The Book of Truthfulness
Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz
The importance of this treatise lies in the fact that it is the earliest systematic presentation of the theory of Sufi experience, written by a practicing Sufi.
Beginning with the idea of Şidq or truthfulness, the author develops his theme to include "stations" of fear, hope, trust, love, shame, longing, intimacy, all of which the mystic must pass on his path to God.
Throughout the discourse the author constantly refers, typically as a mystic, to higher degrees of the various stations which cannot be described in written language. In a style which foreshadows the practice of later writers, the author begins with Qur'anic sanctions, and follows these by references to the Sunnah and the lives of the saints.
Born in Baghdad, Abu Sa'id al-Kharrāz was one of the greatest Sufis of the ninth century AD. He associated with such personages as Dhū al-Nūn al-Mişrī and Sarī al-Saqați. From an early age, he travelled extensively, visiting Jerusalem, Makkah, Egypt and Tunisia. Nicknamed "the Tongue of Sufism," he is believed to have formulated several fundamental Sufi concepts, and penned a number of books and treatises, some of which have survived.
The date of his death is uncertain, but most likely occurred between 890 and 899 AD.