al-Tilimsānī: Loving you is a gilded religion

Some beautiful poems of Ibn ‘Arabi’s Maghrebi student, ‘Afīf al-Dīn al-Tilimsānī:

 

Translation:

I have, in loving you, a golden religion
and a quest like it as a goal
I became a slave well-pleased with what
pleases you, having neither hope nor fear
When the cup of your saki appears
I am the first to drink it
And when your name is sung in poetry
I am the first to thrill in ecstasy
O moon, in my heart’s blood
the breaking of the dawn and falling of the dusk never cease
O Gazelle, in my heart, you have a meadow
and from my tears, a spring
There is no life but your love
from which every joy’s derived

 

Orginal:

لِي فِي هَوَاكُمْ مَذْهَبٌ مُذْهَبُ                   ومَطْلَبٌ مَامِثْلُهُ مَطْلَبُ
أًَصْبَحْتُ عَبْداً رَاضِياً بالَّذِي            تَرْضُونَ لاَ أَرْجُو وَلاَ أَرْهَبُ
إِذَا تَجَلَّى كَاسُ سَاقِيكُمُ                  كُنْتُ لَهُ أَوَّلَ مَنْ يَشْرَبُ
وَإِنْ تَغَنَّى بِاسْمِكُمْ مُنْشِدٌ                    فَإِنَّني أَوَّلُ مَنْ يَطْرَبُ
يَا قَمَراً في مُهْجَتِي لَمْ يَزَلْ               مَطْلَعُهُ المَّشْرقُ وَالمَغْرِبُ
وَيَا غَزَالاً في فُؤادِي لَهُ           مَرْعىً وَمِنْ دَمْعِي لَهُ مَشْرَبُ
مَا العَيْشُ إلاَّ في هَوَاكَ الَّذِي                      كُلُّ نَعِيمٍ فَلَهُ يُنْسَبُ

 

Translation:

O you living in my heart
when will I win intimacy?
You robbed me
but I am happy with my theft
O nomads of the blazing valley
You are the best of nomads
Your guest seeks refuge
and the contract of his clientage is a captive heart
I have not forgotten your love
May I never forget my passion, my love!
If you are pleased by my removal
then that is my heart’s desire
My spirit is yours if you accept it
and the spirit is the lover’s utmost
You are the treasure of my heart
on the Day of Return and my sufficiency
I love you and by my right
I was perplexed by my share of amazement
I leaned drunkenly, and why not?
For my drink was from you
And my beloved poured drinks for me
and singled me out without my friends
My eyes were not blind, beholding
openly, the brilliance of my Lord’s face
I long for the sweet myrtle and tamarisk
and the remembrance of the laurel and the dune

 

 

Original:

يَا ساكِنينَ بِقَلْبِي            مَتَى أَفُوزُ بِقُرْبِ
سَلَبَتُمُونِي وَلَكِنْ             أَنَا السَّعِيدُ بِسَلْبِي
يَا عُرْبَ وَاديَ المُصَلاَّ             لأَنْتُمُ خَيْرُ عُرْبِ
نَزِيلُكُم مُسْتَهَامُ            مُوَلَّهُ القَلْبِ مَسْبي
وَلَسْتُ أَسْلُو هَوَاكُمْ         حَاشَا غَرَامِي وَحُبِّي
إذا رَضِيتُمْ تَلاَفِي           فَذَاكَ مَطْلُوبُ قَلْبِي
رُوحِي لَكُمْ إِنْ قَبِلْتُمْ         وَالرُّوحُ جَهْدُ المُحِبِّ
أَنْتُمْ ذَخِيرَةُ قَلْبِي           يَوْمَ المَعَادِ وَحَسْبِي
عَشِقْتُكُمْ وَبِحَقِّي     إِنْ تِهْتُ مِنْ فَرْطِ عُجْبي
وَمِلْتُ سُكْراً وَلِمْ لاَ            وَمِنْكُمُ كَانَ شُرْبي
وَقَدْ سَقَانِي حَبِيبي       وَخَصَّنِي دُونَ صَحْبِي
وَلَسْتُ بَعْدَ عَيَانِي         جَهْراً سَنَا وَجْهِ رَبِّي
أَصْبُو لِرَنْدٍ وَبَانٍ            وَذِكْرِ غَارٍ وَكُثْبِ

Translation:

I witnessed your self in us, while it is singular,
as multiple possessing attributes and names
In you we witnessed, after our manyness
an essence in which the seen and seer are united

 

Original:

شهدت نفسك فينا وهي واحده       كثيرةً ذات اوصاف واسماءي

ونحن فيك شهدنا بعد كثرتنا       عيناً بها اتّحد المرئي والرائي

 

Night

“The Night” by Henry Vaughan

 There is in God, some say,
A deep but dazzling darkness, as men here
Say it is late and dusky, because they
             See not all clear.
    O for that night! where I in Him
    Might live invisible and dim!

 

Rumi

Translation:

Truth is the Night of Power,
hidden amid the other nights
so the soul may try each one.
Not all nights are the Night of Power,
yet all nights aren’t empty of it either.

