This work is a quintessential resource for traditional Sufi studies as it crystallizes the very substance and essence of the Sufi path, perhaps as astutely as any theoretical presentation could provide outside formal participation in a tariqah (path or way). The path symbolized by a radius traveling from the periphery of a circle to its center illustrates the unanimity of all spiritual paths affirming the Sufi saying: ‘The ways (turuq) towards God are as numerous as the souls [nafas] of men’ (p.114) It is those Sufis who realize themselves through knowledge, such as Muhyi-d-Din ibn `Arabi, al-Shaykh al-Akbar (The Greatest Master), who exemplify the religion of the heart, which this work reflects unequivocally.
TITUS BURCKHARDT, a German Swiss, was born in Florence in 1908 and died in Lausanne in 1984. An eminent member of the perennialist school, he is perhaps best known to the general public as an art historian. He won much acclaim for producing and publishing the first successful full-scale facsimiles of the Book of Kells, a copy of which he presented to Pope Pius XII at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. He later acted as a specialist advisor to UNESCO, with particular reference to the preservation of the unique architectural heritage of Fez. Besides his studies in Islamic art, mysticism, and culture, such as Introduction to Sufi Doctrine, Fez: City of Islam, and Moorish Culture in Spain, his best known works are: Sacred Art in East and West, Siena: City of the Virgin, Chartres and the Birth of the Cathedral, and Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. Two notable compendiums of his work have also been published: Mirror of the Intellect: Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art and The Essential Titus Burckhardt: Reflections on Sacred Art, Faiths, and Civilizations, both translated and edited by William Stoddart.