The Refinement of Souls is a translation of Ibn ʿAtā’ Allāh al-Sakandarī’s Tāj al-‘arūs al-ḥāwī li-tahdhīb al-nufūs. It is a concise manual consisting of spiritual instructions, aphorisms and private discourses with the Divine from a Sufi master of the Shādhilī Order. The author has included numerous references to the Qur ’an and Sunnah, as well as illuminating stories and similitudes, in the course of explaining religious themes such as repentance, the effects of sins, the nature of the struggle against the lower self, envy, reliance on divine planning, and many others. The work concentrates on the practical steps and the essential states of being for a novice to realise , and as such, serves as a beneficial guide for both Sufis and non-Sufis, both beginners and more advanced students.
Ibn ʿAtā’ Allāh al-Sakandarī (d. 709 AH) is one of the greatest Sufi masters of the Shādhilī Order. In addition to being a spiritual guide, he was also an accomplished scholar of Islamic law, which he taught in the al-Azhar mosque and other places. His greatest fame is due to his composition of illumined spiritual treatises, in particular his al-Ḥikam al-ʿAṭā’iyyah [ʿAtā’s aphorisms].