Thesis on the Mirror of the Hearts


Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi (died 1166) was a philosopher, Sufi mystic, and the earliest known poet to write in a Turkic dialect. He was born in the city of Isfijab (present-day Sayram, in Kazakhstan) but lived most of his life in Turkestan (also in southern Kazakhstan). He was a student of Arslan Baba, a well-known preacher of Islam. At a time when Farsi dominated literature and public life, Iassavi wrote in his native Old Turkic (Chagatai) language. He was known during his lifetime as a holy person and people from all parts of Central Asia came to revere him. He spent the last years of his life in an underground cell called the khalwat. Later the grave of Khodzha Akhmed Iassavi became a destination for pilgrims and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Risālat mira’āt al-qulūb (Thesis on the mirror of the hearts) is a philosophical work with a preface by the 18th-century copyist. While Iassavi’s famous book Divan-i hikmet (Anthology of wisdom) contained poems, this work, promoting postulates of Islam, was written in prose. This book describes the principle provisions of sharia (Islamic law), including the main rules and beliefs of Islam and the humanistic values of justice, honesty, and kindness.

Last updated: March 9, 2012