Mojdeh Bayat and Mohammad Ali Jamnia were born in Tehran and are initiates of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order. They live in Chicago. In this handy paperback, the reader will find stories and poems from Persian Sufi masters. Many of these tales were told to train and educate those on a path of heart. One of the most interesting aspects of Sufi stories is that these tales of love, passion, and self-sacrifice are really referring to our relationship to the Divine Beloved.

It is said that Abu Sa'id memorized 30,000 lines of verse even before he became an initiate of the Sufi path in the tenth century. Bayat and Jamnia have found eight anecdotes of this spiritual master that reveal the subtlety of Sufi mysticism. Here are two:

The Mill

"Abu Sa'id was traveling with his companions when they came across a mill. He stopped his horse and listened to the sound of the mill. Then he asked. 'Do any of you know what the mill is saying?' They all shook their heads. He said, 'It is saying, "Sufism is what I have. I receive the coarse and give it back fine. I travel around myself and in myself so that I dispel what I do not need." ' "


"The shaykh's disciples asked him to identify the most elegant man of the city. His choice was Luqman. This surprised them, because Luqman was the town's madman: he had long, uncombed hair, rough clothing, and a harsh appearance. 'Remember that elegant means "cleansed," and cleansed means "not attached or tied to anything," ' said Abu Sa'id. 'There is no one in this city cleaner, and with fewer attachments and ties, than Luqman.' "

Tales from the Land of the Sufis also contains material on Hallaj, the legendary Sufi martyr; Attar, author of The Conference of the Birds, a classic about the stages of spiritual development; Nizami and Jami, whose traditional love stories carry in their undertow intimations of our relationship with God; and Rumi, the greatest of all Sufi mystics.