 

Original:

Haqq Shab-e Qadrast dar shab-hâ nehân
tâ konad jân har shabi-râ emtehân
Nah hameh shab-hâ bovad Qadr ay javân
nah hameh shab-hâ bovad khâli az ân

حق شب قدراست در شبها نهان
تا كند جان هر شب را امتهان
نه همه شبها بود قدر اط جوان
نه همه شبها بود خال از ان

 

— Mathnawi II: 2935-2936
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
“Rumi: Daylight”
Threshold Books, 1994

Shabistari

The Rose Garden of Mystery (verses 122-130)

Reason’s light applied to the Essence of Lights
is like the eye of the head looking at the brilliance of the Sun
when the object seen is very close to the eye
The eye is darkened so that it cannot see it
This blackness, if you know it, is the very light of Being
in the land of darkness is the fountain of life
Since the darkness destroys the light of vision
Give up loooking, for this is no place for looking
What connection has dust with the pure world?
Its perception is the inability to perceive perception
What shall I say? since this saying is fine,
“A bright night in the midst of a dark day”
In this place of witnessing, which is the light of manifestation
 I have much to say, but silence is best.

 

Original:

بود نور خرد در ذات انور              به سان چشم سر در چشمه خور
چو مبصر با بصر نزدیک گردد              بصر ز ادراک آن تاریک گردد
سیاهی گر بدانی نور ذات است              به تاریکی درون آب حیات است
سیه جز قابض نور بصر نیست               نظر بگذار کین جای نظر نیست
چه نسبت خاک را با عالم پاک        که ادراک است عجز از درک ادراک
سیه رویی ز ممکن در دو عالم                       جدا هرگز نشد والله اعلم
سواد الوجه فی الدارین درویش                 سواد اعظم آمد بی کم و بیش
چه می‌گویم که هست این نکته باریک              شب روشن میان روز تاریک
در این مشهد که انوار تجلی است           سخن دارم ولی نا گفتن اولی است

 

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Glances of Love

Two of my favorite Nusrat classics, Tumhein Dillagi Bhool and Mast Naszron Say illuminate each other nicely:

Tumhein dillagi bhool

Translation (modified from Sur Street) and transliteration:

Chorus:

Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Muhabbat ki raahon mein aa kar to dekho

You will have to forget about playing games
You will have to forget about playing games
Come into the ways of love and see

 

Tarapne pe mere na phir tum hanso ge
Tarapne pe mere na phir tum hanso ge
Kabhi dil kissi se laga kar to dekho

Then you will not laugh at my torment
Then you will not laugh at my torment
Give your heart to someone once and see

 

Honton ke paas aye hansi, kya majaal hai
Dil ka muamla hai koi dillagi nahin

A smile dare not creep over the lips…
This is a matter of the heart, not a mere game

 

Zakhm pe zakhm kha ke ji
Apne lahoo ke ghont pi
Aah na kar labon ko si
Ishq hai dillagi nahin

Take wound upon wound, yet live
Drink sips of your own blood
Drink sips of your own blood
Let out not a single sigh, seal your lips
This is love, not a game

 

Dil laga kar pata chaley ga tumhein
Aashiqui dillagi nahin hoti

When you have given your heart you will realize
Love is not a game

 

Kuch khel nahin hai ishq ki laag
Paani na samajh ye aag hai aag

Love is not child’s play
Don’t think of it as water, this is fire!

 

Khoon rulaye gi ye lagi dil ki
Khel samjho na dillagi dil ki

It makes you shed bloody tears
Don’t think of it as child’s play

 

Yeh ishq nahin aasaan
Bas itna samajh leejay
Ik aag ka darya hai
Aur doob ke jaana hai

This love is not easy
think of it this way:
It is a river of fire
and to cross you must drown!

 

Wafaaon ki hum se tawaqo nahin hai
Wafaaon ki hum se tawaqo nahin hai
Magar ek baar aazma kar to dekho
Zamanay ko apna bana kar to dekha
Humein bhi tum apna bana kar to dekho

You may not expect me to be faithful
You may not expect me to be faithful
But you have to try me at least once
You gave yourself to the whole world
Now try making me your own!

 

Khuda ke liya chor do ab yeh parda…

Rukh se naqab utha, ke bari der ho gayi
Mahol ko tilaawat-e-quraan kiye hoye
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…
Lift the veil now, it has been long since
the world burst into songs of praise…
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Hum na samjhe teri nazron ka taqaza kya hai
Kabhi parda kabhi jalwa yeh tamasha kya hai
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

I couldn’t understand the meaning of your glace
Withdrawn this moment, and open the next, what is this play?
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Jan-e-jan hum se uljhan nahin dekhi jaati
Khuda ke liye chor do ab yeh parda…

My darling, I cannot bear to see this struggle now
For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…

 

Khuda ke liya chor do ab yeh parda
Keh hain aaj hum tum nahin ghair koi
Shab-e-wasl bhi hai hijaab iss kadar kyon
Zara rukh se aanchal utha kar to dekho

For God’s sake, reveal yourself now…
For you and I are strangers no more
Why the veil on the night of the union?
Uncover your face and look up now…

 

Jafaaein buhat kien buhat zulm dhaye
Kabhi ik nigah-e-karam iss taraf bhi
Humesha huay dekh kar mujh ko barham
Kissi din zara muskura kar to dekho

So much oppression, so much cruelty
Perhaps a kind glance this way now?
Forever my sight offended you
Perhaps direct a smile my way now?

 

Jo ulfat mein har ek sitam hai gawara
Yeh sab kuch hai paas-e-wafa tum se warna
Satate ho din raat jiss tarha mujh ko
Kissi ghair ko youn sata kar to dekho

In love, I have borne every wound inflicted
All of this out of loyalty to you
The way that you tease me day and night…
Go tease another and see what happens!

 

Agarche kissi baat par woh khafa hain
To acha yehi hai tum apni si kar lo
Woh maanein na mannein yeh marzi hai unki
Magar un ko pur-nam mana kar to dekho

Though she seems upset about something
Perhaps it is better to just move on
To accept me or not, that is her will
But try to convince her with all your passion!

