Light upon Light

You’ll find some Sufi teachings about light here: Flash 1 The well-known Chishti Sufi Amir Khusraw has seen the light: What a glow everywhere I see, Oh mother, what a brilliance! I’ve found the Beloved, yes I found him, In my courtyard. I have found my pir Nizamuddin Awliya. I roamed around the entire world, Looking for an ideal Beloved; And finally this presence has awakened my spirit. Flash 2 Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya says that the sama’ (audition of Sufi music) confers three blessings, namely: 1. Anwar : lights 2. Ahwal : states 3. Asar : symptoms. These blessings appear from three ‘worlds’: 1. Nasut : the world in which we live. 2. Jabarut : the world or the sphere…

Chishti stages of love – Part 1

The pen faces difficulties or even fails when trying to describe love. As you know steps can be seen leading up to the ocean, but what happens then? The well-known Chishti Sufi Khwaja Nasiruddin Cheragh (the “lamp”) of Delhi, who was the successor of Nizamuddin Awliya has described the indescribable. He not only described ten stages and fifty phases of love, but he also experienced them. I’m grateful to the work of Mir Valiuddin in this respect. I’ve at places added some relevant anecdotes. Scholars say that the description of the Chishti stages of love has not been written by the aforesaid Sufi. It does not really matter, as the only thing of importance is the experience of love. The…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 19

In manam yaa rabb ke andar nur-e-haqq faani shodam Matla’-ye-anwaar-e-faiz-e-zaat-sobhaani shodam O Lord! My self has been annihilated in the light of truth. It has become the place of rising of the lights of the glorious divine essence. Zarra zarra az wojud-am taaleb-e-didaar gasht Taa ke man mast az tajallihaa-ye-rabbaani shodam Each particle of my existence has been searching for the vision of You Until I have become drunk by the manifestation of the divine. Zang-e-ghairat raa ze meraat-e-del-am be-zedud ‘eshq Taa ba-kolli waaqef-asraar-e-penhaani shodam The rust of duality has been removed by love from the mirror of my heart, So that it has become completely aware of the hidden secrets. Man shonaan birun shodam az zolmat-e-hasti-ye-khish Taa ze nur-e-hasti-ye-u…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 8

This is a translation of ghazal 69 to be found on p. 63 of the “Diwaan-e-Amir Khosraw“: Many a night I was with a moon; Where are all those nights gone? Now it is night again, but it is dark, Because of the smoke of my cries: ‘O Lord!’ Those were happy nights, the ones I’ve spent with her: Sometimes drunk and sometimes merry-headed. My world becomes dark, When I remember those nights. I used to tell the tale again and again Of her eyebrows and eyelashes, Like children reciting at school The chapter of the Qur’an starting with Nun and the Pen. What would happen If one night she would ask How a stranger below her wall Would pass…

Service

In former days there was a man named Hamid. In his youth he lived in Delhi as the servant of Tughril, that same Tughril who late in life had himself crowned as king in Lukhnauti. In short, this Farid became the servant of that Tughril, and he remained in his service till one day, as he was waiting on Tughril, a form appeared to him. ‘O Hamid,’ it asked, ‘why are you waiting on this man?’ Having spoken, it disappeared. Hamid was puzzled about who this could be. Then a second time, as he was waiting on Tughril, again that form appeared and asked: ‘O master Hamid, why are you waiting on this man?’ Hamid remained perplexed. Then he saw…

Sufi concept: Monday – Prophet Adam

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi tells us, that for every day there is a prophet from among the prophets, from whom descends a secret upon the heart of the verifying witness, a secret in which you takes delight during your day and by which you know something of that which requires to be known. This only happens to those who possess a heart. Day 2: Monday If your day is Monday, then Adam is your companion in the interval of the two worlds. On Monday it is Adam who addresses you with a secret by which you come to know the reasons why the stations wax or wane. MONDAY: Arabic: al-ithnayn Divine attribute: Living Prophet: Adam Planet (Arabic): al-qamar Planet: Moon Creating…

Eight Chishti stages

The Chishti shaykh Hamidoddin Naagawri (d. 1276) spoke about these eight stages of the path: 1. KNOWLEDGE: Without it you cannot go straight. 2. WORK: Without it you cannot produce intention. 3. CORRECT INTENTION: Without it work becomes worthless. 4. SINCERITY: Without it love does not become manifest. 5. LOVE: Without it meditation does not become correct. 6. MEDITATION: Without it progress on the path is deficient. 7. PROGRESS: Without it you cannot open the door of the divine abode. 8. THE OPENING OF THE DOOR: Without it the goal of the traveller will not appear. The goal is that you every day recite: Everything upon it is perishing, But the face of your Lord. Next to this you should…

The inner school of the Sufis

A Chishti shaykh once pointed out to me how it can be observed that the inner school takes place. The dervishes then sit in the shape of a crescent opening up to the light of the ‘star’, their shaykh. And indeed afterwards it was easy to recognise. The subject that is discussed cannot always be judged at face value. I remember that once in my presence the shaykh discussed several things, but all of them dealing with worldly matters. I was feeling rather disappointed having made a long travel to attend. At that very moment the shaykh brought up a new subject, also having to do with outward things, but at the same time I did not only realise that…

Allâh

In order to say ‘God’ there are two words in Arabic: 1. Allâh, which is reserved for the unique God and is a proper name, which exists only in the singular 2. Ilâh which is a shared (i.e. not unique) name, which has a plural âliha and thus is susceptible to refer to all gods, although according to Islam there is of course only One. The two terms have etymological connections; some lexicographers say that Allâh is the contracted form of al-Ilâh. The two important questions asked in this respect are what is the origin of the name Allâh, which is of interest to the lexicographers and the other one is what is the meaning and the definition of the…

She walks in beauty

You’ll know the poem of Lord Byron called She Walks in Beauty. I have accessed its recitation by Marianne Faithfull on the 21st of July 2021:   The Sufis say that the manifestation of the Divine is strongest in women. The dark-haired beauty – the raven tress – in Byron’s poem will remind you of Layla in Sufism, whose name implies the darkness of the night. Lord Byron’s love for beauty reminds me of a Persian Sufi concept called Jamâl-parastî – the worship of beauty. She Walks in Beauty could have been written by shaykh Rûzbihân Baqlî; just study this quatrain: ‌چشم از رخ خوبت آفتابی دارد حسن از قبل روی تو تابی دارد مسکین دل شوریده سر گشته من…