'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMADANI (D.1130 AD): TAMHIDAT
'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMADANI (D.1130 AD): TAMHIDAT
'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMADANI (D.1130 AD): TAMHIDAT
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No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium. A RARE COPY OF TAMHIDAT (PRELUDES) BY 'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMDANI, 'THE PEARL OF JUDGES'
'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMADANI (D.1130 AD): TAMHIDAT

COPIED BY ABU’L-MAKARIM BIN ‘ALI AL-MURSHIDI, TIMURID OR AQQUYUNLU IRAN, DATED AH 866/1461-62 AD

Details
'AYN AL-QUDAT HAMADANI (D.1130 AD): TAMHIDAT
COPIED BY ABU’L-MAKARIM BIN ‘ALI AL-MURSHIDI, TIMURID OR AQQUYUNLU IRAN, DATED AH 866/1461-62 AD
A Sufi manuscript on Tamhidat (Preludes), Persian and Arabic manuscript on paper, 173ff., plus 2 flyleaves, each folio with 14ll. of elegant naskh in black ink, important words and sentences in gold, red and sepia thuluth, text within gold and blue rules, gold and polychrome illuminated frontispiece, signed and dated colophon on the final folio, in brown gilt and stamped leather binding with flap, marbled paper doublures
Text panel 4 x 3in. (10.2 x 7.4cm.); folio 6 1/8 x 4 ¾in. (15.4 x 11.9cm.)
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Lot Essay

‘Ayn al-Qudat Hamadani (d. 1131 AD) was born in Hamadan to a family of judges. He was a renowned and highly celebrated mystic philosopher and Sufi martyr who is regarded as one of the founders of doctrinal Sufism. Following in the footsteps of his forebears, he qualified as a judge in Hamadan at a young age and was soon known as the “pearl of judges” amongst the Sufi milieu. ‘Ayn al-Qudat became bilingual in Arabic and Persian and studied Arabic grammar, law, philosophy and theology. He turned to Sufism at a young age and amongst his most influential teachers were Muhammad bin Hammuya and Ahmad al-Ghazali (d. AH 520/1126 AH). According to ‘Ali bin Zayd al-Bayhaqi’s Tatimmat Siwan al-Hikma and other sources, one of his teachers was the famous ‘Umar al-Khayyam (d. AH 517/1123 AD) which is plausible given his early interest in mathematics. However he himself mentions only his Sufi teachers. ‘Ayn al-Qudt’s reputation as a Sufi teacher attracted many disciples. His early admirer, the 12th century historian ‘Imad al-Din al-Isfahani, who regards him as a “second Ghazali” suggested that his fame aroused the jealousy of the ‘pseudo-ulama’. He nonetheless attributes the real responsibility for his imprisonment and ultimate execution to the conspiracies of the vizier Qiwam al-Din al-Dargazini (F. Daftary, The Ismailis. Their history and Doctrines, Cambridge, 1990, pp.363-4).

The Tamhidat (Preludes) is ‘Ayn al-Qudat’s most important Persian work. Its full name is the Zubdat al-haqaeq fi kashf al-khalaeq and it is divided into ten tamhids illustrating Sufi life and thought. It discusses inner attitudes, religious experiences and philosophical assumptions of the mystic, supported by the interpretation of Qur’anic verses and classical Sufi sayings. ‘Ayn al-Qudat expresses his profound ideas in precious poetic language and exhibits a high erudition in the literary and religious traditions of his time. The work reveals the author’s unconventional spirit and paradoxical reconciliation of belief and unbelief. The Tamhidat was translated into Turkish twice at the end of the 16th century (F. Meier, Der Islam, 24, 1937, p.5). It had considerable influence on the Chishti Sufi order in India through a commentary written on it by Muhammad bin Yusuf Gisuderaz (d. 1422 AD). Another commentary was compiled by Allah Nur in the 17th century, whilst Miran Husayn Shah (d. 1669 AD) translated it into Dakhni Urdu (A. Schimmel, Mystical Dimensions of Islam, Chapel Hill, 1975, p.296).

Abu’l-Makarim bin ‘Ali al-Murshidi, who copied this manuscript, was a court calligrapher active in mid-fifteenth century Iran under Uzun Hassan (r.1457-78) and Sultan Yaqub (r.1478-90). Our manuscript, which is dated 1461-2 AD is the earliest recorded dated work of Murshidi and may well have been executed for the royal library of Sultan Uzun Hassan. Only four other works by our scribe our known – a Qasida al-Burda dated AH 873/1468 AD, a Qur’an dated AH 875/1470 AD, now in the Topkapi Saray Museum Library (TSM inv.no.K.13), a 15th century Dua al-Usbuiyya (Prayers for the days of the week) which sold Sotheby’s, London, 24 April 2013, lot 12 and another copy of the Tamhidat dated AH 867, just one year after ours, is in the Hagia Sophia library (inv.no.1842). The opening illuminated bifolio of our manuscript is executed in a Timurid style which bears close similarities to the illuminated headings in an Aqquyunlu copy of Jami’s poetry signed by the court calligrapher Fakhr al-Din Ahmad, dated AH 872/1467-8, sold Sotheby’s, London, 24 April 2013, lot 23. The design and layout of the text also resembles a royal Timurid Zij-I Gurkani which was prepared for Ulugh Beg in Samarkand in around 1440 (Abolala Soudavar, Art of the Persian Court, 1992, pp.67-9).
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