 

Tumhein dillagi bhool jani pare gi
Muhabbat ki raahon mein aa kar to dekho

You will have to forget about playing games
Come into the ways of love and see

 

 

Mast Nazron Se Allah Bacchaye

Translation (from Music from Pakistan and this site)

Entire life spent in splendor, it need not be
Every night of sorrow has a dawn, it need not be
Slumber can arise in a bed of pain, in  the arms of my love, it need not be
Fire is considered by the moths as child’s play, every moth is afraid of its fate, it need not be
A shaykh who prays to god in the mosque, his prostration is effective, it need not be

O God save us from the intoxicated glances! O God save us from the moon-faced ones!
Let any affliction come upon us [but] God save us from the pretty ones.

Don’t let their innocence fool you; don’t let them make you a fool
they rob with just a smile, O God save us from their spells!

Innocent appearance and innocuous talk, but there is a difference between what they say and what they mean
though their face is like that of moon, O God save us from the schemes of their hearts!

In the hearts there is a desire for beautiful companions in heaven, but they show their love of prayers [to the world].
Now, from the likes of the abstinent, O God save us from these “Godly” ones!

In their nature is infidelity, it is known by all and sundry
they beguile even the smart ones, O God save us from the innocuous ones!

Poetry by Nasir Iqbal Maikash

Original (in transliteration):

umr jalwon mein basar ho yeh zarori to nahi
her shab e gham ki sahr ho yeh zarori to nahi
neend to dard ke bistar pe bhi aa sakti hai
unki aaghosh mein sir ho yeh zarori to nahi

aag ko khail patangon ne samajh rakh hai
sub ko anjaam ka dar ho yeh zarori to nahi
shaikh karta hai jo masjid mein khuda ko sajde
iske sajdoon mein asar ho yeh zarori to nahi

Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye
Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye

Har bala sar pe aa jaye lekin
Husn walon se Allah bachaye

Inki maasoomiyat par na jaana
Inke dhoke mein har giz na aana
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
In ki chalon se Allah bachaye

Inki maasoomiyat par na jaana
Inke dhoke mein har giz na aana
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye

Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye
Loot lete hain ye, loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain

Jalakrukhi dikha kar, muskura kar loot lete hain
Nigao se nigao ko mila kar loot lete hain
Ye atchi pardadaadi hain, ye atchi dilnawazi hain
Hasa kar loot lete hain, rula kar loot lete hain

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain

Husn waale wafa nahi karte
Ishq waale dagha nahi karte
Zulm karna to inki aadat hain
Ye kisi ka bhala nahi karte

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Amir is raaste se jo guzrte hain woh kehte hain
Muhalla hain haseeno ka, ke ki basti hain

Ye loot lete hain, ye loot lete hain
Loot lete hain yeh muskura kar
Inki chalon se Allah bachaye

Inki fitrat mein hain be-wafaai
Jaanti hain ye saari khudaaee
Atche-atcho ko dete hain dhoka
Bhole-bhalo se Allah bachaye

Atche-atcho ko dete hain dhoka
Bhole-bhalo se Allah bachaye
Mast nazron se Allah bachaye
Mahjamalon se Allah bachaye

 

Original (inspired by the above poems)

Forget about your poetry,
forget music, and dance
This love is not a game, my friend
it’s real life, not romance
It’s serious as death again
and twice as hard to stand
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance

Since my eyes fell on your beauty
Swarms of evil eyes pursued me
I swatted them away like flies
But your one glance shot right through me
They seek my blood, I seek your heart
Because you stole mine so cruelly

Planted ‘neath your balcony
wat’ring flowers with my eyes
chasing storm clouds with my sighs
too weak to live, too strong to die

Waiting for your glance to fall
On me like a guillotine
Setting body and head free
from this wishful, hopeless dream

This love is not a river,
it’s an ocean of fire
a broad desert of ceaseless sighs,
wide skies of vast desire

And there’s no way get across,
it’s too hard to swim down
So keep away from the edge or
plunge in and burn and drown!

The candle flame has hitched a ride
on this moth bound for the sun
Climbing moonbeams to your face
your eyes become my drop’s ocean

Don’t blame me for this smoke
it was you who lit the fire
don’t complain of the heat
it’s my body on the pyre

It’s your fault that I hope, my dear
and you caused all this pain
sweet as it is, please stop playing—
I can’t take this and the blame

I dreamed that I kissed you
and I prayed I’d never wake
I heard that I missed you
and my life I tried to take

but found that you’d beat me to it
My life was yours before I knew it

Don’t leave me stumbling in the dark
With flashes of your lightning smile
Please light my path and guide my ark
have mercy on a heart beguiled!

Let me be your veil, my love
kissing your lips with every breath
Let me be your hair, above
your bright eyes, glinting dark as death

Your eyes are blinding eclipses
within these magic ellipses
See all that was, will be, and is
but only if you hush—listen!

It seems like I’m your shadow
I can’t even get away
so cast me anywhere you will
all I can do is sway

Where you fly is where I run
and where you stop is where I’m through
Waiting for high noon to come
and return me back to you

Beneath your feet is where I’m from
between your finger and your thumb
My heart is spinning, sick, struck dumb
by this love, what I—you’ve become

Forget about your poetry,
forget music, and dance
This love is not a game, my friend
it’s real life, not romance
It’s serious as death again
and twice as hard to stand
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance
Your life is but the bargained price
for stealing just a glance

When I die—Rumi and al-Ghazali

Two of the most beautiful death-bed poems from two great Sufis. I pray to live in such a way that someone will recite these at my burial.

