IN this English translation of the Persian work Tohfatu’l-Ahbab, the biography of Shamsud-din Muhammad Araki, an Iranian missionary of Nurbakshiyyah Sufi order in Kashmir, who is reported to have visited Kashmir for the first time in AD 1428. Tohfatu’l_Ahbab is a record of his mission in Kashmir.
The book is divided into two parts – the first gives a description of the serious professional study of Islamic theology and tradition undertaken, the rigorous penance after Sufi practices and nerve-breaking training prescribed for a spiritualist to attain perfection and become an accredited and admired Sufi saint. These details would interest scholars and believers who want to know more about the making of Sufi preceptors and Sufi orders; the second part describes how the missionary Araki translated religious injunctions into practice for spreading his faith and culture in Kashmir by a systematically worked out plan of brute force. This part describes how Araki destroys temples like Bakhi Renu, Udran, Vetalun temple, Tashwar temple, Perezehyar temple, Kuther temple and Achhabal temple to raise mosques to replace them.
Kashinath Pandit describes how the 13th-century Mongol incursions into the vast Asian region and across the great Himalayan watershed, particularly landlocked Kashmir weakened the area due to inter-group rivalry among its courtiers, nobles and Damara chiefs. In the first quarter of the 14th century, invaders from the north and west succeeded in overthrowing the 2,000-year-old Kashmiri Hindu ruling house, grab political power and lay the foundation for the Kashmir Sultanate.
This book is meant only for historians and researchers. -MG
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