Chishti poetry

You’ll find here several poems by Chishti Sufis.
The transcription of the Persian text will be followed
by its English translation:

Gar az khodiye khwish berun aa’i to
Dar pardaye tawhid darun aa’i to
Var az ravesh-e chun o cheraa bargozari
Az khod shode bi cheraa o chun aa’i to

If outside your own self you would go,
Into the veil of unity you would go.
And if you would go beyond the why and when,
Leaving yourself, into the without why and when you would go.


Jaan bar in yek bayt daade-ast aan bozorg
Aari in kawhar ze kaani digar-ast
Koshtegaan-e khanjar-e taslim raa
Har zamaan az ghayb jaani-ye digar-ast.

On this verse that great being gave up his soul
This jewel truly came from a special mine:
Those slain by the sword of submission
Get all the time another life from the unseen.

Amir Hasan

Kaarist waraai ‘elm raw aanraa baash
Dar bande gohar mabaash raw kaan raa baash
Del hast maqaame gaah begozaar o biaa
Jaan manzele aakherast raw jaan raa baash.

There is a work beyond knowledge, realise that, go!
Do not work to get jewels, be the mine, go!
The heart is a temporary abode, leave it and come!
The soul is the final abode, realise that, go!

Hamidoddin Naagawri

Goftam magar keh kaar besaamaan shawad, nashod
Yaar az jafaaye khish pashimaan shawad, nashod
Goftam magar zamaane ‘enaayat konad, nakard
Bakht setize-kaar beh farmaan shawad, nashod

I asked that my work might be fruitful, but no!
That the Friend may repent of His cruelty, but no!
I asked that my times might be more favourable, but no!
That I might influence my adverse fate, but no!

Nur Qotb-e ’Aalam

The following quatrain contains a riddle:

Maraa naam nikust-o khwaajaye-‘aziem
Do shin-o do laam-o do qaaf-o do jim
Agar naam yaabi to zin harfhaa
Bedanam keh hastiye-to mard-e-fahim.

My name is beautiful, o great master:
Two sh and two l and two q and two j.
If you find the name from these letters,
Then I know you are a man of understanding!

The name of the Sufi who wrote the poem as referred to before can be found by looking to his poem and giving a numerical value according to the abjad system to the letters mentioned therein:

2 times the letter shin = 2×300= 600 = Kh
2 times the letter laam = 2×30= 60 = s
2 times the letter qaaf = 2×100=200 = r
2 times the letter jim = 2×3= 6 = w

In Persian the short vowels are not written, but when you add them you get Khosraw. So the solution of the riddle is Amir Khosraw.

Abr mibaarad-o man mishawam yaar jodaa
Chun konam del bechonin ruz ze deldaar jodaa
Abr-o baran-o man-o yaar setaada budaa’
Man jodaa keria konaan, abr jodaa, yaar jodaa
Sabza naw-khiz-o hawaa khorram-o bostaan-e sarsabz
Bolbol-e-ruye-siyah maanda ze golzaar jodaa
Ay maraa dar tahe har mui ze zolfat-e bandi
Che koni band ze bandam hama yakbaar jodaa.

The cloud rains and I am separated from the Friend.
How can my heart be separated from the Friend on such a day?
The cloud, the rain, I – and the Friend taken away.
I am alone, crying, the cloud is alone and the Friend is alone.
Greenery, newly-sprouted, joyful air, a green garden.
The nightingale, disgraced, remains separated from the rosegarden.
O, what are You doing to me, with the root of every hair
of Your tresses, bound together?
I am enchained by being tied up, and all of a sudden, alone.

‘Eshq âmad-o shod chu khunam andar rag-o pust
Tâ kard marâ tahi-o por kard ze dust
Ajzâ’-ye-wojudam hamagi dust gereft
Nâmist marâ bar man baqi hama ust.

Love came and spread like blood in my veins and the skin of me,
It filled me with the Friend and completely emptied me.
The Friend has taken over all parts of my existence,
Only my name remains, as all is He.

Amir Khosraw is also the poet of the following lines wherein he expresses his devotion for his teacher Nizamuddin Awliya:

Ay pir khaak-e paay-e to nur-e sa’aadat-ast
Meqraaz-e tawba-e to chu laayi shahaadat-ast

Hasti to aan nezaam ke nun-e khetaab-e to
Mehraab-e raast kardeh baraaye ‘ebaadat-ast

Did aanke tal’at-e to o bidaaryaash nabud
Hast aan sagi ke khoftan sobhash be’aadat-ast

O, master! The dust of your feet is the light of bliss,
Your pair of scissors, while repenting, is like the no of no god but God.