Rumi

Translation:

When my bier moveth on the day of death
Think not my heart is in this world.
Do not weep for me and cry “woe, woe!”
Thou wilt fall in the devil’s snare: that is woe
When thou seest my hearse, cry not, “gone, gone!”
Union and meeting are mine in that hour
If thou commit me to the grave, say not “Farewell, farewell”
For the grave is a curtain hiding the communion of paradise
After beholding descent, consider resurrection
Why should setting be injurious to the sun and moon?
To thee it seems a setting, but ’tis a rising’
Tho’ the vault seems a prison, ’tis the release of a soul
What seed went down into the earth but it grew?
Why this doubt of thine as regards the seed of man?
What bucket was lowered but it came out brimful?
Why should the Joseph of the Spirit complain of the well?
Shut thy mouth on this side, and open it beyond
For in placeless air will by thy triumphal song.

(From R.A. Nicholson, Selected Poems form the Divani Shamsi Tabriz, p. 94-96)

Original:

به روز مرگ چو تابوت من روان باشد
گمان مبر که مرا درد این جهان باشد
برای من مگری و مگو دریغ دریغ
به دوغ دیو درافتی دریغ آن باشد
جنازه‌ام چو ببینی مگو فراق فراق
مرا وصال و ملاقات آن زمان باشد
مرا به گور سپاری مگو وداع وداع
که گور پرده جمعیت جنان باشد
فروشدن چو بدیدی برآمدن بنگر
غروب شمس و قمر را چرا زبان باشد
تو را غروب نماید ولی شروق بود
لحد چو حبس نماید خلاص جان باشد
کدام دانه فرورفت در زمین که نرست
چرا به دانه انسانت این گمان باشد
کدام دلو فرورفت و پر برون نامد
ز چاه یوسف جان را چرا فغان باشد
دهان چو بستی از این سوی آن طرف بگشا
که های هوی تو در جو لامکان باشد

 

al-Ghazali

Translation:

Say unto brethren when they see me dead,
And weep for me, lamenting me in sadness:
“Think ye I am this corpse ye are to bury?
I swear by God, this dead one is not I.
 I in the Spirit am, and this my body
My dwelling was, my garment for a time.
I am a treasure: hidden I was beneath
This talisman of dust, wherein I suffered.
I am a pearl; a shell imprisoned me,
 But leaving it, all trials I have left.
I am a bird, and this was once my cage;
But I have flown, leaving it as a token.
I praise God who hath set me free,
and made For me a dwelling in the heavenly heights.
 Ere now I was a dead man in your midst,
But I have come to life, and doffed my shroud.”

(Translation by Martin Lings)

Original:

 قل لإخوان رأوني ميتا                فبكوني ورثوني حزنا
أتظنون بأني ميتكم                   ليس هذا الميت والله أنا
أنا في الصور وهذا جسدي        كان لباسي وقميصي زمنا
أنا در قد حواني صدف               طرت عنه وبقى مرتهنا
أنا عصفور وهذا قفصي           كان سجني فتركت السجنا
أشكر الله الذي خلصني              وبنا لي في المعالي وطنا
كنت قبل اليوم ميتا بينكم                 فحييت وخلعت الكفنا

 

Rumi—Awake! Enter the Cave!

Translation:

Awake, awake, the time has come, awake!
Without union with him, forsake yourself, forsake!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Once this time has ruined you, laments will be of no avail,
If you want him to restore you, become a restorer, become a restorer!
See the world filled with tumult, see the dominion of the victorious (Manṣūr [al-Ḥallāj])
If you want to become victorious (Manṣūr[al-Ḥallāj), hang on the gallows, hang on the gallows!
As the dawn wind tangles her hair each morning
If you want to savor its scent, become a perfumer ([Farīd al-dīn] ‘Attar), become a perfumer

 

 

Original:

Alternate Version

Translation:

Awake! awake! The night has gone, awake!
Forsake, forsake, your own self, forsake!
In our Egypt a stupid fool is selling a Joseph
Don’t believe me, go to the market and see for yourself!
Without a trace, without a doubt, he’ll make you rosy-faced
He’ll pluck out the thorn from you hand, become a rosebed, become a rosebed!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
Don’t listen to every scheme and spell, don’t wash blood with blood
Like a glass cup, fall over and shatter, be lowly and debased
In the swing of the polo mallet, be the ball! be the ball!
Because of the arrows in its quiver, drop dead! drop dead!
The heavenly decree has arrived, the healer of lovers has arrived,
If you want him to visit you, become sick, become sick!
Know this breast as a cave, the spiritual retreat of that Friend;
If you’re really the ‘companion of the cave’, then enter the cave, enter the cave!
You’re a fine man, but naive, offering gold to thieves
If you want to recognize the thieves, be an outlaw, be an outlaw!
Hush! Silence the description of the sea and float within its depths
If you want to learn to dive, grow fins! grow fins!

