The Word of the Weaver

The Weaver is sitting on top of the highest mountain under a tree that is as old as the mountain itself and is weaving. The Weaver is continuously occupied in weaving creation and gives it substance, quantity, quality, action, passion, relation, position, habit, place and time. The Weaver is able to see all that is taking place and hears the voices of all times. He is whispering but doesn’t move his lips. Which word does he whisper? Which word makes the dumb one speak, makes the deaf one hear, and makes the blind one see? The Weaver whispers the word that starts life on earth, the word that determines your fate, the word that makes you fall in love, the…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 7

Aateshi afrukht ‘eshq o jesm o jaan-e-man ba-sukht Goftam aahi bar kasham kaam o zabaan-e-man ba-sukht Love has set on fire my body and soul, they are burning! I’ve brought out a sigh: it has burnt up both my mouth and tongue. Aatesh-e-dozagh nadarad taabesh-e-suz-e-feraaq Aah az in aatesh ke paida o nehaan-e-man ba-sukht The fire of hell is not so intense as the heat of the fire of separation. This fire caused so much pain: it has burnt up both my body and soul. Naar-e-dozagh gar che suzad posthaaye ‘aasiyaan Aatesh-e-hejraanash maghz-e-ostokhwaan-e-man ba-sukht While the fire of hell may burn the skin of the sinners, The fire of separation from Him has burnt up the marrow of my bones….

The inner knowledge dealing with thoughts (impulses), their classification and their differences

Our shaykh Abu’n Najib as-Suhrawardi [he is the uncle of the author] has informed us: [now the isnad connecting him with the prophet is given, but it is omitted by me] “The messenger of God said: ‘The devil has the habit of whispering [in the hearts of people and the angels do the same. The whisper of the devils points to evil purposes and declares the truth to be a lie, the whisper of the angel points to good purposes and declares the truth to be true. Whosoever experiences the last type should know that it comes from God and who experiences the first type should take his refuge in God for the devil’. Then he recited: ‘The devil threatens…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 23

Delaa ba-chashm-e-haqiqat jamaal-e-dust be-bin Ze mazhar-e-hama ashyaa’ zohur-e-ust be-bin O my heart, look at the beauty of the Friend with eyes seeing reality! Observe His presence manifested in everything! Delaa to hosn-e-khodaa dida ghalat na koni Ke dar jamaal-e-botaan jelwagar hama ust be-bin O my heart, you’ve not erred when seeing the beauty of God: Observe the splendour of ‘all is He’ in the beauty of each beloved! Maraa ze didan-e-saaqist masti ay hoshyaar Na mastiyam ze sharaab-e-khom o sabust be-bin O sober one, seeing the Saqi has caused my intoxication. Observe this pitcher! I am not drunk because of wine from this jar. Ba-gush zaaher o baaten hadis-e-‘eshq sheno Ba chasm surat o ma’ni jamaal-e-dust be-bin Listen to the…

How He Won the Office of Grandvizier

A king wanted to appoint a grandvizier. Three candidates competed for the king’s nomination to this high office, but the king was unable to decide which one of them was the most intelligent, and the most suitable for the post. At last, he decided to subject them to a competition, the winner of which would be chosen as grandvizier. The king summoned the three candidates and told them that he had prepared five balls, three of which were white and two were black. He said he would place one ball on the turban of each of the three men. Each of them would be able to see the balls on the heads of the other two, but would have to…

Generosity

Some travellers arrived at the grave of Hatim Tai, a man who was famous because of his generosity. Nothing happened and they became a little bored. One of them even fell asleep. When he woke up he told the others that he had seen Hatim Tai who told him to slaughter one of their own camels and eat it in his name. This they did, but they thought it to be a strange kind of generosity. In the morning, however, the son of Hatim Tai came and presented them with two camels. He had seen his father in a dream, who told him to present two camels to the travellers who stayed near his grave, as a compensation for the…

A judge in Basra

A judge in Basra, which is a city in Iraq, was renowned for his excessive acuteness of mind, observation and penetration. Many stories have been told about him in connection with these qualities, which were really astonishing. It is related of him that he said: “I was never worsted in penetration but by one man. I had taken my seat in the court of judgement in Basra, when a person came before me and gave testimony that a certain garden, of which he mentioned the boundaries, belonged to a man whom he named. As I had some doubts of his veracity, I asked him how many trees were in that garden, and he said to me after a long silence:…

A pair of trousers

Mawlana Shamsuddin Mohammad Yahya was an intimate friend of Mawlana Sadruddin Nawli. Both of them used to hear quite a lot about the spiritual greatness of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya. They had never met him. One day, when they came to Ghiyaspur to wash their clothes, they decided to go to Nizamuddin Awliya to see what kind of dervish he was and to find how much learning and knowledge he possessed. But they felt annoyed by the type of devotion that so many people offered to Nizamuddin Awliya. They considered it to be contrary to Islam. That is why they would only say ‘Peace be with you’ according to the Islamic precepts and then sit down. As soon as Nizamuddin Awliya…

Chivalry in plain clothes

A certain king was very fond of jewellery. Once he needed a ring repaired, so he summoned an official to take it to the most reputed goldsmith in town. When the official explained the work to be done to the goldsmith in the bazaar, urging that it was a rush job, the goldsmith saw the value of the gem and when the official was looking the other way, he skilfully replaced it in the setting with another, then completed the work to perfection and handed the ring back to the courier. The king was himself an expert, so that he spotted the substitution immediately and, having no doubt about the functionary’s trustworthiness, sent guards to apprehend the goldsmith and bring…

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.