Seeking

Khwaja ‘Abdullah Ansari said in his intimate conversations with God: I’m drunk from You freeing me from wine and cup.I’m Your bird free from grain and being hunted.What I desire from the Ka’aba and idols is You!Otherwise, I seek nothing from these two. Talab [seeking] has as its root T-L-B and is connected to these meanings: seeking, researching, asking something from someone, pursuing, being far away, not being present, claiming, soliciting, desiring, having a liking for or sympathy for something [Maurice Gloton: Une Approche du Coran par la Grammaire et le Lexique; p. 523]. Serge de Laugier de Beaureceuil, the most important connaisseur of the life and teachings of Khwaja ‘Abdullah Ansari, states in his Chemin de Dieu, p. 249-250…

It saved his life

In a restaurant in the West people objected to the presence of some Japanese. A certain man – he was called Laurens van der Post – then strongly objected to this racist behaviour and said to the owner of the restaurant that if the Japanese had to go that he would never visit the restaurant again and he would tell his friends to do the same. It not only worked, but because of talking to these Japanese visitors he got interested in the Japanese culture and even learned the Japanese language. This saved his life years later. He became a prisoner in a Japanese camp in Indonesia and because of his speaking Japanese he could survive as a much needed…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 21

Delaa chu mahram-e-aan delbar-e-yagaana to’i Qaza chu tir-e-balaa mi-zanad neshaana to’i O heart, fate has made you the target of the arrows of affliction, Because you’ve become a confidant of that unique Beloved: You! Degar foruzad kaanun-e-‘eshq aatesh-e-shawq Sharaara ke be-rizad az aan zabaana to’i A fire full of longing blazes forth from the fire-place of love. Spark are flying out because of that flame of You. Tan-am chu daa’era o noqta dar miyaana del-am Del-am chu daa’era o noqta dar miyaana to’i My body is like a circle and my heart is the core in its centre. My heart is like a circle and the core in its centre is You. Be-goftam az che bahaana to dar hejaabi goft…

The works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 10]

Here are some observations of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi in regard to ascetic practices. These remarks are to be found in his Ornaments of the Abdal (Hilyat al–abdal), which has been translated into French by Michel Valsân, aka shaykh Mustafa ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz. Two of the closest murids of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi had asked him to write something for them from which they could benefit concerning the path of the hereafter. Stephen Hirtenstein has presented us with an English translation, which he called The Four Pillars of Spiritual Transformation: The Adornment of the Spiritually Transformed. Shaykh Ibn al- ‘Arabi wrote this short work in the space of an hour in January 1203 in Ta’if, while on a visit to the tomb of the…

The Egyptian Elder

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhâb ash-Sha’râni. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Can you tell us something about yourself? A: My birth took place in Egypt in 1493 C.E. in a village in the province of Qalyubiyya. One of my ancestors, Musâ Abu ‘Emrân, was the son of the sultan of Tlemcen, and was a disciple of the famous Sufi shaykh Abu Madyan. This shaykh ordered him to settle with his family in 1307 C.E. I went to Cairo to study Islamic sciences, but soon afterwards I have been initiated into Sufism by several shaykhs among which I like…

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 works of shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi [part 9]

Sa’diyya Shaikh has translated a number of poems wherein shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi tells that he has transmitted a khirqa to a female murid, like Dunya, Siti al-’Aysh, de daughter of Zaki al-Din, Zumurrud, Jamilah, Safari, Fatima, Safiyya and other women (Sufi Narratives of Intimacy – Ibn ‘Arabi, Gender and Sexuality; pp. 102, 137-138, and 229-231). Here is an example: When you, the ultimate point of my pain,And you, the best of people in meaning and form,Adopted my good qualitiesAnd you, the best of people in meaning and form,And her qualities had already possessed my heart,And if you wanted to verify thatIn itself it would be a piece of news.From the most illumined of garmentsI wrapped her in the raiment of…

The Sufi states of Contraction and Expansion

Shaykh ‘Umar as-Suhrawardi has dedicated chapter 61 of his ‘Awârif al-Ma’ârif to the description of inward states of the Sufi path. Two of these states are now presented. To them (the states) belong contraction (qabd) and expansion (bast), two noble spiritual states. God spoke (Qur’an 2:245): And Allah gives contraction and expansion. The shaykhs have talked about both of these states and have given indications about their characteristics. Their reality has however not been unveiled to me, because they only gave indications. An indication can only be satisfactory to an initiate. I however, wish to deal with both of them in some detail. This is something a seeker may be on the outlook for. A seeker may like to receive…

The whole picture

Abu Talib visited the garden of the Baghban tariqa. The shaykh asked him to count the number of rose bushes. When viewing the garden from the gate, Abu Talib could see eleven rose bushes. When moving away from the gate he suddenly discovered a rose bush not seen before, but having moved Abu Talib lost sight of one other rose bush. No matter how he moved, he always could see only eleven out of the twelve rose bushes in the garden. He learned through moving that the whole picture could not be seen from any one of his viewpoints.  

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

The things that took place during the second initiation of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (this is the title of Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti; about its meaning see below) are recorded in the many books that have been written in this field. Many other details of his life can be read in those sources, which are available for English knowing people. For a long time he served his murshid. He remarked that whatever he got, he got by service. He was appointed as the successor of Khwaja Uthman Haruni after 20 years of travelling together. He was 52 years old then. His murshid then made a number of remarks, among which is the following: ‘Do not hold any hope from the people’. After…