‘Almost a prerequisite for any serious study of Sufism in European languages’: this was the verdict of Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his review of the first edition of A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century: Shaikh Ahmad al-Alawi his Spiritual Heritage and Legacy.
In this work, the author, Dr Martin Lings, presents a vivid picture of the unforgettable figure of the Algerian Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi through a short biography by his French doctor and the translation of the Shaykh al-Alawi’s own autobiography. These are followed by expositions of the Shaykh al-Alawi’s teachings which are based on pure metaphysics and gnosis. Finally, Dr Martin Lings translates selections from Shaykh al-Alawi’s aphorisms and mystical poetry. The whole work immerses the reader in the world of North African Sufism both as an intellectual tradition and a living reality.
The late Dr Martin Lings, formerly Keeper of Oriental Manuscript at the British Museum and the British Library, is the author of the best-selling title Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, and of What is Sufism?, The Book of Certainty, Sufi Poems: A Medieaval Anthology, and The Holy Qur’an: Translations of Selected Verses, all published by The Islamic Texts Society.
‘One of the most thorough and intimately engaging books on Sufism to be produced by a Western scholar. ’
Journal of Near Eastern Studies.
‘A masterly study of a man whose sanctity recalled the golden age of medieval mystics. In this well documented book Dr Lings draws on many rare sources…and has made some important original contributions. ’
A. J. Arberry
‘What Martin Lings adds by way of commentary is of the greatest significance and may serve as a key to a deeper understanding of Islam as a whole.’