ANGELS

A traveller entered an aeroplane in order to make a short trip to Friedrichshafen in Germany. He took a seat next to a woman who was reading a book. There was nothing much to do during the flight. The woman next to him was not open to talking to the traveller as she was engrossed in her book. He wondered what she was reading, but couldn’t see the title. About a week later, the traveller left Friedrichshafen. To his surprise, the same woman was sitting next to him in the aeroplane. She was reading the same book. Shortly before arriving at his destination, the traveller was able to read the title of the book. The book was about angels. What…

It’s Time

مسکین معین در یک غزل بنمود اسرار ازل بشنو کلام لم یزل از کسوت گفتار او Mo’in, the dervish, has presented in a single poem the secrets of eternity. Listen to these words of eternity, clothed in the sound of his words. [Dîwân-i-Mo’în] The Sufis mention various concepts of time like, ân, dahr, zamân, waqt, qidam, abad, azal, hîn, mudda and imtidâd. G. Böwering in his Ideas of Time in Persian Sufism writes: “The philosophers had explained time; the mystics set out to conquer it.” [p. 217 of Classical Persian Sufism: from its Origins to Rumi]. Let’s start with the creative moment, ân [آن]. This moment is different from any before it. This moment is different: it’s now! If you…

The Mystery of Khwaja Khidr

سر طلب كردن موسى خضر را علیهما السلام با كمال نبوت و قربت The mystery of the prophet Moses seeking Khwaja Khidr [peace be upon them], notwithstanding his perfection as a prophet and as one near unto God [Mawlana Rumi: Masnawi, book 3] What is this mystery of Khwaja Khidr? What is the meaning of the quest for Khidr? Why do all kinds of people wish to meet Khidr? The answer to the final question is different depending on the level of preparedness [isti’dad] of these seekers. The level of Moses is that of a wali, a nabi and a rasul. What could be the use of a meeting with Khwaja Khidr be for someone who is a friend of…

I am the Sun

I’m the sun is a quatrain written by imam al-Ghazzali: If the heart doesn’t travel on the road of union with You, what to do? If the soul doesn’t seek the union with You eagerly, what to do? The moment the sun shines upon a mirror – If the mirror doesn’t say, ‘I’m the sun,’ what to do? دل گر رهء وصل تو نپوید چه کند جان وصل ترا بجان نجوید چه کند آن لحظه که بر آینه تابد خورشید آیینه اناالشمس نگوید چه کند The quatrain is in Persian, except for some words in Arabic in the final line, which are: اناالشمس. This ana’l-shams [I am the sun] has been modelled on the famous ecstatic utterance ana’l-haqq or ‘I…

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…

The Thief Who Became a Sufi Master

A true teacher takes what you do not have and gives you what is always yours. This is why the sage does his work and slips away unperceived. Real masters are like thieves: Only the ones caught are known. The best remain hidden. Yet their blessed presence though unrecognized continuously sustains the world often behind a most mundane appearance. Yosy Flug: The Illuminated Donkey – Book of Secrets; pp. 52-3 Salik wanted to meet a spiritual guide, but where to find one? It was difficult to find a murshid. Salik searched for a very long time without finding a Sufi Master who possessed all the qualities Salik thought to be necessary. That’s why Salik needed to change his method of…

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…

Dervish ‘Abdullah meditating in a hammock

Dervish ‘Abdullah lay lazily in a hammock under a flowery ceiling of beautiful white wisteria above him. Enjoying the sun, he marveled at the beauty of the flowers. He was grateful for their beauty. Then he realized that maybe the flowers weren’t there just to be looked at and admired by him. This thought came into him, because he became aware of subtle movements above him. He shook his head and broke free from the pleasant hypnosis of the flowery beauty. He looked deeper, more attentively at the many flowers. Suddenly he saw a bee emerge from one flower and fly to another flower. And another bee, and another bee. The dervish saw many bees flying, buzzing, among the flowers….

Dervish ‘Abdullah meditating near the river

Dervish ‘Abdullah is sitting in meditation by the banks of the Ganges river. He reads it like a book that tells him of the river’s nature, its hidden depths, its movements… He observes a log floating in the stream, lines and circles in the water, as well as a certain colour of the sun reflected in the Ganges. The dervish watches the leaves: some are floating placidly along and make no effort to resist the current. They are taken towards the Ocean. Other leaves are throwing themselves wildly in the turmoil and get ultimately thrown against the banks and remain there, rotting in the sun. Dervish ‘Abdullah says: “The people with inward peace don’t resist the nature of the river….

The Quest of Sidi Ibrahim

Sidi Ibrahim is the Sufi name of Titus Burckhardt [1908-1984]. ‘Sidi’ or ‘Sayyidi’ means literally ‘my master’ and, in fact, Sidi Ibrahim guided the students of Sidi ‘Isa, aka F. Schuon, in Basel. Sidi is actually used as an honorific title given to someone who has been initiated into the Sufi path. Sidi Ibrahim has described his quest to find a spiritual guide and teacher in some detail. Do you know shaykh Ibrahim ibn ‘Abdallah [1784-1817]? You can see a painting of this ancestor of Sidi Ibrahim dressed in Muslim clothes and can read more about his life at wikipedia.org. This ancestor made the pilgrimage to Mecca in 1815. He was the first European to describe the hajj in some…