If only they knew the subtleties of Layla’s love…




If only they understood the subtleties of Layla’s love
Her love would be all they needed to experience of love
If he meets someone from Layla’s neighborhood
he’ll abase himself before him and fall to pieces
If not for her, he wouldn’t have been abased
Kissing this wall and that
until he becomes carried away in love for her
winking at other than her, while she has her disguises




وَلَوْ فَهِمُوا دَقَائِقَ حُبِّ لَيْلَىٰ
كَفَاهُمِ فِي صَبَابَتِهِ اخْتِبَارَا
إِذْ يَبْدُو امْرُؤٌ بحَيِّ لَيْلَىٰ
يَذِلُّ لَهُ وَيَنْكَسِرُ انْكِسَارَا
وَلَوْلاَهَا لَمَا أَضْحَى ذَلِيلاً
يُقَبِّلُ دَا الجِدَارَا وَدَا الجِدَارَا
إِلَى أَنْ صَارَ غَيِّبًا فِي هَوَاهَا
يُشِيرُ لِغَيْرِهَا وَلَهَا أَشَارَا





The slave to love is well-pleased with his madness.
Let him wear out his life even as he will.
Reprove him not; your blame will nothing serve:
Forsaking love is not his religion.
I swear by him for whom ‘Aqīq is mentioned–
a lover’s oath by his beloved—none
But ye are mine; yet have I to repent me
Remissness in loving, waveringness.
Why, when I hear the dove coo in the glade,
Why yearn I ever at his sorrowing?
And though his way is weeping without tears,
When the lover weeps, the tears pour from his eyes.


translation from Martin Lings’ Sufi Poetry: A Medieval Anthology p. 88





رَضِىَ المُتَيّمُ فِي الهَوىٰ بِجُنونِهِ
خَلُّوهُ يَفْنَىٰ عُمْرِهِ بفُنُونِهِ
لا تَعْذِلُوهُ فَلَيْسَ يَنْفَعْ عَذْلُكُمْ
ليس السلو عن الهوى من دينه
قَسَمًا بَمَنْ ذُكِرَ العَقِيقَ لأجْلِهِ
قَسَمَ المُحِبِ بِحُبِّهِ ويَمِينِهِ
مَالي سِواكُمُ غَيْرَ أني تائِبٌ
عَن فَاتِراتِ الحُبِّ أو تَلوينِهِ
مالي إذا هَتَفَ الحَمامُ بأيْكةٍ
أبداً أحِنْ لشَجْوِهِ وشِجُونِهِ
وإذا البُكَاءُ بِغَيْرِ دَمْعٍ دأبُهُ
والصَبُّ يَجْرِي دَمْعِهِ بِعِيونِهِ

moroccanflowerpattern maghribhall


Soft were its sides, and soft its breeze…


One of my favorite recordings of Andausian Sufi music—the beauty of the music is only matched by the beauty of the poetry:


Soft were its sides and soft its breeze,
      and the clouds were flashing and thundering,
And the raindrops were descending from the crevices of the clouds
      like tears shed by a passionate lover because he is parted from her he loves.
And drink the pure essence of its wine with its intoxication,
       and listen rapturously to a singer who chanteth there :
“O the pure wine that in Adam’s time related
        concerning the Garden of Eden an authentic tradition !
Verily, the fair women scattered it from the water of their mouths like musk
         and the virgins bestowed it on us without stint.”

trans. by  R.A. Nicholson The Tarjuman al-Ashwaq



رقَّتْ حواشيها ورقَّ نسيمها                    فالغَيمُ يَبْرُقُ والغمامَة ُ تَرعُدُ
والودقِ ينزلُ منْ خلالِ سحابهِ                   كدُموعِ  صَبٍّ للفِرَاقِ تَبَدَّدُ
واشرَبْ سُلافة َ خَمِرها بخمارها         ، واطربْ على غردٍ هنالكَ تُنشدُ
وسلافة ٌ منْ عهدِ آدمَ أخبرتْ                 عنْ جنة ِ المأوى حديثاً يُسْندُ
إنَّ الحسانَ تفلنها منْ ريقهِ                    كالمسكِ جادَ بها علينا الخرَّدُ




Bulleh Shah, if God were found…




Bulleh Shah


O beloved one:
If God were to be found by bathing and washing,
then God would be found by fish and frogs.

