Did Lightning Flash?


Ibn al-Fāriḍ


1. Is it a flash of lightning that shone over the mottled mountain, or did Layla lift, from her face, the veil?

2. Yes, she unveiled her face at night, and made it day with the light of her shining beauty

3. O rider of the strenuous she-camel—mayest thou be protected from destruction!—if thou shalt cross o’er rugged land, or make thy journey through torrent-bottoms

4. And if thou passest along Na’man of the thorn-bush, turn thou aside unto a valley there I have known of old, wide spreading,

5. Then at the right of al-’Alaman, skirting Na’man to the East, incline, and repair to its sweet-scented arin

6. And when thou hast reached unto long mountains opposing the sandy stretch, inquire after a heart that has perished in that dear torrent-bed

7. And recite a greeting unto the dear folk dwelling there on my behalf (and say, ‘I left him thirsting passionately for your presence’):

8. ‘O inhabitants of Nejd, is there no compassion for one a prisoner to a loved companion, who desireth not release?

9. Why have ye not sent a greeting to the impassioned one, in the folds of the dust-free winds at evening,

10.’Whereby he may live anew, who supposed your shunning him to be but a jest, and yet believed jesting far removed from your wants?’

11. O thou who reproachest a passionate heart, ignorant of what he has long been enduring—mayest thou never achieve success!—

12. Thou hast wearied thyself in counseling him whose determined view it is, that he will not look upon prosperity and good fortune:

13. Refrain—may I have naught of thee!—and reject thou him whose bowels have been mercilessly wounded by wide-eyed enchanters.

14. Thou wast the truest of friends, before thou didst offer thy counsel to one passionate with love; and hast thou ever seen amorous swain friendly disposed to counsellors?

15. If thou seekest my reformation, for my own part, I never desired any reformation for the ruin of my heart in passion

16. What is it that the reproachers desire, in reproaching one who has clothed himself in profligacy, and taken his rest and is at repose?

17. O people of my affection, is it possible that he who hopes for union with you should attain his ambition, and so his mind enjoy rest?

18. Since ye were absent form my gaze, truly my sighing fills all the quarts of Egypt with lamentation

19. and when I remember you, I sway with emotion as though I have been given to drink of wine, because of the fragrance of your memory

20. And when I am urged to feign forgetfulness of my bond with you, I find my bowels are very jealous of that bond

21. Fresh forever be the recollection of those days passed by, with neighbors in whose company our nights were festivals indeed

22. When the tribe’s enclosure was my homeland too, and the dwellers of al-Ghaḍa were my heart’s whole comfort, and when I came down as I pleased to water there freely;

23. And its dear people were my desire, and the shade of its palm-trees my joy, and the sands of its twain valleys my place of repose.

24. Alas for that time and its sweetness, days when I ever found rest from weariness!

25. I swear by Zamzam and Abraham’s station, and he who came to the Sacred House crying, ‘Labbayk, to Thee I come, O Lord!’ a journeyer in the land:

26. Never did the breeze wafting from the East sway the sweet-scented wormwood of the sand-hills, but that it brought new life from you to the lovers slain by passion

Translation modified from The Mystical Poem of Ibn al-Farid by A.J. Arberry




أبَرْقٌ، بدا من جانِبِ الغَورِ، لامعُ،                  أم ارتَفَعتْ، عن وجه ليلى ، البراقِعُ
نعم اسفرت ليلى فصار بوجهها                         نهارا به نور المحاسن ساطع
أنارُ الغضا ضاءتْ وسلمى بذي الغضا                          أمِ ابتسمتْ عمَّا حــكتهُ المدامعُ
أنشرُ خزامي فاحَ أمْ عرفُ حاجرٍ                     بأمّ القُرى ، أم عِطْرُ عَزّة َ ضائِعُ
ألا ليتَ شعري هلْ سليمي مقيمة ٌ                      بِوادي الحِمى ، حَيثُ المُتيَّمُ والِعُ
وهلْ لعلعَ الرَّعدُ الهتونُ بلعلعٍ                    وهلْ جادَها صَوبٌ من المُزنِ هامِعُ
وهلْ أردنْ ماءَ العذيبِ وحاجرٍ                    جِهاراً، وسِرُّ اللّيلِ، بالصّبحِ، شائِعُ
وهل قاعَة ُ الوَعْساءمخْضَرّة َ الرّبى ؛               وهلْ، ما مَضَى فيها من العيش، راجعُ
وهلْ، برُبى نجْدٍ، فَتوضِحَ، مُسنِدٌ                          أُهَيلَ النّقا عمّا حَوَتْهُ الأضالِعُ
وهلْ بلوى سلعٍ يسلْ عنْ متيَّمٍ                          بكاظمة ٍ ماذا بهِ الشَّوقُ صانعُ
وهلْ عذباتُ الرَّندِ يقطفُ نورها                             وهلْ سلماتٌ بالحجازِ أيانعُ
وهلْ أثلاثُ الجزعِ مثمرة ٌ وهلْ                       عُيونُ عَوادي الدّهرِعنها هَواجِعُ
وهل قاصِراتِ الطّرفِ عِينٌ، بعالجٍ،                      على عهديَ المعهودِ أمْ هوِ ضائعُ
وهلْ ظبياتَ الرَّقمتينِ بعيدنا                               أقمنا بها أمْ دونَ ذلكَ مانعُ
وهَل فَتَياتٌ بالغُويرِ يُرينَني                              مرابعَ نعمٍ نعمَ تلكَ المرابعُ
وهلْ ظلُّ ذاكَ الضَّالِ شرقيَّ ضارجٍ                           ظليلٌ، فـقَدْ رَوّتْهُ منّي المَدامعُ
وهلْ عامرٌ منْ بعد ناشعبُ عامرٍ                          وهل هوَ، يوماً، للمُحبّينَ جامِعُ
وهلْ أمَّ بيتَ اللهِ يا أمَّ مالكٍ                          عريبٌ لهمْ عندي جميعاً صنائعُ
وهلْ نَزَلَ الرَّكبُ العِراقي، مُعَرِّفاً،                          وهلْ شرعتْ نحوَ الخيامِ شرائعُ
وهلْ رقصتْ بالمأزمينِ قلائصٌ                             وهلْ للقبابِ البيضِ فيها تدافعُ
وهلْ لي بجمعِ الشَّملِ في جمع مسعدٌ                          وهلْ لليالي الخيفِ بالعمرِ بائعُ
وهلْ سلَّمتْ سلمى على الحجرِ الَّذي                           بهِ العهدُ والتفَّتْ عليهِ الأصابعُ
وهلْ رضعتْ منْ ثديِ زمزمَ رضعة ً                     فلا حُرّمتْ، يوماً عليها، المَراضِعُ
لعلّ أُصَيحابي، بِمكّة ، يُبْرِدُوا،                          بذِكْرِ سُلَيْمَى ، ما تُجِنّ الأضالعُ
وعلَّ الُّلييلاتِ الَّتي قدْ تصرَّمتْ                                تعودُ لنا يوماً فيظفرَ طامعُ
ويَفْرَحَ محْزُونٌ، ويَحيَا مُتَيَّمٌ،                                 ويأنسَ مشتاقٌ ويلتذْ سامعُ



