Jāmi's Lawāih is an attempt on the part of the learned author to express in intellectual terminology what the mystic actually feels as an experience. As Whinefield tells us, "catholic authorities have drawn this distinction between 'experimental' and 'doctrinal' mysticism, and it is a great help towards clear thinking on the subject."
But the learned translators (Whinefield and Kazvini) have followed in the footsteps of the medieval author even in the mode of expression of the profound thoughts contained in the book. Long, involved sentences, unbroken and not properly paragraphed, and solid reading matter in small type make the original translation, done over half a century ago, difficult to read and to digest by the modern reader. Since the translation is absolutely literal there is much that is redundant and makes the theme hard to follow.
Yet today, when the world of thought is keener than ever to understand things which are normally beyond the ken of experimental science or discursive reason, when scientific thought itself is coming nearer to mystic thought, when psychology is beginning to be regarded as a science, and when man feels again to be in need of super-human aid and ideals, I felt that a re-presentation of this small treatise by an acknowledged master is definitely called for.
I have put in short sentences and small sections, in the modern style, most of the original translation of Whinefield and Kazvini, with a view to attract the modern reader. Though certain parts of the original have been omitted, nothing has been distorted and, I feel, nothing essential in the basic thought has been left out. Whinefield and Kazvini's translation has been used for the purpose, since it is a translation by acknowledged scholars. A comparison with their literal translation would show what changes I have effected in presentation.
It will therefore be seen that this is more of a re-arrangement, with some omissions, rather than an "adaptation". If the modern reader gets even an inkling of the profound thought which Jāmi presents in the original, my purpose will have been well served.
I feel this is the right time to re-present our common heritage especially to our uprooted younger generation, who hardly know what their own culture has to offer, to help them get their bearings in the storm-tossed world of today.