Original:

 بیدار شو بیدار شو هین رفت شب بیدار شو
 بيزارشو بيزارشو وز خويش هم بيزار شو
در مصر ما يك احمقي نك مي فروشد يوسفي
باور نمي داري مرا اينك سوي بازار شو
بي چون ترا بي چون كند روي ترا گلگون كند
 خار از كفت بيرون كند وانگه سوي گلزار شو
مشنو تو هر مكر و فسون خون را چرا شويي به خون
 همچون قدح شو سرنگون وانگاه دردي خوارشو
در گردش چوگان او چون گوي شو چون گوي شو
وز بهر نقل كركسش مردارشو مردارشو
آمد نداي آسمان آمد طبيب عاشقان
 خواهي كه آيد پيش تو بيمارشو بيمارشو
اين سينه را چون غار دان خلوتگه آن يار دان
گر يار غاري هين بيا در غار شو در غار شو
تو مرد نيك ساده اي زر را به دزدان داده اي
خواهي بداني دزد را طرار شو طرار شو
خاموش وصف بحر و در كم گوي در درياي او
 خواهي كه غواصي كني دم دارشو دم دارشو

 

What is this drunkeness?

A current favorite Ghazal of Hafez, a sublime wedding of melody and meanings

Translation:

I known not what this drunkenness is that to us he brought
and who is the Saqi and from where is this wine that he brought?
What tune is this musician playing so skillfully
that in the midst of his song, my friend’s words, he’s brought
You too, grab some wine and take the desert road
For the songbird, sweet-sounding music, has brought
With goodness and joy, let the rose and daffodil arrive
The violet came happily, and purity the jasmine brought
The east wind is Solomon’s hoopoe in bringing us good news
For glad tidings from Sheba’s rose garden it has brought
O heart don’t complain of your state, knotted-up like a bud
for the knot-untying morning breeze, the dawn wind has brought
The cure for our heart’s weakness is the Saqi’s smile
Come—for the healer has arrived, and the remedy he’s brought
I am the disciple of the Magian Pir, don’t worry about me, O Shaykh
For you’ve made the promises, but he’s brought them to pass
I am amazed at that Turkish warrior
who attacked a poor dervish like me!
Heaven will be Hafez’s servant and work obediently
Now that seeking refuge, to your door, he’s brought

 

Original:

چه مستیست ندانم که رو به ما آورد
که بود ساقی و این باده از کجا آورد
چه راه مى زند اين مطرب مقام شناس
كه در ميان غزل قول آشنا آورد
تو نیز باده به چنگ آر و راه صحرا گیر
که مرغ نغمه سرا ساز خوش نوا آورد
رسیدن گل و نسرین به خیر و خوبی باد
بنفشه شاد و کش آمد سمن صفا آورد
صبا به خوش خبری هدهد سلیمان است
که مژده طرب از گلشن سبا آورد
دلا چو غنچه شکایت ز کار بسته مکن
که باد صبح نسیم گره گشا آورد
علاج ضعف دل ما کرشمه ساقیست
برآر سر که طبیب آمد و دوا آورد
مرید پیر مغانم ز من مرنج ای شیخ
چرا که وعده تو کردی و او به جا آورد
به تنگ چشمی آن ترک لشکری نازم
که حمله بر من درویش یک قبا آورد
فلک غلامی حافظ کنون به طوع کند
که التجا به در دولت شما آورد

Loving TaHa is Delightful

One of my favorite poems in praise of the Prophet, from Mauritania:

Translation (a bit of liberty taken to approximate the metre of the original poem):

Loving TaHa is delightful…How lovely is that Great Noble!
He’s the treasure of creation, and to all goodness, a doorway
And he’s peace and our protection, and he’s food and our refreshment
He’s a pearl and he’s a treasure, he’s the kernel and quintessence
The land without love of TaHa…is a wasteland so forsaken
And hearts without love of TaHa…are ruins, wrecked and desolated
And in each and every heart is….a portion from TaHa’s passion
He’s the soul’s enchantment, truly…and he is the answered prayer
No beloved can distract you….from him, nor hearts, nor violins
Without that, I don’t care at all…for any blessing or torment

Original:

ُحبُ طه يُستطاب .. حبّذا ذاك الجناب ..
ُفهو ذخرٌ للبرايا .. و هو للخيرات باب ..
ُو هو أمنٌ و أمانٌ .. و طعامٌ و شراب ..
ُو هو درٌ و هو كنزٌ .. و هو لبٌّ و لُباب ..
ُإنَّ أرضاً ليس فيها .. حبُ طهَ ليَباب ..
ُو قلوباً ليس فيها .. حبُ طه لخراب ..
ُفليكنْ في كل قلْبٍ .. من هوىَ طهَ نصاب ..
ُفهو رُقيا النفسِ حقاً .. و الدعاء المستجاب ..
ُلا تُملْكُم عنه ميٌّ .. أو لُبابٌ أو رَباب ..
ُلا تبالُوا بنعيمٍ .. دون ذاكَ أو عقاب ..

Thank God the tavern is open

 

One of Hafez’s most musical and delightful ghazals:

Translation:

Thank God the tavern door is finally open
for I’ve pressed my face to its door in need
The wine vats are gushing and roaring drunk
He is all drunkenness, pride, and arrogance
we are all desperation, weakness, and need
The secret I never told the stranger and never will
I’ll tell the friend, for he is secrets’ intimate
The description of the wavy curls of his locks
cannot be made short, for it is a long story
It is the burden of Majnun’s heart and Layla’s curved tress
It is Mahmud’s face and the sole of Ayaz’s foot
Like the hawk, I’ve closed my eyes to the whole world
since I opened them to your beautiful face
Whoever enters the Ka’aba of your street
stands in prayer before the qibla of your eyebrow
O people of the assembly, about the agony of poor Hafez’s heart
ask the candle which is burning and melting…

(modified from Reza Saberi’s translation in The Divan of Hafez, p. 51)

 

 

Original:

