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NAJM UD DIN, OTHERWISE CALLED SA’D UD DIN
MAHMUD SHABISTARI TABRIZI.
E. H. WHINFIELD, M.A.,
of the Bengal Civil Service,
WYMAN & CO., PUBLISHERS,
HARE STREFT, CALCUTTA.
The Gulshan Raz, or “Mystic Rose Garden” was composed in 717 A. H., in answer to fifteen questions on the doctrines of the Sufis pro. pounded by Amir Syad Hoşaini, a celebrated Sufi of Khorásán. Hardly any thing is known of the author Mahmud Shabistari further than that he was born at Shabistar, a village in Azarbaiján, and that he wrote this poem and died at Tabriz the capital town of the same province in 720 A. H. = 1320 A. D. Hammer says he failed to find any notice of Mahmud in any of the common Tazkiras. Dr. Sprenger however found a short account of him in the Safina-i-Khushgu (circ. 1647 A. H.), and Sir Gore Ouseley found another in the Mujális-ul-Pushshák of Sultan Hosain. Mahmud is also named in the Dabistán-ul-Muzáhib, and in the Nufhát-ul-Uns of Jami. Sprenger says that according to the preface of the commentary, Mahmud's honorific name was Najm-ud-din, but in the postscript he called Sa'd-ud-din, and in one copy Sa'd-bin-Mahmud. Tholuck thinks that he bore the takhallas or poetical title of 'Azizí, but this seems to be a mistake. Besides the Gulshan Raz, Mahmud is said to have written the Hakk-ul- Yakin, the Risála Shahid, and other prose works.
In the poem itself there is hardly anything like an allusion to contemporary events, unless the line “The valiant of the world are rolling in carnage” refers to the conquest of Persia by Huláku Khan in 656 A. H.=1258 A. D., or to the Egyptian Wars of Gazan Khan nearly forty years later. Mahmud's evident acquaintance with Chris. tian dogmas is explained by the facts that Christian monks resided at the Court of Gazan Khan at Tabriz, and that Marco Polo probably visited that place on his way to the Court of Kublai Khan. Gazan Khan himself showed great partiality for Christianity before the conversion of himself and his army to Muhammadanism in 696 A, H.
Chardin and Bernier both mention the Gulshan Raz, and copies of it found their way to the great European libraries in the last century.