THE SPIRIT OF A SULTAN
Javid, Ahmad MD
CreateSpace (416 pp.)
$17.99 paperback, $3.99 e-book
ISBN: 9781484917947; September 18, 2013
LIGHTNING RELEASES (1/26/2014) – In this rapturous hagiography, the Sufi saint Sultan Bahu dazzles India with his spiritual radiance as he wins souls for Allah.
The author (Sufi Light, 2011) presents the story of the real-life Sufi mystic as a fictionally embroidered adventure set against the colorful backdrop of 17th-century Moghul India. The story opens with the exploits of Bahu’s father, Bazaid, a swashbuckling Muslim warrior who single-handedly assaults a fortress full of soldiers to cut off the head of the rebel Raja of Amarkot. Bazaid’s piety is exceeded only by that of his son, who’s recognized at birth as “the peerless jewel of the Crown of Oneness.” As Bahu matures under the tutelage of Sufi teachers and spirit guides, he experiences divine visitations, learns to walk on water and even flies to the Court of the Prophet in Heaven. Much of the book, however, recounts his more mundane journeys through the Indian countryside, where he heals the blind and the lame, turns clay into gold, and plows fields for weary peasants. Bahu’s greatest gift to the world, however, is his magnetic aura of holiness, which causes nearly every Hindu he encounters to convert to Islam. (At one point, the mere sight of a vial of his urine is enough to prompt infidels to embrace the faith.) Javid fills in some historical background with anecdotes about Mughal emperors’ bloody dynastic intrigues and notes on India’s complex religious landscape. He also weaves in Bahu’s mystical teachings on the oneness of all being, the priority of love over law, and the importance of direct, ecstatic communion with God through meditative trances. Javid conveys these precepts through aphorisms, snatches of poetry and, less felicitously, through Bahu’s quite lengthy disquisitions on Sufi doctrine: “In other words, names and qualities (attributes) are the self-determination of the essence and it is important to make a clear distinction between God’s essence, His names and qualities, and His acts.” Followers of Sufism will here find a heartfelt celebration of one of their greatest teachers. Nonbelievers will likely find the catechism heavy going, but Javid’s vivid portrait of an exuberant religious tradition and its cultural matrix may nonetheless pique their interest.
An ardent but didactic devotional saga.
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Born in Pakistan, author Ahmad Javid (Sarwari Qaderi) is a twelfth generation Sufi with ancestral lineage going back to Syed Muhammad al Hussaini Gisudiraz the saint of Decan, a descendant of Iman Hussain, the son of Ali Ibne Abi Talib, and eventually, to the fountainhead of all spirituality, the prophet Muhammad. He spent seventeen years in Iran extensively studying Sufi literature and poetry before coming to the United States in 1993 to finish his residency training in pediatrics from Columbia University. He is the author of Sufi Light: The Secret of Meditation, which is available on amazon.com.
For review copies and interview requests, contact:
Ahmad Javid MD
Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744 firstname.lastname@example.org