GOD

Your name is in my mouth, Your image is in my eye, Your remembrance is in my heart: So where are You hidden? A scholar remarked in the presence of Shamsuddin of Tabriz: ‘I have established the existence of God with a categorical proof’. On the next morning our master Shams said: ‘Last night the angels descended and blessed that man, saying ‘Praise be to God, he has proven the existence of our God! May God give him a long life’!’ [Rumi:Fihi ma fihi]. Shabistari writes in his Gulshan-i-Raz: دلی کزمعرفت شهود است زهرچیزی که دید اول خدا دید A witnessing heart illuminated by gnosis, Sees God first in all things it looks upon. Several Sufis never talk or write…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 1

Here is a ghazal from the Diwaan-e-Mo’in (Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, Patna): Robud jaan o delam raa jamaal-e-naam-e-khodaa Nawaakht teshna labaan raa zolaal-e-naam-e-khodaa My soul and my heart have been captivated by the beauty of the name of God. My thirsty lips have been comforted by the pure water of the name of God. Wesaal-e-haqq talabi hamneshin naamash baash Bebin wesaal-e-khodaa dar wesaal-e-naam-e-khodaa  If you search for union with God, be a companion of His name, You’ll see that union with God is in union with the name of God. Miyaan-e-esm o mosamma chu farq nist bebin To dar tajalliye asmaa kamaal-e-naam-e-khodaa  As there is no difference between the name and the Named One, You’ll see in the manifestation…

The Tongue of Sufism

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh Abu Sa’id al-Kharraaz. What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Several of the Sufis have had a profession. What has been your profession? A: I have been a cobbler. Q: You have also been a shaykh. Can you tell us the names of your disciples? A: I have been a cobbler but I’ve learnt a lot from Beshr al-Hafi, who never put on shoes. I have met Dho’n-nun, who originated from Egypt and I have associated with Sari as-Saqati from Baghdad. Q: Where are you from? A: God. Q: What do you want? A: God. Q: How…

Baba Farid

A poorly dressed dervish came to Baba Farid who gave him something and permitted him to depart. The dervish remained standing and asked the shaykh to give him the comb, which he had taken out from its cover and placed on the prayer-carpet. As the comb was not worth anything and had been long used by the shaykh, he did not reply to the request. The dervish began to shout loudly: “If the shaykh gives me this comb, he will receive plenty of blessings.” “Be off”, Baba Farid replied, “and do not disturb me any more. I throw you and your blessings into the river.”

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…

The Compass of the Dervish

A governor of Isfahan, after a rich meal, went to take his rest on the cool balcony of his palace. He gave himself up to meditation, for he felt in low spirits. As he reclined on his couch, he was disturbed by a Chishti dervish at his gate who recited in a loud voice the following poem: When you long for union, so your heart is a garden in flower, Dedicate yourself to the searching of the One Who is your Lover. Take this as your compass, guiding you in the right direction: To show you Reality, only the Divine Light has the power. The governor rose in an irritable mood and looked down upon the dervish, who now serenely…

The heavenly witness

Shaykh Awhaduddin Kermani says: ‘Aan shaahed-e-ma’nawi ke jaan-am tan-e-ust’, which means ‘my soul is the body of the heavenly witness’. He adds that the illuminated appearance of the heavenly witness is a co-respondent to his soul. The figure of the heavenly witness can become visible when your lower self gets purified by means of the training along the Sufi path. Spiritual development implies the transformation of the headstrong soul into the pacified soul. According to shaykh Nuruddin Esfarayini in his Kaashef al-Asraar this heavenly witness can already appear to you when you have not yet attained the level of purification of the pacified soul. The darkness available in your soul can have its effect on the heavenly witness, who may…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 13

Man namiguyam ana’l haqq yaar miguyad begu Chun naguyam chun maraa deldaar miguyad begu. It is not me who said ‘I am the Truth’; the Friend forced me to say it. How can I not say it when the Beloved has asked me to say it? Har che migofti be-man har baar migofti magu Man namidaanam cheraa in baar miguyad begu You used to tell me never to disclose what You have revealed to me. I don’t understand why You ask me this time to disclose it openly. Aanche natawaan goftan andar sawma’a baa zaahedaan Bi tahaashi bar sar-e-bazaar miguyad begu Those mysteries which could not be spoken about to the inmates of the hermitage, I am now asked to…

Repeating the name of God

In the circle of Nizamuddin Awliya, who was, as you may know, a very prominent member of the Chishti order, someone told about a certain sufi who expired while slowly repeating the name of God. Nizamuddin Awliya was visibly moved by this story and then recited the following rubai: Âyam be sar-e-kûye to pûyân pûyân Rukhsâr be âb-e-dîde shûyân shûyân Bîchâre rah-e wasl-e to jûyân jûyân Jân mîdeham o nâm-e to gûyân gûyân. I came to the end of Your street, running, running. Tears came down my cheek, washing, washing. Union with You, I am helplessly seeking, seeking. My soul I surrender while Your name I am reciting, reciting. These lines have been recited by Nizamuddin Awliya (d. 1325 C.E.)….

A meeting near Vienna

You may know that in the Middle Ages the Turkish armies have stood in front of the gates of Vienna. A sardar of one of these armies happened to meet a European merchant just after concluding a certain battle. For some reason or other he did not kill this merchant. To his surprise it was possible for them to communicate, as the merchant was able to speak fluent Turkish. It so happened that the merchant had spent some years in Smyrna as a friend of Hodja Hasan, who was a Sufi shaykh as well as a successful merchant. This Hodja Hasan had introduced the European merchant to a dervish, Baba Tahir, who had been so kind to accept the European…