This is a book of aphorisms written by Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari (d. 1309), here called Ibn Atallah, the third sheikh of the Shadhili Sufi order. He was born and grew up in Alexandria, then lived and died in Cairo. Ibn Atallah is well known for compressing large thoughts into a small space. The shape of the thought is smooth, small, dense, and hard. He chose the form of aphorisms to express himself because he wanted above all to spread the word of what he believed in, and indeed, many of these statements could be likened to a pebble that one might carry in one's pocket.