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…

How the mureed should behave towards his or her shaykh

Al-Qashani is the author of the Persian handbook of the Sufis the Misbaah al-hidaaya wa Miftaah al-Kifaaya – The Lamp of Right Guidance and the Key to What is Sufficient. This book has been partially translated into English by Wilbeforce Clark while the impression is given that it is the Arabic book of as-Suhrawardi, the ‘Awaarif al-Ma-aarif. I hope to translate the chapter HOW THE MUREED SHOULD BEHAVE TOWARDS HIS OR HER SHAYKH as given in the book of al-Qashani and perhaps later on I’ll see if as-Suhrawardi mentions more. Know this: It belongs to the most important rules of the mureed, that she or he takes care of behaving properly towards her or his shaykh, because of the fact…

Baba Farid

Baba Farid (may God sanctify his innermost consciousness) has written these verses in Persian: (1) Ba-qadr ranj yaabi soruri raa Ba-shab bidaar budan mehtari raa You’ll experience bliss to the extent of the pains you undertake. Greatness will come if in the night you keep awake. (2) Khaaham ke hamisha dar hawaaye to ziyam Khaaki shawam o ba-zir paaye to ziyam Maqsud-e-man banda ze kawnayn to’i Az ba-har to miram ze baaraaye to ziyam I wish that I’d always live in love with You. I’d like to live as the dust under the feet of You. You are my goal in both the worlds: I die for You and I live for You. (3) Gar wesaal-e-shaah midaari tam’ Az wesaal-e-khishtan…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 27

This is a complete ghazal attributed to Khwâja Mo’înoddîn Cheshtî: Az pas-e-parda jamâlî mî-nomâyad kîst ân Ân-ke yak yak parda az rokh mî-koshâyad kîst Who is He Who shows His beauty from behind the curtain? Who is He Who gradually removes the veils before His face? Tâ ba-kaî chûn ahwalân bînî lebâs-e-mokhtalef Ân-ke har dam dar lebâsi mî-nomâyad kîst ân How long will you, like a squint eyed person, see creation dressed only in different, unrelated forms? Who is He Who appears all the time dressed in these outward forms? Jâm-e-maî bar kaf nehâda ‘aks-e-khûd dîda dar ân Har zamân dar bâda-ye-mastî mî-fezâyad kîst ân You see yourself reflected in the glass of wine you hold in your hand, But…

Yellow Teeth

A seeker of God, ‘Abd ar-Rahman, happened to attend a Sufi dhikr. One of the awrad seemed so strange to him that he seriously began to doubt his sanity. There could hardly be a mistake. The dervishes were all swaying and chanting: Yellow teeth! Yellow teeth! But how could yellow teeth inspire such passion among the dervishes? Later on he discovered that what he had misheard, was actually Ya Latif – which is, as you know, one of the 99 most beautiful names of God.

Sufi commentaries on the Qur’an

The Sufis have commented on the Qur’an in different ways. Let’s explore some of these esoteric commentaries. 1. CORRESPONDENCE Shaykh al-Qashani is according to me one of the most interesting Sufi commentators on the Qur’an. It so happened that I’ve seen his commentary in a second-hand bookshop and I almost bought it, although I cannot read Arabic. This commentary is wrongly being attributed to shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. Shaykh al-Qashani however belonged to the school of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi. Shaykh al-Qashani makes use of the method of tatbiq. His method of interpretation of the Qur’an consists of making correspondences. These correspondences connect the macrocosm with the microcosm. The shaykh explains the Qur’anic verses in terms of spiritual psychology and stages of…

Dr. Averroes, I presume…

There is an account – by Ibn al-‘Arabi self – of his meeting with Ibn Rushd (Averroes). His father was a close friend of the philosopher, who had heard a great deal of the young man and who was curious to meet him. So, on some pretext his father sent him to the house of Ibn Rushd. I have always wondered about the meaning of their curious meeting. In several books different explanations have been offered, but none was really satisfactory. In the Journal of the Ibn al-‘Arabi society I read an article dedicated to this meeting. Therein it was stressed that it is important to ask yourself about the meaning of this meeting between the young mystic and the…

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…

These dervishes are like apes

While it is good that murids in the beginning of their path emulate the behaviour of their murshid, it is important that in due course of time this doesn’t turn into a blind following (taqlid) of their spiritual guide and teacher. A Sufi shaykh visited some dervishes in Misr during his travels. When he was with them, he taught some apes to do a dance. They learned to do it very quickly. Dressed in golden robes and wearing impressive crowns, they went through the steps and, for a while, put on a very good show. This show took place in front of the dervishes the shaykh had visited. They responded with enthusiasm to the dance of the apes. Something unexpected…

Song of the Dervish

Have you ever heard a dervish sing? If not, use your imagination. Open your window and what do you hear? Imagine that you are hearing approaching footsteps, while someone is singing. It has to be a dervish, because his song is telling a Sufi tale, complaining of love’s separation. Do you like to listen to a song of a dervish in real life? Why don’t you visit the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi? It is the habit to go to the nearby shrine of his closest disciple first, i.e. Hazrat Amir Khusro. Music was prayer for Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, while Hazrat Amir Khusro created qawwali, devotional music, for his master. His poetry resounds in the songs of the…