Can Hujwiri’s Kashf al-MaÍjËb be considered a ‘Proto-Tadhkirah’? A Study of its Biographical Content and Genre Classification




Kashf al-MaÍjËb [Revelation of the Veiled] authored by Abu’1- × asan ‘AlÊ b. ‘UthmÉn b. ‘AlÊ al-JullÉbÊ al-HujwirÊ (d. between1073-77 circa) was written in Lahore after mid-eleventh century. It is considered the first treatise on Sufism in the Persian language, as well as one of the most read classical texts on Sufism. It offers valuable information on the doctrines, practices and ethics of Sufism along with the biographies of renowned early Sufis. Like many other early Sufi texts, Kashf al-MaÍjËb is a hybrid text, combining features of varied genres of Sufi literature, hence denying any neat genre classification. Nonetheless, it has generally been considered a survey or handbook of Sufism. While analyzing the debate on the genre classification of Kashf al-MaÍjËb, the present study confirms the prevalent view, since the biographical section in the Sufi text under study forms a major portion of it, challenging its exclusive branding as a Sufi manual. The present study argues that Kashf al-MaÍjËb cannot be treated exclusively as a Sufi manual or a ÏabaqÉ. In other words, it is more than a Sufi manual owing to its rich biographical subject matter. Furthermore, the study argues that Kashf al-MaÍjËb partly appears to be a prototadhkirah as well due to its biographical content, since it was produced at the time when development of the genre of tadhkirah writing had not yet originated. Later, it served as a model for writing the first tadhkirah of Sufi literary history, i.e. Tadhkirat al-AwliyÉ by Farid-ud-Din ‘AÏÏÉr.




How to Cite

TANVIR ANJUM, & ADEELA GHAZANFAR. (2021). Can Hujwiri’s Kashf al-MaÍjËb be considered a ‘Proto-Tadhkirah’? A Study of its Biographical Content and Genre Classification. Quarterly Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, 68(2). Retrieved from