Did Layla’s fire shine at Dhu Salam
or did lightning flash at al-Zawra and al-Alam?
Oh breezes of Na’man, where is dawn’s breath?
Oh water of Wajrah, where is my first draught?
Oh driver of the howdahs rolling up the perilous deserts
aimlessly like a scroll, at Dhat al-Shih of Iḍam
Turn aside at the sacred precinct—May God preserve you!—
seeking the thicket of lote trees possessing sweet bay and lavender,
And halt at Sal’ and say to the valley:
“Were those dear tamarisks at al-Raqmatan
watered by flowing rains?”
adjure you by God! if you cross al-‘Aqiq
at forenoon, greet them boldly
And say: “I left him stricken, lying in
your encampmentsliving like the dead,
sickness infecting disease!”
My heart is flaming like a torch,
my eyes awash in endless torrents.
This is the lovers’ law: bound to a fawn
every limb is racked with pain.
Fool blaming me for loving them, enough!
Could you love, you wouldn’t blame.
By sacred union and noble love,
and by the steadfast covenant of
have not broken from them 
seeking solace or another; I’m not like that.
Return sleep to my eyes—perhaps your phantom
will visit my bed in the darkness of dreams.
Ah, for our days at al-Khayf—had
they been ten—but how could they last?
If only grief could cure me,
and remorse recover what has passed.
Fawns of the winding valleys, leave me alone—please.
I have bound my eye to face only them,
Obeying a judge who decreed a wondrous thing: 
the shedding of my blood in unhallowed and
sacred grounds.
Deaf—he did not hear the plea—dumb—
he did not answerblind to the case of one bound by desire
Translation from E. Homerin Form Arab Poet to Muslim Saint


هلْ نارُ ليلى بَدت ليلاً بِذي سَلَمِ،             أمْ بارقٌ لاحَ في الزَّوراءِ فالعلمِ
أرواحَ نعمانَ هلاَّ نسمة ٌ سحراً                 وماءَ وجرة َ هلاَّ نهلة ٌ بفمِ
يا سائقَ الظَّعنِ يطوي البيدَ معتسفاً         طيَّ السّجِلّ، بذاتِ الشّيحِ من إضَمِ
عُجْ بالحِمى يا رَعاكَ اللَّهُ، مُعتَمداً          خميلة َ الضَّالِ ذاتَ الرَّندِ والخزمِ
وقِفْ بِسِلْعٍ وسِلْ بالجزْعِ:هلْ مُطرَتْ                   بالرَّقمتينِ أثيلاتٌ بمنسجمِ
ناشَدْتُكَ اللَّهَ إنْ جُزْتَ العَقيقَ ضُحًى            فاقْرَ السَّلامَ عليهِمْ، غيرَ مُحْتَشِمِ
وقُلْ تَرَكْتُ صَريعاً، في دِيارِكُمُ،                حيّاً كميِّتٍ يعيرُ السُّقمَ للسُّقمِ
فَمِنْ فُؤادي لَهيبٌ نابَ عنْ قَبَسٍ،              ومنْ جفوني دمعٌ فاضَ كالدِّيمِ
وهذهِ سنَّة ُ العشَّاقِ ما علقوا               بِشادِنٍ، فَخَلا عُضْوٌ منَ الألَمِ
يالائماً لا مني في حبِّهمْ سفهاً               كُفَّ المَلامَ، فلو أحبَبْتَ لمْ تَلُمِ
وحُرْمَة ِ الوَصْلِ، والوِدِّالعتيقِ، وبالـ           العهدِ الوثيقِ وما قدْ كانَ في القدمِ
ما حلتُ عنهمْ بسلوانٍ ولابدلٍ             ليسَ التَّبدُّلُ والسُّلوانُ منْ شيمي
ردُّوا الرُّقادَ لجفني علَّ طيفكمُ            بمضجعي زائرٌ في غفلة ِ الحلمِ
آهاً لأيّامنا بالخَيْفِ، لَو بَقِيَتْ             عشراً وواهاً عليها كيفَ لمْ تدمِ
هيهاتَ واأسفي لو كانَ ينفعني        أوْ كانَ يجدى على ما فات واندمي
عني إليكمْ ظباءَ المنحنى كرماً              عَهِدْتُ طَرْفيَ لم يَنْظُرْ لِغَيرِهِمِ
طوعاً لقاضٍ أتى في حُكمِهِ عَجَباً،          أفتى بسفكِ دمي في الحلِّ والحرمِ
أصَمَّ لم يَسمَعِ الشّكوَى ، وأبكمَ لم        يُحرْجواباً وعنْ حالِ المشوقِ عَمِي


Buṣīrī’s Burdah



Is it from remembering the neighbors at Dhu Salam that you mingle with blood tears shed from your eyes

Or has the wind blown from before Kāẓimah, and lightning flashed in the darkness of Iḍam

What ails your eyes, that when you bid them cease they weep still more? What ails your heart, that when you bid it wake, it wanders

Reckons the lovelorn that his love may be concealed, when part of him’s a torrent, and the other is a blaze?

But for passion, you wouldn’t weep at an abandoned camp, nor lie awake at night recalling the willow and the mountain

So how can you deny your love, when the witness of tears and sickness have testified against you?

Love has written upon your cheeks two tracks of tears like yellow spice and red ‘anam fruit

Yes, my loved one’s spirit haunted me, and denied me my sleep. For love ever obstructs pleasures with pain.

You who blame me for this chaste love: I seek your pardon! Yet had you judged fairly, you would not have blamed me at all.


fkayfa tankiru



أمن تذكــــــر جيــــــرانٍ بذى ســــــلم
مزجت دمعا جَرَى من مقلةٍ بـــــدم

َامْ هبَّــــت الريـــــحُ مِنْ تلقاءِ كاظمــةٍ
وأَومض البرق في الظَّلْماءِ من إِضم

فما لعينيك إن قلت اكْفُفاهمتـــــــــــــــا
وما لقلبك إن قلت استفق يهـــــــــم

أيحسب الصب أن الحب منكتـــــــــــم
ما بين منسجم منه ومضطــــــــرم

لولا الهوى لم ترق دمعاً على طـــــللٍ
ولا أرقت لذكر البانِ والعلــــــــــمِ

فكيف تنكر حباً بعد ما شـــــــــــــهدت
به عليك عدول الدمع والســـــــــقمِ

وأثبت الوجد خطَّيْ عبرةٍ وضــــــــنى
مثل البهار على خديك والعنــــــــم

نعم سرى طيف من أهوى فأرقنـــــــي
والحب يعترض اللذات بالألــــــــمِ

يا لائمي في الهوى العذري معـــــذرة
مني إليك ولو أنصفت لم تلــــــــــمِ



Ibrahim Niasse


Did lightning flash towards the meadows, gleaming?
O grant me a person that when the lightning flashes, he weeps
You only glimpse it weakly, woe to you, and you are inflamed with love
And glistening tears are stilled in the hour of Life
Recalling the days of youth which have passed
And nothing remains save agony and pain
May God pour out rain on a land in Madina for indeed she is
The travellers’ halt, in it, tattered rags are mended
Home of the beloved of God and he is His entrusted one
Residing in it [al-Madina], surrounded by all his followers
Home to the one whose heart is preoccupied with his love
For his remembrance is to the heart is like a meadow and grassland
Home to the most exalted of creation, beautiful of character and form
Home to he who, in creation, gives and holds back
And [he is] the best of them in himself, in relation by marriage, and in descent
In knowledge and in manners,  most mindful and most reverent
Indeed, he is the best of creation in absolute magnificence and splendour.
Awe-inspiring,  in his gait, he strides powerfully
[He is] Rosy of colour and black of eye
putting to shame the eye of the wild cow grazing in the bush
Large-eyed, with long lashes, and broad of brow is the Messenger of God,
and his character is more expansive
with eyebrows fine and curved, the face of TaHa is round
and his beard is thick, and his chest, wide
His shoulders are broad, and his bones large
and of stocky build is the sublime TaHa
Likewise his biceps are large, and large are his forearms
His palms are welcoming/generous and shine with lights
his fingers were long and unclipped
and thick, these are among his sublime features
his teeth are white, and they shine forth when he smiles
like grains of white clouds or the flashing lightning
The hair on his head is luxurious and manly
and he is soft-spoken and silent, for he is reverent
and his sorrows are connected to his contemplation
and if he speaks, he speaks goodness and the truth that is due
he but glances and he prevails over the earth
he leads his companions and the angels follow him
And the neck of the Messenger of God resembles a doll
When he separates his hair, it [neck] shines and glows
Like the hidden pearls, and its smell is like musk
for there is none altogether like the Messenger of God in fortune
the Most clement of God’s creatures and most just of His creation
Among people, most generous is he, [and] even the bravest [of them]
He serves families, mends [sews] his sandals
He cuts meats and he patches clothes
So modest, that he answers to whoever calls upon him
For his anger is only for his Master (Mawla), and he returns to The Truth 
He never refrained from that which is lawful even if it were pleasant
And he was not consumed, in most times, with satiating his appetite
Sometimes he rides on horses، at times
On donkeys, and sometimes on foot he walks, striding briskly
And likewise his clothing was fragrant with perfume
He sits with [different] groups, while voices are yet raised
Sometimes he jokes, at other times, he creates bonds of friendship
Never did he fear any king, for indeed his state is lofty
He never despised the poor, but invited them all
And by God, the Master of creation, he brings together creation
The Master honoured him with the greatest of honours
And He singled him out as the one who benefits creation
Upon him be the blessings of God as long as [the sun] shines forth from the East
And [as long as] the doves sing on the branches cooing
And as long as the dust of time is repelled from the place which
adorns his praises with song and rhyme
And upon his family and companions as long as the words of the longing lover [ask]
Did lightning flash towards the meadows, gleaming?






