Šabistarī, Maḥmūd ibn ʿAbd al-Karīm, Šayḫ d. ca. 718/1318-720/1320-1

Persian mystic and writer, Maḥmūd ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Yaḥyā Šabistarī (Šabustarī) was born at Šabistar close to Lake Urmiya and Tabrīz. Little is known of the events of his life. The exact date of his birth is unknown, though most likely having occurred during the mid to late 7th/13th century. According to the introduction to his Saʿādat-nāmah, a work no longer extant, Šabistarī traveled to Egypt, Syria and the Hejaz. Nonetheless, it is likely that he passed most of life in quietude at or nearby Tabrīz. The dates of Šabistarī’s death vary between 718/1318 and 720/1320-1. Buried next to his teacher Bahāʾ al-Dīn Yaʿqūb Tabrīzī at Šabistarī, his tomb has become a place of pilgrimage.


Gulšān-i rāz     The Rose Garden of the Secret (PHI site)

Composed 717/1317-8.

Šabistarī’s fame is wholly based on his Gul¯šan-i rāz (The Rose Garden of the Secret). This work is a didactic Sufi text comprised of some 1,000 couplets, considered to be one of the best expressions of Sufi mystical doctrine. Šabistarī’s focus is on the topics of Sufi tradition and doctrine, such as, one’s expression of identification with God. The poem is divided into fifteen sections. Each section is preceded by a question which Šabistarī then follows with an answer. It has been generally accepted that these questions appeared in a letter written to Šabistarī and the poet wrote Gul¯šan-i rāz as his answer. However, this tradition has not yet been completely confirmed.