المنة لله که در میکده باز است
زان رو که مرا بر در او روی نیاز است
خم‌ها همه در جوش و خروشند ز مستی
وان می که در آن جاست حقیقت نه مجاز است
از وی همه مستی و غرور است و تکبر
وز ما همه بیچارگی و عجز و نیاز است
رازی که بر غیر نگفتیم و نگوییم
با دوست بگوییم که او محرم راز است
شرح شکن زلف خم اندر خم جانان
کوته نتوان کرد که این قصه دراز است
بار دل مجنون و خم طره لیلی
رخساره محمود و کف پای ایاز است
بردوخته‌ام دیده چو باز از همه عالم
تا دیده من بر رخ زیبای تو باز است
در کعبه کوی تو هر آن کس که بیاید
از قبله ابروی تو در عین نماز است
ای مجلسیان سوز دل حافظ مسکین
از شمع بپرسید که در سوز و گداز است

 

 

 

Poems on Hafez’s tomb

Hafez’s tomb was first constructed in 1452, around sixty years after his death by the Timurid governor of Shiraz, and has been renovated and expanded many times since, often in response to divination performed with his Divan. The tomb is adorned with calligraphic renditions of these ghazals of his, which happen to be among my very favorite:

Translation:

Tell me of your arrival, from this life to you I’ll rise!
I am heaven’s bird and from this world’s snare I will rise
For your friendship, if you should want me as a slave
from the rulership of the whole cosmos I will rise
O Lord, may your cloud of guidance rain down upon me
before, as scattered dust, into the air, I rise
Beside my dust, with wine and song, come and take a seat
drawn by your scent, dancing from my tomb, I will arise
Rise up, o sweet idol, and show your stature’s grace
and from this soul and world, with clapping hands I will rise
though I am old, hold me close all night long in your embrace
then in the morning, young and fresh, from your side I will rise
The day I die, with my last breath, let me see your face
So that like Hafez, from this world and place, I will arise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original:
مژده وصل تو کو کز سر جان برخیزم
طایر قدسم و از دام جهان برخیزم
به ولای تو که گر بنده خویشم خوانی
از سر خواجگی کون و مکان برخیزم
یا رب از ابر هدایت برسان بارانی
پیشتر زان که چو گردی ز میان برخیزم
بر سر تربت من با می و مطرب بنشین
تا به بویت ز لحد رقص کنان برخیزم
خیز و بالا بنما ای بت شیرین حرکات
کز سر جان و جهان دست فشان برخیزم
گر چه پیرم تو شبی تنگ در آغوشم کش
تا سحرگه ز کنار تو جوان برخیزم
روز مرگم نفسی مهلت دیدار بده
تا چو حافظ ز سر جان و جهان برخیزم

 

 

This poem was most likely written as a tribute to Hafez by a later Shi’ite author, but it still adorns his tomb (thanks to N.A. for help with the translation):

Translation:

O heart be the servant of the King of the world and be a king yourself
and always remain under the protection of divine grace
From a foreigner, they won’t buy a thousand for a penny
Let from peak to peak be full of the army of hypocrisy
when Ahmad is my intercessor on the day of resurrection
Say to this blasted body of mine, “be sinful”
The one who is not a friend of ‘Ali is veiled
whether he is the ascetic of his time or a Master of the way
O Ali, I am alive today with your friendship/sanctity
tomorrow I will be a witness to the pure spirit of the Imams
The grave of the eighth Imam, the Sultan of religion, Riḍa,
Kiss it from your soul and be a companion of that court
If your hand cannot reach a flower from that branch
be a plant at the foot of their flower-stem
The man of God who seeks piety
it does’t matter whether his cloak is white or black
Hafez, take the path of servanthood to the king
and then be like the men of the way on the path

 

Original:

ای دل غلام شاه جهان باش و شاه باش
 پـیـوسـتـه در حـمـایـت لطـف اله باش
از خارجـی هزار به یک جو نمی خرند
 گو، کوه تا به کـوه منـافق سپـاه بـاش
چون احمدم شـفـیع بود روز رسـتخیز
 گو این تن بـلاکش مـن پـرگنـاه بـاش*
آن را که دوستی علی نیست کافر است
 گـو زاهـد زمانـه و گو شـیخ راه بـاش**
امـروز زنـده ام بـه ولای تـو یا عـلی
 فـردا به روح پـاک امامان گـواه بـاش
قبر امام هشـتم و سـلطان دیـن رضـا
 از جان ببوس و بر در آن بارگاه باش
دستت نمی رسد که بچینی گلی زشاخ
بـاری به پـای گلبن ایشـان گیاه بـاش
مرد خـدا شـنـاس که تـقـوی طلب کند
 خواهی سپید جامه و خواهی سیاه باش
حـافظ طریـق بـنـدگی شـاه پـیـشـه کن
وانگاه در طریق چـو مـردان راه بـاش

 

 

 

Translation:

The garden of eternity is in the retreat of the dervishes
the very essence of grandeur is the service of the dervishes
The treasury of glory that is sealed by the talisman of wonders
opens at the merciful glance of the dervishes
The castle of paradise for which Rezwan is the doorkeeper
is but a view from the lawn of the dervishes
That which by its radiance turns black hearts to gold
is the alchemy that is the company of the dervishes
That before which the sun lays down its crown of glory
is the greatness that comes from the grandeur of the dervishes
The power/state (dawlat) whose decline need never be feared
without exaggeration, is the power/state of the dervishes
The kings are the qiblah to which we direct our needs
and this is because they are the slaves of the dervishes
That which kings seek to achieve in their prayers
is manifested in the mirror of the countenance of the dervishes
From shore to shore is the army of tyranny,
but from beginningless eternity to eternity without end is the time of the dervishes
O rich man, don’t sell us so much vanity
for your health and wealth are in the hands of the will (himmat) of the dervishes
Korah’s treasure, which still is still sinking from heaven’s severity
is an effect of the wrath of the dervishes
Hafez, if you’re seeking the eternal water of life
its spring is the dust of the retreat of the dervishes
I am the slave of the Asaf of my time
because he has the looks of a nobleman and the character of the dervishes.