Ibn ‘Arabi

He saw the lightning flash
and yearned toward the East.
If it had flashed West
west he’d have turned.

I burn for the lightning,
for the flash,
not for this or that – 
some piece of ground.

The East wind told me
a tradition about them, from
the wreck of my heart, from
ecstasy, sorrow, my disarray

From drunkenness, reason,
longing, the wound of love,
from tears, my eyelids,
the fire, my heart:

He whom you desire
is between your ribs,
turned side to side
in the heat of your sigh.

I told them tell him
he’s the one
who kindled the fire
blazing in my heart.

It is extinguished only
in our coming together. If
it burns out of control,
who can be blamed for loving?

From: Stations of Desire: Translations from Tarjuman al-ashwaq by Michael Sells


رأى البرْقَ شرقيّاً، فحنّ إلى الشرْقِ،                         ولو لاحَ غربيَّاً لحنَّ إلى الغربِ
فإنّ غَرامي بالبُرَيْقِ ولمحِهِ                          وليسَ غرَامي بالأماكِنِ والتُّرْبِ
رَوَتْهُ الصَّبَا عنهُمْ حَديثاً مُعَنْعَناً             عن البثّ عن وَجدي عن الحزْن عن كربي
عن السكرِ عن عقلي عن الشوق عن جوًى                 عن الدَّمعِ عن جفني عن النَّارعن قلبي
بأنّ الذي تهواه بينَ ضُلوعكم                              تقلِّبهُ الأنفاسُ جنباً إلى جنبِ
فقلتُ لها: بلِّغ إليهِ فإنَّهُ                          هو الموقِدُ النّارَ التي داخلَ القلبِ
   فإن كان إطفاءٌ، فوَصْلٌ مُخلَّدٌ                 وإن كان إحتراقٌ، فلا ذنبَ للصّبّ      


Whether lightning flashes at al-Himā
or you watch for it, cast off restraint
Say to whomever finds in it a bad omen:
I was happy, when I saw the lightning.
When it appeared over the high place of worship,
it taught the morning to shine
When a wanderer came in the darkness,
it turned his night to day
His sun rose from his deepest self to the summit of perfection,
leaving him perplexed.
Drunkenness afflicted him from what he saw and
the kindness of the cupbearer rounding  toward him
He poured for him a convivial old vintage,
the choicest wine, an overpowering drink.
His intoxication made him stagger, and he called out:
“Friend don’t abandon the great ones
Be wanton, like me.
Drinking this has left me with no choice.”
Through it, the moment is purified, since it passed ’round
to the builder of the wall.
How odd: Layla’s Qays
complains that the one who visited him fled.
Layla did not leave him
instead she put a veil on her face.
When she came before him without it
her Majnun called what he saw a disgrace


translation from: Abu’l Hasan al-Shushtari Songs of Love and Devotion by Lourdes Maria Alvarez


إذا  بُرَيْق  الحمى   استنارَا        أو   شمته   فاخلع   العذَارَا
وقلْ    لمنْ    شامه     فإنيّ        آنست   لمّا    رأيت    نارَا
لمَّا بَدت في  رُبيَ  المُصَلَّى        علمت  الصبحَ     الاسفرارَا
ومُدْلِج  في   الدجى     أتاهَا        قَد   صيرت   ليله    نهَارا
وأشرقت    شمَسه     بأوج        الكمالِ   من   ذاتِه    فخارا
يميلَ   من   سِكر    ماتراه        منْ لطف  ساق  علِيه    دَارا
سقاهَ  من   خندريس   أنْس        سلافة      تعقر      القفارا
رنَّحَهُ      سُكرهُ      فَنادى        ياصَاح  لا  تترك     الكبَارَا
وكنْ   خليعاً   كما    ترَاني        لم يُبْقِ  لي  شربها  اِختيارا
بها صَفَاَ الوقت حين دارت        عَلى الذي قد  بنَى  الجدارا
يَا   عجبا    مَالقيس    ليلى        يشكو الذَّي  وصْلُه    النّفارا
لمَّا   بدت    دونَه    تَسمَّى        مَجْنَونها   ما   رآه    عَارا
لَيلاه    مَا    باعَدْتُه    لكن        أرْخَتْ عَلى وجهِهِا   الخمَارا



Imru’l Qays

Friend, do you see yonder lightning? Look, there goes its gleam
flashing like two hands now in the heaped-up, crowned stormcloud:

Its glimmer illumining the sky, or like the flicker of a monk’s lamp
When, tilting it, he soaks with oil the tightly twisted wick.


أصاحي ترى برقا كأن وميضه           كلمع اليدين في حبي مكلل
يضيء سناه أو مصابيح راهب        أهان السليط في الذبال المفتل


A lightning flash from Layla’s house at dawn,
Goodness knows, what it did to the love-torn heart of Majnun.


برقی از منزل لیلی بدرخشید سحر
وه که با خرمن مجنون دل افگار چه کرد




Sindidi, one of the most-recited poems of Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba, is also considered a powerful prayer for protection, and as you can hear below, also makes for a beautiful recitation:



In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful

1. Ya Allah! I implore thee by the blessings of Mustapha Ya Allah! And by the blessings of thy beloved friend Abraham Ya Allah!

2. And by the blessings of thy interlocutor Moses, and Salih, Al Khidr, and by the blessings of Shu’aib, and by the blessings of Ishmael Ya Allah!

3. And by the blessings of Solomon, Noah, Jonah, Job, and by the blessings of Zakariah, John, and Hud O Allah!

4. By the blessings of Aaron, Joshua, Elias, Adam, David, by the blessings of Dhul-kifl, Jesus, and Lot. Ya Allah!

5. By the blessings of Joseph, Isaac, and others among thy apostles and messengers Ya Allah!

6. And by the blessings of the unity of the Angels, and those among them encompassed with the purest, Divine Essence such as Gabriel and Michael Ya Allah!

7. By the blessings of Israfil who is entrusted with Blowing the Trumpet, and Azrael who shall duly seize the soul of every creature Ya Allah!

8. By the blessings of the companions of the Prophet and the friends of Allah, as well as those who actively practice their knowledge among the people of religious Authority Ya Allah!

9. By the blessings of Abu Bakr the truthful, Omar who distinguished truth from falsehood, Uthman the possessor of two lights, and Ali, the father of the two grandsons of the Prophet Ya Allah!

10. By the blessings of Imam Malik, the highly distinguished, Imam As Shafi, Imam Abu Hanafi, and the praiseworthy, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal Ya Allah!

11. By the blessings of the Exalted Pen, the Preserved Tablet, thy Magnificent Throne and Exalted Footstool Ya Allah!!

12. By the blessings of the Quran, the Torah, The Psalms of David, and the Gospel of the Spirit of God, Ya Allah!

13. Transmit my salutations of peace and blessings upon him ( the Prophet), his family, companions, and wives Ya Allah!

14. O Lord! Drape over us the cover of well-being  and bestow upon us our goals in this world and in the Hereafter Ya Allah!