If God were to be found by roaming in jungle,
then God would be found by cows and buffaloes.

O Mian Bulleh
God is found by hearts righteous and pure.

You have read a thousand books
but have you read your ‘self’?

You rush to mosques and temples
in indecent haste,
have you tried to enter your Self?

You are enagged in
needless battle with Satan
have you ever fought with your nafs?

You have reached the sky
But have failed to reach
what’s in your heart!

Come to my abode, My friend
morning, noon and night!

Destroy the mosque,
destroy the temple
do as you please;
But do not break the human heart
for God dwells therein!

I search for You in jungle and wilderness
I have searched far and wide.
Do not torment me thus My Love
morning, noon and night!

Come to my abode, My Love
morning, noon and night!


morikuni_tachibana_water_buffalo koifish



Original (transliteration):

Je rab milda nahateya dhoteya,
te o milda dadduan machiyan noon.
Je rab milda jangal pahareyan,
te o milda gaiyaan bachiyan noon.
Je rab milda mandir – masiti,
te o milda cham chidikhiyan noon.
Ve Bulleya rab onhan noon milda..
Ati dil-eya achiyyan sachhiya noon.



Who am I?




Bulleh Shah


Bulleh, what do I know about who I am?

I am not a believer in the mosques, nor do I follow the rites of unbelief. I am not among the pure or polluted. I am neither Moses nor Pharoah.

I am not in the Vedas or in the scriptures; I am neither in drugs nor alcohol. I am not among the drunks, neither in waking nor sleeping.

I am not in joy or sadness, neither pollution nor purity. I am not of water or of earth, nor am I of fire or air.

I am not an Arab nor from Lahore, nor an Indian from Nagaur. I am neither Hindu nor a Turk form Peshawar. Nor do I live in Nadaun.

I have not discovered the secret of religion; nor am I born of Adam and Eve. I have not given myself a name, nor am I found sitting still or moving around.

I know I am the First, I know I am Last, I do not recognize anyone else. None is wiser than I. Bulleh, who is the Lord standing here?





بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
نہ میں مومن وچ مسیت آں
نہ میں وچ کفر دی ریت آں
نہ میں پاکاں وچ پلیت آں
نہ میں موسٰی، نہ فرعون
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
نہ میں اندر بید کتاباں
نہ وچ بھنگاں، نہ شراباں
نہ رہنا وچ خراباں
نہ وچ جاگن، نہ سون
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
نہ وچ شادی نہ غمناکی
نہ میں وچ پلیتی پاکی
نہ میں آبی نہ میں خاکی
نہ میں آتش نہ میں پون
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
نہ میں عربی، نہ لاہوری
نہ میں ہندی شہر رنگوری
نہ ہندو نہ ترک پشوری
نہ میں رہنا وچ ندون
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
نہ میں بھیت مذہب دا پایاں
نہ میں آدم حوا جایا
نہ میں اپنا نام دھرایا
نہ وچ بھٹن، نہ وچ بھون
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون
اول آخر آپ نوں جاناں
نہ کوئی دوجا پچھاناں
میتھوں ہور نہ کوئی سیانا
بلھا! او کھڑا ہے کون؟
بلھا کی جاناں میں کون​





What is to be done, O Muslims? for I do not know myself.
I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Magian, nor Muslim.
I am not of the East, nor of the West, nor of the land, nor of the sea;
I am not of Nature’s quarry, nor of the heaven circling above.
I am not made of earth, nor of water, nor of wind, nor fire;
nor of the Divine Throne, nor the carpet, nor the cosmos, nor mineral.
I am not from India, nor China, nor Bulgaria, nor Turkestan;
I am not from the kingdom of the two Iraqs, nor from the earth of Khurasan.
Neither of this world, nor the next, I am, nor of Heaven, nor of Hell;
Nor from Adam, nor from Eve, nor from Eden nor Rizwan.
My place is the Placeless, my trace is the Traceless;
‘Tis neither body nor soul, for I myself am the Beloved.
I have cast aside duality, I have seen the two worlds as one;
One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I say.

