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




Like a Candle…

from Figs and Thistles: First Fig


My candle burns at both ends;
   It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
   It gives a lovely light!


Source: Poetry (June 1918).





In faithfulness to your love, I am famous like the candle
In the street of the rends, I burn all night like the candle
Day and night, sleep slips away, from my grief-stricken eyes
Sick from separation, my red eyes weep like the candle
The mountain of my patience melted like wax in your grief’s hand
Since I began to burn and melt in your love like the candle
My string of patience’s cut by the scissors of your hair
But still, in your love’s fire, I am smiling like the candle
If the horse of my rosy tear had not been so swift
How could my secret shine out everywhere just like the candle?
As ever, my poor desperate heart is occupied with you
Shedding tears of water and of flame just like the candle
Without your world-adorning beauty, my day is like the night
Within your love’s perfection, I am fading like the candle
Honor me with union for one night, o wild one
and with your visit, brighten up my house like the candle
Like the morning, your coming is just a breath away
Show your face, so I can give my soul up like the candle
In exile’s night, send me a promise of union, or else
With this fire, I’ll burn down the whole world like the candle
It’s amazing how your love lit Hafez all on fire
How can I quench my heart’s fire with tears, like the candle?




در وفای عشق تو مشهور خوبانم چو شمـع
شب نشین کوی سربازان و رندانم چو شمع
روز و شب خوابم نمیآید به چشم غم پرست
بـس که در بیماری هجر تو گریانم چو شمع
کوه صبرم نرم شد چون موم در دست غمـت
تا در آب و آتش عشقت گدازانم چو شـمـع
رشتـه صـبرم به مقراض غمت ببریده شد
همـچـنان در آتش مهر تو سوزانم چو شمع
گر کـمیت اشـک گلگونم نـبودی گرم رو
کی شدی روشن به گیتی راز پنهانم چو شمع
در میان آب و آتش همچنان سرگرم توسـت
این دل زار نزار اشـک بارانـم چو شـمـع
بی جمال عالم آرای تو روزم چون شب است
با کمال عشق تو در عین نقصانم چو شمـع
سرفرازم کن شبی از وصـل خود ای نازنین
تا مـنور گردد از دیدارت ایوانم چو شـمـع
همـچو صبحم یک نفس باقیست با دیدار تو
چـهره بنما دلبرا تا جان برافشانم چو شمع
در شـب هجران مرا پروانه وصلی فرسـت
ور نه از دردت جهانی را بسوزانم چو شمـع
آتـش مـهر تو را حافظ عجب در سر گرفت
Ibn al-Fāriḍ


If not for my sighs, these tears would drown me
If not for these tears, my sighs would scorch me


ولولا زفيري ٔاغرقتني ٔادمعي
ولولا دموعي ٔاحرقتني زفرتي



A candle is made to become entirely flame.
In that annihilating moment
it has no shadow.
It is nothing but a tongue of light
describing a refuge.
Look at this
just-finishing candle stub
as someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,
the pride and the shame
we claim from those.
(Coleman Barks’ “translation”)


There is a candle in the heart of man, waiting to be kindled.
In separation from the Friend, there is a cut waiting to be stitched.
O, you who are ignorant of endurance and the burning fire of love–
Love comes of its own free will, it can’t be learned in any school.



Should Love’s heart rejoice unless I burn?
For my heart is Love’s dwelling.
If You will burn Your house, burn it, Love!
Who will say, ‘It’s not allowed’?
Burn this house thoroughly!
The lover’s house improves with fire.
From now on I will make burning my aim,
From now on I will make burning my aim,
for I am like the candle: burning only makes me brighter.
Abandon sleep tonight; traverse for one night
the region of the sleepless.
Look upon these lovers who have become distraught
and like moths have died in union with the One Beloved.
Look upon this ship of God’s creatures
and see how it is sunk in Love.

Mathnawi VI, 617-623
The Rumi Collection, Edited by Kabir Helminski

O light, from seeing your beauty, my soul became candle-like
Turn my fortune so I can shed myself candle-like
The promise of the morning breeze, of joining Thee day and night
Burning, yellow, shaking, crying and humble, candle-like.
Thy flowing hair, like scissors sheer my soul at its height
In this fire of separation burn me no more, candle-like.
Pearls overflowing from the sea of my eye, fill my bosom in delight
My burning heart sent its flames blazing upward, candle-like.
Solar flares set in the celestial lantern, sooth the sight
Every morn dam my tears and shed no more, candle-like.
Thy face is spring-like, thy fire sorrows fight
How long burn in this solstice of separation, candle-like?
From the memory of thy light, every night flames take flight
If only my heart’s fire would burn my soul candle-like.
How long burn thyself Shams-e Tabrizi, thy love beaming bright?
We know of nothing other than this burning, candle-like.
(trans. by Shahriar Shahriari)



