ʿAzīz ibn Muḥammad al-Nasafī, “ ʿAziz-i Nasafi ” fl. 7th /13th c.


ʿAzīz ibn Muḥammad al-Nasafī (known as “ ʿAziz-i Nasafi ”) was a Sufi mystic who flourished in 7th/13th Iran and Central Asia. Little is known of his personal life (especially his early years) except that which can be pieced together from his various works. His spiritual training is mostly associated with Shaykh Sa’d al-Din Hammuya, though there are indications that he studied with and was inspired by other masters as well. By 1260, Nasafī began to attract his own circle of students. He was relatively prolific in his writings and while they are not renowned for their originality, their importance is demonstrated by Nasafī’s ability “to incorporate all the major elements of Sufi belief as discussed by others and also to present them in a coherent fashion”. Additionally, perhaps contrary to the complexity associated with many Sufi teachings, Nasafī’s commentaries may be considered “forthright and simple, ” both in their message and in the manner they guide the student from the “formal dimensions of Islam to the esoteric”.


Maqṣad i aqṣāʾ     The Most Sublime Goal (Oriental Mysticism) [Trans.]

Maqṣad i aqṣāʾ “was one of the first Sufi works translated into Latin and was finally rendered into an English paraphrase by E.H. Palmer in 1867…It is probable that Maqṣad i aqṣāʾ was completed by Nasafī prior to 1281…Maqṣad i aqṣāʾ is a relatively short work. Its contents include a lengthy introduction followed by chapters on the “gnosis of God’s essence,” “God’s attributes,” “God’s acts in the words of the Philosophers,” “the knowledge of Prophecy and Friendship of God,” “the beliefs of the People of Imitation, the People of Reasoning and the People of Unveiling,” “the gnosis of man,” “the Four Seas,” and a conclusion. The emphasis is ontological, chapters seven and eight (which discuss the levels of existence) being the most detailed of all…The number of extant manuscripts of Maqṣad i aqṣāʾ suggests that it was a very popular work among the Islamic populace. Numerous copies have been found in regions of Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, India and China”.