James Taylor and Sufism

James Taylor’s/Carole King’s “You’ve got a Friend” is one of the most Sufi-sounding songs I’ve ever heard…

 

Lyrics:

When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend? People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you. Well, they’ll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend. You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend. Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.

 

 

Compare with the following Hadith Qudsi:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may God be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said:

“God Most High said:

‘I am as My servant thinks of me. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.'”

(recorded in the collections of Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Note:

The Arabic for “Make mention of Me” can also mean “Call My Name”…

 

Original:

عن أبي هريرة – رضي الله عنه – قال : قال النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : يقول الله تعالى : أنا عند ظن عبدي بي ، وأنا معه إذا ذكرني ، فإن ذكرني في نفسه ذكرته في نفسي ، وإن ذكرني في ملإ ذكرته في ملإ خير منهم ، وإن تقرب إلي بشبر تقربت إليه ذراعا ، وإن تقرب إلي ذراعا تقربت إليه باعا ، وإن أتاني يمشي أتيته هرولة

 (رواه البخاري ومسلم) .

 

And in the Qur’an, Surah al-Baqarah (v.257) says:

“And God is the Friend of those who believe: He takes them from the darkness into the light…”

اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُمْ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ

 

 

Rumi: By love

Translation:

By love, the bitter becomes sweet
By love copper coins become gold
By love, the dregs become clear
By love, the pain becomes healing
By love, the dead is made living
By love, the king is made a slave
And this love is the result of knowledge
Who, in foolishness, ever sat on such a throne?

 

Original:

 

از محبت تلخها شیرین شود
از محبت مسها زرین شود
از محبت دردها صافی شود
از محبت دردها شافی شود
از محبت مرده زنده می‌کنند
از محبت شاه بنده می‌کنند
این محبت هم نتیجهٔ دانشست
کی گزافه بر چنین تختی نشست

Compare with James Taylor’s song, the lyrics of which seem worthy of the Diwan-i Shams

 

Lyrics:

There’s something in the way she moves,
Or looks my way, or calls my name,
That seems to leave this troubled world behind.
And if I’m feeling down and blue,
Or troubled by some foolish game,
She always seems to make me change my mind.
And I feel fine anytime she’s around me now,
She’s around me now
Just about all the time
And if I’m well you can tell she’s been with me now,
She’s been with me now quite a long, long time
And I feel fine.
It isn’t what she’s got to say
But how she thinks and where she’s been
To me, the words are nice, the way they sound
I like to hear them best that way
It doesn’t much matter what they mean
If she says them mostly just to calm me down

And I feel fine anytime she’s around me now,
She’s around me now
Just about all the time
And if I’m well you can tell she’s been with me now,
She’s been with me now quite a long, long time
And I feel fine.
Every now and then the things I lean on lose their meaning
And I find myself careening
Into places where I should not let me go.
— She has the power to go where no one else can find me
And to silently remind me
Of the happiness and the good times that I know, got to know.
And I feel fine anytime she’s around me now,
She’s around me now
Just about all the time
And if I’m well you can tell she’s been with me now,
She’s been with me now quite a long, long time
And I feel fine.
Lyrics from http://www.elyrics.net

 

As Rumi is said to have written elsewhere:

You come to us from another world;
From beyond the stars and a void of space
Transcendent, pure – of unimaginable beauty.
Bringing with You the essence of Love.
You transform all who are touched by You –
Mundane concerns, troubles and sorrows dissolve in Your presence
Bringing joy to ruler & ruled, to peasants and kings.
You bewilder us with Your grace;
All evil is transformed into goodness.
You are the Master Alchemist!
You light the fire of Love in earth & sky,
In heart & soul of every being.
Through Your loving, existence & non-existence merge
All opposites unite
All that is profane becomes sacred again.
Be sure that in the Religion of Love, there are no believers or unbelievers
Love embraces all.

 

Hafez: We are Red Lions, Black Cobras

A new favorite from Hafez…

Translation:

 

Although we are the king’s slaves
We are the sovereigns of the kingdom of the dawn

 

With treasure in our sleeves and holes in our pockets
We are the surface of the world-seeing cup and the dust of the road

 

Awake with presence, yet drunk with pride,
We are the ocean of unity, yet drowning in sin

 

Lady luck, when she flirts
we are the mirror for her moon-like face

 

For the fortunate king, each night
we guard his crown and diadem

 

Tell him to be grateful for our conversation,
“For while you sleep, we are standing guard.”

 

Shah Mansur knows that
wherever we go

 

We make a shroud of blood for our enemies
and give the mantle of victory to our friends

 

There is no tint of hypocrisy in us
We are red lions and black cobras

 

Tell them to pay their debt to Hafez
You’ve admitted it, and we’ve witnessed it

 

Original:

               گر چه ما بندگان پادشهیم
پادشاهان ملک صبحگهیم
             گنج در آستین و کیسه تهی
جام گیتی نما و خاک رهیم
       هوشیار حضور و مست غرور
بحر توحید و غرقه گنهیم
           شاهد بخت چون کرشمه کند
ماش آیینه رخ چو مهیم
            شاه بیدار بخت را هر شب
ما نگهبان افسر و کلهیم
           گو غنیمت شمار صحبت ما
که تو در خواب و ما به دیده گهیم
           شاه منصور واقف است که ما
روی همت به هر کجا که نهیم
           دشمنان را ز خون کفن سازیم
دوستان را قبای فتح دهیم
           رنگ تزویر پیش ما نبود
شیر سرخیم و افعی سیهیم
           وام حافظ بگو که بازدهند
کرده‌ای اعتراف و ما گوهیم

 

lyris aside, this music seems to say the same thing to me: