Father

Samuel Johnson, on a visit to friends, which took place in 1781, was to disappear for much of the day. The friends with whom he was staying, were reluctant to ask him where he had been, but, after a silence of several minutes, he explained that when he was a young man and still was living with his father at home, his father was on a certain day very ill. His father, unable to get out of bed, asked Samuel to go to Uttoxeter and look after his bookstall that he used on market days. However, “my pride prevented me,” said Johnson, and “I gave my father a refusal.” He further explained that he had today taken “a post chaise…

Biko’s Bird

Biko desired to be a spiritual guide, but he attracted no murids. That’s why he became jealous of shaykh ‘Abdullah, the local Sufi master. He tried to discredit him with a trick. When shaykh ‘Abdullah was teaching the local halqa, Biko went to this assembly with a very small bird in his hands. He intended to ask the master if the bird was dead or alive.  In case the shaykh would say that it was dead, Biko would open his hands in order to let the bird fly away. When the answer would be that the bird was alive, he’d quickly crush the bird and thus kill it. In both cases the master would give the wrong answer.  Biko, full…

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 30

Here is a ghazal from the Diwaan-e-Mo’in (Persian text: 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…

Collected Words of Gisu Daraz

The book “Jawami’ al-kalim” (= Collected Words) contains the conversations of the Chishti Sufi Gisu Daraz (d. 1422 C.E.). From this book and from some other sources some conversations of Gisu Daraz, some stories, some poetry, some teachings, etc. will be presented. Vision of Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya Gisu Daraz has also said that his shaykh Nasiruddin Cheragh of Delhi has told this: “I was 12 years old when I had learnt the Qur’an by heart and when I had read ‘The Five Treasures’ and the ‘Stations’ of Hariri. I was considering to become a disciple of shaykh Ruknuddin. He was an uncle from my mother’s side who had been a disciple of shaykh ul-Islam Nizamuddin. I was teaching the sons (of shaykh…

The tale of the Water of Life

Once, not so long ago and not so far away, Yahya and both his brothers were wandering about looking for water. After a lot of walking they saw a tree standing alone, far away from any other. They were very thirsty and tired, so they sat down under the tree. Presently, when they felt better, the two elder brothers said to each other: ‘Let us go on further and leave Yahya here, as he will only be troublesome to us, for he cannot walk as fast as we can. And, if we do find water, why should we have to have one third each instead of half?’ So, when the younger brother slept, they both ran off and left him….

Diwaan-e-Mo’in: Ghazal 10

Toraa mikhaaham ay delbar ke binam To’i maqsud-e-man dar har ke binam O Beloved! It is You I wish to see. I desire only You in all that I see. Maraa chasm az baraaye didan-e-tost To rokh na-nomaayaim pas-e-dar ke binam My eyes are only there in order to see You. If You don’t show Your face to me, what else can I see? Jamaal-e-saaqi-ye-man minomaayad Be-meraat-e-mai o saaghar ke binam The beauty of my cupbearer appears everywhere: In the mirror of the wine, in the goblet and in all that I see. Chonaanat dida am az dida-ye-del Ke na-shenaasam be-chasm-e-sar ke binam That manifestation of You which I’ve seen with the eyes of my heart, Cannot be understood by…

Yellow Teeth

A seeker of God, ‘Abd ar-Rahman, happened to attend a Sufi dhikr. One of the awrad seemed so strange to him that he seriously began to doubt his sanity. There could hardly be a mistake. The dervishes were all swaying and chanting: Yellow teeth! Yellow teeth! But how could yellow teeth inspire such passion among the dervishes? Later on he discovered that what he had misheard, was actually Ya Latif – which is, as you know, one of the 99 most beautiful names of God.

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…

Sufi Meditation and Contemplation

Someone presented a kashkul to me one day. A kashkul is a begging bowl used by the Chishti dervishes. The kashkul is made from a species of large gourd whose shell is sliced in half to create a heavy, oval bowl. It is polished with oil to give it a black sheen and it is easy to clean. It is very practical, because a dervish can accept money in it, but it is also fit to receive morsels of food in it. The dervish makes clear by means of his kashkul, that he is poor, while his Beloved is the Rich One. Recently I’ve received another kashkul. It is the Kashkul-e-Kalimi. It is a Chishti manual dealing with zikr and…

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….