One of Hafez’s Molamma’āt (mixed Persian and Arabic) ghazals illustrates not only the unique transformation of Arabic prosody in Persian poetry, but also Hafez’s unique gift for copying, transforming, and improving the verses from previous ghazals (in this case a ghazal by the seminal master of the ghazal, Sanā’ī):
Last night a letter arrived unexpectedly from my beloved.
She said: “My heart has seen the pangs of the resurrection in being
parted from you.”
I said: “Does your loving heart have some sign of suffering?”
She said: “Are not the tears in my eye enough of a sign for
She said: “What are you planning?” I said: “A journey.”
She said: “Go in health, happiness and safety?”
I said: “You are not trustworthy.” She said: “Test me!”
[I replied:] ” Whoever tests an experienced person will surely regret it.”
I said: “Farewell! You shall not come and conquer my breast.”
She said: “So you want union with me in secret? No, by grace!”
She said: “Take hold of my tresses!” I said: “Scandal will come”
She said: “Do you really not know about love and scandal?”
دی ناگه از نگارم اندر رسید نامه
قالت: رای فوادی من هجرک القیامه
گفتم که: عشق و دل را باشد علامتی هم
قالت: دموع عینی لم تکف بالعلامه
گفتا که: می چه سازی گفتم که مر سفر را
قالت: فمر صحیحا بالخیر و السلامه
گفتم: وفا نداری گفتا که: آزمودی
من جرب المجرب حلت به الندامه
گفتم: وداع نایی واندر برم نگیری
قالت: ترید وصلی سرا و لا کرامه
گفتا: بگیر زلفم گفتم: ملامت آید
قالت: الست تدری العشق و الملامه
I tested you a lot, but it did not help me
Whoever tries the experienced will come to regret it
بسيارت آزموذى امّا نبوذ سوذم من جرّب المجرّب حلّت به الندامة
From my heart’s grief I wrote a letter to my beloved.
For an age, from your absence, I have witnessed the resurrection
I have a hundred signs of separation in my eye
Are not the tears of these eyes of mine for us a sign?
However much I tried, she did not help me
Whoever tries the experienced will regret it
I asked a doctor about the state of my beloved. He said:
Suffering is in nearness to her, health is in distance from her.
I said: Will scandal come if I wander about your alley?.
By God! We have never seen a love without scandal.
Hafiz has come like one seeking a cup even at the price of his sweet soul,
that he might taste from it, a goblet of grace.
از خون دل نوشتم نزدیک دوست نامه
انی رایت دهرا من هجرک القیامه
دارم من از فراقش در دیده صد علامت
لیست دموع عینی هذا لنا العلامه
هر چند کآزمودم از وی نبود سودم
من جرّب المجرّب حلّت به الندامه
پرسیدم از طبیبی احوال دوست گفتا
فی بعدها عذاب فی قربها السلامه
گفتم ملامت آید گر گرد دوست گردم
و الله ما راینا حبا بلا ملامه
حافظ چو طالب آمد جامی به جان شیرین
حتی یذوق منه کاسا من الکرامه
From: François de Blois, “A Bilingual Poem by Ḥāfiẓ,” Oriente Moderno , 1996, Nuova serie, Anno 15 (76), Nr. 2, LA CIVILTÀ TIMURIDE COME FENOMENO INTERNAZIONALE. Volume II (Letteratura — Arte) (1996), pp. 379-384.
We have seen the turning of thy face to heaven. And now verily We shall turn you toward a qibla [direction of prayer] which is dear to thee. So turn thy face toward the Inviolable Place of Worship, and ye, wheresoever ye may be, turn your faces toward it. Lo! Those who have received the Scripture know that is the Truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.
We revealed to Moses and his brother, “Appoint houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses a qibla [direction of prayer], and establish worship. And give good news to the believers.”
To god belong the East and West, and wheresoever you turn, there is the face of God.
“Do you think my qibla is only here [before me]? By God, your bowing and prostrating are not concealed from me; I can see you even though you are behind my back.”
Since the qibla of the soul has been hidden
everyone has turned his face to a different corner
قبلهی جان را چو پنهان کردهاند
هر کسی رو جانبی آوردهاند
The Kaaba of Gabriel and the celestial spirits is a Lote-tree;
the glutton’s qibla is a cloth laden with dishes of food.
The qibla of the Knower is the light of union with God;
the qibla of the philosopher’s mind is fantasy.
The qibla of the ascetic is God, the Gracious;
the qibla of the flatterer is a purse of gold.
The qibla of the spiritual is patience and long-suffering;
the qiblah of form-worshippers is an image of stone.
