Other Sufi poets

The following string of pearls in the field of Persian Sufi poetry may be to your liking. Here are some lines of Maghrebi:

Hich kasi be khishtan rah nabord be suye- u
Balke be paye- u ravad har ke ravad be kuye- u

No one by himself
Can find the way to Him.
You have to walk with His feet,
Who goes to His street.

The following quatrain of Sarmad is the one I like best among his poetry:

Az manzab-e ‘eshq sar faraazam kardand
Vaz mennat-e khalq bi niyaazam kardand
Chun sham’ dar in bazm godaazam kardand
Az sokhtagi mahram-e raaz kardand

To the dignified station of love I was raised,
And from the favours of the people I was freed.
Like a candle I was melted in this assembly,
By being burnt, in the divine mysteries I was initiated.

Abu Sa’id Abu’l-Khayr writes:

Gar dar safaram toi rafiq-e safaram
Var dar hazaram toi anis-e hazaram
Al-qisse be har kojaa ke baashad gozaram
Joz to nabud hichkasi dar nazaram

If I am travelling, my Friend during this travel is You.
If I am at home, my Companion at home is You.
In short, wherever I am and wherever I travel
I am thinking of nobody except of You.

The following beautiful lines are of the hand of Baba Taher:

Chu shab kiram khayaalat-raa dar aaghosh
Sahar az bestaram bu-ye gol aayad

During the night I’m embracing Your image.
At dawn the fragrance of flowers rises from my bed.

An unknown poet gives this advice:

Zenhaar magui bar sare jam’
Gar ‘aasheqe saadeqi to aasraar
Didi keh beh sokre ‘eshq ramzi
Hallaaj begoft o raft bar daar

Beware, don’t utter a secret in public,
If you are a sincere lover of secrets.
You saw that in the drunkenness of love,
Hallâj uttered a secret and went to the gallows.

Here is one of the quatrains of Awhadoddin Kermani:

Ay dust hejaab-e to kasi nist to’i
Andar rah-e to khaar o khasi nist to’i
Goftam keh be ma’shuq rasam yaa narasam
Az to bar ma’shuq kasi nist to’i.

O, friend! Nobody veils you, but yourself.
In your path there is no thorn or weed, but yourself.
You said: Shall I reach the Beloved or not?
Between you and the Beloved there is nobody, but yourself.

And this quatrain has also been written by him:

Ze-aan pish ke az jomle faru-maani fard
Aan kon keh nabaayad-at pashimaani khord
Emruz bekon keh mitavaani kaari
Fardaa che koni keh hich natavaani kard

Before they separate you from the crowd when you’ve become unfit,
Perform that task you’ll be sorry about if you had not done it.
Do it today as now you still can do it.
What will you do tomorrow if you’re no longer able to do it?

Sarmad writes this quatrain about worldly people (starting with this line in Persian):

In mardom-e donya keh gereftaar-e gham-and

People of the world who are sorry and sad,
A few are wise and many are mad;
For the sake of a short life and their self
Captive to greed and lust they are and bad.

Shaykh Abu Sa’id Abi’l-Khair, in his quatrain as given below, describes the habit of some Muslims to get up in the night in order to say a recommended voluntary prayer, the tahajjud prayer, which according to the Qur’an is very helpful for spiritual development. The inner meaning thereof is also clear, as a Sufi likes to be alone with her/his Beloved:

Shab khiz keh ‘aasheqaan ba shab raaz konand
Gird-e dar o baam-e dust parwaaz konand
Har jaa keh dari bud ba shab dar bandand
Ella dar-e dust raa keh shab baaz konand

Get up in the night as lovers disclose their secrets at night,
Sit near to the door of the Friend and to His roof take a flight;
Wherever there is a door, it is closed at night,
Except for the door of the Friend, which is open at night.

Sa’di gives us this spiritual advice:

Badaryaa dar manaafe’ bi shomaar-ast
Wa gar khaahi salaamat dar kenaar-ast

In the sea there are countless treasures,
But if you desire safety, it is on the shore.

Quatrains have often been used as a teaching vehicle by the Sufis. Here is another one:

If my heart is my sweetheart, for the sweetheart, which name to use?
And if my sweetheart is my heart, for the heart, which name to use?
My heart and my sweetheart are so intimately interwoven
That I do not know – my heart or my sweetheart – which name to use?

