IN THE NAME OF G-D, THE COMPASSIONATE,
the name of Him Who created and sustains the world, the Sage
Who endowed tongue with speech.
He attains no honor who
turns the face from the doer of His mercy.
The kings of the earth prostate
themselves before Him in supplication.
He seizes not in haste the
disobedient, nor drives away the penitent with violence. The
two worlds are as a drop of water in the ocean of His knowledge.
He withholds not His bounty
though His servants sin; upon the surface of the earth has He
spread a feast, in which both friend and for may share.
Peerless He is, and His
kingdom is eternal. Upon the head of one He placeth a crown another
he hurleth from the throne to the ground.
The fire of His friend He
turneth into a flower garden; through the water of the Nile He
sendeth His foes to perdition.
Behind the veil He seeth
all, and concealeth our faults with His own goodness.
He is near to them that
are downcast, and accepteth the prayers of them that lament.
He knoweth of the things
that exist not, of secrets that are untold.
He causeth the moon and
the sun to revolve, and spreadeth water upon the earth.
In the heart of a stone
hath He placed a jewel; from nothing hath He created all that
Who can reveal the secret
of His qualities; what eye can see the limits of His beauty?
The bird of thought cannot
soar to the height of His presence, nor the hand of understanding
reach to the skirt of His praise.
Think not, O Sa'di, that
one can walk in the road of purity except in the footsteps of
He is the patriarch of the
prophets, the guide of the path of salvation; the mediator of
mankind, and the chief of the Court of Judgment. What of thy
praises can Sa'di utter? The mercy of G-d be upon thee, O Prophet,
ON THE REASON FOR THE WRITING
OF THIS BOOK
I traveled in many regions
of the globe and passed the days in the company of many men.
I reaped advantages in every corner, and gleaned an ear of corn
from every harvest. But I saw none like the pious and devout
men of Shiraz - upon which land be the grace of G-d - my attachment
with whom drew away my heart from Syria and Turkey.
I regretted that I should
go from the garden of the world empty-handed to my friends, and
reflected: "Travelers bring sugar-candy from Egypt as a
present to their friends. Although I have no candy, yet have
I words that are sweeter. The sugar that I bring is not that
which is eaten, but what knowers of truth take away with respect."
When I built this Palace of Wealth, *1 I furnished it with ten
doors of instruction. *2
It was in the year 655 that
this famous treasury became full of the pearls of eloquence.
A quilted robe of silk, or of Chinese embroidery, must of necessity
be padded with cotton; if thou obtain aught of the silk, fret
not - be generous and conceal the cotton. I have Hear that in
the day of Hope and Fear the Merciful One will pardon the evil
for the sake of the good. If thou see evil in my words, do thou
likewise. If one couplet among a thousand please thee, generously
withhold thy fault finding.
Assuredly, my compositions
are esteemed in Persia as the priceless musk of Khutan. Sa'di
brings roses to the garden with mirth. His verses are like dates
encrusted with sugar - when opened, a stone, *3 is revealed inside.
CONCERNING ATABAK ABU BAKR,
SON OF SAD*4
Although not desiring to
write in praise of kings, I have inscribed this book to the name
of a certain one so that perhaps the pious may say: "Sa'di,
who surpassed all in eloquence, lived in the time of Abu Bakr,
the son of Sad." Thus in this book will his memory remain
so long as the moon and sun are in the skies. Beyond count are
his virtues - may the world fulfill his desires, the heavens
be his friend, and the Creator be his guardian.
"bone" - used metaphorically in the sense of "a
of the kings of Persia in whose reign Sa'di flourished. His full
Atabak Muzaffar--ud-Din Abu Bakr-bin-Sa'd-bin-Zangi.