I am an Unbeliever of Love

‘Aql âmad dîn u dunyâ shud kharâb‘Ishq âmad har du ‘âlam kâm-yâbReason entered, and religion and planet were ruined.Love entered, and both these worlds were saved. Kâfir-i-‘ishq-am musalmânî marâ dar kâr nîstHar rag-i-man târ gashta hâjat-i-zunnâr nîstI am an unbeliever of love; I have no use for Islam.Every vein of me has become a thread: I don’t need a religious belt. Mâ gharîbân râ tamâshâ-i-chaman dar kâr nîstDâgh-hâ-yi-sîna-yi-mâ kamtar zi gulzâr nîstStrangers like us have no use for a walk in the garden.The scars on my heart are nothing less than a rose garden. Shâd bâsh ai dil ki fardâ bar sar-i-bâzâr-i-‘ishqWa’da-yi-qatl ast garchi wa’da-yi-dîdâr nîstRejoice, o heart! Tomorrow at the gate of love’s market,There’ll be the promise of death,…

The Shaykh’s Cat

During the morning meditation, the cat of a certain khanegah often caused quite some disturbance. So shaykh Ahmad, the resident Sufi Pir, ordered that the cat always had to be tied up when that practice got performed..  After the death of shaykh Ahmad, the cat still got tied up during the morning meditation. When the cat died, another cat was bought in order to “properly” tie it up during the meditation. Several elaborate Sufi handbooks were written in later ages by scholarly followers of shaykh Ahmad about the symbolical meaning of tying up a cat. 

The wake-up call by a forerunner

A young man in Tirmiz desired to expand his horizon. Together with some friends he decided to go on a journey in pursuit of knowledge. When he and his friends were about to leave, his mother appealed him to stay as he was the only one who could give her the care she needed. His friends left and leave this story, but the story of the young man now really takes a start. You can imagine that he felt miserable. He decided to help his mother, but at the same time, he was very sorry to see his friends leave. That’s why he felt it necessary to increase his melancholic state by regularly visiting the cemetery of Tirmiz. One Sunday…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 31

This is a complete ghazal attributed to Khwâja Mu’înuddîn Chishtî: Az matla’-yi-dil zad ‘alam yak lam’a az rukhsâr-i-û Shud zarra zarra hastîyam dar parda-yi-anwâr-i-û A flash of light from His face appeared in my heart: My existence became a particle of the luminous veil of Huuu. Bâ ânke zarrât tan-am har yak hazârân dîda shud Yak zarra ham dîda na-shud az partaw-i-rukhsâr-i-û Although each particle of my body manifested itself in thousands of ways, Not one particle was illuminated, before this ray of light of the face of Huuu. Husn-ash chû âyad jilwa-gar tâqat na-yârad chashm-i-sar Az dîda-yi-dil kun nazar tâ bi-nigarî dîdâr-i-û My outward eyes were incapable to see when His beauty powerfully manifested itself, Then the eyes of…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 30

Here is a ghazal from the Diwaan-e-Mo’in (Persian text: Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna): Robud jaan o delam raa jamaal-e-naam-e-khodaa Nawaakht teshna labaan raa zolaal-e-naam-e-khodaa My soul and my heart have been captivated by the beauty of the name of God. My thirsty lips have been comforted by the pure water of the name of God. Wesaal-e-haqq talabi hamneshin naamash baash Bebin wesaal-e-khodaa dar wesaal-e-naam-e-khodaa If you search for union with God, be a companion of His name, You’ll see that union with God is in union with the name of God. Miyaan-e-esm o mosamma chu farq nist bebin To dar tajalliye asmaa kamaal-e-naam-e-khodaa As there is no difference between the name and the Named One, You’ll see in…

Self-mastery

The secret of the cook is not to lose your self when you search for yourself. Shaykh Yahya Suhrawardî wrote a quatrain about the right kind of orientation: Hân tâ sar rishta-yi-khud gum nakunîKud râ barâ-yi nîk wa bad gum nakunîRah-raw tuî wa râ tuî manzil tuHushdâr ki râh-i-khud be khud gum nakuni Take care not to lose sight of the origin of your self,Lest, for the sake of good and bad, you lose your self.The traveller, the road and the destination, you are yourself.Take care not to lose the road to your self!   There is another version of the first line, mentioning rishta-yi-khirad [instead of rishta-yi-khud], and this can be translated as ‘the thread of wisdom’ or ‘the thread of the intellect’. What causes us to lose self-mastery?…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 29

This is a complete ghazal attributed to Khwâja Mu’înuddîn Chishtî: Ay ki andar ‘ain paidâ’î nihâni kîstî Har chi dar fahm u gumân âyad na ânî kîstî Who are You, Who are both clearly manifest and hidden? You, Whose existence is beyond intellect and imagination? Jumla-yi-ashyâ zi hadd-i-wasf shud ma’lûm-i-khalq Ay ki bîrûn az hadd-i-wasf-i-bayânî kîstî All things are distinguished in creation by the extent of their definitions. Who are You, Whose description is beyond any limitation? Ay ki dar har mazhar-i-naw’î zuhûrî karda’i Dar libâs-i-hajla ‘ayân ‘iyânî kîstî Who are, Who manifest Yourself in each kind of place, Whose eyes are manifest behind the curtain of the bridal chamber? Nai badan az tu khabar dârad na jân az tu…

The Far and Near side to Madness

The work of the philosopher Wouter Kusters consists of making an attempt to understand the ins and outs of madness. Psychiatrists easily prescribe medication, but remain unaware of what this different state of consciousness really implies. Kusters intends to develop a kind of common ‘language’ regarding the alpha and omega of madness [Wouter Kusters: Filosofie van de waanzin; 2014:23]. J.W. Perry in his The Far Side of Madness [1974:8] writes: “What do we make of the fact that, when out of their senses, some people have experiences perhaps of beauty, perhaps of terror, but always with implications of awesome depth, and that when they re-emerge out of their craze and into their so-called normal ego, they may shut the trapdoor after them…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 28

This a complete ghazal attributed to Khwâja Mu’înuddîn Chishtî: Ba-khudâ ghayr-i-khudâ dar du jahân nîst kase Sad dalîl-ast wale wâqif az ân nîst kase By God, no one exists in the two worlds but God! Countless proofs are there that He exists, but no one really knows Him. Nukta-i-sirr-i-mahabbat chu nihân az man u tu-st Lâ jaram dar sudad-i-sharh u bayân nîst kase Since the subtleties of love’s secret are hidden from you and me, No one can of course offer a clear explanation thereof. Masnad-i-‘izzat u khalwat-gah-i-wahdat khâlîst Az azal tâ ba abad dar khûr ân nîst kase The seat of honour and the solitary place of unity remain empty: From pre-eternity till post-eternity, no one is worthy to…

Thirty-six

There are 36 attestations of tawhîd in the Qur’ân. This takes place by means of a dhikr, which is in this case the tahlîl. The basic shape is well known to you: “no god but God!” This is the recitation wherein God is declared one, by negating what is other than Him and by affirming Him. O Lord! Light the eternal fire in my heart! Turn every breath into a messenger of Your compassion! 1-36: The first attestation of tawhîd can be found in Q. 2:163. It is a tawhîd by means of the Divine name ar-Rahmân: Wa ‘ilâhukum ‘ilâhuñw-wâhidå: lââ ‘ilâha illâ huwa-r-rahmânu-r-rahîm And your God is one God, no god but He, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Shaykh Ibn…