Ahmad Ibn ‘Ata’ Illâh (1259-1309)
Outwardly, creatures are an illusion; but, inwardly, they are an admonition. Thus, the soul looks at the illusory exterior while the heart looks at the admonitory interior.
The Book of Wisdom (Kitab al-hikam) is a masterpiece of Islamic spiritual literature by the renowned Sufi saint and sage of the 13th century AD, Ahmed Ibn Ata Allah Al-Iskandari (d. 1309), third master of the tariqa Shadhiliyya. Victor Danner, one of its foremost translators into English, observed: “the internal structure of the Hikam is such that it can be likened to a necklace of precious jewels.” It is his translation that we publish here.