The Test

It so happened that a seeker asked to become a student of a Sufi. “First you need to answer a certain question. If you are able to give a correct answer, you’ll be accepted as a murid after a period of one thousand and one days”. The seeker received the question and spared no effort until she found the solution. She conveyed the answer to the Sufi who said: “This is correct. You may go. Wait until one thousand and one days have passed and come back for instruction”. The seeker was overjoyed. She thanked the Sufi and asked him: “What would have happened in case I had not given the right response?” The Sufi answered: “Oh, in that case,…

The Key to open the Door

A key [miftâh] is an instrument for opening [fath]. Keys are able to open a locked door. An opening can be considered as an unveiling: “There’s a key, an opening, and something opened”, says shaykh Ibn al-‘Arâbî. “When the opened thing is opened, that which has been veiled by it becomes manifest. So the key is your preparedness [isti’dâd] for learning and receiving knowledge, the opening is the teaching, and the opened thing is the door at which you come to a halt”. “If you don’t halt and you travel on, you’ll see with every step what you had not been seeing, and you’ll come to know what you didn’t know, and God’s bounty to you is ever magnificent [Qur’ân…

A complete ghazal by Khwaja Hafez

To put this dervish coat in pledge for wine is better. And to drown this meaningless book into pure wine is better. Because I look back at my wasted life, To fall down drunk in the corner of the tavern is better. Because thinking about what is prudent is far from the dervish way, To have a breast full of fire and an eye full of tears is better. I shall not tell the people about the state of the heart of the ascetic, But if I should tell it, to tell this story with a harp and a violin is better. As long as the motions of the heavenly spheres have neither head nor tail, To desire for the…

Mawlana Jami

Who can be seen in the appearance of water and earth except You? Who is concealed inside the heart and soul except You? You said: ‘Purify your heart from all others except Me’. O Soul of the world, who is there in both worlds except You? در صورت آب وگل عیان غیر توکیست در خلوت جان و دل نهان غیر تو کیست گفتی که ز غیر من بپرداز دلت ای جان و جهان در دو جهان غیر تو کیست ∞ O you who’ve turned into the direction of loyalty Why have you turned the shell into the veil of the kernel? It’s not wise that your heart runs after this and that: With a single heart, one Friend is enough…

Hazrat Baba Farid

Eat your own bare, dry bread and drink plain, cold water. Don’t tempt you mind, Farid on seeing another’s buttered bread. ∞ Give up, Farid, the deeds which bring no credit, Lest you be put to shame in the court of the Lord. ∞ Don’t slander the dust, O Farid! There is nothing to equal it. While we’re alive, it lies beneath our feet. And when we’re dead, it covers us over. ∞ Serve the Lord, Farid, Casting off the doubts of your mind, For men of God are required to be Forbearing like the trees. ∞ God says: ‘If you ennoble yourself, O man, you’ll meet Me. And on meeting Me, You’ll have eternal bliss. If you ever remain…

Quotes of Sa’di

Lovers are prisoners at your door, come! They’ll not hold your fiery temper against you, come! Each of your cruel acts will be excused, But before they don’t excuse you anymore, come! عشاق بدرگهت اسیرند بیا بد خو ئى تو بر تو نگیرند بیا هر جور و جفا که کرده ای معذوری زان پیش که عذرت نپذیرند بیا If you are longing for the masters of heart, be aware That you aren’t heedless of service even for one moment; Give food to the parrot, the partridge and the pigeon, So that one day a phoenix may fall into your snare. الا گر طلبگار اهل دلی ز خدمت مکن یک زمان غافلی خورش ده به گنجشك و کبك و حمام که…

One Special Task

In jedem lebt ein Bild dessen, was er werden soll. Solange er dies nicht ist, ist nicht sein Friede voll. In each one lives an image of what he is to be. As long as he is not this, he ne’er at rest will be. [Friedrich Rückert] یکی گفت که اینجا چیزی فراموش کردهام Someone came and said: ‘I have forgotten something here.’ [Rumi: Fihi ma fihi; # 3; p. 14] Rumi answered: ‘There is one task in this world you should never forget. Even when you’d forget everything, except this one task, then it doesn’t matter. When you performed all tasks, remembered everything, and not forgot anything, but forgot that one task, then you have done nothing whatsoever’. ‘It…

GOD

Your name is in my mouth, Your image is in my eye, Your remembrance is in my heart: So where are You hidden? A scholar remarked in the presence of Shamsuddin of Tabriz: ‘I have established the existence of God with a categorical proof’. On the next morning our master Shams said: ‘Last night the angels descended and blessed that man, saying ‘Praise be to God, he has proven the existence of our God! May God give him a long life’!’ [Rumi:Fihi ma fihi]. Shabistari writes in his Gulshan-i-Raz: دلی کزمعرفت شهود است زهرچیزی که دید اول خدا دید A witnessing heart illuminated by gnosis, Sees God first in all things it looks upon. Several Sufis never talk or write…

Who are the just?

A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished. He who is grateful for the existence of music. He who takes pleasure in tracing a root of a word. Two servants playing, in a café in the South, a silent game of chess. The potter, contemplating a colour and a form. The typographer who sets this page well, although it may not please him. A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto. He who strokes a sleeping animal. He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him. He who is grateful for the existence of a Stevenson. He who prefers others to be right. These people, who don’t know one another, are saving…

Biko’s Bird

Biko desired to be a spiritual guide, but he attracted no murids. That’s why he became jealous of shaykh ‘Abdullah, the local Sufi master. He tried to discredit him with a trick. When shaykh ‘Abdullah was teaching the local halqa, Biko went to this assembly with a very small bird in his hands. He intended to ask the master if the bird was dead or alive.  In case the shaykh would say that it was dead, Biko would open his hands in order to let the bird fly away. When the answer would be that the bird was alive, he’d quickly crush the bird and thus kill it. In both cases the master would give the wrong answer.  Biko, full…