The ancient lands of Turkmenistan abound with the famous personalities – ascetics, prominent figures of their times. One of them is the spiritual mentor Abu Sayid Mehneyi, called Meana Baba. His mausoleum, an architectural monument of the 11th century, not only is known as a specimen of medieval architecture, but also is visited frequently.
He was born in 967 in the territory of modern Turkmenistan near Meana village (Mane in Turkmen) in the Kaahka etrap, Ahal velayat, 45 km south-east of the present-day Dushak railway station. In the Middle Ages, that area was called Havaran Sahrasy or Desht-i-Havaran – Havaran steppe. About a thousand years ago, there was a city of Mehne, known as the birthplace of many scientists and poets who bore the prefix to their own name “mehneyi”, which means “born in Mehne”, near the Meana village. The most famous of them was Abu Sayid Mehneyi, an elder of the Khorasan school of mysticism. His full name is Fadlullah bin Abul Khair. His father Abul Khair was an expert in medicinal herbs, imparted pharmaceutical knowledge and practice to his son. Abu Sayid studied for many years in Merv and then in Serahs, where he studied law and interpretation of the scriptures. At that time, he lived in seclusion, indulging in strict ascetic and mystical exercises. In subsequent years, he practiced in Nishapur, Amul, Mehne and Abiverd and often sang, and, according to contemporaries, he had a wonderful voice. His songs captivated people.