The independent man

Many hundreds of years ago there were two man of Kabul who fell upon very hard times. They lost all they owned and suffered great hardship and poverty. So great was their misfortune that, try as they might, they could not improve their position. Always something happened to them to cause them a setback. Great were the bodily hunger and distress of mind, which they suffered. Grief and sorrow lay upon them like a heavy cloud. One day one man said to the other: ‘We have suffered much and have toiled hard, yet there seems no hope of improving our lot. Let us leave this country and seek our fortune elsewhere. Surely that would be a wise move. The good…

The ‘Urs of Kwaja Moinuddin Chishti

In October this year (according to the Islamic calendar the main activities will be from the 1st up to and including the 6th of Rajab; the most important day being the 6th of Rajab) the ‘urs of Mo’inuddin Chishti will be celebrated. I have attended it 3 times, the first time arrived on the day before the ‘urs when I could see a flag procession taking place. Depending on the visibility of the moon the date thereof can be established.. It is a rather colourful occasion, especially because of the qalandariyya dervishes who participate. At the dargah complex where Mo’inuddin Chishti is buried there is a sama’ khaneh (an auditorium for sufi music). This will start a day later than…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 17

Man sharaab-e-‘eshq raa paymaana am ay ‘aasheqaan Aan pari raa didam o diwaana am ay ‘aasheqaan O, lovers! I am like a goblet fit for the wine of love. O, lovers! I’ve seen that fairy and now I am intoxicated. Zaan fosun kaan lab ba-gusham khaand dar ruz-e-azal Dar zabaanhaa taa abad aafsaana am ay ‘aasheqaan Because of the fascinating recitation in my ears during pre-eternity, My tale will be told in every language till post-eternity, O, lovers! Goftamash ba-namaai rukh goftaa ke didaar-e-maraa Dida baayad war na man penhaan na am ay ‘aasheqaan I asked Him to reveal His face; He replied: ‘In order to see Me You need vision, otherwise I am hidden and not there, O, lovers!’…

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…

The Supreme Name

There are people, according to ar-Raazi, who hold to the opinion that the supreme name is a specific name and that people are able to know it. Some of the names suggested, are: 1. Hu or Huwa (He) 2. Allah 3. Al-Hayy, al-Qayyum (The Living, The Everlasting) 4. Dhu’l-jalaali-wa’l-ikraam (The Lord of Majesty and Bounty). 5. The supreme name can be found in the ‘isolated letters’ at the beginning of several Qur’anic chapters (different suggestions are offered). As Baba Farid, who is one of the most important Chishti Sufis, is holding the third opinion as referred to above, here is what ar-Raazi among other things writes about it: “It has been reported that Abu ibn Ka’b asked the messenger of…

Fasting in Ramadan

The month of fasting, Ramadan, is often greeted by the Sufis as a good friend, and as a welcome and honoured guest. They love to see this guest come, but also to see him go. The implication of the first is clear, but perhaps not of the second. The end of the month of fasting is followed by a feast. In ordinary terms it means that you can eat and drink. In Sufi terms the feast implies the meeting with the Beloved. The Beloved is then the cupbearer Who pours out the wine of gnosis and love. Jami writes (ghazal # 1-178 p. 201): Helal-e ‘id jostan kaar-e ‘aam ast Helal-e ‘id-e khaasaan daur-e jaam ast The search of the…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 2

Here is a ghazal from the Diwaan-e-Mo’in (Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna): Chu man az hastiye-khod dur baasham Ba-khod ham naazer o manzur baasham As I am far from a selfish existence, I am myself both the observer and the observed. Chu jaam o baada o saaqi mohaiyast Rawaa baashad ke man makhmur baasham As the cup, the wine and the wine-poorer are available, It is only proper that I am drunk. Ze jaam-e-wahdatam yak jor’a bakhsh Ke dar daar-e fanaa’ mansur baasham Give me one draught from the cup of union, So that I am a Mansur on the gibbet of extinction. Az aan jaami ke chun serr-e anaa’l-haqq Bar aayad bar zabaan ma’zur baasham From that cup…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 22

Chashm be-koshaai ke didaar-e-khodaa-ye-jelwa namud Dida shaw yaksar o bar band dar-e-goft o shonud Open your eyes so that you may behold the divine splendour! Unify your vision and close the door to your speech and hearing. ‘Aks-e-rokhsaara-ye-saaqi be-namud az rokh-e-jaam Hush o aaraam ze mastaan-e-mai-ye-‘eshq rabud The reflection of the face of the cupbearer appeared at the surface of the cup. It has robbed the love-intoxicated ones of their sanity and peace of mind. Saaqi-ye-‘eshq maraa ruz-e-azal baada chashand Taa abad har nafas-am masti-ye-digar be-fozud Love’s cupbearer has made me taste some wine during the day of pre-eternity, So that with every breath of mine my intoxication will increase at post-eternity. Yaa rabb in masti-ye-man zaan mai-ye-bazm-e-azal ast Yaa…

The Sun of Tabriz

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Hazrat Shams-e Tabrizi.. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: You are so famous that you really need no introduction. Your name Shams means ‘sun’… A: When someone is born in the sun itself, from birth he opens his eyes to the sun and becomes accustomed to it. They tell him: ‘Speak of the moon, speak of Mercury”. How can I speak of them? Does the sun even know that there is a moon in the world? Q: Can you tell us something about your relationship with Mawlana Rumi? A: When I came to Mawlana, the first stipulation…

Sufi concept: Thursday – Prophet Moses

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 5: Thursday If your day is Thursday, then Moses is your companion: for the covering is quite lifted away and you are addressed in the manner of an unveiling, not by any man or fire; and indeed the angel rejoiced while the devil withdrew. On Thursday it is Moses who addresses you with a secret by which you…