This quatrain of Baba Taher is written in a certain dialect of the Persian language. It sounds thus:

Agar del delbar delbar che numa
O gar delbar dela del az che numa
Del o delbar beham aamita
Nazunam del keha delbar karuma

Shaykh Bahâ’î (d. 1621) has written this beautiful poem:

Har dar keh zanam sâheb-e-khâne to-î to
Har jâ keh rawam par to kâshâne to-î to
Dar maykade o dayr jânâne to-î to
Maqsûd-e-man az ka’ba o butkhâne to-î to
Maqsûd-e-to-î ka’ba o butkhâne bahâne

Every door that I knock on, the Lord of the house is You, You!
Every place that I go to, the light in the house is You, You!
In the tavern and in the convent, the Beloved is You, You!
The One I seek in the Ka’ba and the idol temple is You, You!
Your purpose behind the Ka’ba and the idol temple
is to create but a pretext.

Maghrebi, a Sufi of the 14th century, who expressed in poetical terms what Ibn al-‘Arabi taught in his many books, recited the following poem for his murshed Isma’il Sisi. He was delighted by the poem and praised his disciple for composing it. The Persian text comes from A Critical Edition of the Divan of Muhammad Shirin Maghribi; ed. By Leonard Lewisohn; Tehran and London; ghazal 122; pp. 253-4.

At the moment we saw your sun, we left all particles of dust behind us
On account of that Essence we left all attributes behind us.

All the world is but a stage, displaying the signs of Being
So we have left the search of these signs behind us.

Do not talk to us about revelations and miracles
As we have left such talk behind us.

Do not boast about your many mystic states and stations
As we have left these states and stations behind us.

We have escaped from the Sufi centres, monasteries and convents
As we have been liberated from litanies and we left time behind us.

We have fled from school, lessons and discourses
As we have left obscurities, doubts and questions behind us.

And the ka’ba, the idol temple, the Christian cincture and the cross
And the wine shop and the lane to the tavern of ruin, we have left it all behind us.

We spent some time as an ascetic in our retreat
But even the seven heavens, seen in true dreams, we have left it all behind us.

We saw it all in our sleep and in our imagination,
So like true men, this sleep and imagination, we left it all behind us.

O, shaykh! If this is all you have realised in the field of perfection,
Then rest at ease, as this perfection, we left it all behind us.

All of this is nothing more than difficulties on our path;
These difficulties, thanks to God, we left it all behind us.

We in our search of lights, yes, even the most oriental of all lights:
Maghrebi, the ‘glittering star’, and the ‘niche’, we left it all behind us.

The first few lines sound thus:

Tâ mehr-e-to dîdîm ze zarrât gozashtîm
Az jomla-e-sefât az paye ân zât gozashtîm

Chûn jomla–e-jahân mazhar-e-âyât wojudand
Andar talab az mazhar-e-âyât gozashtîm.

Here are some lines by a Turkish Sufi poet:

Herkime kim dervislik bagislana
Kalpi gide pâk ola gümüslene

Whoever receives the favour
To live like a dervish,
Turns his heart into a mirror
Free from worldly cares.

There is a Persian book written by Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini, which contains these lines:

The day has disappeared behind the mountain, so bring the candle and the wine.
Likewise, bring an elegant cupbearer and bring pure wine.
From his sweet lips come sweetmeats and sugar-candy
And quickly consume this burning heart that is mine.

Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian text of the above quatrain on p. 21
of his Kaashef al-asraar:

Ruz firu shod bekuh sham’ o sharaab aawaried
Saaqi hamchun nabaat badeye naab aawaried
Az labe shirine u noql o tabarzade nahid
Waz dele beryane man zud kebaab aawaried.

There is more:

Why is it that You do not look at me?
You do not improve nor make worse the state of the broken heart of me.
You ravish my heart and body by sheer force and like the heaven
You are truly One Whose gifts show no compassion to me.

Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian text of the above quatrain on p. 14
of his Kaashef al-asraar:

Chist keh hich suye maa khod nazari namikoni
Haale del shekaste beh battari namikoni
Del bebari o tan ze niro keh to niz chun falaq
Dar haqq kas ‘enaayati bi jagar namikoni.

O, the copy of the divine book, you are.
Ah, the miror of the beauty of the king, you are.
Apart from you there is nothing in the two worlds:
All you want, seek it in yourself, as that you are.

Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this corresponding Persian text on p. 12
of his Kaashef al-asraar:

Ai noskheye naameye ilaahi to-i
Wai aaineye jamaale shaahi keh to-i
Birun ze to nist har cheh do ‘aalam
Dar khod betalab har aancheh khaahi keh to-i

Hermann Landolt says that this famous quatrain, sometimes attributed to Baabaa Afdal-e Qaashaani or to Majd-e Baghdaadi, is in reality written by Najm-e Raazi, at least this is what the last mentioned Sufi claims a number of times.

