When a man comes to see you

A man who lived in Algeria heard all kinds of stories on the many supernatural powers of a certain friend of God who lived in Fez, Morocco. Because of these stories an image had been created by him of an extraordinary and very charismatic man. He undertook a travel in order to meet this friend of God. The Algerian was very interested in his secrets. When he arrived in Fez, people pointed out the house of the saint of God. According to his imagination there would be two doorkeepers. He knocked at the door of the house and the friend of God opened the door. The visitor asked him to be taken to his master as he was convinced that…

Chishti stages of love – Part 2

The stage of exclusive attachment to the Beloved also has five phases. 1. The first phase of exclusive attachment to the Beloved is called mu’aanadat (enmity). What happens that when the lover moves in company, she or he feels ill at ease with strangers and is afraid of being laughed at. People become her or his enemies and are prone to ridicule this lover. To explain this the author of Resaala-e-‘eshqia (The Epistle of Love) has quoted the following verse of Qur’an 22:52 We have not sent a messenger or prophet before you but when he recited the devil would intrude into his recitation Yet Allah annuls what the devil has cast. Then Allah establishes his revelations. Allah is All-knowing,…

How He Won the Office of Grandvizier

A king wanted to appoint a grandvizier. Three candidates competed for the king’s nomination to this high office, but the king was unable to decide which one of them was the most intelligent, and the most suitable for the post. At last, he decided to subject them to a competition, the winner of which would be chosen as grandvizier. The king summoned the three candidates and told them that he had prepared five balls, three of which were white and two were black. He said he would place one ball on the turban of each of the three men. Each of them would be able to see the balls on the heads of the other two, but would have to…

Adherence to habits

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti has said: “There is no greater or more awful calamity in your own existence than the adherence to habits. There is no poison deadlier than this, that you may desire to enrol spiritual disciples. The traveller in search of the truth who longs to have spiritual disciples does not reach the high station”.

Sufi commentaries on the Qur’an

The Sufis have commented on the Qur’an in different ways. Let’s explore some of these esoteric commentaries. 1. CORRESPONDENCE Shaykh al-Qashani is according to me one of the most interesting Sufi commentators on the Qur’an. It so happened that I’ve seen his commentary in a second-hand bookshop and I almost bought it, although I cannot read Arabic. This commentary is wrongly being attributed to shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. Shaykh al-Qashani however belonged to the school of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. Shaykh al-Qashani makes use of the method of tatbiq. His method of interpretation of the Qur’an consists of making correspondences. These correspondences connect the macrocosm with the microcosm. The shaykh explains the Qur’anic verses in terms of spiritual psychology and stages of…

The heavenly witness

Shaykh Awhaduddin Kermani says: ‘Aan shaahed-e-ma’nawi ke jaan-am tan-e-ust’, which means ‘my soul is the body of the heavenly witness’. He adds that the illuminated appearance of the heavenly witness is a co-respondent to his soul. The figure of the heavenly witness can become visible when your lower self gets purified by means of the training along the Sufi path. Spiritual development implies the transformation of the headstrong soul into the pacified soul. According to shaykh Nuruddin Esfarayini in his Kaashef al-Asraar this heavenly witness can already appear to you when you have not yet attained the level of purification of the pacified soul. The darkness available in your soul can have its effect on the heavenly witness, who may…

Sufi concept: Friday – Prophet Joseph

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi tells us, that for every day there is a prophet from among the prophets, from whom descends a secret upon the heart of the verifying witness, a secret in which you takes delight during your day and by which you know something of that which requires to be known. This only happens to those who possess a heart. Day 6: Friday If your day is Friday, then Joseph, possessor of the qualities of the passionate beloved, is your companion. On Friday it is Joseph who addresses you with a secret by which you come to know the mysteries of constant ascension through the stations, the divine decree and where it is established. FRIDAY Arabic: al-juma Divine attribute:…

The rude dervish

A poorly dressed dervish came to Baba Farid who gave him something and permitted him to depart. The dervish remained standing and asked the shaykh to give him the comb, which he had taken out from its cover and placed on the prayer-carpet. As the comb was not worth anything and had been long used by the shaykh, he did not reply to the request. The dervish began to shout loudly: “If the shaykh gives me this comb, he will receive plenty of blessings.” “Be off”, Baba Farid replied, “and do not disturb me any more. I throw you and your blessings into the river.”

Listening and Understanding

In the early 9th century, when the Muslim mystics organised their Sufi brotherhoods or orders, they adopted music as a support for meditation, as a means of access to the state of grace or ecstasy, or quite simple as ‘soulfood’, in other words, something that would give new vigour to a body and soul tired by the rigours of the ascetic life. In Sufism the sama’ (meaning literally ‘listening’) denotes the tradition of listening in spiritual fashion to music, chanting and songs of various forms, all ritualised to a greater or lesser degree. The very meaning of the word sama’ suggests that it is the act of listening that is spiritual, without the music or poetry being necessarily religious in…

10 Sufi tales of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya

A Chishti pir has sent these lines written in Persian calligraphy: Gar nayaabi sohbat-e-ahl-e-safaa Bas toraa kaafist zekr-e-aasfaa If you are unable to be in the company of the pure, Then sufficient for you is the remembrance of the pure. Here are some tales as recounted by Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya: Sufi Tale 1 A pir who was acquainted with the pros and cons of the sufi way had a son who just had finished his studies in several worldly sciences. This son, with the name Muhammad, approached him and made him clear that he wished to follow the sufi path. Muhammad then received the advice to undergo a retreat of forty days. After having completed the retreat he informed his…