The qibla of those who live in the inward is the Bounteous One;
the qibla of those who worship the outward is a woman’s face.
(Masanvi 6, 1896–1900)
کعبهی جبریل و جانها سدرهای ** قبلهی عبدالبطون شد سفرهای
قبلهی عارف بود نور وصال ** قبلهی عقل مفلسف شد خیال
قبلهی زاهد بود یزدان بر ** قبلهی مطمع بود همیان زر
قبلهی معنیوران صبر و درنگ ** قبلهی صورتپرستان نقش سنگ
قبلهی باطننشینان ذوالمنن ** قبلهی ظاهرپرستان روی زن
By virtue of that Light the calf becomes a qibla of grace;
without that Light the qibla becomes infidelity and an idol.
The licence that comes from self-will is error;
the licence that comes from God is perfection.
In that quarter where the illimitable Light has shone,
infidelity has become faith and the Devil has attained unto Islam.
عجل با آن نور شد قبلهی کرم ** قبله بی آن نور شد کفر و صنم
کفر ایمان گشت و دیو اسلام یافت ** آن طرف کان نور بیاندازه تافت
(Masnavi 6: 2073)
Within the Ka‘ba the rule of the qibla does not exist:
what matter if the diver has no snow-shoes?
Do not seek guidance from the drunken:
why dost thou order those whose garments are rent in pieces to mend them?
The religion of Love is apart from all religions:
for lovers, the (only) religion and sect is God.
در درون کعبه رسم قبله نیست ** چه غم ار غواص را پاچیله نیست
تو ز سر مستان قلاووزی مجو ** جامه چاکان را چه فرمایی رفو
تو ز سر مستان قلاووزی مجو ** جامه چاکان را چه فرمایی رفو
ملت عشق از همه دینها جداست ** عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست
Since the Hand of God has made the Qibla manifest,
henceforth deem searching to be disallowed.
Hark, avert your face and head from searching,
now that the Destination and Dwelling-place has come into view.
If you forget this Qibla for one moment, you will become in thrall to every worthless qibla (object of desire).
When you show ingratitude to him that gives you discernment, the thought that recognises the Qibla will dart away from you.
قبله را چون کرد دست حق عیان ** پس تحری بعد ازین مردود دان
هین بگردان از تحری رو و سر ** که پدید آمد معاد و مستقر
ک زمان زین قبله گر ذاهل شوی ** سخرهی هر قبلهی باطل شوی
چون شوی تمییزده را ناسپاس ** بجهد از تو خطرت قبلهشناس
Every sect has a faith, a Qibla to which they turn,
I have turned my face towards the crooked cap (of Nizamudin Aulia)
The whole world worships something or the other,
Some look for God in Mecca, while some go to Kashi (Banaras),
So why can’t I, Oh wise people, fall into my beloved’s feet?
Every sect has a faith, a Qibla.
هر قوم راست راهي، ديني و قبله گاهي
من قبله راست كرديم ،بر سمت كج كلاهي
Har qaum raast raahay, deen-e wa qibla gaahay,
Mun qibla raast kardam, bar samt kajkulaahay.
Sansaar har ko poojay, kul ko jagat sarahay,
Makkay mein koyi dhoondhay, Kaashi ko koi jaaye,
Guyyian main apnay pi kay payyan padun na kaahay.
Har qaum raast raahay, deen-e wa qibla gaahay…
The one to whom I bow is beyond senses’ boundaries
The qiblah itself’s a pointer for those who can see
ہے پرے سرحدِ ادراک سے اپنا مسجود
قبلے کو اہلِ نظر قبلہ نما کہتے ہیں
Contemplate the house: for sanctified hearts,
its lights shine openly
They look at it through God, without a veil,
and its august and sublime secret appears to them.
My heart has become receptive to every form
A meadow for gazelles, and a cloister for the monks
A house for the idols, and the pilgrim’s Ka’aba
The tablets of the Torah, pages of the Qur’an
My religion is love’s own and wheresoever turn
Her caravan, that love is my religion and my faith
We have an example in Bishr, lover of Hind and her sister,
“Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing.
And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving…. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
Where’s the good news of union that from this life I rise?
I am a holy bird, from this world’s net I arise
And I swear by your love, that if you call me your slave
that up from the world’s sovereignty and rank I will arise
O Lord, from the cloud of your guidance, let rain fall
Before the time when, from the midst, dust-like I will arise
Sit beside my grave with a musician and with wine
So that with your scent dancing from the tomb I will arise
Rise and show your stature, O idol of sweet moves
So that from this life and world, dancing I arise
Although I’m old, hold me tight in your arms for one night
So that at morning light, young, from your embrace I’ll arise
On the day of my death, take a break to visit me
So that Hafez, from this life and this world, will arise
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
Bury me when I die beneath a wine barrel in a tavern. With luck, the cask will leak.
