ANĪS AL-ṬĀLEBĪN WA ʿODDAT AL-SĀLEKĪN, one of the most important sources extant for the life and dicta of Bahāʾ-al-dīn Naqšband, eponymous founder of the Naqšbandī Sufi order. The work was written in Persian by one of his morīds, Ṣalāḥ-al-dīn b. Mobārak Boḵārī and completed in 785/1383. It is divided into four chapters. The first and shortest discusses in summary fashion the meanings of the words walī and welāya in their Sufi senses, and the second, also quite brief, sets forth the selsela of Bahāʾ-al-dīn and describes the beginning of his spiritual career, with particular attention to two successive teachers, Bābā Moḥammad Sammāsī and Amīr Kolāl. The third and fourth chapters, which comprise about two-thirds of the whole work, discuss respectively his teaching activity and preaching in Bukhara and elsewhere in Transoxania, and his inner states and charismatic feats.

The book exists in two recensions, the second being an abbreviation of the first, although the fourth chapter of the shorter version contains some anecdotes lacking in the longer one. Although neither version appears ever to have been printed, the shorter one appeared in an anonymous Urdu translation at Lahore in 1328/1910, and in a Turkish translation by Solaymān ʿEzzī in Istanbul in 1328/1910, published under the title Maqāmāt-e Moḥammad Bahāʾ-al-dīn Naqšband.

The material contained in Anīs al-ṭālebīn has been used in many later biographical compilations on the Naqšbandī order, notably ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd Ḵānī, al-Ḥadāʾeq al-wardīya fī ḥaqāʾeq aǰellāʾ al-Naqšbandīya, Cairo, 1308/1890. The fame of the work is amply attested by the numerous manuscript copies of both versions to be found in the libraries of Europe, Turkey, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and India (for a partial list see M. Molé, “Naqshbandiyat I: Quelques traités naqshbandis,” FIZ 6, p. 276, n. 1, and idem, “Autour du Dare Mansour: l’apprentissage mystique de Bahā al-Din Naqshband,” Revue des études islamiques 27, 1959, p. 38, n. 25).


See also Storey, I/2, p. 948.

(H. Algar)

Originally Published: December 15, 1985

Last Updated: August 5, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. II, Fasc. 1, pp. 76-77