You may also like this poem:

In the beginning when You caught me in Your snare,
You promised a hundred times to be faithful while You presented more wishes.
When You understood that I had become a lover of Your face,
You behaved like a perfect stranger to me!

Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian text on p. 27 of his Kaashef al-asraar:

Avval keh maraa bedaam-e-khish aawardi
Sad gune wafaa o kaam bish aawardi
Chun daanesti keh aa’sheq-e-ruye-toyaam
Bigaanagi-ye-tamaam bish aawardi.

And what do you say of this quatrain:

If love did not exist and there was no pain of love,
Who would say beautiful words like these and who would listen?
If the wind did not exist, who would lift up the tip of the tresses?
Who would show to the lover the face of the Beloved?

Gar ‘eshq nabudi o gham-e-‘eshq nabudi
Chandin sokhan-e-naghz keh kofti keh shonudi
Gar baad nabudi keh sar-e-zolf robudi
Rokhsaare-ye-ma’shuq be-aa’shiq keh namudi.

These above ‘beautiful words’ of Ruzbehaan Baqli are to be found in the Kaashef al-asraar of shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini (1242-1317). The ‘wind’ in this quatrain is the divine breath, which gives an estatic intoxication. Without this help and only relying on your actions you can never reach the divine presence nor contemplate the divine beauty. The more you become a lover the more you are close to the Beloved.

There is beyond this language another language for us,
Beyond hell and paradise there is another place for us.
To be a drunkard and a pauper is our fortune:
Reading the scriptures or being ascetic is another world for us.

This quatrain attributed to Najmoddin Daya can be found on p. 58 of the Persian text of the Kaashef al-asraar of shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini (1242-1317) and it sounds thus:

Maa raa joz az in zofaan zofaani degarast
Joz duzagh o ferdaws makaani degarast
Qallaashi o moflesi sarmaaye-maa
Qarra’i o zaahedi jahaani degarast.

The father of Shah Wali Allah, shaykh ‘Abd ar-Rahim, asked his son, after they had performed the prayers, for some pen and paper. He then wrote down some verses and advised his son to be mindful of this couplet. God had inspired him with it all of a sudden and it was the sign of his great favour on them. It sounds thus in Persian:

Gar to râhî haqq bekhâhî âî pesar
Khâter kasî râ maranjân al-hazar
Dar tarîqat rokn-e-a’zam rahmat ast
În chonîn farmûd-e-ân khair-al-bashar

This has been translated by Jalbani in his biography of Shah Wali Allah as follows:

O, my son, if you want to work on the path of Truth,
Then beware of injuring the feelings of man;
In the path of the tariqat mercy is the main principle;
This is the saying of the best of mankind.

Some time ago Maghrebi has written the following quatrain:

Ganjî ke telesm-e ust ‘alam mâîm
Zâtî ke sefât-e ust âdam mâîm
Ay ânke tuîy-e tâleb-e ism-e a’zam
Az mâ maguzar ke ism-e a’zam mâîm

The treasure for which the world is the talisman, we are!
The essence whereof Adam was a quality, we are!
O, you! Searching for the Greatest Name,
Do not abandon us as the Greatest Name, we are!

Sa’di wrote the following easy to understand lines:

Gelî khoshbûî dar hamâm rûzî
Rasîd az dast-e mahbûbî beh dastam
Badû goftam keh moshk yâ ‘abîrî
Keh az bûî dil-awîz-e to mastam
Begoftâ man gelî nâchîz budam
Walîken moddatî bâ gol neshastam
Kamâl-e hamneshîn dar man asar kard
O garneh man hamân khâkam keh hastam

By the hand of a beloved in the bath one day,
There was given to me some perfumed clay.
‘O, musk or ambergris!’ – I said,
‘Your heart-ravishing perfume has turned my head!’
He said: ‘I was naught but worthless clay,
Till I sat by the side of a rose one day.
My companion’s perfection affected me
Otherwise I am the clay I used to be’.

In another section of this website some explanation has been offered to the inner meaning of the letters of the Arab alphabet. Ibn al-‘Arabi reminds us that, according to a statement of Hakim at-Tirmidhi, the science of the letters is the science of the friends of God (‘ilm al-awliya’). Shabistari writes about the mîm:

The One (Ahad) was made manifest in the mim of Ahmad.
In this circuit the first emanation became the last.
A single mim divides Ahad from Ahmad;
The world is immersed in that one mim.