Ware shinaba sakaya no kame no shita ni ikeyo moshi ya shizuku no mori ya sen nan
(note the pun on the poet’s name “Moriya Sen’an” and the last line:
“with luck the cask will leak”—”mori ya sen nan”)
One whose heart has been revived by love can never die
Our everlastingness is engraved upon the cosmic scroll
هرگز نمیرد آن که دلش زنده شد به عشق ثبت است بر جریده عالم دوام ما
When I am dead, open my grave and see
The cloud of smoke that rises round thy feet:
In my dead heart the fire still burns for thee;
Yea, the smoke rises from my winding-sheet!
بگشای تربتم را بعد از وفات و بنگر
کز آتش درونم دود از کفن برآید
Translation: Gertrude Bell
Lips scalded by love’s tongues of flame
Can never taste death’s bitter pain
Unable are the Loved to die
For Love is Immortality
Nay, it is Deity—
Unable they that love—to die
For Love reforms Vitality
Macedonio Fernández-Creíyo Yo
Love’s reach does not to everything extend, for
it cannot shake or break the stab of Death.
Yet little can Death take
if in a loving heart the fear of it subsides.
Nor can Death much take at all, for it cannot
drive its fear into the heart where Love resides.
That if Death rule over Life, Love over Death.
No a todo alcanza Amor, pues que no puede
romper el gajo con que Muerte toca.
Mas poco Muerte logra
si en corazón de Amor su miedo muere.
Mas poco Muerte logra, pues no puede
entrar su miedo en pecho donde Amor.
Que Muerte rige a Vida; Amor a Muerte.
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)
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
Do not stand By my grave, and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep—
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night. Do not stand By my grave, and cry— I am not there, I did not die.
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)
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
Illusion appears, illusion ceases The biggest illusion among all is our body Once a pacified heart finds its place There’s no such body to look for
John Donne-“Death, Be Not Proud”
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy … ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.
I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah’s messenger
mouth: “If you don’t believe you won’t be safe.”
I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension’s presence. But I
think to myself: Alone, the prophet Muhammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”
Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me … and I forgot, like you, to die.
From : https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52551/in-jerusalem
في القدس، أَعني داخلَ السُّور القديمِ،
أَسيرُ من زَمَنٍ إلى زَمَنٍ بلا ذكرى
تُصوِّبُني. فإن الأنبياءَ هناك يقتسمون
تاريخَ المقدَّس… يصعدون إلى السماء
ويرجعون أَقلَّ إحباطاً وحزناً، فالمحبَّةُ
والسلام مُقَدَّسَان وقادمان إلى المدينة.
كنت أَمشي فوق مُنْحَدَرٍ وأَهْجِسُ: كيف
يختلف الرُّواةُ على كلام الضوء في حَجَرٍ؟
أَمِنْ حَجَر ٍشحيحِ الضوء تندلعُ الحروبُ؟
أسير في نومي. أَحملق في منامي. لا
أرى أحداً ورائي. لا أرى أَحداً أمامي.
كُلُّ هذا الضوءِ لي. أَمشي. أخفُّ. أطيرُ
ثم أَصير غيري في التَّجَلِّي. تنبُتُ
الكلماتُ كالأعشاب من فم أشعيا
النِّبَويِّ: ((إنْ لم تُؤْمنوا لن تَأْمَنُوا)).
أَمشي كأنِّي واحدٌ غيْري. وجُرْحي وَرْدَةٌ
بيضاءُ إنجيليَّةٌ. ويدايَ مثل حمامتَيْنِ
على الصليب تُحلِّقان وتحملان الأرضَ.
لا أمشي، أَطيرُ، أَصيرُ غَيْري في
التجلِّي. لا مكانَ و لا زمان . فمن أَنا؟
أَنا لا أنا في حضرة المعراج. لكنِّي
أُفكِّرُ: وَحْدَهُ، كان النبيّ محمِّدٌ
يتكلِّمُ العربيَّةَ الفُصْحَى. ((وماذا بعد؟))
ماذا بعد؟ صاحت فجأة جنديّةٌ:
هُوَ أَنتَ ثانيةً؟ أَلم أَقتلْكَ؟
قلت: قَتَلْتني… ونسيتُ، مثلك، أن أَموت.
