Master and dog

One day I was going to the fields, accompanied by my faithful dog, guardian of our farms and sworn enemy of those monkeys who devastate them. It was the time of the great heat of April. My dog and I were so hot that it was only with great pain that we were able to breathe properly. I had no doubt that in the end one of us, perhaps myself, would faint. Thanks to God we came upon a thicket of clustered branches with a thick covering of green leaves. My dog, whimpering slightly, raced towards the shadow. But when he reached it, he did not stay there, but returned to me, his tongue hanging out, his lips sagging, his…

The poor man and KHIZR

Once upon a time there was a king whose reign was beset by trouble and who longed and prayed for a vision of Khizr. Now Khizr was a wise and saintly man who had drunk of the Water of Life, which meant that he would live on and on to the Day of Judgment. When the people of the land were in trouble they would call upon Khizr and he would often appear to them, all dressed in green, to comfort and guide them. The king thought that if only he could see Khizr there might be an end to his difficulties. He therefore proclaimed that if any one of his subjects could show him Khizr he would reward him…

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…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 12

Chashm be-koshaai ke aafaaq por az nur-e-khodaast Khaali az nur-e-khodaa dar hama aafaaq kojaast Open your eyes, because the whole world is full with the light of God. Which place in the whole world is without the light of God? Ma’ni kaz nazar-e-khalq nehaan bud modaam Nek benegar ke namudaar az in surat-e-maast That spiritual meaning which always was hidden from the eyes of creatures, You can now clearly behold in my outward appearance. Aan jamaali ke nazar niz daraan mahram nist Hamchu khurshid darin aayinaye-maa paydaast It is not forbidden to see that beauty therein, Just like the sun gets reflected in my mirror. Goftamash chand buwad hosn-e-to penhaan gofta Hosn paidaast wale dida-e-binanda keraast I asked Him: ‘How…

A pair of trousers

Mawlana Shamsuddin Mohammad Yahya was an intimate friend of Mawlana Sadruddin Nawli. Both of them used to hear quite a lot about the spiritual greatness of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya. They had never met him. One day, when they came to Ghiyaspur to wash their clothes, they decided to go to Nizamuddin Awliya to see what kind of dervish he was and to find how much learning and knowledge he possessed. But they felt annoyed by the type of devotion that so many people offered to Nizamuddin Awliya. They considered it to be contrary to Islam. That is why they would only say ‘Peace be with you’ according to the Islamic precepts and then sit down. As soon as Nizamuddin Awliya…

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…

The Queen of the Desert

Just suppose you are able to make an interview with Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904), one of the changed ones or abdal. What would you ask her? Perhaps some of your questions are similar to the ones as given below: Q: Can you give us some biographical details? A: My Russian mother was called Nathalie de Moerder-Eberhardt. Trophimovsky, my father, was a remarkable man. My father and mother did not marry one another. My father was a former priest of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was an anarchist and raised me as a boy. He taught me Latin, Greek, Russian, German, Turkish and Arabic. My father helped me to read parts of the Qur’an in the original. Its teachings gave me a…

The rude dervish

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.”

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 22

Chashm be-koshaai ke didaar-e-khodaa-ye-jelwa namud Dida shaw yaksar o bar band dar-e-goft o shonud Open your eyes so that you may behold the divine splendour! Unify your vision and close the door to your speech and hearing. ‘Aks-e-rokhsaara-ye-saaqi be-namud az rokh-e-jaam Hush o aaraam ze mastaan-e-mai-ye-‘eshq rabud The reflection of the face of the cupbearer appeared at the surface of the cup. It has robbed the love-intoxicated ones of their sanity and peace of mind. Saaqi-ye-‘eshq maraa ruz-e-azal baada chashand Taa abad har nafas-am masti-ye-digar be-fozud Love’s cupbearer has made me taste some wine during the day of pre-eternity, So that with every breath of mine my intoxication will increase at post-eternity. Yaa rabb in masti-ye-man zaan mai-ye-bazm-e-azal ast Yaa…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 21

Delaa chu mahram-e-aan delbar-e-yagaana to’i Qaza chu tir-e-balaa mi-zanad neshaana to’i O heart, fate has made you the target of the arrows of affliction, Because you’ve become a confidant of that unique Beloved: You! Degar foruzad kaanun-e-‘eshq aatesh-e-shawq Sharaara ke be-rizad az aan zabaana to’i A fire full of longing blazes forth from the fire-place of love. Spark are flying out because of that flame of You. Tan-am chu daa’era o noqta dar miyaana del-am Del-am chu daa’era o noqta dar miyaana to’i My body is like a circle and my heart is the core in its centre. My heart is like a circle and the core in its centre is You. Be-goftam az che bahaana to dar hejaabi goft…