Ahad dar mîm-e Ahmad gashte-zâher
Dar în daur âmad âwwal ‘ayn-e âkher
Ze Ahmad ta Ahad yak mîm farq-âst
Jehânî andar ân yak mîm gharq- âst

Lahiji gives this comment:

Ahmad, or Muhammad (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him), is the type of the ‘perfect man’ who is the theatre or exhibition place of all the divine names and attributes. The first emanation, ‘ayn, was universal reason and this descended through the intermediate emanations into man and is again carried upwards by the ‘perfect man’ in his ascent to unity and is united with the One. Thus the first becomes the last. The mîm stands for the forty grades of emanations, from universal reason down to man.

This is a quatrain of Awhadoddin Kirmani as he was a poet as well:

Awhad didi keh har cheh didi hich-ast?
Van niz keh gofti o shenidi hich-ast?
Sar tâ sar-e âfâq davidi hich-ast?
Van niz keh dar konj khazidi hich-ast?

Don’t you see, Awhad, that all you saw, is nothing?
And also all that you said and heard, is nothing.
Your travelling from one end of the world to the other, is nothing.
And also your hiding in a corner, is nothing.

‘Attar was longing for the pain of love:

Zarrehe-ye dardam deh ây darmân-e man!
Ze anke bî dardat bemîrad jân-e man.
Kofr kâfer râ o dîn dîndâr râ;
Zarrehe-ye dardat del-e ‘Attâr râ

Give me a particle of pain, o my Remedy!
Because without Your pain my soul will die.
Unbelief to the unbeliever and faith to the faithful;
Give a particle of Your pain to the heart of ‘Attar!

I don’t remember who wrote these lines:

Az haqq joz haqq degar cheh ravid baabaa
Az haqq joz haqq cheh guyad baabaa
Dar shedat-e in zohur mahjur-e sefat
Haqq raa joz haqq degar juyad baabaa

What else can come out of the truth save the truth, my man!
Who else save the truth can speak the truth, my man!
In the intensity of manifestation, being separated from the source,
Who else save the truth can seek the truth, my man!

There is a section in this website dedicated to Hafez, but why should we not also show one of his ghazals here:

Daani ke chang o ‘ud che taqrir mikonand
Penhaan khoried baade ke takfir mikonand

Do you know what the harp and the lute are explaining?
“Drink wine in secret or else they’ll call you an unbeliever”.

Guyand ramz-e ‘eshq magu’id o mashenovid
Moshkel hekaayatist ke taqrir mikonand

They say: “Do not divulge the secret of love!”
It is a difficult task they demand.

Namus-e ‘eshq o rawnaq-‘oshshaaq mibarand
Mana’ javaan o sar-zanesh pir mikonand

They remove the law of love and the elegance of the lovers.
They hinder the young and reproach the old.

Maa az berun dar shode maghrur sad farib
Taa khod darun parde che tadbir mikonand

Outside the door, we are deluded by a hundred tricks,
As we are veiled, we wonder what steps they’ll take.

Tashvish vaqt-e pir-e maghaan midehand baaz
In saalekaan negar ke che baa pir mikonand

Again you are disturbing the time of the teacher of the Magians.
Look at what these wayfarers do with the teacher!

Sad aab ru be niem-e nazar mitavaan kharid
Khubaan dar-in mo’aamale taqsir mikonand

A hundred honours can be bought by half a glance.
The lovely ones, however, make mistakes in this business.

Qaumi be jedd o jehad nehaadand vasl-e dost
Qaumi degar havaale be taqdir mikonand

Some people attribute union with the Friend to hard work and struggle;
Others attribute it to destiny.

Fi’l jomle ‘etemaad makon bar sabaat-e dahr
Kin kaarkhaane ist ke taghyir mikonand.

To sum it up: Do not rely on the stability of the world!
For this is a workshop where they do make changes.

Mey deh ke shaykh o hafez o moft o mohtaseb
Chun nik benegari hame tazvir mikonand

Bring wine as the shaykh, Hafez, the magistrate and the policeman –
When you look carefully – all are frauds.

Awhaduddin Kermani writes:

Gah khaste del o sukhte kherman baasham
Gah baste dam o goshaade daaman baasham
Yaa rabb hamegaan raa to be maqsud rasaan
Baashad ke dar aan miyaan yaki man baasham

At times my heart is wounded and my harvest is burnt.
At times I stop my breath and I open my robe.
O Lord! Guide all to the goal:
Perhaps I shall be one of them.

To finish these beautiful lines of Ibn al-‘Arabi as translated by Nicholson:

My heart has become capable of every form:
It is a pasture for gazelles
And a convent for Christian monks
And a temple for idols
And the pilgrim’s Ka’ba
And the tables of the Torah
And the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of love:
Whatever way Love’s camels take,
That is my religion and my faith’.