Of one Essence is the human race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base;
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
Poetry of Shaykh Saadi Shirazi at the entrance of Hall of Nations, New York
From a family of scholars, Shaykh Saadi Shirazi (1184 – 1283) lost his father (Mushrraf bin Muslih) at an early age and was educated by his maternal grandfather (Mas’ud bin Muslih). At fourteen years old, he was sent to
to study in the prestigious university, the Nizamiyya of Baghdad, where he acquired the traditional learning of Islam. Baghdad
In 1226, the unsettled conditions following the Mongol invasion of
After thirty years of traveling, in 1256, Saadi returned to his hometown
, where Atabek Abibakr bin Saad was then the ruler. Saadi was welcomed by the court, but decided to live in the prestigious monastery of the Sufi master Abu Abdullah bin Khafif (882-992). Shiraz
Today his tomb soon is a popular site for pilgrimage. His tomb was renovated in the eighteenth century when Karim Khan Zand was the Persian king in
, and most recently in 1951. Shiraz
His best known works are the Bostan (The Orchard) and the Golestan (The Rose Garden). In his books, Saadi affectionately refers to two of his teachers: The Sufi master Shihab al-Din Abu Hafs Suhrawardi (died in 1234) and Shams al-Din Abul Faraj bin al-Jowzi.
In his books, Saadi distinguished between the spiritual and the practical or mundane aspects of life. In the Golestan, mundane Saadi lowers the spiritual to touch the heart of his fellow wayfarers. The Shaykh preaching in the Khaniqah experiences a totally different world than the merchant passing through a town. The unique thing about Saadi is that he embodies both the Sufi Shaykh and the traveling merchant. They are, as he himself puts it, two almond kernels in the same shell.