15. Open for us all gates of graces that thou hath opened to those endowed with a complete state of piety Ya Allah!

16. Impel us to trod on the distinct path of righteousness, Preserve us from the pitfalls and from the Evils of the Jinn and Satan Ya Allah!

17. Grant us all our ambitions, allow us to attain our objectives, bestow upon us any grace we choose Ya Allah.

18. Soften for us the hearts of any possessor of reluctance and oppression, smoothen all the hardships Ya Allah!

19. Prolong our lives, strengthen our bodies, bestow guidance upon us, and grant us felicity (tawfiq) O Allah!

20. Destroy any enemy whose intention is to cause harm before he gains access to us Ya Allah! Ya Allah!

21. Protect us from all kinds of ruin, deliver us from the calamities of the world, all the time Ya Allah!

22. Protect us from epidemics, illness, agony, afflictions, vehement earthquakes as well as poverty Ya Allah!

23. Protect us from blemishes, insufficiency, from the fury of a tyrant, vileness, debility, hunger and thirst Ya Allah!

24. Protect us from all forms of trials, from disease from being burnt in fire, from being drowned in water, from lightning, thunder, theft and vain labor Ya Allah!

25. Protect us from excessive heat and cold, from plundering, from oppression, from hostility, from delusion, from grief, and from being paralyzed Ya Allah!

26. Protect us from anxiety, from transgression, from stumbling in error, from transmutation, and from defamation Ya Allah!

27. Protect us from lack of sustenance, from the influences of evil spirits, and from fading away due to illness Ya Allah!

28. Protect us from the evils of this world and of the next as well as their dreadful humiliations Ya Allah!Ya Allah!

29. O thou who hath power over all things, overwhelming the entire creation, being firmly established in Thine Magnificent Throne of Authority Ya Allah!

30. Verily, I beg thee for a fearing heart and a humble one, an extensive knowledge of tremendous use Ya Allah!

31. I beg thee for an accepted repentance, a lofty station, a virtuous and pious wife O God!

32. Be our fortress against the evils of the possessor of envy, against the evils of the tongue, as well as against the evils of the eye Ya Allah!

33. Be our refuge against the evils of sorcery, the evils of the creatures, men or jinns, and against the evils of venomous creatures Ya Allah!

34. O mine confident! I take Thee in this world and in the hereafter as my inaccessible fortress: the one in whom I seek shelter Ya Allah!

35. Abandon me not with my own soul (nafs), lest I go astray: be responsive whenever I beseech thee Ya Allah!

36. Cause my tongue and my heart to remember Thee and to hold a perfect belief in Thee at the crucial moment of death Ya Allah!

37. Establish permanently in mine heart the knowledge of Certainty (Yaqin); Let no fear abide therein, until I passionately love Thy Ultimate encounter Ya Allah!

38. Cause my death to be the announcement of good news, and to be a complete rest, and to be a protection against all pain, distress and fear Ya Allah!

39. Shield my body against tortures in the grave, whenever the soul is separated from me. Let it not undergo any deterioration nor hardship. Ya Allah!

40. Be my Assistant and Companion at the time my body is buried in the grave, where I may become lonely Ya Allah!

41. Join me not with that which causes terror in the grave, preserve me from anything that I fear Ya Allah!

42. Protect me, my mother and all those who bow to Thy will, Amen Ya Allah!

43. Forgive us and my mother, cover our defects, bestow benevolence upon us and her; protect us from terror Ya Allah!

44. Grant us complete forgiveness, have mercy on her. She has no one but Thee; and verily Thou art the kind One Ya Allah!

45. Be with us in the barzakh and in the grave, preserve us from any distress or any kind of fear Ya Allah!

46. Do not afflict my mother with that which she can not bear and do not disappoint the hope she has in Thee Ya Allah!

47. Quench our thirst and hers in the water of Kauthar, which Thou has reserved for the one whom Thou hath chosen over the entire creation Ya Allah!

48. That was he who provided guidance to he who roamed in error, destroyed he who rejected faith and yielded aid to he who had innermost fear in Thee Ya Allah!

49. Such a one was Muhammad, the Fine Flower of the elect, who will lead us into the everlasting Paradise on the Day of Resurrection Ya Allah!

50. Upon him be Eternal peace and blessings, forever and ever, and upon any who follows him till Doomsday Ya Allah!

Glory to Thy Lord! The Lord of Might and Power; He transcends what they ascribe to Him. And peace be upon the messengers! And praise be to Allah; the Lord, Cherisher and Sustainer of all the worlds

Translation modified from this site







The end of Surah Baqarah

The final two verses of the second, and longest, Surah of the Quran are among its most beautiful and touching, as you can see and hear below

2-286 wall callig




The Messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in God and His angels and His books and His messengers – We make no distinction between any one of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the homecoming.


God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark! Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as thou didst lay on those before us! Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us, absolve us, and have mercy on us, You are our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.

Trans. modified from Pickthall’s


It is said that the “disbelieving folk” refers to the elements of ourselves that refuse to recognize who we are, to come to grips with reality.  “Victory over them refers to victory over illusion and confusion, and the reunification of the soul.  The beginning of the verse assures this victory since, “God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.”

baqara 2;285,6 folio


آمن الرسول بما أنزل إليه من ربه والمؤمنون كل آمن بالله وملائكته وكتبه ورسله لا نفرق بين أحد من رسله وقالوا سمعنا وأطعنا غفرانك ربنا وإليك المصير ( 285 ) لا يكلف الله نفسا إلا وسعها لها ما كسبت وعليها ما اكتسبت ربنا لا تؤاخذنا إن نسينا أو أخطأنا ربنا ولا تحمل علينا إصرا كما حملته على الذين من قبلنا ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به واعف عنا واغفر لنا وارحمنا أنت مولانا فانصرنا على القوم الكافرين ( 286


2-286 old kufic



(God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity)

al-Munfarijah, The Poem of Relief


This remarkable poem/prayer was written in the 11th C by a famous Maghribi scholar/saint Ibn Nahwi, famous for his ability to bless and curse. The recitation of this poem is believed to relieve the difficulties and grant the wishes of the reciter and listener.  If you wish to hear some powerfully rhythmic poetry, play some of the youtube clips below.



Get worse, o trouble, so that you may be lifted
For your night has announced the breaking of the dawn
And even the darkness of the night has its gleams
until the father of these gleams overwhelms them
And the dark clouds of bounty carry rain
that comes when its time is nigh
The blessings of our Lord are many
so your soul and heart’s blood can roam free
And they (the blessings) have a life-giving scent
so go to the source of that scent
And sometimes there is an overflowing of life
oceans of waves of surging depths
All creation is in his hands, some are expanded (have it easy)
while others are constricted (have it hard)
Their descents and ascents are either down a level or up a step
and their lives and their ends are not happening at random
Their wisdoms have been woven together by the hands of fate
and they’ve been knitted into the weaver
And so if things seem narrow and bent
know that it was meant to be like this
Their marvels have been witnessed as proofs
establishing the matter upon these proofs


Contentment with God’s decree is the knot
so make it your focus and turn your mount towards it
So if the doors of guidance are opened
then hurry into their treasuries and stay there
If you seek their end prematurely
then beware, for that is deviation
So that you can be among the foremost,
when you arrive at those (heavenly) expanses
remain there, for there is found life and bliss everlasting
for the one who has arrived and he who is arriving
So hasten to renew your efforts when they become stale
For if you consistently renew them, they will become constant
So disobeying God and its ugliness become beautiful to one who character is bent
But obeying God and its light are the gleams of a radiant morning
Whoever proposes to the maidens of eternity with these [lights]
will surely win over these lovely ones
So be pleased with them through your mindfulness of God
for tomorrow you will be satisfied and saved


