Shams al-Ma'arif, 'the Book of the Sun of Gnosis and the Subtleties of Elevated Things' is a 13th-century grimoire written on Arabic magic and a manual for achieving esoteric spirituality.
The book consists of two volumes; Shams al-Ma'arif al-Kubra and Shams al-Ma'arif al-Sughra, the former being the larger of the two.The first few chapters introduce the reader to magic squares, and how to combine numbers and letters in mystical combinations that brings magical effect, which the author insists is the only way to communicate with genies, angels and spirits.
While being popular, it also carries a reputation for being suppressed and banned for much of Islamic history, but still flourishes in being read and studied up to the present day. Many Sufi orders, such as the Naqshbandi-Haqqani order have recognised its legitimacy and use as a compendium for the occult, and hold it in high regard.
What an interesting book!
Photo (c) Dr Cagliostro's Cabinet of Curiosities