ای منور از جمالت دیده ی جانم چو شمع
از در بختم درآ تا جان بر افشانم چو شمع

از هوای خنده ی صبح وصالت روز و شب
زرد و لرزان و گدازان زار و گریانم چو شمع

زلف چون مقراض بر كش رشته جانم ببر
بیش از این در آتش هجران مسوزانم چو شمع

آستین و دامنم پر در شد از دریای عشق
تا علم زد آتش دل از گریبانم ، چو شمع

آتش خورشید را ، در مشعل سبز فلك
هر سحر از آبگیر دیده ، بنشانم چو شمع

ای رخت نوروز عالم زآتش ، جانسوز شمع
چند سوزی در شب یلدای هجرانم چو شمع

آفتاب از خاطرم ، شعله فروزد هر شبی
آتش دل گر بسوزد ، رشته ی جانم چو شمع

چند سوزی خویشتن را شمس تبریزی ز عشق
ماورای سوختن ، كاری نمیدانم چو شمع

Ana Moura


My eyes are two candles
Casting a sad light on my face
Your eyes are two candles
Casting a sad light on my face

Marked by the pains
Of longing and grief

When I hear the ringing of the bells
And the afternoon is coming to an end

I pray, out of longing for you
An “Our Father” for me

But you do not know how to pray
Nor how to ache with longing

Why do you disturb me so
Why do I want you so much?

For my despair you are like
The clouds that fly high

Every day I wait for you
Every day you stand me up


Os meus olhos são dois círios
Dando luz triste ao meu rosto
Os teus olhos são dois círios
Dando luz triste ao meu rosto
Marcado pelos martírios
Da saudade e do desgosto.

Quando oiço bater trindades
E a tarde já vai no fim

Eu peço às tuas saudades
Um padre nosso por mim.Mas não sabes fazer preces
Não tens saudades nem pranto

Por que é que tu me aborreces
Por que é que eu te quero tanto?

És para meu desespero
Como as nuvens que andam altas

Todos os dias te espero
Todos os dias me faltas.



I am not happiness, but only
The tragic substance that produces it.
In the great darkness, I am a burning flambeau
And I don’t see my own light.



Eu não sou a alegria, mas apenas
A trágica matéria que a produz.
Na grande escuridão, sou facho a arder
E não avisto minha própria luz!


(Pascoaes, 1920, p.216)



❊ ففرّوا الى الله ❊

So flee to God… (Qur’an 51:50)


اعوذ بك منك

I seek refuge in You from You (Hadith)


Flee to God’s Qur’an, take refuge in it
there with the spirits of the prophets merge.
The Book conveys the prophets’ circumstances
those fish of the pure sea of Majesty.


I long to escape the prison of my ego
and lose myself in you.


There is no salvation for the soul
but to fall in Love.
Only lovers can escape
out of these two worlds.
This was ordained in creation.
Only from the heart
can you reach the sky:
The Rose of Glory
can grow only from the heart.



( the poem inscribed on his tomb)
مژده‌ى وصل تو كو كز سر جان برخيزم
طاير قدسم و از دام جهان برخيزم
Where are the tidings of union with you, so that from life I may rise?
I am a bird of heaven, from the world’s snare I must rise
به ولاى تو كه گر بنده‌ى خويشم خوانى
از سر خواجگى كون و مكان برخيزم
I swear by your love, if you call me your slave
From the mastery of the universe I will rise
يارب از ابر هدايت برسان بارانى
پيشتر زانكه چو گردى ز ميان برخيزم
O Lord, let the cloud of guidance rain
Before that time when, like dust from the earth, I rise
بر سر تربت من با مى و مطرب بنشين
تا ببويت ز لحد رقص‌كنان برخيزم
Sit beside my grave with musician and wine
So from your scent, dancing from the dust, I may rise
خيز و بالا بنما اى بت شيرين‌حركات
كه چو حافظ ز سر جان و جهان برخيزم
 O sweetly-moving idol, rise and show me your shape
So, like Hafez, from life and world, dancing, I may rise
گرچه پيرم، تو شبى تنگ درآغوشم كش
تا سحرگه ز كنار تو جوان برخيزم
Though I am old, for one night, in your bosom hold me tight
So when morning comes, young from your embrace, I may rise

Norah Jones


 The Beatles