Shaikh Sharf-ud-dîn was the son of Shaikh Yahiâ. His birthplace is Maner, a vil­lage near Patnâ in Behâr (India). A love of knowledge and the religious life, and signs of spiritual greatness, were found in him from his early childhood. A strange Being was once seen by the cradle of the baby. The mother, frightened, reported the matter to her father, Shahâb-ud-dîn, a great saint. The latter consoled her, saying that the mysterious Presence was no less a Being than the Prophet Khezar* Himself, and that the baby was expected to be a man of great spiritual advancement. He acquired secular knowledge under Ashraf-ud-dîn, a famous pro­fessor of those days. He first refused to marry, but had to yield when, being ill, he was advised by the physician to take to marriage as the remedy for his disease. He left home after the birth of a son, travelled in many places, and was at last initiated (at, or near Dehlî) by Najîb-ud-dîn Firdausî. The latter made him his deputy on earth under a deed drawn twelve years earlier under the direction of the Prophet of Islâm Himself, asked him to leave the place, and quitted his body shortly after.

On his initiation, Sharf-ud-dîn lived for many a long year in the woods of Bihiâ and the Râjgiri Hills. In his later days he adopted Bihâr (now a subdivisional town) as his residence, at the request of some of his friends and disciples. He died on Thursday, the 6th of Shawwâl, 782 Hijra, in the opening years of the 15th Century A. D. His titular name is Makhdûm-ul-Mulk, ‘Master of the Kingdom or the World.’ He was equally proficient in secular learning and esoteric Knowledge, and possessed superhuman powers. His tomb at Bihâris still resorted to as a place of sanctity by a large number of devout Mahomedans. He wrote many works, of which three only have yet been published. These are:—

(1.) Maktûbât-i-Sadî, a ‘Series of a Hundred Letters’ (or rather essays on definite subjects) addressed to his disciple Qâzî Shams-ud-dîn in 747 Hijra.

(2.) Maktûbât-i-Bist-o-hasht, a ‘Series of 28 Letters’, being replies to the correspondence of his senior dis­ciple, Mozaffar, the prince of Balkh.

(3.) Fawâed-i-Ruknî, a number of brief Notes prepared for the use of his disciple Rukn-ud-dîn.

The present booklet consists of the translation of copious extracts from Maktûbât-i-Sadî, the most elaborate and comprehensive of the three published works, with Notes occasionally added from the other two with a view to elucidate or complete the subject in hand. These extracts, it is hoped, will cover the greater part of, if not all, the principles inculcated in these books, and are expected to give the reader a fair knowledge of the Teaching of the Author in all its phases. Matters relating to mere exoteric rites, legends and traditions have been omitted. The translation does not pretend to be always very literal, but an honest attempt has been made to present a faithful rendering of the original to the English-knowing public, that they may be able to better appreciate the Teach­ings of Islâm, and that the Brotherhood of Creeds may have one more advocate to plead its cause before the tribunal of the human intellect.