The Central Asian Studies unit of the IIS, in collaboration with the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan (AST), has published a new Tajik edition of Nasir Khusraw’s Zad al-Musafirin: The Nourishment of the Wayfarers.
This is the second publication in Tajik after Nasir Khusraw’s Diwan of poetry which was published in 2009. The present volume incorporates a comprehensive glossary of archaic and philosophical terms which make the edition accessible to Tajik readership.
A celebrated philosopher, poet and traveller, Nasir Khusraw has captivated the hearts and minds of many generations of scholars, thinkers and philosophers for almost a thousand years. In addition to his Diwan of poetry, six doctrinal treatises in Persian prose have survived. He has been known in Tajikistan as a great Tajik and Persian poet and philosopher, but it is only in the post-Soviet period that his philosophical and doctrinal works have become accessible to the Tajik readership. Since the celebration in 2003 of the millennium anniversary of Nasir Khusraw’s birth, the intellectual legacy of the philosopher is increasingly gaining prominence and draws the interest of scholars in Tajikistan and elsewhere.
Zad al-Musafirin is among the earliest works of Nasir Khusraw, written after his return from Cairo and settlement in the Yumgan valley of Badakhshan. The treatise is considered his most significant work in terms of coverage of his philosophical and theoretical framework as well as his worldview. This work also touches upon many philosophical and historical issues while introducing and exploring various philosophical schools of his time.
The treatise comprises an introduction and 27 chapters. Describing the purpose of composing Zad al-Musafirin, Nasir Khusraw states in the introduction:
The wise traveller should explore where he came from and where he will go. And when he understands where he came from and where he would end up, he will know what is required for the journey. Therefore, a human being should acquire provision for the journey, because a traveller without food is prone to death, and the Almighty Allah has said: ‘Take a provision with you for the journey, but the best of the provisions is piety.’ (2:197)
Publication of the original works of Nasir Khusraw provides an important resource for the understanding and exploration of the philosophical issues which he grappled with in the 10th century. His works depict the formidable debate amongst philosophers and theologians on a range of themes, some of which retain their significance even today.
Zad al-Musafirin was edited by scholars from the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of AST, Dr. Amriyazdon Alimardonov, Dr. Saidanvar Shokhumorov, and Dr. Tojiniso Murodova. Regrettably, the first two of these scholars passed away before the publication of the volume, which is dedicated to their memory.