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….

What’s in the Bag?

Nasreddin, carrying a brown paper bag, goes into a coffee shop and orders a coffee. The owner of the shop smiles, gives him the coffee and then, unable to contain his curiosity, says, “So, what’s in the bag?” Nasreddin gives a little laugh and says: “You wanna see? Sure, you can see what’s in the bag”, and he reaches in and pulls out a tiny piano, no more than six inches tall. “What’s that?” asks the owner of the shop. Nasreddin doesn’t say anything; he just reaches into the bag a second time and pulls out a tiny man, about a foot tall, and sits him down next to the piano. “Wow,” says the owner of the coffee shop, absolutely…

Early sufis in the Chishti order

Many people think that Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti is the founder of the Chishti order. This is not correct, so in the following article I intend to tell something about his spiritual ancestors and briefly something about their teachings. The Chishti order of the Sufis derives its name from Chisht (pronounce: Chesht, hence Cheshti). Chisht is a small town near Herat in Afghanistan. When travelling and arriving in Herat I intended also to visit Chisht, but it was said that the road was not safe, because of dacoits, so I abandoned the idea. The first one to call himself Chishti was Abu Ishaq Shami. As the name Shami implies he came from Syria or even from Damascus (ash-Sham). He met a…

The Carder of Secrets

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with shaykh al-Hallaj (ca. 858-922). What would you ask him? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Why are you called al-Hallaj? A: My father, Mansur, was a wool carder (hallaj), a profession also practised intermittently by me. My son, whose name is Hamd, has told this about me: ‘He spoke in public and everyone, great or small approved of him. He spoke to his listeners of their innermost consciences, of what was in their hearts, which he unveiled for them. They called him the carder of secrets (halaj al-asrar), and the name Hallaj stayed with him’. People, however have referred to me by…

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…

Hazrat Mian Mir

The following information on the life and teachings of Hazrat Mian Mir has mostly been derived from chapter 111 of a forthcoming publication of Dr. Zahurul Hassan Sharib: Hazrat Mian Mir is a great Pir of the subcontinent of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He is considered as an outstanding wali (friend of God) and an eminent mystic. He traced his relationship from the second caliph of Islam, Hazrat ‘Umar Farooq. His grandfather was named as Qazi Qalandar. His father, named, Qazi Sa’in Data belonged to the Qadiriyya order of the Sufis. His mother, named Bibi Fatima, was the daughter of Qazi Qadan. She was a very accomplished woman of her time. He had four brothers, namely Qazi Bolan, Qazi Mohammed…

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…

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…

In the darkness I was given the water of life

Sa’di has written: “I have travelled in many lands, I have visited many peoples and plucked an ear of corn from every cornfield, for it is better to go barefoot than to wear tight boots, better to endure the hardships of travel than to stay at home… And I would add: with every returning spring one needs must choose a new love – for last year’s calendar, my friend, is of no use today!” Sufis have travelled a lot. For them travelling is a spiritual practice. Here is an account of such a travel. A Chishti shaykh made a travel and arrived in the house of one of his mureeds. A small ceremony was taking place starting with the recitation…

Stages of the development of the soul

…The one who knows his nafs (soul or self), knows his Lord… In order not to complicate things, I’ll mention only the nafs, which can be translated as soul or self, and not deal with the other faculties like ruh (spirit), qalb (heart), etc. Some Sufis say that the distinction between nafs and ruh is one of degree, implying that the ruh (spirit) is of a higher degree than the nafs (soul or self). It is a wrong habit in fact to translate nafs as “ego”, as in the stages of development of the nafs this refers to the beginning of this development only. There is a saying attributed to the Prophet (but not found in the “Sahih Sitta”, the…