Recite the Qur’an with a heart full of sadness and a voice of sweet melancholy
And the night prayer, and its hours, go through them with understanding and return
And reflect upon it and its meanings; you will arrive at paradise and be relieved
And drink from Tasnīm as it gushes forth, unmixed or mixed
The intellect is praised for giving it guidance and
passion, preventing it from being ridiculed
The book of God, its gardens are for the embodied intellects of creation
The best of creation find rest therein, all other than them get ravenous hunger from it
So if you are brave and do not panic in the haze of war
and if you are made to see the lights of guidance,
then let them shine above the heights
and when the soul longs, it finds painfully by longing for relief
Goodness unfolds laughing and the completion of laughter is success
Flaws and secrets are gathered with their trusts under the saddle
Kindness endures for its owner while separation leads to chaos


The Blessings of God upon the Guided One (Mahdi), who guides people to the Way
And on Abu Bakr, always together with him in life and in speech
And on Abu Hafs (‘Umar), his nobility in the story of the staff
And on Abu ‘Umar (‘Uthman) He of the two lights, who blushed and made blush with delight
and on Abu Hasan (‘Ali) like a heavy raincloud of knowledge, fulfilling his promise
and on the two Hasans (Hasan and Husayn) and their mother (Fatimah), and the entire family (of the Prophet), success comes from them
and their Companions and close ones, following in their footsteps is the way
and on their followers, the scholars, the right way is in knowledge of their religion
I conclude my work with them, so that I may be delivered (with them) tomorrow in the gathering
O Lord by them, and by their families, hasten victory and relief





اشتدي ازمه تنفرجي قد آذن ليلك بالبلج
وظلام الليل له سرج حتى يغشاه أبو السرج
و سحاب الخير له مطر فإذا جاء الإبان تجي
وفوائد مولانا جمل لسروح الانفس و المهج
ولها أرج محي أبدا فاقصد محيا داك الارج
فلربما فاض المحيا بحور الموج من اللجج
والخلق جميعا في يد فذوو سعة وذوو حرج
ونزولهم و طلوعهم فإلي درك وعلى درج
ومعايشهم و عواقبهم ليست في المشي على عوج
حكم نسجت بيدي حكمت ثم إنتسجت بالمنتسج
فإذا اقتصدت ثم انعرجت فبمقتصد وبمنعرج
شهدت بعجائبها حجج قامت بالأمر على الحجج
ورضا بقضاء الله حجا فعلى مركوزته فعج
وإذا انفتحت أبواب هدى فاعجل بخزائنها ولج
فإذا حاولت نهايتها فاحذر إذ ذاك من العرج
لتكون منه السباق إذا ما جئت إلى تلك الفرج
فهناك العيش وبهجته فلمبتهج ولمنتهج
فهج الأعمال إذا ركدت فإذا ما هجت إذن تهج
ومعاصي الله سماجتها تزدان لذي الخلق السمج
ولطاعته و صباحتها أنوار صباح منبلج
من يخطب حور الخلد بها يظفر بالحور والغنج
فكن المرضي لها بتقى ترضاه غدا وتكون نجي
واتلوا القرآن بقلب ذو حزن وبصوت فيه شجي
وصلاة الليل مسافاتها فاذهب بها بالفهم وجي
وتأملها ومعانيها تات الفردوس و تفترج
واشرب تسنيم مفجرها لا ممتزجا وبمتزج
مدح العقل لأتيه هدى وهوى متون عنه هجي
وكتاب الله رياضته لعقول الخلق بمندرج
وخيار الخلق هداتهم وسواهم منه همج الهمج
فإذا كنت المقدام فلا تجزع في الحرب من الرهج
وإذا أبصرت منار هدى فاظهر فردا فوق الثبج
وإذا اشتاقت نفس وجدت ألما بالشوق المعتلج
وثنايا الحسنى ضاحكة وتمام الضحك على الفلج
وعياب الأسرار إجتمعت بأمانتها تحت السرج
والرفق يدوم لصاحبه والخرق يصير إلي الهرج
صلوات الله على المهدي الهادي الناس إلي النهج
وأبي بكر في سيرته ولسان مقالته اللهج
وأبي حفص وكرامته في قصه سارية الخلج
وأبي عمر ذي ا لنورين المستحي المستحي البهج
وأبي حسن في العلم إذا وافى بسحائبه الخلج
وعلى السبطين وأمهما وجميع الآل بهم فلج
وعلى الحسنين وأمهما وجميع الآل بهم فلج
وصحابته و قرابته و قفاة الأثر على النهج
وعلى أتباعهم العلماء بعوارف دينهم البهج
وأختم عملي بخواتمهم لأكون غدا في الحشر نجي
يارب بهم وبآلهم عجل بالنصر وبالفرج




Wonderful calligraphy and a beautiful recitation of these verses…




In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate
We have not sent down the Quran unto you that you may be distressed,
but as a reminder to him who fears
A revelation from He who created the earth and the heavens on high
The All-Merciful, established on the throne,
To Him belongs that which is the Heavens and which is in the Earth
and that which is between the two
and that which is below the ground



Ramadan with Hafez



Bring a glass of that wine of love which cooks every raw one
even though it’s the month of Ramadan
زان می عشق کز او پخته شود هر خامی
گر چه ماه رمضان است بیاور جامی

Saki_-_Reza_Abbasi_-_Moraqqa’-e_Golshan_1609_Golestan_Palace (1)

pers goblet
Give me a few cups of that wine sold in the tavern of love
even if it is the month of Ramadan
زان باده که در میکده عشق فروشند
ما را دو سه ساغر بده و گو رمضان باش




Sharing my heart’s state with you is what I desire
Hearing the story of the heart is hat I desire


My foolish wish: hiding an open tale
from my rivals is what I desire


On the Night of Destiny, so dear and noble
Sleeping with you until day is what I desire


Oh, such a delicate pearl, like this!
Piercing it in the dark of night is what I desire.


O morning breeze, please come to my aid tonight
For blooming at dawn is what I desire


Sweeping the dust of your path with the tips of my eyelashes
for the sake of your honour, is what I desire


Reciting rascal poems like Hafez
against all odds, is what I desire


حال دل با تو گفتنم هوس است
خبر دل شنفتنم هوس است
طمع خام بین که قصه فاش
از رقیبان نهفتنم هوس است
شب قدری چنین عزیز و شریف
با تو تا روز خفتنم هوس است
وه که دردانه‌ای چنین نازک
در شب تار سفتنم هوس است
ای صبا امشبم مدد فرمای
که سحرگه شکفتنم هوس است
از برای شرف به نوک مژه
خاک راه تو رفتنم هوس است
همچو حافظ به رغم مدعیان
شعر رندانه گفتنم هوس است




Tonight is The Night of Destiny which the people of khalwa talk about
O Lord, what star’s influence has caused this good fortune?
آن شب قدری که گویند اهل خلوت امشب است
یا رب این تأثیر دولت در کدامین کوکب است


Near and Far

Ibn al-Fāriḍ


لكَ قُرْبٌ مِنّي ببُعدِكَ عنّي           وحنوٌّ وجدتهُ في جفاكا
فَتراءيتَ في سِواكَ لِعَينٍ        بكَ قَرّتْ، وما رأيتُ سِواكا
وكذاكَ الخَليلُ قَلّبَ قَبْلي          طرفهُ حينَ راقبَ الأفلاكا


You have nearness with me in your distance from me
In other than thee, You showed Yourself to my eyes
Which, delighting in you, saw nothing but you
Even so, before me did the Friend (Khalil) so turn his gaze
When he beheld the spheres [of planet, moon, and sun]



The verses above and below make reference to the following verses of the Qur’an:

Thus did we show unto Abraham the dominion of the Heavens and the Earth, that he might be of those possessing certainty. When the night grew dark upon him, he beheld a planet and said: ‘this is my Lord’. Then, when it had set, he said: ‘I love not things which set.’

