Mystical Marriage

Nekah-ye-ma’nawi oftaad dar din Jehaan raa nafs-e-kolli daad kaabin A mystical marriage was celebrated in religion. The Universal Soul gave the earth as a dowry. I have visited Lahore in Pakistan a number of times. During one of these visits I went to Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, one of the local publishers to buy some books. I noticed another customer whose pile of books was as large as mine and we started to talk. During a meal together I found out that he belonged to a Pakistani Sufi order. I told him that I had bought The Secret Rose Garden of shaykh Mahmud Shabistari. The above quote is from this book which has become one of my favourite Sufi books. As…

Return to simplicity

There has been a single event, which has pointed out to me my conscious beginning of my inner search. It was the death of my father. I come from a family with good education, they are religious without overdoing it and my life has been a very protected one. I was 25 years old and I wanted to start a job, but the death of my father was a big shock to me. That is why I started to search, I needed to look for a meaning, I wanted to know what was the meaning of my life. A little later I was no longer satisfied with my job as an engineer, with my life in Paris, with my friends……

20 Poems of Hazrat Baba Farid

I’ve acquired “The Couplets of Baba Farid” as translated by Maqbool Elahi when I was in Lahore. The original Punjabi text is also contained in this book. These poems are included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred book of the Sikhs. 1 On the day the body was married to the soul, All the destined breaths were written in a scroll. At the approach of the last breath, The so much heard of angel, brought their counth to death. 2 Rattling bones, this angel takes life away. Tell yourself, while breathing: ‘Destiny holds the sway’. 3 Life is wife and death her husband. Husband takes his wife away. After ‘yes’ to his proposal, How can she hold back the…

The Planiverse

“The year is 1981, and in the computer lab of a large university a group of graduate students and their professor are hard at work on the departmental mainframe, graphically modelling an imaginary two-dimensional world. The project is going well, extraordinarily well, when one student suddenly notices that the world they are building on-screen is… inhabited!” So begins A.K. Dewdney’s tale of discovery and communication with the two-dimensional civilization of Arde. Since its original publication in 1984 The Planiverse has developed a kind of cult readership, following in the footsteps of Edward Abbot’s nineteenth-century classic Flatland. As a kind of mental puzzle or brain-teaser, it challenges and delights, inviting readers to imagine just how a two-dimensional world might actually work….

A pair of trousers

Mawlana Shamsuddin Mohammad Yahya was an intimate friend of Mawlana Sadruddin Nawli. Both of them used to hear quite a lot about the spiritual greatness of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya. They had never met him. One day, when they came to Ghiyaspur to wash their clothes, they decided to go to Nizamuddin Awliya to see what kind of dervish he was and to find how much learning and knowledge he possessed. But they felt annoyed by the type of devotion that so many people offered to Nizamuddin Awliya. They considered it to be contrary to Islam. That is why they would only say ‘Peace be with you’ according to the Islamic precepts and then sit down. As soon as Nizamuddin Awliya…

The Helper of the Religion

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Mulla Nasreddin. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Many countries claim you to be their citizen. In different countries like Iran and Turkey the local people say that your grave can be found. Are you a world citizen avant la lettre? A: Moi? After quitting Bokhara I have repaired first to Istanbul. Then I have disturbed the peace successively in Baghdad, Medina, Beirut and Basra, I caused pandemonium in Damascus, then dropped in at Cairo, where I held the office of chief judge of the city. I will not tell you whom I judged and how I…

Paul’s awakening

It is unusual when a father writes the biography of his son. It happened in the case of the Dutch mystic Frederik van Eeden who wrote the biography of his son Paul after his son’s death. Paul clearly was not someone with special qualities, he was unremarkable, he was quite a normal person and he even had small character mistakes. When he became ill, then he changed. The change took place slowly, but continuously. An inner purification took place, clearly visible to all. At the final moment, the moment of his death, he did not fall ‘asleep’, but there was an ‘awakening’. After his expiry Fredrik van Eeden tells something about one of his gardeners. You should know that Frederik…

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

The things that took place during the second initiation of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (this is the title of Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti; about its meaning see below) are recorded in the many books that have been written in this field. Many other details of his life can be read in those sources, which are available for English knowing people. For a long time he served his murshid. He remarked that whatever he got, he got by service. He was appointed as the successor of Khwaja Uthman Haruni after 20 years of travelling together. He was 52 years old then. His murshid then made a number of remarks, among which is the following: ‘Do not hold any hope from the people’. After…

Sufis about Death

Prepare yourself for death, oh my brother, For it will descend. Do not draw out your hopes In case your heart treats you harshly. Persevere in reflection Which will make you aware And move you to do good works, For life will depart. Shaykh Ibn al-Habib is the one who has given the above counsel on death. Death can be seen as the physical death, but when the Sufis say that when they are forgetful of God, then they also see this as death. The remembrance of the divine Beloved thus implies life. Imam al-Ghazzali has said that there are three aspects to the remembrance of death: • The remembrance of a heedless person, who is involved with the world….

The Carder of Secrets

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh al-Hallaj (ca. 858-922). What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Why are you called al-Hallaj? A: My father, Mansur, was a wool carder (hallaj), a profession also practised intermittently by me. My son, whose name is Hamd, has told this about me: ‘He spoke in public and everyone, great or small approved of him. He spoke to his listeners of their innermost consciences, of what was in their hearts, which he unveiled for them. They called him the carder of secrets (halaj al-asrar), and the name Hallaj stayed with him’. People, however have referred to me by…