He is the First, He is the Last, He is the Outward, He is the Inward;
I know no one other than He, none but he who is He
Drunk with Love’s cup, the two worlds have been lost to me;
I have no business save carouse and revelry.
If once in my life I spent a moment without you,
From that time and from that hour I repent of my life.
If once in this retreat I win a moment with you,
I will trample on both worlds, and dance in ecstasy
O Shams of Tabriz, I am so drunk in this world,
That except for drunkenness and revelry, I have no tale to tell.


چه تدبیر ای مسلمانان که من خود را نمیدانم
نه ترسا و یهودیم نه گبرم نه مسلمانم

نه شرقیم نه غربیم نه بریم نه بحریم
نه ارکان طبیعیم نه از افلاک گردانم

نه از خاکم نه از بادم نه از ابم نه از اتش
نه از عرشم نه از فرشم نه از کونم نه از کانم

نه از دنیی نه از عقبی نه از جنت نه از دوزخ
نه از ادم نه از حوا نه از فردوس رضوانم

مکانم لا مکان باشد نشانم بی نشان باشد
نه تن باشد نه جان باشد که من از جان جانانم

دویی از خود بیرون کردم یکی دیدم دو عالم را
یکی جویم یکی گویم یکی دانم یکی خوانم

ز جام عشق سرمستم دو عالم رفت از دستم
بجز رندی و قلاشی نباشد هیچ سامانم

اگر در عمر خود روزی دمی بی او بر اوردم
از ان وقت و از ان ساعت ز عمر خود پشیمانم

الا ای شمس تبریزی چنان مستم در ین عالم
که جز مستی و قلاشی نباشد هیچ درمانم




After extinction I came out, and I
Eternal now am, though not as I
And who am I, O I, but I?
خرجت في حين بعد الفنا
ومن هنا بقيت بلا أنا
ومن أنا يا أنا إلا أنا


(Abul-l-Hassan ash-Shushtari of Andalusia; trans.by  Martin Lings)

‘Sufi Poems: A Mediaeval Anthology’ by Martin Lings 

Two loves become one





My heart had various longings,
    but since seeing you, they’ve all become one
My envied mine envier became, and
    I became the Lord of mankind, since my lord you became
I left everyone to their world and their religion
    busy with my love for you, oh my world and my religion
You lit two fires in my liver:
    one between my ribs and the other between my guts.





كانـت لقلبي أهواءٌ مفرّقــة              فاستجمعَتْ مـُذْ راءَتـْك العين أهوائي
فصار يحسدني من كنت احسده         وصرتُ مولى الورى مُذْ صرتَ مولائي
ما لامني فيك أحبابي و أعدائي                   إلّـا لغفلتهم عن عظـم بلوائــــي
تركتُ للناس دنياهم و دينهـم                  شغلاً بحبـّك يا ديني و دنيائــــي
أشعلتَ في كبدي نارين واحدة              بين الضلوع و أخرى بين أحشائــي




I came to know love through your love
   I’ve closed my heart to all but you
I whispered to you who sees the secrets of hearts
     while none of us see you
I love you with two loves, one of passion
   and one because it is your due
As for the love of passion
   it busies me with your remembrance apart from all but you
As for the love that is your due
   it lifts the veils form me until I see you
And I’m not to praise for this or that
  But praise is yours for this and that
I love you with two loves, one of passion
   and one because it is your due


عَرَفْتُ الهَوى مُذ عَرَفْتُ هواك
وأغْلَقْتُ قَلْبي عَلىٰ مَنْ عَاداكْ
وقُمْتُ اُناجِيـكَ يا مَن تـَرىٰ
خَفايا القُلُوبِ ولَسْنا نراك
أحِبُكَ حُبَيْنِ حُبَ الهَـوىٰ
وحُبْــاً لأنَكَ أهْـل ٌ لـِذَاك
فأما الذي هُوَ حُبُ الهَوىٰ
فَشُغْلِي بذِكْرِكَ عَمَنْ سـِواكْ
وامّـا الذي أنْتَ أهلٌ لَهُ
فَلَسْتُ أرىٰ الكَوْنِ حَتىٰ أراكْ
فلا الحَمْدُ في ذا ولا ذاكَ لي
ولكنْ لكَ الحَمْدُ فِي ذا وذاك

أحِبُكَ حُبَيْنِ حُبَ الهَـوىٰ
وحُبْــاً لأنَكَ أهْـل ٌ لـِذَاك
31 Afgan-India abad-16 h-71


Ibrahim Ferrer



Two gardenias for you;
With them I wish to say:
I love you, I adore you, my love.

Place all your attention on them,
because they are your heart
and mine.

Two gardenias for you
that will have all the warmth
of a kiss.
Of those kisses that I gave you
and that you shall never find
in the warmth of another love.

Beside you they will live
and they will talk to you
as when you are with me.
And you will even believe
that they say to you: “I love you.”

But if one evening,
my love’s gardenias
should happen to die
it’s because they have discovered
that you have betrayed me
because there is another love.

Taken from http://lyricstranslate.com/





Dos gardenias para ti
Con ellas quiero decir
Te quiero, te adoro, mi vida.
Ponles toda tu atención
Porque son tu corazón y el mío.

Dos gardenias para ti
Que tendrán todo el calor de un beso
De esos besos que te di
Y que jamás encontraras
En el calor de otro querer.

A tu lado vivirán y te hablarán
Como cuando estás conmigo
Y hasta creerás
Que te dirán te quiero

Pero si un atardecer
Las gardenias de mi amor se mueren
Es porque han adivinado
Que tu amor se ha marchitado
Porque existe otro querer





Sulayman and Sheba’s Queen


The following verse of the Qur’an has inspired Islamic architecture and literature, illustrating the prominent symbols of the mirror and the perspective shift.


surah 27-44

Qur’an 27:44 Pickthall translation:

It was said unto her : Enter the hall. And when she saw it she deemed it a pool and bared her legs. (Solomon) said: Lo! it is a hall, made smooth, of glass. She said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged myself, and I surrender with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.





Persischer_Meister_sulayman Persischer_Meister_bilqis

And since she, or Bilqîs, said in answer to the question concerning her throne, which was, “Is thy throne like this? (Quran XXVII, 42), “It seems the same” (XXVII, 42), one can detect her knowledge of the renewal of creation at each instant, for she said, “It seems”. And he showed her the pavillion of crystal, so she supposed it was like a spreading water “and she bared her legs” (Quran XXVII, 44) so the water would not touch her clothing. But it was not a spreading water in reality, just as the visible throne brought into existence before Solomon was not the same throne which she left in Sheba in respect of its form, for it had discarded the first form and assumed another, while the substance, upon which the two thrones imposed successively their forms, was one. So he showed her by that that the state of her throne was like that of the pavillion: as for the throne, because it was deprived of existence, and what the Creator created was similar to that which had vanished; and as for the pavillion, because in its extreme delicacy and limpidity it became similar to clear water, while (in reality) it was different. So he showed her with his actions that she was right in her words, “It seems the same.”

-Ibn ‘Arabi Naqsh al-Fusūs trans. by William Chittick

iranreflecting sulaymanenthroned
tajreflectupsidedown t1-stacyboorn-taj-mahal-reflection-600x419


Solomon’s Pool


When you looked at  my polished heart’s shine
    you just saw your own  reflected in mine
And baring your legs,   you hiked up your soul
   to wade in my water, so clear and so cold
But I’m too jealous to let you baptize
    your body in anything else but my eyes
So you’ll walk on water, just like the Messiah
    and dance across skies, like sunset’s smooth fires
You sounded the depths, and to your surprise
    found it but a trick to uncover your thighs
The clothes that you bought, all the things that you thought
   in my mirror’s undertow, are all swept aside
And so now you walk with my heart underfoot
    we’re all alone, lift your head up love and look
Let me lift off that veil, since it’s just you and I
    it’s cold out there darling, come into my eyes…




toubamosquereflect copy





Water, Air, Fire, Earth


Ibn al-Fāriḍpurity without water


Purity but not water, Subtlety but not air
Light but not fire, spirit but not body
صفاءٌ، ولا ماءٌ، ولُطْفٌ، ولاهَواً،
ونورٌ ولا نارٌ وروحٌ ولا جسمُ





Neither space nor air is the Reality;
Neither earth nor fire is the Reality.
If there’s only the limitless One, all is Shiva.
Which, then is the cloud, and which is the rain?


गगनं पवनो न हि सत्यमिति
धरणी दहनो न हि सत्यमिति ।
यदि चैकनिरन्तरसर्वशिवं
जलदश्च कथं सलिलं च कथम्

Avadhuta Gita
Chapter 6, Verse 9


Ibn ‘Ajībah

In speaking of the Sufi, they have invoked the similitude of the four elements upon which the physical world is based: air, earth, water, and fire, also known as the four natures, and mentioned by Ibn Sina in the verses

What Hippocrates said of them was sound:
They are fire, water, earth, and wind


All four of these can be found in the nature of the Sufi.

al-futūḥāt al-ilāhiyyah fī sharḥ al-mubāḥith al-aṣliyyah


Emir ‘Abd al-Qadir

I am God, I am the creature
I am the Lord, I am the servant
I am the Throne, I am the carpet
I am water, I am fire
I am wind, I am earth
I am quantity, I am quality
I am finding, I am losing
I am essence, I am attribute
I am nearness, I am distance
All existence is my existence
I am only, I am unique


أنا حق أنا خلق             أنا رب أنا عبد
أنا عرش أنا فرش         و جحيم أنا خلد
أنا ماء أنا نار             و هواء أنا صلد
أنا كم أنا كيف              أنا وجد أنا فقد
أنا ذات أنا وصف         أنا قرب أنا بعد
كل كون ذاك كوني       أنا وحدي أنا فرد



Remove yourself, Hafez!

illumintob baysonqor




Come! For last night, the tavern’s unseen voice told me
to be pleased with the divine decree and not to flee from destiny
Between Lover and Beloved there is no barrier
You yourself are your own veil, Hafez. Remove yourself!




بیا که هاتف میخانه دوش با من گفت
که در مقام رضا باش و از قضا مگریز
میان عاشق و معشوق هیچ حائل نیست
تو خود حجاب خودی حافظ از میان برخیز


Layla-and-Majnun-Faint-on-Meeting (1)


When the bubble fills its head with the air of arrogance
It blows its head off as it rises to the top of the wine
You are the obstacle on the road, Hafez, get out of the way!
Blessed is he who walks on this road without obstacle.



حباب را چو فتد باد نخوت اندر سر
کلاه داریش اندر سر شراب رود
حجاب راه تویی حافظ از میان برخیز
خوشا کسی که در این راه بی‌حجاب رود




Full poems

My heart is bound to that wild, coquettish gypsy
   who breaks promises, and kills, and is false
May a thousand robes of of virtue and cloaks of chastity
   be sacrificed for the patched frock of the moon-faced
Angels do not know what love is, O Saqi
   ask for a cup and pour rose water on Adam’s dust
I am the slave of those words that kindle fire
   not those words that pour cold water on the flames
I came to your door poor and tired. Have mercy!
   I have no excuse save my love for you
Don’t be proud of your cleverness, for as it is said,
   there are many reasons for the command that deposes as king
Tie a cup to my shroud, so that on the morn of resurrection
   I can wash away the terror of the day from my heart with wine
Come! For last night, the tavern’s unseen voice told me
   to be pleased with the divine decree and not to flee from destiny
Between Lover and Beloved there is no barrier
You yourself are your own veil, Hafez. Remove yourself from in between.


دلم رمیده لولی‌وشیست شورانگیز
دروغ وعده و قتال وضع و رنگ آمیز
فدای پیرهن چاک ماه رویان باد
هزار جامه تقوا و خرقه پرهیز
خیال خال تو با خود به خاک خواهم برد
که تا ز خال تو خاکم شود عبیرآمیز
فرشته عشق نداند که چیست ای ساقی
بخواه جام و گلابی به خاک آدم ریز
غلام آن كلماتم كه آتش انگيزد
نه آب سرد زند در سخن به آتش تيز
فقیر و خسته به درگاهت آمدم رحمی
که جز ولای توام نیست هیچ دست آویز
مباش غره به بازى خود كه در خبرست
هزار تعبيه در حكم پادشاه انگيز
پياله بر كفنم بند تا سحرگه حشر
به مى ز دل ببرم هول روز رستاخيز
بیا که هاتف میخانه دوش با من گفت
که در مقام رضا باش و از قضا مگریز
میان عاشق و معشوق هیچ حائل نیست
تو خود حجاب خودی حافظ از میان برخیز





When I touch the tip of her tress, it upsets her
and If I apologize, she blames me
Like the new moon, with the corner of her eyebrow
she entices helpless bystanders and then hides behind a veil
On the night of wine, she ruins me with wakefulness
And if I complain by day, she goes to sleep
O heart, the way of love is full of trouble and tumult
He who hurries along this road stumbles
Do not trade begging at the beloved’s door for sovereignty
Does anyone go form the shade of this door to the sun?
When the blackness of hair is finished
it whiteness does not decrease even if a hundred choices are made
When the bubble fills its head with the air of arrogance
It blows its head off as it rises to the top of the wine
You are the obstacle on the road, Hafez, get out of the way!
Blessed is he who walks on this road without obstacle.



چو دست بر سر زلفش زنم به تاب رود
ور آشتی طلبم با سر عتاب رود
چو ماه نو ره بیچارگان نظاره
زند به گوشه ابرو و در نقاب رود
شب شراب خرابم کند به بیداری
وگر به روز شکایت کنم به خواب رود
طریق عشق پرآشوب و فتنه است ای دل
بیفتد آن که در این راه با شتاب رود
گدایی در جانان به سلطنت مفروش
کسی ز سایه این در به آفتاب رود
سواد نامه موی سیاه چون طی شد
بیاض کم نشود گر صد انتخاب رود
حباب را چو فتد باد نخوت اندر سر
کلاه داریش اندر سر شراب رود
حجاب راه تویی حافظ از میان برخیز
خوشا کسی که در این راه بی‌حجاب رود


Persian Visual Poems

Hafez’s poetry and Persian Miniatures come to life:



Love’s minstel has wonderful harmony and melody
Every song in his repertoire has a path to a place
May the world never be empty of the cry of lovers
Because it has a sweet and joyful voice
Although our dreg-draining Pir has neither gold nor force,
He has a sin-forgiving and fault-concealing God
My heart was honoured like this sugar-worshipping fly
Since he became Your desire, he has the splendor of the Huma
It is not far from justice, if the king asks around
about his neighbor the beggar
I showed my bloody tears to the physicians, they said:
“It’s love’s pain and the burning of the liver has the cure”
Avoid the tyranny of glances, for in Love’s way
 Each act has a recompense, and every deed, a reward
That idol of a Christian wine-seller said well:
“Enjoy the happiness on the face of a pure one”
O Great King!  Hafiz, a member of your court, recites the fatiha
And desires a prayer from your tongue


          مطرب عشق عجب ساز و نوایی دارد
 نقش هر نغمه که زد راه به جایی دارد
                    عالم از ناله عشاق مبادا خالی
که خوش آهنگ و فرح بخش صدايى دارد
     پیر دردی کش ما گر چه ندارد زر و زور
 خوش عطابخش و خطاپوش خدایی دارد
             محترم دار دلم کاین مگس قندپرست
 تا هواخواه تو شد فر همایی دارد
             از عدالت نبود دور گرش پرسد حال
 پادشاهی که به همسایه گدایی دارد
               اشک خونین بنمودم به طبیبان گفتند
 درد عشق است و جگرسوز دوایی دارد
         ستم از غمزه میاموز که در مذهب عشق
 هر عمل اجری و هر کرده جزایی دارد
           نغز گفت آن بت ترسابچه باده فروش
 شادی روی کسی خور که صفایی دارد
 خسروا حافظ درگاه نشین فاتحه خواند
 و از زبان تو تمنای دعایی دارد



The Peacock
Until your hair falls through the fingers of the breeze
My yearning heart lies torn apart with grief
 Black as sorcery, your magic eyes
Render this existence an illusion
 The dusky mole encircled by your curls
Is like the ink-drop falling in the curve of the jeem (ج)
 And wafting tresses in the perfect garden of your face,
Drop like a peacock falling into paradise
My soul searches for the comfort of a glance
Light as the dust arising from your path
Unlike the dust, this earthly body stumbles,
Falling at your threshold, falling fast
Your shadow falls across my frame
Like the breath of Jesus over withered bones
And those who turn to the Ka’aba as their sanctuary
Now with the knowledge of your lips, tumble at the tavern door
 O precious love, the suffering of your absence and lost Hafez
Fell and fused together with the ancient past



تا سر زلف تو در دست نسیم افتادست
دل سودازده از غصه دو نیم افتادست
چشم جادوی تو خود عین سواد سحر است
لیکن این هست که این نسخه سقیم افتادست
در خم زلف تو آن خال سیه دانی چیست
نقطه دوده که در حلقه جیم افتادست
زلف مشکین تو در گلشن فردوس عذار
چیست طاووس که در باغ نعیم افتادست
دل من در هوس روی تو ای مونس جان
خاک راهیست که در دست نسیم افتادست
همچو گرد این تن خاکی نتواند برخاست
از سر کوی تو زان رو که عظیم افتادست
سایه قد تو بر قالبم ای عیسی دم
عکس روحیست که بر عظم رمیم افتادست
آن که جز کعبه مقامش نبد از یاد لبت
بر در میکده دیدم که مقیم افتادست
حافظ گمشده را با غمت ای یار عزیز
اتحادیست که در عهد قدیم افتادست



The Fish
When my beloved offers the cup
Graven idols are crushed
 And those who gaze into that intoxicating eye
Cry out for the police
 I plunge into the ocean like a fish
Craving the beloved’s hook
 I fall pleading at those feet
In hope of a helping hand.
 Happy is the heart who like Hafez
Is drunk with the wine of pre-eternity


یارم چو قدح به دست گیرد
بازار بتان شکست گیرد
هر کس که بدید چشم او گفت
کو محتسبی که مست گیرد
در بحر فتاده‌ام چو ماهی
تا یار مرا به شست گیرد
در پاش فتاده‌ام به زاری
آیا بود آن که دست گیرد
خرم دل آن که همچو حافظ
جامی ز می الست گیرد



translations modified from Jila Peacock’s Ten Poems form Hafez. Sylph Editions, 2006

The Beauty in the Black Veil


This sublime fragment of a longer qasidah (ode) about a saint who falls madly in love with a beautiful maiden in a black veil (recalling the story of Shaykh San’an ) is sublimely performed in Mauritanian style by Dimi Mint Abba:


Tell the beauty in the black veil
What have you done to the pious worshipper?
He was rolling up his sleeves, getting ready for his prayers
when you stopped him at the door of the mosque
God is Greater! God is Greater!
O you who call to God with upraised hands
beseeching and begging for aid
If you seek his intercession tomorrow (on the Day of Judgement)
Tell the beauty in the black veil
For she has stolen from him his religion and certainty
and left him bewildered, without guidance
His prayers and fasts will return to you
Don’t kill him for the sake of the religion of Muhammad
His prayers and fasts will return to you
Don’t kill him, for the sake of Jesus and Ahmad
God, there is no god but God…





قل للمليحة في الخمار الأسود ماذا فعلت بناسك متعبد
قد كان شمر للصلاة ثيابه حتى وقفت له بباب المسجد
الله أكبر الله أكبر
يا داعيا لله مرفوع اليد متوسلا متضرعا للمنجد
يا طالبا منه الشفاعة في غد قل للمليحة في الخمار الأسود
فسلبت منه دينه ويقينه وتركته في حيرة لا يهتدي
ردي عليه صلاته وصيامه لا تقتليه بحق دين محمد
ردي عليه صلاته وصيامه لا تقتليه بحق عيسى وأحمد
الله لا اله الا الله …..
shaykh sanan