 

 

Original:

روضه خلد برین خلوت درویشان است
مایه محتشمی خدمت درویشان است
گنج عزلت که طلسمات عجایب دارد
فتح آن در نظر رحمت درویشان است
قصر فردوس که رضوانش به دربانی رفت
منظری از چمن نزهت درویشان است
آن چه زر می‌شود از پرتو آن قلب سیاه
کیمیاییست که در صحبت درویشان است
آن که پیشش بنهد تاج تکبر خورشید
کبریاییست که در حشمت درویشان است
دولتی را که نباشد غم از آسیب زوال
بی تکلف بشنو دولت درویشان است
خسروان قبله حاجات جهانند ولی
سببش بندگی حضرت درویشان است
روی مقصود که شاهان به دعا می‌طلبند
مظهرش آینه طلعت درویشان است
از کران تا به کران لشکر ظلم است ولی
از ازل تا به ابد فرصت درویشان است
ای توانگر مفروش این همه نخوت که تو را
سر و زر در کنف همت درویشان است
گنج قارون که فرو می‌شود از قهر هنوز
خوانده باشی که هم از غیرت درویشان است
حافظ ار آب حیات ازلی می‌خواهی
منبعش خاک در خلوت درویشان است
من غلام نظر آصف عهدم کو را
صورت خواجگی و سیرت درویشان است

 

 

Translation:

The dust of my body is the veil of the face of the beloved of my soul
happy is the moment when from off this face, I cast the veil
Even so, this cage is no good for a sweet singer such as me
I will go to the rose garden of paradise, for I am a bird of that field
It is not clear why I came where I went
my regret and pain is that I have been heedless of my own affair
Oh how I circumambulate in the space of the holy world
but in this flat, compounded abode, I am bound to my body
If the scent of musk issues from my heart’s blood
do not wonder, my friend, for I am the musk gland of Khotan
Do not look at the golden embroidery of my cloak like a candle
for there is burning hidden within this cloak
Come and take Hafez’s existence from him
so that by your being, none will hear from me that I am

 

 

Original:

حجاب چهره جان می‌شود غبار تنم
خوشا دمی که از آن چهره پرده برفکنم
چنین قفس نه سزای چو من خوش الحانیست
روم به گلشن رضوان که مرغ آن چمنم
عیان نشد که چرا آمدم کجا رفتم
دریغ و درد که غافل ز کار خویشتنم
چگونه طوف کنم در فضای عالم قدس
که در سراچه ترکیب تخته بند تنم
اگر ز خون دلم بوی شوق می‌آید
عجب مدار که همدرد نافه ختنم
طراز پیرهن زرکشم مبین چون شمع
که سوزهاست نهانی درون پیرهنم
بیا و هستی حافظ ز پیش او بردار
که با وجود تو کس نشنود ز من که منم

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLBs-iUKGxQ

She walks in beauty like the night…

One of my favorite English poems of all time is reminiscent of Sufi poetry about Layla, whose name means “night,” and who symbolizes the beloved Divine Essence/Essence of the Self.

Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 

 

Rumi
Translation:
 You look through my two eyes, you are closer to me than myself
Your light shines brighter than the moon
Come into the garden so that the glory of the rose garden is humbled
that it may be more beautiful and blooming than a hundred gardens and rosebeds
so that the cedar will hide its height in shame
that the tongue of the lily will declare you more lily than itself
When you are kind, you are the candle of the soul, soft and pliable as wax
When you are aloof, you are more iron than iron
Do no be wild because you will meet her face to face
her charm will make you as cool and pliant as the earth
Throw away your armor and bare your chest at the moment of battle
there is no better protection nor armor than her.
That’s why in every Sufi retreat, all the openings are are sealed shut
so that from your light the house becomes more illumined

 

 

Orignal:
در دو چشم من نشین ای آن که از من منتری
تا قمر را وانمایم کز قمر روشنتری
اندرآ در باغ تا ناموس گلشن بشکند
ز آنک از صد باغ و گلشن خوشتر و گلشنتری
تا که سرو از شرم قدت قد خود پنهان کند
تا زبان اندرکشد سوسن که تو سوسنتری
وقت لطف ای شمع جان مانند مومی نرم و رام
وقت ناز از آهن پولاد تو آهنتری
چون فلک سرکش مباش ای نازنین کز ناز او
نرم گردی چون زمین گر از فلک توسنتری
زان برون انداخت جوشن حمزه وقت کارزار
کز هزاران حصن و جوشن روح را جوشنتری
زان سبب هر خلوتی سوراخ روزن را ببست
کز برای روشنی تو خانه را روشنتری

 

Ibn al-Farid

 

Translation:
Every part of me kissed her veil
With every mouth whose touch held every kiss
If she dissolved my body, she would see in every atom
each and every heart filled with each and every love

 

Original:

ويلثم مني كلّ جزء لثامها
بكلّ فم فى لثمه كلّ قبلة
فلو بسطت جسمي رأت كلّ جوهر
به كلّ قلب فيه كلّ محبة

