‘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.’