Two Who Attained:
Twentieth-Century Sufi Saints, Shaykh Ahmad al-'Alawi & Fatima al-Yashrutiyya
Translated from the Arabic by Leslie Cadavid
Introduction by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Photography and lineage chart
Selections, translated from Shaykh Ahmad al-'Alawi's The Divine Graces and A Treatise on the Invocation, provide the reader with a stunning interpretation of the inner meaning of prayer.
A translation of Fatima al-Yashrutiyya's auto-biography introduces us, most movingly, to the life of a female Sufi, raised by her father, a great Shaykh in Palestine; and the life within this Shadhiliyya zawiya.
Leslie Cadavid has been working with the Arabic language since the age of 16. She attended London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, majoring in classical Arabic and Islamic art, and then Indiana University, majoring in near Eastern languages and cultures. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.
Rare glimpses of two 20th-century Sufi saints are offered in this work: the eminent Shaykh al-Alawi and the lesser-known woman saint Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, both of whom continued on the Sufi path even as they watched their worlds crumble. Shaykh al-Alawi's influence was pivotal to the spiritual development of Thomas Merton, who looked to al-Alawi's writings and teachings in his own practice (see Fons Vitae's Merton and Sufism). Fatima al-Yashrutiyya is an example of a literate Muslim woman living a public spiritual life. Readers will see a new side of the Sufi Path from her uncompromising viewpoint, and can catch an uncommon glimpse of life in the early 20th century for a spiritual seeker, writer, and self-educated woman in the Muslim world. These translations represent Islam in its esoteric dimension and raise issues of regional unrest and colonial intervention that are still relevant. Through the words of these two saints, the world of the Sufi brotherhood is opened, revealing an underlying theme of the oneness of God.
Leslie Cadavid has produced an extraordinarily readable translation of foundational works by two remarkable 20th century Muslim Sages: a man and a woman. How fortunate we are to be able to read about the life of Sayyida Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, who lived in our times and of her father, through her own pen! Two Who Attained is a work of great beauty, encompassing the love of God, the inner life of Islamic spirituality and history. No one can read this work without feeling his or her spirit soaring.
Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Indiana University
Although many of Shaykh al-Alawi's works have been rendered into French and some into English, the present selection is a precious addition to the corpus of his writings available in European languages.
As for Sayyida Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, her works are specially precious as examples of writings of Sufi women and of contemporary feminine spirituality in Islam…She exemplified on an exalted level, female sanctity whose supreme example in Islam is the daughter of the Prophet, Fatima, after whom she was named.
Fons Vitae must be thanked for publishing this work and the translator highly
congratulated for having made such precious writings available in an authentic and elegant language to the English-reading public.
-Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University
Of Sheikh Ahmad al-Alawi, the British orientalist A. J. Arberry wrote: "His erudition and saintliness recall the golden age of the medieval mystics."
Two Who Attained is a valuable insight into contemporary unfoldings of a traditional Sufi lineage. Especially welcome is the conveyance of the fragrant presence and devotion of Sayyida Fatima providing guidance for the wayfarer.
Author of Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure, Rumi Daylight,
A Daybook of Spiritual Guidance,
and the Mevlevi Wird: The Prayers recited by Mevlevi Dervishes