I remember when I first began reading the work of Laleh Bakhtiar many years ago and how I immediately felt that connection to the author that happens when the author is writing from her own experience and practice. As the Qur’an maintains that all things are the signs of God then all of creation is a book to be read. Then we have a third ‘book’ of signs, and that is ourselves. As we read in that well known hadith that is central to the Sufi path, know yourself and you will know your Lord. This allows us to read all of creation in the way of the path and in this book, Laleh Bakhtiar looks at the forms and the rhythms of the Sufi path in their relation to the arc of descent that brought us from our primordial creation to our present lives, and the arc of ascent, which is the journey of return to our origins in God. This is the great quest of every lover who seeks union with the Beloved and Laleh Bakhtiar takes the reader through the Islamic Sufi tradition and its reflection in the architecture, poetry, music, dreams, and geometry of the Muslim world.
This is a wonderful introduction to the core concepts of Sufism and also a great pleasure for the seasoned traveller, for learning never ceases. Sufi: Expressions of the Mystic Quest is well worth reading and digesting.