The Compendium of Graces and Fountain of Charms


This 17th-century manuscript contains the text of Majmoo’a al-Latā’if wa-Yanbu‘ al-Zarā’if (The compendium of graces and fountain of charms), a collection of esoteric and mystic prayers. The work is divided into many chapters, unnumbered and typically only a few pages long, with rubrications indicating the beginning of each chapter. The work discusses the spiritual expediency of praying in a certain manner; on a certain Islamic month, day of the week, or religious occasion, citing sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and other Islamic tradition as supporting arguments. The manuscript begins with a chapter about the creation of the light of Prophet Muhammad. This is followed by 12 chapters, each devoted to a month of the year, followed by seven more chapters for the days of the week. Further chapters discuss the “virtues of the five prayers” and a “blessed prayer to be recited morning and evening.” The manuscript concludes with poems in praise of Muhammad. The author of this work is not definitively known, but the subject, style, and similarity to other known works suggest that he was Aḥmad ibn ‘Alī ibn Yūsuf al- Būnī (died 1225), a well-known mystic theologian and prolific writer. A note at the beginning of the manuscript states that “Bayazid Al-Bastami is Tayfur ibn ‘Isa,” referring to a well-known, ninth-century Persian Sufi, whom other sources identify as one of the spiritual influences on al- Būnī. A controversial theologian regarded as a magician by his opponents, al- Būnī was born in Buna (formerly Bône, present-day Annaba, Algeria) and probably died in Tunisia. He is best known for his major work Shams al-Ma‘ārif al-Kubra (The great sun of gnosis), a leading text on Islamic occultism.

Last updated: May 3, 2013