And when he saw the moon rising, he said: ‘This is my Lord.’ Then when it set, he said: ‘Unless my Lord lead me, I must needs become one of the folk who have gone astray.’ And when he saw the sun rising, he said: ‘This is my Lord. This is the greatest.’ Then when it set, he said; ‘O my people, verily I am innocent of all that ye place beside God. Verily I have turned my face towards Him who created the Heavens and the Earth.” (6:75-9)

Shaykh al-’Alawi’s commentary on these verses reads:

“He did not say ‘This is my Lord’ by way of making comparisons, but he spake thus in utter affirmation of God’s Transcendence, when there was revealed to him the Truth of all Truths that is indicated in the noble verse: Whereso’er ye turn, there is the face of God. He informed his people of this Truth that they might show piety unto God in respect of each thing. All this was on account of what was revealed unto him of the dominion of the Heavens and the earth, so that he found the Truth of the Creator existent in every created thing.”

qtd, in A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century by Martin Lings



On Love’s path, there is neither near nor far
I see you clearly, and I send you a prayer
‫در راه عشق مرحله قرب و بعد نیست‬
می‌ بینمت عیان و دعا می‌فرستمت
Though we are far from you, we drink to your recollection
There is no distance in the spiritual journey
گر چه دوریم به یاد تو قدح می‌گیریم
بعد منزل نبود در سفر روحانی
I am the comrade of the steed of imagination and patience’s companion
The partner of the fire of exile, and the intimate of separation
(lit. I have the same Qur’an of separation or I have the same joining with separation-the wordplay is impossible to translate)
رفیق خیل خیالیم و هم ركيب شکیب

قرین آتش هجران و هم قران فراق

The radiance of his face is not revealed to mine eyes alone
The sun and moon are also taking this mirror around
جلوه گاه رخ او دیده من تنها نیست
ماه و خورشید همین آینه می‌گردانند
I have not seen any equal to my friend even though I held
the mirrors of sun and moon before his face
نظیر دوست ندیدم اگر چه از مه و مهر

نهادم آینه‌ها در مقابل رخ دوست



He stayed me in Nearness, and said to me:

1. Nothing is nearer to Me than any other thing, and nothing is farther from Me than any other thing, except inasfar as I establish it in nearness and farness.

2. Farness is made known by nearness, and nearness is made known by spiritual experience: I am He whom nearness does not seek, and Whom spiritual experience does not attain.

3. The least of the sciences of my nearness is, that thou shouldst see the effects of my regard in everything, and that it should prevail in thee over thy gnosis of it.

4. The nearness which thou knowest is, compared with the nearness I know, like thy gnosis compared with my gnosis.

5. My farness thou knowest not, and my nearness thou knowest not, nor my qualification knowest thou as I know it.

6. I am the Near, but not as one thing is near to another: and I am the Far, but not as one thing is far from another.

7. Thy nearness is not thy farness, and thy farness is not thy nearness: I am the Near and the Far, with a nearness which is farness, and a farness which is nearness.

8. The nearness which thou knowest is distance, and the farness which thou knowest is distance: I am the Near and the Far without distance.

9. I am nearer to the tongue than its speech when it speaks. Whoso contemplates Me does not recollect, and whoso recollects Me does not contemplate.

10. As for the recollecting contemplative, if what he contemplates is not a reality, he is veiled by what he recollects.

11. Not every recollector is a contemplative: but every contemplative is a recollector.

12. I revealed Myself unto thee, and thou knewest Me not: that is farness. Thy heart saw Me, and saw Me not: that is farness.

13. Thou findest Me and findest Me not: that is farness. Thou describest Me, and dost not apprehend Me by My description: that is farness. Thou hearest my address as though it were from thy heart, whereas it is from Me: that is farness. Thou seest thyself, and I am nearer to thee than thy vision of thyself: that is farness.

From The Book of Spiritual Stayings of Al Niffari. Edited for the first time, with translation, commentary, and indices, by Arthur John Arberry, Luzac & Co, London, 1935.


Shaykh Aḥmad al-’Alāwi

“The outwardly Manifest is veiled by naught but the strength of the manifestations, so be present with Him, nor be veiled from Him by that which hath no being apart from Him.”

-Mināh al-Qudussiyyah, cited in A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century by Martin Lings


Ibn ‘Arabī

“So glory be to Him who veils Himself in His manifestation and becomes manifest in His veil!
No eye witnesses anything other than He, and no veils are lifted from Him.”

Futūḥāt III 546.24, cited in The Self Disclosure of God by William Chittick


From the Ḥikam of Ibn ‘Atā ‘Llah

The Truth is only veiled from you
due to its extremity of closeness to you

إمنا حجب احلق عنك – شده قربه منك .

It is only veiled  due to the intensity of its manifestation
and It is only hidden from sight
due to the splendour of Its Light


إمنااحتجب لشدة ظهوره ، وخفى عن األبصار لعظم نوره .

That which shows you the existence of His Omnipotence
Is that He veiled you from Himself
By what has no existence alongside of Him.

ما يدلك على وجود قهره – سبحانه – أن حجبك عنه مبا ليس مبوجود معه .

How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is the One who manifests everything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him
since He is the one who is manifest through everything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is the One who is manifest in everything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is the Manifest to everything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He was the Manifest before the existence of anything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is more manifest than anything?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is the One alongside of whom there is nothing?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since He is nearer to you than anything else?
How can it be conceived that something veils Him,
since, were it not for Him,
the existence of everything would not have been manifest?
It is a marvel how Being has manifested in nonbeing,
and how the contingent has been established
alongside of Him who possesses the attribute of Eternity!

 كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو الذي أظهر كل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو الذي ظهر بكل ؟ كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو الذي ظهر يف كل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهوالذي ظهر لكل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو الظاهر قبل وجود كل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو أظهر من كل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو الواحد الذي ليس معه شيء ؟
كيف يصور أن حيجبه شيء ، وهو أقرب إليك من كل شيء ؟
كيف يتصور أن حيجبه شيء ، ولواله ما كان وجود كل شيء ؟
يا عجبا ! كيف يظهر الوجود يف العدم !؟
أم كيف يثبت احلادث مع من له وصف القدم !؟

How can the Truth veil Himself with something
when He is apparent in that by which he is veiled,
and is present and found [in it]?


كيف حيتجب احلق بشيء ، والذي حيتجب به – هو فيه ظاهر ، وموجود حاضر !؟

Pleasure, even if manifest in many forms, is only through
viewing His closeness. Pain even if manifest in many forms
is only through being veiled from Him. the cause for
pain is the presence of the veil. The perfecting of pleasure is
by viewing His Noble Countenance.

النعيم وإن تنوعت مظاهره – إمنا هو لشهوده واقترابه ، والعذاب وإن تنوعت مظاهره – إمنا هو لوجود حجابه ، فسبب العذاب – وجود احلجاب ، وامتام النعيم – بالنظر إىل وجهه الكرمي .

As Hafez says,
I asked the doctor about the state of the Friend, he said
There is pain in distance from him, and health in nearness to him
پرسیدم از طبیبی احوال دوست گفتا
فی بعدها عذاب فی قربها السلامه


If it were not for the battlefields of the souls,
there would be no travel for the travelers on the Path
since there is no distance between you and Him
that your journey would shorten
and there is no separation between you and Him
that your reaching Him would eliminate.

لو ال ميادين النفوس – ما حتقق سري السائرين ، إذا المسافة بينك وبينه ؛ حىت تطويها رحلتك ، وال قطعة بينك وبينه ؛ حىت متحوه وصلتك .


