Listening and Understanding

In the early 9th century, when the Muslim mystics organised their Sufi brotherhoods or orders, they adopted music as a support for meditation, as a means of access to the state of grace or ecstasy, or quite simple as ‘soulfood’, in other words, something that would give new vigour to a body and soul tired by the rigours of the ascetic life. In Sufism the sama’ (meaning literally ‘listening’) denotes the tradition of listening in spiritual fashion to music, chanting and songs of various forms, all ritualised to a greater or lesser degree. The very meaning of the word sama’ suggests that it is the act of listening that is spiritual, without the music or poetry being necessarily religious in…

The Secret of the Path

Some people some time ago left a book at our place. It is the book of someone unknown to me, but after some time I found out that both the writer as well as his book are well known in Moroccan Sufism. It concerns shaykh ad-Dabbâgh and his book is called Golden words (Kitâb al Ibrîz). The Shaykh lived at the end of the 17 th century and in the beginning of the 18 th century. I hope to translate some parts thereof as it may also interest you. It starts now: The esoterical science The esotertical science can be compared To 99 lines written in letters of gold And the exoterical science To the hundredth line written in ink….

The Rivers of Paradise

Aziz an-Nasafi in his “Unveiling of the Realities” gives this beautiful explanation in regard to the rivers of paradise and the water/milk/honey/wine mentioned: Know that water causes life and its benefit is common for everything in all times, and the reality of these rivers of water in heaven is that they are the waters of life for all the people of heaven who enjoy all of them. The cause which nurtures children is milk which is more particular than water, since the benefit of milk is common for all but only at a certain time. The reality of these rivers of milk in heaven is that they are the rivers of common sense which is the basis and exoteric aspect…

When a man comes to see you

A book on Sufism that I’ve edited came out several months ago and I put a copy thereof in the mailbox of a friend, who had made 2 of the photo’s that were used in the book. A week later I found out that he was not at home as I received a letter from Bokhara in Uzbekistan. He had travelled to this place (he told me when he came to visit me) in order to go to Qasr-e-Arefin, where you can find the tomb of shaykh Bahauddin Naqshband. You may know of the Khwajagan, the ‘Masters’, one of them being the murshid of Khwaja Abu Ishaq Shami Chishti, the founder of the Chishti order. Several centuries later Bahauddin Naqshband…

The Months of the ‘Arefin (Gnostics)

1. Muharram: sanctification and coming-forward; station of beginning. 2. Safar: renunciation, aspiration and denudation; its earth relinquishes the plants of evil deeds 3. Rabi’ al-Awwal: customary practice; mutual social relations 4. Rabi’ ath-Thani: unveiling; mystical perceptions 5. Jumada al-Awwal: What do you think? 6. Jumada al-akhirah: ? 7. Rajab: the loftiest shrine 8. Sha’ban: the barrier 9. Ramadan: the everlasting 10. Shawwal: the source of quiddity+++- 11. Dhul-Qadah: the earthly expanse 12. Dhul-Hijjah: spiritual joy.

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 16

Man che guyam ke maraa naateqa madhush aamad Bar delam zaabeta-ye-‘aql faraamush aamad How can I speak when my tongue has become intoxicated? My mind has become silent and powerless over my heart. Sail raa na’ra az aan ast ke az bahr jodaa-st Daan ke baa bahr dar aamikhta khamush aamad The river is boisterous because it is separated from the ocean: Know that after union with the ocean it is becalmed forever. Noktahaa dush delam goft o shanid az lab-e-yaar Ke na hargez ba-zabaan raft o na dar gush aamad My heart uttered secrets coming from the Friend’s lips last night, Which have never been spoken by any tongue or heard by any ear. Shaahed-e-ghaib koshaada ast neqaab az…

Revelation and Inspiration

Poets write inspired poetry, but from where do they receive this inspiration? And how to become the recipient of inspiration? A disciple of the Iranian poet Sa’ib once composed the following absurd verse: Seek for the bottleless wine from the wineless bottle! Sa’ib immediately responded with the following: Haqq râ zi dil khâlî az andîsha talab kon Seek for the Truth in the heart, which is empty of thought. Hâfiz is considered to be one of the greatest among the Sufi poets. A Chishtî pîr made it clear that this famous poet was not always considered to be a good poet: “It so happened one day that Hâfiz was ridiculed to such an extent that he could not bear it….

Father

Samuel Johnson, on a visit to friends, which took place in 1781, was to disappear for much of the day. The friends with whom he was staying, were reluctant to ask him where he had been, but, after a silence of several minutes, he explained that when he was a young man and still was living with his father at home, his father was on a certain day very ill. His father, unable to get out of bed, asked Samuel to go to Uttoxeter and look after his bookstall that he used on market days. However, “my pride prevented me,” said Johnson, and “I gave my father a refusal.” He further explained that he had today taken “a post chaise…

Sufism and Dreams

A gypsy came to a Sufi master as he often received a small amount in charity from him. One day the gypsy told him about his dream, about which the master was very astonished. At the same time the son of an important official came to visit the Sufi, because the parents of the boy wanted the Sufi to give the boy regularly some pocket-money. He asked the young man if he wanted to exchange his pocket-money for the dream of the gypsy. The boy accepted the offer but was not happy with it. A little later he found out what the gypsy had dreamed. The gypsy had dreamed that he would become the Grandvizier and as the boy had…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 25

Biyaa dar bazm-e-u adnaa yake harf ze man be-shnaw Wa zaan asraar-e-maa wahi yake tarz-e-sokhan be-shnaw Come closer to His assembly and listen to my words! Listen to my secrets and be inspired by my manner of speaking! Agar asraar-e-wahdat raa ze man baawar nami-daari To gush-e-hosh-e-khud be-koshaai o bikaam o dahan be-shnaw If you don’t believe in my words about the mysteries of existence, Open your ears and listen in complete silence to your innermost consciousness! Bar afgan nur o zolmat raa ze rah bardaar kasrat raa Pas aangah serr-e-wahdat raa to ham az khishtan be-shnaw Remove from your path all diversity and duality between darkness and light, And then also listen to what your higher self tells you…