 

Translation:

If I sought consolation, who would be there to be my guide
when in love, every leader follows my lead?
In my every limb is every yearning for her
and every longing tugs at my reins
As she bends, I imagine every hip she moves
to be a branch in a sand dune topped by the full moon
Mine is every limb filled with every inner core
wherein, when she glances, is embedded every arrow
And if she dissolved my body she would find every atom
every heart inhabited by every human love
In union with her, a year to me is but an instant,
an hour’s separation like a year.
When we met at nightfall, as the twin straight paths
between her dwelling and my tents brought us together,
We moved away a little from the tribe,
avoiding spies and slanderers with their deceitful talk
I spread my cheek upon the ground for her to walk upon
and she said, “Good news, now you may kiss my veil.”
But this my soul did not permit me, jealously
shielding her from me, for higher is my purpose
We passed the night in hope as my wish decreed
and I saw the world my kingdom and time itself my slave.

 

Translation modified from Stefan Sperl’s in Stefan Sperl, C. Shackle, Qasida Poetry in Islamic Asia and Africa

 

Original:

بمنْ أهتَدي في الحبِّ لو رُمْتُ سَلوَةً
وبي يقتَدي ، في الحبِّ ، كلُّ إمامِ

وفي كلِّ عُضوٍ فيَّ كلُّ صبابَةٍ
إليها ، وشَوْقٍ جَاذِبٍ بِزِمَامي

تَثَنَّتْ ، فَخِلْنا كلَّ عِطْفٍ تهُزُّهُ
قَضيبَ نقاً ، يَعْلُوهُ بَدْرُ تَمامِ

ولي كلُّ عُضوٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ حشىً بها
إذا ما رَنَتْ ، وَقْعٌ لكلِّ سِهامِ

ولوْ بسطتْ جسْمي رأتْ كلَّ جوهرٍ
بهِ كلُّ قلبٍ ، فيهِ كلُّ غَرامِ

وفي وَصْلِها ، عامٌ لدَيَّ كَلَحْظَةٍ
وساعَةُ هِجْرَانٍ عَلَيَّ كَعَامِ

ولمَّا تَلاقَينا عِشاءً ، وضَمَّنا
سواءُ سبيلَيْ دَارِها وخِيامي

ومِلْنا كذا شيئاً عنِ الحيِّ ، حيثُ لا
رَقيبٌ ، ولا وَاشٍ بِزَوْرِ كَلامِ

فرَشْتُ لها خَدِّي ، وِطاءً ، على الثَّرَى
فقالتْ : لكَ البُشرَى بِلَثمِ لِثامي

فما سَمَحَتْ نَفسي بذلِكَ ، غَيْرَةً
على صَوْنِها مِنِّي لِعزِّ مرامي

وبِتْنا ، كما شاءَ اقتراحي ، على المُنى
أرَى المُلكَ مُلكي والزَّمانَ غُلامي

 

Shushtari

Translation:

You seek Layla, but she reveals herself within you
You think she’s other, but she’s not other than you
And that’s a madness that is apparent to the cult of lovers
So be careful, for otherness is the essence of being cut off
Don’t you see how her beauty envelops you?
She disappears only when you reject part of yourself
“Come close to me,” you say to she who is your All
And when she loves you, she leads you to yourself
Meeting her is bliss beyond description
and none reach her, save those who see meaning without forms
I was so in love with her that I would have vanished in her love
had she not sworn that I only obey her
I concealed her from people with fantasy
After having revealed her, truly, inside my cloak.
I hid her from myself, with the robe of my worlds,
And from my envy, out of the severity of my jealousy
O Dazzling beauty! Should the light of your face
Touch the eyes of a blind man, he would see every atom
She is adorned with each and every charm and grace of beauty
And wherever she appears, she is desired by those who love.

 

Original:

أَتَطلُبُ لَيلى وَهيَ فيكَ تَجَلَّت                  وَتَحسَبُها غَيراً وَغَيرُكَ لَيسَتِ

فَذابلُهُ في مِلَّةِ الحُبِّ ظاهِرٌ                   فَكُن فَطِناً فَالغيرُ عَينُ القَطيعَةِ

أَلَم تَرَها أَلقَت عَلَيكَ جَمالَها               وَلَو لَم تَقُم بِالذاتِ مِنكَ اِضمَحَلَّتِ

تَقولُ لَها اُدنُ وَهيَ كُلَّك ثُمَّ إِن                    حَبَتكَ بِوَصلٍ أَوهَمَتكَ تَدَلَّتِ

عَزيزٌ لِقاها لا يَنالُ وِصالَها                 سِوى مَن يَرى مَعنىً بِغَيرِ هَوِيَّةِ

كَلِفت بِها حَتّى فَنِيتُ بِحُبِّها                       فَلَو أَقسَمَت أَنّيَ إِيّاها لَبَرَّتِ

وَغالَطتُ فيها الناسَ بِالوَهمِ بَعدَما                      تَبَيَّنتها حَقّاً بِداخِلِ بُردَتي

وَغَطَّيتُها عَنّي بِثَوبِ عَوالِمي                 وَعَن حاسِدي فيها لِشِدَّةِ غيرَتي

بَديعَة حُسنٍ أَو بَدا نورُ وَجهِها                 إِلى أَكمَهٍ أَضحى يَرى كُلَّ ذَرَّةِ

تحلّت بأنواع الجمال بأسرها                  فهام بها أهل الهوى حيثُ حلّت