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…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 9

Man yaar toraa daaram o aghyaar namikhaaham Ghair az to ke del bordi deldaar namikhaaham You are my Friend and I don’t want any other. You are my Beloved and I don’t want any other to capture my heart. Khaari ke ze dard-e-to khastast maraa dar del Man khasta-e-aan khaaram golzaar namikhaaham A thorn of pain coming from You has wounded my heart, But I don’t want to replace this wound by any flower. Gar jelwa dehi bar del naqd-e-do jahaan guyam Man ‘aasheq-e-didaaram dinaar namikhaaham If You polish my heart, I’ll pay all the cash of both worlds for it. I love to see You and it is money I don’t want. Serri ke maraa baa tost baa ghair…

Monsieur de Fortgib

When Deschamps was a little boy in Orleans, he was treated to some plum pudding by a neighbour, Mr. de Fortgibu. Ten years later he again encountered plum pudding in a restaurant in Paris. He wanted to order some, but the waiter told him that another customer had already ordered the last remaining dish. Deschamps looked; it was Mr. de Fortgibu who had ordered the dish. Years later Deschamps was again offered some plum pudding at a gathering. As he ate, he recalled the earlier incidents and told his listeners that the only thing missing at that moment was Mr. de Fortgibu. Suddenly the door burst open, and a very old man verging on senility staggered in. Who should it…

The Queen of the Desert

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), one of the changed ones or abdal. What would you ask her? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Can you give us some biographical details? A: My Russian mother was called Nathalie de Moerder-Eberhardt. Trophimovsky, my father, was a remarkable man. My father and mother did not marry one another. My father was a former priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was an anarchist and raised me as a boy. He taught me Latin, Greek, Russian, German, Turkish and Arabic. My father helped me to read parts of the Qur’an in the original. Its teachings gave me a…

Revelation and Inspiration

Poets write inspired poetry, but from where do they receive this inspiration? And how to become the recipient of inspiration? A disciple of the Iranian poet Sa’ib once composed the following absurd verse: Seek for the bottleless wine from the wineless bottle! Sa’ib immediately responded with the following: Haqq râ zi dil khâlî az andîsha talab kon Seek for the Truth in the heart, which is empty of thought. Hâfiz is considered to be one of the greatest among the Sufi poets. A Chishtî pîr made it clear that this famous poet was not always considered to be a good poet: “It so happened one day that Hâfiz was ridiculed to such an extent that he could not bear it….

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 18

Ze pish-e-khish bar afgan neqab-e-da’waa raa Be-bin ba-keswat-e-surat jamaal-e-ma’naa raa Remove from your self the veil of pretension And you’ll see the beauty of the spiritual meaning in outward forms. Be-zan ba-sang-e-malaamat zojaaja-ye-naamus Ba-ku-ye-‘eshq be-riz aabru-ye-taqwaa raa Smash the glass of worldly fame with the stone of the path of blame; Shatter the respect attached to piety by following the path of love. Chu hasht bagh-e-janaan khusha-e-ze kherman-e-maast Ba-nim jaw na-kharam kesht-e-zaar-e-doniyaa raa Because I can pick a bunch of grapes in the garden of the eighth heaven, Not even for half a grain of barley I’ll buy the harvest of this abject world. Ba-haqq-e-u ke ba-kunayn chashm na-koshaayam Ke taa nokhost na-binam jamaal-e-mawlaa raa By God, I’ll not cast…

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz or ‘Patron of the Poor’ as Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti is known, was not only a great Sufi and an inspired person, but at the same time he was an erudite scholar and a poet. He would generally not allow more than one dervish to accompany him in travels. He would stay in desolate and deserted places. Sometimes he would stay in a graveyard. The moment he came to be known, he would stay no longer. He hated publicity. Khwaja Moinuddin Chshti says… Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that the Day of Judgment is a certainty. On that day when the true lovers will be called and if at that time someone amongst the lovers cried out establishing his claim…

Treasure of Sugar

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh Baba Fariduddin Mas’ud Ganj-e Shakar. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Can you tell us something about your youth? A: My grandfather Qazi Shuayb left Kabul and came to Qasur near Lahore. The qazi of Qasur informed the sultan of his arrival and recommended that suitable provision should be made for his maintenance. The sultan was greatly pleased to learn of my grandfather’s accomplishments and showed his willingness to help him in any possible way. To his offer my grandfather replied: “I don’t desire any worldly object, but for the simple reason that whatever is lost…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 25

Biyaa dar bazm-e-u adnaa yake harf ze man be-shnaw Wa zaan asraar-e-maa wahi yake tarz-e-sokhan be-shnaw Come closer to His assembly and listen to my words! Listen to my secrets and be inspired by my manner of speaking! Agar asraar-e-wahdat raa ze man baawar nami-daari To gush-e-hosh-e-khud be-koshaai o bikaam o dahan be-shnaw If you don’t believe in my words about the mysteries of existence, Open your ears and listen in complete silence to your innermost consciousness! Bar afgan nur o zolmat raa ze rah bardaar kasrat raa Pas aangah serr-e-wahdat raa to ham az khishtan be-shnaw Remove from your path all diversity and duality between darkness and light, And then also listen to what your higher self tells you…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 12

Chashm be-koshaai ke aafaaq por az nur-e-khodaast Khaali az nur-e-khodaa dar hama aafaaq kojaast Open your eyes, because the whole world is full with the light of God. Which place in the whole world is without the light of God? Ma’ni kaz nazar-e-khalq nehaan bud modaam Nek benegar ke namudaar az in surat-e-maast That spiritual meaning which always was hidden from the eyes of creatures, You can now clearly behold in my outward appearance. Aan jamaali ke nazar niz daraan mahram nist Hamchu khurshid darin aayinaye-maa paydaast It is not forbidden to see that beauty therein, Just like the sun gets reflected in my mirror. Goftamash chand buwad hosn-e-to penhaan gofta Hosn paidaast wale dida-e-binanda keraast I asked Him: ‘How…