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…

سلام

A certain Sufi remarked that after his death he’d leave a letter in a certain box. When things wouldn’t be easy, then the box should be opened in order to read the letter. Then it so happened that things indeed became very difficult. That’s why the box was opened and the letter was read, stating: “Everything is gonna be all right! I’m certain you’ll find a solution!”

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…