is not important. No matter the name of its author it is used for healing and people enjoy listening to the tales very much.

Amir Khusraw’s grave can be found in New Delhi. He was very devoted to his murshid Nizamuddin Awlia, so much so that if Islam would have permitted it, the two of them would have been burried in the same grave. Now there are some meters distance between the graves of the two sufis.

Amir Khusraw is a very interesting person. He was able to combine the life of a sufi with that of a courtier. He was also a poet. The great Persian poet Hafez once earned some extra money by copying one of the poems of Amir Khusraw. His marvellous poetry is used in the sama’ sessions of the Chishtiyya order. If you look in the archives of this list you can find an example hereof. It is also said, but it is not proven, that Amir Khusraw has been the inventor of the sitar, the well-known Indian musical instrument.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.