History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2013: Q.5 (a)
Q.5 (a) Evaluate the Malfuzat texts sources of medieval history.
The Malfuzat texts record the teachings of the Sufi saints. During the 13th century, the oral teachings of these saints took on a canonical texual form and gradually these works were recognised as the authoritative and normative genre both for the members of the Sufi order and for their lay followers.
Malfuzat as historical source
(1) The Malfuzat texts in the form of the records of Sufi discources were an extremely popular genre of literature during the 13th century in north India and are therefore of tremendous historical importance.
(2) One of the most admired of these Malfuzat texts is the “Fawaid Al-Fuad” translated as “Morals of the Heart”. The book was written by Amir Hasan Sijzi Dehlavi, a poet and disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. It is a beautifully written account of the Sufi teachings of Nizamuddin Auliya. The “Fawaid Al-Fuad” is valued more for its historical value as a corrective to the exclusively dynastic focus of the court historians than its religious content.
(3) The social history of the period, not found in dynastic chronicles can well be ascertaimed from the Malfuzat texts. We can get a glimpse of medieval society and the popular customs, manners and problems of the people from recorded conversations of this kind.
(4) Later on the Malfuzat tradition was furthered by Hamid Qalandar, who compiled the teachings and speeches of Nizamuddin Auliya’s successor in Delhi, Nasiruddin Mahmud Chirag-i-Delhi. Hamid has provided us with an elaborate description of how the collection of works compiled in Khair al-Majalis (the best of aassemblies) began in 1854 and were then forwarded to the master, who finally approved of it
Another important one is Malfuzat on Burhan al-Din Gharib like Nafaid al-antas.
Limitations of Malfuzat as historical source
(1) The authors of the Malfuzat texts did not actually take down copious notes when the master was speaking instead they penned down and transcribed the master’s sayings from memory. This gives possibility of error and exaggeration.
Later on sometimes their work was improved upon by the Sufi saint himself.
(2) Malfuzat texts donot give much informations about rulers amd political history of the time as the Malfuzat had great Sufi saints as their protagonists so these texts did not really care to concern themselves with either the Sultan or his entourage.