The Religion of Love

In addition to Ibn ‘Arabi’s famous poem (see this post), the “religion of love,” the root of all religion and worship beyond all distinctions and differentiations, plays an important role in other Sufi poetry, especially that of Rumi and Hafez:


ملت عشق از همه دین‌ها جداست
 عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست
The sect of Love is different from all other religions
 For lovers, their sect and religion is simply God


طریق عشق ز هفتاد و دو برون باشد
چو عشق و مذهب تو خدعه و ریاست بخسب
The way of love is outside of the seventy-two sects
Go to sleep, for your love and religion are deceit and conceit



خرد نداند و حیران شود ز مذهب عشق
اگر چه واقف باشد ز جمله مذهب‌ها
Wisdom is bewildered by the religion of love
Although it knows all other religions


بسگل ز جز این عشق اگر در یتیمی
زیرا که جز این عشق تو را خویش و پدر نیست
در مذهب عشاق به بیماری مرگست
هر جان که به هر روز از این رنج بتر نیست

Leave all that is other than this love, if you are an orphaned pearl
For apart from this love, you have neither family nor father
In the religion of lovers, whosoever’s suffering does not make him better
He is possessed of the sickness of death



تا شب میگو که روز ما را شب نیست
در مذهب عشق و عشق را مذهب نیست
عشق آن بحریست کش کران ولب نیست
بس غرقه شوند و ناله و یارب نیست
Until night, say that there is no night for our day
In religion, there is no Love, and Love has no religion
Love is that ocean without boundary or shore
Where lovers drown without sigh or cry

در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکیست
در شیوهٔ عشق خویش و بیگانه یکیست
آن را که شراب وصل جانان دادند
در مذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکیست


In the way of seeking, the sane and the mad are one
On the path of love, friend and stranger are one
That one who has tasted the wine of union with the supreme soul
In his religion, the Ka’aba and idol-temple are one


عاشق تو یقین دان که مسلمان نبود
در مذهب عشق کفر و ایمان نبود
در عشق تن و عقل و دل و جان نبود
هرکس که چنین نگشت او آن نبود

In loving you there are certainly no Muslims
In the religion of Love, there is no infidelity or disbelief
In Love, there is neither body nor reason nor heart nor soul
Everyone who does this is not separate from that


در عشق موافقت بود چون جانی
در مذهب هر ظریف معنی دانی
از سی و دو دندان چو یکی گشت دراز
بی‌دندان شد از چنان دندانی


In love there is harmony because you become pure spirit
you will know the essence of the religion of each subtle one
If one of the 32 teeth grows large
from that tooth, you will become toothless


با دو عالم عشق را بیگانگی
اندرو هفتاد و دو دیوانگی
سخت پنهانست و پیدا حیرتش
جان سلطانان جان در حسرتش
غیر هفتاد و دو ملت کیش او
تخت شاهان تخته‌بندی پیش او


Love is a stranger to the two worlds: in it are seventy-two madnesses.
It is hidden; only its bewilderment is manifest:
The soul of the spiritual sultan longs for it.
Love’s religion is other than the seventy-two sects:
Beside it the throne of kings is just a floorboard.



unverified “Rumi”


I was unable to find Persian poems attributed to Rumi that correspond to these English verses that have been attributed to him.  If these are indeed translations and you know the original from which they are derived please let me know in the comments section.  In any event, I am sure Malwana wouldn’t object to these verses, even if they never came from his pen.


“I belong to no religion.
My religion is Love.
Every heart is My temple”


Whatever you think of War, I am far, far from it
Whatever you think of Love, I am that, only that, all that
Like a compass I stand firm with one leg on my faith
And, with the other leg, roam all over the seventy-two nations
The Seventy-Two nations learn their secrets from us:
We are the reed-flute whose song unites all nations and faiths
In all mosques, temples, and churches, I find one shrine alone


I profess the religion of love,
Love is my religion and my faith.
My mother is love, My father is love
My prophet is love My God is love
I am a child of love
I have come only to speak of love

And part of my way is love of lands for the sake of their people
and people, in what they love, have many ways
-Abu Firas Hamadani


و منْ مذهبي حبُّ الديارِ لأهلها                      وَللنّاسِ فِيمَا يَعْشَقُونَ مَذَاهِبُ
لابو فراس الحمداني-



He saw the lightning in the East and longed for the East,
but if it had flashed in the West he would have longed for the West.
My desire is for the lightning and its gleam, not for places and  earth.

-Ibn ‘Arabi


رأى البرْقَ شرقيّاً، فحنّ إلى الشرْقِ،       ولو لاحَ غربيَّاً لحنَّ إلى الغربِ
فإنّ غَرامي بالبُرَيْقِ ولمحِهِ        وليسَ غرَامي بالأماكِنِ والتُّرْبِ


لابن عربي




  تَفَكَّرتُ في الأَديانِ جِدّ مُحَقّق          فَأَلفَيتُها أَصلاً لَهُ شَعبٌ جَمّا
فَلا تَطلُبَن لِلمَرءِ ديناً فَإِنَّهُ          يَصُدُّ عَنِ الأَصلِ الوَثيقِ وَإِنَّما
يُطالِبُهُ أَصلٌ يُعَبِّرُ عِندَهُ         جَميعَ المَعالي وَالمَعاني فَيَفهَما
Earnest for truth, I thought on the religions:
They are, I found, one root with many a branch.
Therefore impose on no man a religion,
Lest it should bar him from the firm-set root.
Let the root claim him, a root wherein all heights
And meanings are made clear, for him to grasp.


Diwan al-Hallaj, trans. Martin Lings, Sufi Poems, p. 34.


همه كس طالب يارند چه هشيار و چه مست
همه جا خانه عشق است چه مسجد چه كنشت
Everyone, sober or drunk, seeks the beloved.
Every place, be it mosque or synagogue, is the house of love

در عشق خانقاه و خرابات فرق نيست
هر جا كه هست پرتو روى حبيب هست
In love, there is no difference between the monastery and the tavern
the rays of the beloved’s face shine every where that is


سراسر بخشش جانان طریق لطف و احسان بود
اگر تسبیح می‌فرمود اگر زنار می‌آورد
Whatever the beloved bestowed was all through grace and kindness
Whether praying with a tasbih or putting on a Christian belt



خمِ زلفِ تو دامِ کفر و دین است
ز کارستان او یک شمه این‌است
The curve of your tress is the snare of belief and unbelief.
This is only a small part of its gallery of works


بجز ابروی تو محراب دل حافظ نیست
 طاعت غیر تو در مذهب ما نتوان كرد
Except for your eyebrow, Hafez’s heart has no mihrab
No one but you can be worshipped in our religion



در صومعه زاهد و در خلوت صوفی
جز گوشه ابروی تو محراب دعا نیست
In the ascetic’s monastery and the Sufi’s khalwah (retreat)
There is no mihrab (prayer niche) save the curve of your brow


گر پیر مغان مرشد من شد چه تفاوت
در هیچ سری نیست که سری ز خدا نیست
If the Magian Pir became my master, what difference would it make?
There is no head that is without a divine secret


روشن از پرتو رويست نظرى نيست كه نيست
منت خاك درت بر بصرى نيست كه نيست
There is no vision unillumined with the light of your face
There is no eye unindebted to the dust of your door


ناظر روی تو صاحب نظرانند آری
سر گیسوی تو در هیچ سری نیست که نیست

Those who see your face are the seers of truth
There is no head that does not have the secret of your tress



  در طريقت هرخه پيش سالك آيد خير اوست
بر صراط مشتقيم ايدل كسى گمراه نيست
In the Way, whatever befalls the traveler is for his own good
No one loses his way on a straight path, my dear


هر که خواهد گو بیا و هر چه خواهد گو بگو
کبر و ناز و حاجب و دربان بدین درگاه نیست

Whoever wants to enter, let him do so and say what he may
In this court, there is neither conceit nor vanity, nor spokesman nor guard


مردم دیده ما جز به رخت ناظر نیست
دل سرگشته ما غیر تو را ذاکر نیست

The pupil of my eye sees naught but your face
My bewildered heart recalls none but you



فکر خود و رای خود در عالم رندی نیست
کفر است در این مذهب خودبینی و خودرایی
In the gangster’s world there is no thought or opinion of self
In this religion, seeing or thinking of yourself is infidelity


روی تو کس ندید و هزارت رقیب هست
در غنچه‌ای هنوز و صدت عندلیب هست
No one has seen your face, and yet a thousand rivals hound you
You are still a bud, and yet a hundred deer surround you

یا رب به که شاید گفت این نکته که در عالم
رخساره به کس ننمود آن شاهد هرجایی
O Lord, to whom should I explain this fine point
That beauty who is everywhere, showed her face to no one

معشوقه چون نقاب ز رخ بر نمى كشد 
هر كسى حكايتى به تصوّر چرا كنند
Since the beloved does not remove the veil from her face
Why does everyone make up a story from his imagination?

