The Unveiling of Secrets (
Kashf al-Asrār) is the visionary autobiography of one of the most significant mystics of twelfth-century Iran, Rūzbihān al-Baqlī (522/1128-606/1209). Written in Arabic, it describes the life of the author primarily as comprised of his mystical visions. Rūzbihān depicts himself in the unseen world (
ʿālam al-ghayb) in the company of God, saints, prophets, and angels. His self-portrait in this manner communicates his special status with God. The sublime quality of these visions is well captured in the style of
Kashf al-Asrār: the writing is simultaneously simple and clear, but eloquent and rich with extraordinary images.
This is the first critical edition of the manuscipt of
Kashf al-Asrār which provides an intriguing case in the genre of Islamic autobiographies.
Firoozeh Papan-Matin, Ph.D. (2003) in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, University of California in Los Angeles, is Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has published on medieval and contemporary Persian literature including
The Love Poems of Ahmad Shamlu (Ibex, 2005).
Michael Fishbein is Lecturer in Arabic at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and has translated Volumes VIII, XXI, and XXXI of
The History of al-Ṭabarī (SUNY).