About the book:
From jacket flap:
Sufism, the mystical movement within Islam, in a thousand years of history has influenced powerfully the life, art and literature of the Muslim peoples. It has supplied the element of personal devotion and direct apprehension of Divine Realities which the more formal and practical character of orthodox ritual tend to overshadow. Thinkers like Ghazali and Ibn Arabi, such poets as Ibn al-Farid, Rumi, Hafiz and Jami were greatly inspired by the lives and sayings of the early Sufis. In this volume Professor Arberry has written the first short history of Sufism to appear in any language, illustrating the development of its doctrines with copious quotations from its literature.
About Arberry (from Wikipedia):
Arthur John Arberry (12 May 1905 in Portsmouth – 2 October 1969 in Cambridge) FBA was a respected British orientalist. A prolific scholar of Arabic, Persian, and Islamic studies, he was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. His translation of the Qur’an into English, The Koran Interpreted, is one of the most prominent written by a non-Muslim scholar, and widely respected amongst academics.
Formerly Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt, Arberry returned home to become the Assistant Librarian at the Library of the India Office. During the war he was a Postal Censor in Liverpool and was then seconded to the Ministry of Information, London which was housed in the newly constructed Senate House of the University of London. Arberry was appointed to the Chair of Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, University of London 1944–47. He subsequently became the Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, his alma mater, from 1947 until his death in 1969. He is buried in Ascension Parish, Cambridge, together with his (by provenance Romanian) wife Sarina Simons/Arberry (1900-1973) whom he had first met in Cairo and then married at Cambridge in 1932.
Arberry is also notable for introducing Rumi’s works to the west through his selective translations and for translating the important anthology of medieval Andalucian Arabic poetry The Pennants of the Champions and the Standards of the Distinguished. His interpretation of Muhammad Iqbal’s writings, edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar, is similarly distinguished.