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This book offers the text and a translation of yet another, apparently genuine work of Nasir-i Khusraw which has hitherto remained unknown. It explains briefly and clearly the author's philosophic outlook, and is thus a valuable key to the understanding of his other works, and of his position in Ismailism. To help students, a detailed index of technical terms and all expressions which appear to be peculiar to the author, or are used by him in a special sense, has been provided.
The text in this edition had to be printed in accordance with those archaic usages in orthography which were current in Nasir's own time, i.e. the fifth c. A.H./ eleventh c. A.D., namely, without the use of the "Persian" letters, p, ch, zh, and g. this was forced upon us by circumstances. Unsurmountable difficulties, almost the complete impossibility of printing anything, especially Persian or Arabic texts, in India, induced us to try to print this booklet in Cairo. In Cairo, however, although there was no scarcity of facilities for printing in Arabic type, only few presses were equipped with necessary "Persian" letters. Thus we were confronted with two alternative possibilities, either of availing ourselves of the opportunity of printing the book without those letters, or of giving up the idea of printing the text. We chose the first because in the case of a work of Nasir-i Khusraw the use of archaic orthography was surely quite legitimate.
I have again to acknowledge my sincere and profound gratitude to the "Ismaili Society" of Bombay for their generous patronage and invaluable assistance in my studies of Ismailism, especially in hard times such as these.
Bombay, the 1st Sept. 1948. W. Ivanow.
(Note- The following two pages after Preface illustrates the actual Persian texts of the two manuscripts entitles: (1) The last page of the copy "A". And (2) The end of the Shish-Fasl, and the beginning of the Rawshana'i-nama in verse in the copy "B".