You are that Nizam, so that by the N of addressing you
The niche for prayer has been given the right direction for worship.

The one who saw you and was unaware
Is like that dog whose habit it is to sleep in the morning.

The following quatrain is by Nizamuddin Awliya himself:

Âyam be sar-e-kûye to pûyân pûyân
Rukhsâr be âb-e-dîde shûyân shûyân
Bîchâre rah-e wasl-e to jûyân jûyân
Jân mîdeham o nâm-e to gûyân gûyân

I came to the end of Your street, running, running.
Tears came down my cheek, washing, washing.
Union with You, I am helplessly seeking, seeking.
My soul I surrender while Your name I am reciting, reciting.

The following poem is written by ‘Abdurrahman, a Chishti poet who lived during the days of emperor Awrangzeb. He is tenderly called Rahman Baba (= Merciful father). Do you recognise a verse from the Qur’an in the following poem:

The earth has bowed down its head in His adoration,
And the firmament is bent over in the worship of Him.
Every tree, and every shrub, stand ready to bend before Him,
Every herb and blade of grass are a tongue to utter His praise.
Every fish in the deep praises and blesses His name,
Every bird, in the meadows and in the fields, magnifies Him.

The shaykh has also written:

For the Lord of the universe do not give a symbol derived from His creatures.
Nothing in fact is like Him: He is majestic in His essence and the All-high.
For Him I have not used any symbol at all, while all the people have used symbols.
So do not use a symbol for Him and be of those who understand.

But he also wrote:

She said: ”I marvel at a lover of such conceit
To walk so proud among a garden’s flowers”.
I answered: “Do not wonder at what you see!
It is yourself, in the mirror of man”.

Princess Jahanara (1614-1681) – she was devoted to the Chishti Sufis – has written these lines, which can be found as an inscription on her grave. Part of this inscription follows:

Baghair sabza naposhad kasi mazaar-e maraa
Ke qabr-e posh-e gharibaan hamin giyaah bas ast

Let naught cover my grave save the green grass,
For grass well suffices as a covering for the grave of the lowly.

The following poems have all been translated by B. Dell and Inam Hasan from the Urdu original. The poet is Nawab Gudri Shah Baba, who called himself Khadim, which means ‘servant’. At the end of each poem the original Urdu source has been given:

Since my melancholy heart envisioned the image of my Friend,
I celebrate the intertwining of my entangled heart.

Thank God, I found the stony threshold of my Friend,
Why now centre my reverence on the ka’ba?

Where my heart bows, there my head shall also bow,
Toward my Friend’s lane I shall bow, as I worship the ka’ba.

To see the blossoming of my heart’s emotion,
I shall turn my eyes toward this single path.

We shall obliterate this difference between us:
Khadim, I shall efface myself to join my Friend.

Naghma-e-dard 94

Someone’s beauty has preoccupied my heart,
Life’s burdens before his inspiration possessed my ever-heavy life.

I see my Friend, I see nothing but my Friend:
Love’s wine transports me with his ever-present sight.

Eternal life, which so interanimates one’s limbs,
Someone’s love bestowed on me with ever-quickening grace.

Banished is desire for wine, goblet and decanter,
The Friend’s glance imbues me with ever-quickening grace.

Thank God for freedom from dying!
My annihilation revived me with ever-refreshing life.

A single glance initiates such ever-abundant grace,
Neither world knows deficiency since he filled me from his ever-plenty eyes.

Communion with the prophet is the blessing of this threshold;
Of course the dust from Ali’s doorstep is my ever-dearest prize!

Death forever exiled, shall never have access here again, o Khadim,
Once perfect love bestows its ever-living miracle.

Naghma-e-dard 107

Each blunder shames me into blushing
Your patient consolation is such favour-filled grace.

I have never perfected true devotion,
But your grace has always cherished me.

Blemish not my slavery with a spot;
My Friend deserves a perfect offering, o sincerity!

Which kindness have you not offered me?
No one compares with your loving company.

When in both worlds no shelter remained
Eloquent fate brought me solace at your feet.

Khadim, I shall dote upon his every footstep.
Perhaps God will make me dust on my idol’s path?

Saz-e-eshq 16

And moreover this destitute man has nothing to contribute
In the court of love save the tribute of these shards of heart.