ترا خنانكه توئى هر نظر كجا بيند
به قدر بينش خود هر كسى كند ادراك
How can every eye see you as you are?
Each perceives only to the extent of his vision

ميدمد هر كسش افسونى و معلوم نشد
كه دل نازك او مايل افسانه كيست
Everyone tells her a tale, but no one knows
Whose tale her tender heart appreciates


هر كسى با شمع ر خسارت به وجهى عشق باخت
زان ميان پروانه را در اضطراب اندختى
Each person made love to the candle of your face in a different way
But it was only the moth that made you shake

مسلمان گر بدانستی که بت چیست
بدانستی که دین در بت‌پرستی است
If a muslim but knew what an idol is,
he would know that all religion is idolatry

حنیفی شو ز هر قید و مذاهب
 درآ در دیر دین مانند راهب
تو را تا در نظر اغیار و غیر است
اگردر مسجدی آن عین دیر است
چو برخیزد ز پیشت کسوت غیر
شود بهر تو مسجد صورت دیر


Become primordial, from each restriction and every sect
and come to the monastery of the religion, like the monk
So long as others and otherness appear in your sight
Even if you are in a mosque, it is the same as monastery
When the veil of otherness is removed from you
The monastery’s form becomes a mosque for you


من و تو در میان مانند برزخ
چو برخیزد تو را این پرده از پیش
نماند نیز حکم مذهب و کیش
همه حکم شریعت از من توست
که این بربستهٔ جان و تن توست
من تو چون نماند در میانه
چه کعبه چه کنشت چه دیرخانه
I and You are the Hades veil between them
When this veil is lifted up from before you
There remains not the bond of sects and creeds
All the rules of Shari’ah are from your ego
since it is bound to your soul and body
When I and You remain not in the midst
What is Ka’aba, what is synagogue, what is monastery?


trans. Whinfield. The Mystic Rose-Garden of Sa’ad ud-din Mahmud Shabistari. 1880


The Guitar


We are pain and what cures pain, both.
We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.
I want to hold you close like a lute,
so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror and here are the stones.

In the lover’s heart is a lute
Which plays the melody of longing
You say he looks crazy
But that’s only because your ears are not attuned
to the music he’s dancing to
You are sitting here with us,
but you are also out walking in a field at dawn.


You are yourself the animal we hunt
when you come with us on the hunt.


You are in your body
like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you are wind.


You are the diver’s clothes
lying empty on the beach.
You are the fish.


In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.


Your hidden self is blood in those,
those veins that are lute strings
that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf,
but the sound of no shore.

Venus touches the strings of her lute
 to lure out essence of this poem
My heart is like a lute each chord crying with longing and pain.
My Beloved is watching me wrapped in silence.



aan zamzameyam ze paye taa sar hame ‘eshq
Haqqa keh be ‘ahdha nayaayam birun
Bar ‘ude delam nawaakht yak zamzameye ‘eshq
Az ‘ahdeye haqq gozaari yakdameye ‘eshq


On the lute of my heart plays only one song of love:
Because of this melody, from head to foot, I am in love.
Truly, for ages I’ll never be able
To pay what I owe for one moment of love.



Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi 
(trans. William Chittick and P.L. Wilson)
Love plays its lute behind the screen –
where is a lover to listen to its tune?
With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked.
The world has spilled Love’s secret –
when could music ever hold its tongue?
Every atom babbles the mystery –
Listen yourself, for I’m no tattletale!





The Guitar

by Federico García Lorca translated by Cola Franzen

The weeping of the guitar
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
to silence it.
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
to silence it.
It weeps for distant 
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.


Six bars cage my lonely heart
And rattle with its sad love moans
Six stars cluster round my eye
and dance, shimmering on silver thrones


Six dark girls, three bronze, three thin
Sing sighing for their distant homes
Six hairs heave with love’s breath
Braid flames into my wooden bones


Six rivers run over my mouth
And ripple with its quiet groans
Six threads from your skirt’s wide hem
Have hooked my ear and won’t let go


Six barbed lines make a net to catch
My spirit in its shadowed grove
Six bolts of lightning flash across
My mouth, smiling as thunder rolls


My body pierced by music from
The six strings of this compound bow
These six veins wrap around my heart
And bleeding song from five swords’ strokes


Form six paths for your love to flow
Through my heartsick and stricken soul
And weave love’s sweet, sad melodies
Between your fingers; strikes and blows



Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.

“The guitar is fit for tender and sweet dialogue
with the girl we love
if the girl becomes disloyal to us
the cello—to confide our sorrow to a friend
and if the friend is also unfaithful
then the organ, to communicate
our affliction to God” ‘
- Andres Segovia The Guitar and I, Vol. 2 (1972. LP: MCA-2536)



In the violin and cello, we feel the human warmth of their timbres; and the guitar–the guitar condenses and refines the music played on it as the hundred fragrances of the forest are refined and condensed in a tiny flask.

I like very much the true flamenco, which is played with heavy fingers, roughly but from the soul. But flamenco has departed from the good simple tradition. The flamencos should not be professionals.







I belong to the scarce minority of artists who work in good faith, around whom the phenomenal world vanishes, as it happens to the mystics when they give themselves to prayer.





Among God’s creatures two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all the sizes and all the shapes, in order not to be separated from the man.



The advice I am giving always to all my students is above all to study the music profoundly….



Music is like the ocean, and the instruments are little or bigger islands, very beautiful for the flowers and trees.



The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.

― Ludwig van Beethoven


The hardest thing in the world…

ahh, who hasn’t felt like this…

The hardest thing in the world
is studied and learned well
I tried to study your love
Because I couldn’t understand it,
I suffer and cry like a child


Before the image of Christ
I saw her crying one day
Striking her chest
because she was repenting for
the damage she had done to me



Lo más difícil del mundo
Se estudia y se aprende bien
Me puse a estudiar tu cariño
Y no lo pude comprender
Por eso sufro y lloro como un niño

Ante la imagen de cristo
La vi que lloraba un día
Y golpes se daba en el pecho
Porque estaba arrepentida
Del daño que me había hecho

How can I untie this knot? How can I show this wound?
It is a pain, a harsh pain. It is work, a hard work.
چون اين گره گشايم وين ريش چهن نمايم
دردى و صعب دردى كارى و سخت كارى

An excerpt from another one of his ghazals:
My tall beloved, so flirtatious
made short work of my long story of asceticism

O heart, did you see what my love-seeking eye did to me
in my old age, after all that asceticism and learning?

I tried to conceal the sign of love beneath my cloak of pride
but my tear was a tattletale and spread my secret

Now I’m drawing a picture on water with my tears
And wondering when this metaphor of mine will become real

I fear losing my faith, for the prayer-niche of your eyebrow
takes away the presence of my prayers

I smile as I cry to myself, like a candle, and wonder
What my burning patience could do to a stone heart like yours?


الابلند عشوه گر نقش باز من                                  کوتاه کرد قصه زهد دراز من
دیدی دلا که آخر پیری و زهد و علم                    با من چه کرد دیده معشوقه باز من
گفتم به دلق زرق بپوشم نشان عشق                    غماز بود اشک و عیان کرد راز من
نقشی بر آب می‌زنم از گریه حالیا                         تا کی شود قرین حقیقت مجاز من
می‌ترسم از خرابی ایمان که می‌برد                      محراب ابروی تو حضور نماز من
بر خود چو شمع خنده زنان گریه می‌کنم           تا با تو سنگ دل چه کند سوز و ساز من

and my own…

She stabbed me, but she took the knife
Time came and took the wound
And all I have left from that night:
A scarred face like the moon