Photo: Beluchi women in Muscat, Oman. ca. 1901.
If men wish to draw near to God, they must seek Him in the hearts of men. They should speak well of all men, whether present or absent, and if they themselves seek to be a light to guide others, then like the sun, they must show the same face to all. To bring joy to a single heart is better than to build many shrines for worship, and to enslave one soul by kindness is worth more than the setting free of a thousand slaves. The (true saint) sits in the midst of his fellow men, and rises up and eats and sleeps and buys and sells and gives and takes in the bazaars among other people, and marries and has social intercourse with other folk, and never for an instant forgets God.
(Abu Sa`id ibn Abi Khayr; trans. Margaret Smith)
'Spiritual Gems: The Mystical Qur'an Commentary Ascribed by the Sufis to Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq'
By Ja'far al-Sadiq (Author), Farhana Mayer (Translator)
This book contains some of the Quranic Commentary attributed to Iman Jafar Al Sadiq. He is described as one of the founders of Sufism and mystical practice in Islam. He was known to be one of the great teachers in Islamic understanding.
As such this commentary is incredibly valuable and insightful in early Islamic Quranic interpretation. The text is well translated and easy to follow. On a first read it is easy to see the value in his commentary but it takes some consideration and thought to gain any sense of how exceptional it is.
The introduction to the translation and the footnotes are very good. They really add value to the book and help the reader to appreciate the depth of the commentary. There is also the orginal arabic in the back which is helpful when considering the translation.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in Quranic commentaries, Shi Islam and Sufism.