Several years ago, on looking up the literature pertaining to the earlier Sufi poets of Persia, I found that there was no European edition or translation, nor even any extended account of the contents of any of the works of Sanâ'î. Considering the reputation of this author, and the importance of his writings for the history of Sufiism, the omission was remarkable; and I was encouraged by Dr. E. D. Ross, Principal of the Calcutta. Madrasah, to do something towards filling up the blank. The present volume is an attempt at a presentation of a part of Sanâ'î's most famous work, which, it is hoped. may serve to give an idea of his manner of thought not only to Oriental scholars, but also to non-Orientalists who may be interested in the mysticism of Persia.
MSS. of Sanâ'î's Hadîqa are not rare in European libraries and a selection of those contained in the British Museum and India Office libraries furnished me with as many as I was able to collate during the time I could devote to this work on the occasion of a recent furlough. My selection of MSS. for collation was, I must confess, somewhat arbitrary C I took because it was the oldest of those to which I had access H because it also was of respectable age, and fairly well written; M mainly on account of its being easily legible, this being a consideration, since; my time in London was limited, and the British Museum does not allow MSS. to leave the building; I I took because it was written in Isfahân and so might embody a Persian, as distinct from an Indian, tradition of the text; and A was selected because it was stated to be `Abdu'l-Latîf's autograph of his revision of the text. I must here acknowledge my gratitude to the management of the India Office Library for the permission accorded me to take away these two valuable MSS. for collation in the country; the materials upon which the present text is based would otherwise have been much poorer, and the result even more inconclusive than it is.
Though thus in some degree arbitrary, and restricted to only two collections, I do not think a limited choice of MSS. could have
turned out much more fortunately. It has at least, I think, brought a considerable amount of light to bear on the history of the author's text, especially with regard to the labours of its editor `Abdu'l-Latîf in the seventeenth century; though, as explained in the Introduction, I am very far from imagining that we have arrived at any close approximation to the author's original. I do not say that a reconstruction of Sanâ'î's original text is impossible; though judging merely from the MSS. I have examined, I am inclined to doubt the possibility. The text fell into confusion at a very early date, and it will perhaps only be by prolonged search or by a lucky chance that a future editor will obtain a copy which approximates in any close degree to the original; though a closer and more prolonged study of the copies we possess would, I have no doubt, give indications as to the place of many lines and passages which in the present edition are almost certainly wrongly placed or have been set apart as homeless. But at the present stage of Oriental studies it is unprofitable to devote to the preparation of a text the same prolonged research which we are accustomed to see in editions of the classical authors of Greece and Rome; and the labour of scholars in the province of Oriental letters is better expended on a first rough survey of the ground, so much of which remains as yet absolutely unknown; when a general knowledge of the whole has been obtained, it will be time to return for a thorough cultivation of each individual plot.
In the list of the variant readings I have found it quite impossible to indicate the different order of the lines and sections in the several MSS., nor have I as a rule given the variations in the titles of the sections. Otherwise the list is complete.
The translation is as literal as I have been able to make it. The notes are largely taken from the commentaries of `Abdu'l-Latîf, published along with the text in the Lucknow lithograph (L), and of `Alâu'd-Dîn, similarly given in the lithograph (B) which I obtained from Bombay. I have utilized all such portions of these commentaries as appeared to me to be helpful in arriving at an understanding of the text; matter taken from the commentary in the Lucknow lithograph I have distinguished by the letter L, also used in the list of variants to denote the readings of this lithograph; similarly the matter of `Alâu'd-Dîn's commentary is distinguished in the notes by the letter B. Where the note presents a literal translation of the
commentaries, I have indicated this by the use of inverted commas; where my note gives only the general sense of the commentary I have omitted the quotation marks, the source of the note being sufficiently indicated by the appropriate letter.
In the fuller explanation of the technicalities of Sufi. philosophy I have drawn largely on the first volume of the late E. J. W. Gibb's "History of Ottoman Poetry," and especially on the second chapter of that work; where allusions to proper names, etc., are not explained by the commentators, I have often quoted from Hughes's "Dictionary of Islam." Quotations from the Qur'ân I have usually given in Palmer's translation. Finally, I am myself responsible for the notes in cases where no source is given; these are usually either in places where the meaning of the text is not easy to grasp, and where nevertheless the commentators, as not infrequently happens, pass over the line without explanation; or on the other hand such notes refer to matters of common knowledge to Persian scholars, which however may not be familiar to others; I have added a certain number of such in order, as stated already, to render the work of some use to non-Persianists who take an interest in the philosophies of the East.
Had I been able to devote myself continuously to the work, the number of references from one part of the text to another might have been considerably increased, and the author's meaning probably in many places thus rendered clearer; I think also, as I have already said, lines and passages that are here doubtless misplaced might have found, if not their original, still a more suitable home. But it has often happened that months, in one case as many as eleven, have elapsed between putting down the work and taking it up again; and thus all but the most general remembrance of the contents of the earlier parts of the text has in the meanwhile escaped me. I can only say that it seemed better to let the work go out as it is, than to keep it longer in the hope of obtaining a continuous period of leisure which may never come, for a more thorough revision and recasting of the whole.