(Translated by Houssem Ben Lazreg in Transference 5(1) Fall 2017:61-65)
We passed by the home of the beloved
but the enemy’s laws and wall turned us away
I said to myself, “Maybe, that is a blessing”
What will you see in Jerusalem when you visit?
You will see all that you can’t stand
when her houses become visible from all sides When meeting her beloved, not every soul rejoices Nor does every absence harm
If they are delighted when meeting before departure such joy cannot remain kindled
For once your eyes have seen Jerusalem
You will only see her, wherever you look.
In Jerusalem, a greengrocer from Georgia,
annoyed with his wife,
thinks of going on vacation or painting his house
In Jerusalem, a middle-aged man from Upper Manhattan holds a Torah and teaches Polish boys its commandments In Jerusalem, an Ethiopian policeman
seals off a street in the marketplace,
A machine gun hangs from the shoulder of a teenage settler, A person wearing a yarmulke
bows at the Wailing Wall,
Blonde European tourists who don’t see Jerusalem at all but spend most of the time taking pictures of each other
beside a Palestinian woman selling radishes in public squares all day long
In Jerusalem, there are walls of basil
In Jerusalem, there are barricades of concrete
In Jerusalem, the soldiers marched with heavy boots over the clouds
In Jerusalem, we were forced to pray on the asphalt
In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
And History turned to me and smiled:
“Have you really thought that you would overlook them
and see others?
Here they are in front of you;
They are the text while you are the footnote and margin
O son, have you thought that your visit would remove, from the city’s face, the thick veil of her present, so that you may see what you desire?
In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
Jerusalem is the wandering deer
As fate sentenced it to departure
You still chase her since she bid you farewell
O son, calm down for a while, I see that you began to faint” In Jerusalem, everyone is there but you.
O historian, wait,
The city has two timelines:
One foreign, serene, with steady steps as if it is walking asleep
The other wears a mask and walks secretly with caution
And Jerusalem knows herself,
Ask the people there, everyone will guide you
Everything in the city
has a tongue which, when you ask, will reply
In Jerusalem, the crescent becomes more curved like an embryo
Bending towards other crescents over the domes
And over the years, their relation developed to be like a father to a son
In Jerusalem, the stones of the buildings are quoted from the Bible and the Quran
In Jerusalem, beauty is octagonal and blue
On top of it, lies a golden dome
that looks like, I think, a convex mirror
Reflecting the face of the heavens
Playing with it, drawing it near
Distributing the sky, like aid in a siege for those in need
If people appeal to God after Friday sermon
In Jerusalem, the sky is shared by everyone,
We protect it and it protects us
And we carry it on our shoulders
If time oppresses its moons.
In Jerusalem, the marble columns are dark
as though their veins were smoke
Windows, high in mosques and churches,
took dawn by hand, showing him how to paint with colors
He says, “like this”
but the windows reply, “no, like this”
And after long debate, they compromise
as the dawn is free when outside the threshold
But if he wants to enter through God’s Windows
He has to abide by their rules
In Jerusalem there’s a school built by a Mameluke who came from beyond the river,
was sold at a slave market in Isfahan
to a merchant from Baghdad, who traveled to Aleppo,
and gave the Mameluke to Aleppo’s Prince
Fearing the blueness in the Mameluke’s left eye,
the Prince gave him to a caravan heading for Egypt
where soon, he became the vanquisher of the Moguls and the Sovereign Sultan
In Jerusalem, the scent of Babylon and India
are at an herbalist’s shop in Khan El Zeit
I swear, it is a scent with a language that you will understand if you listen;
It says to me
when tear gas canisters are being fired
And as the gas wanes, that scent fills the air again and says:
In Jerusalem, contradictions get along, and wonders cannot be denied
People check them out like pieces of old and new fabric
and miracles there are tangible.
In Jerusalem, if you shake hands with an old man or touch a building you will find, engraved on your palm, my friend, a poem or two
In Jerusalem, despite successive calamities
a breeze of innocence and childhood fills the air
And you can see doves fly high
announcing, between two shots, the birth of an independent state
In Jerusalem, the rows of graves
are the lines of the city’s history while the book is the soil
Everyone has passed through
For Jerusalem welcomes all visitors, whether disbelievers or believers
Walk through, and read the headstones in all languages
You will find the Africans, the Europeans, the Kipchaks, the Slavs, the Bosniaks, the Tatars, the Turks, the believers, the disbelievers,
the poor and the rich, the hermits, and the miscreants
Here lie all sorts of people that ever walked the earth
They were the footnotes of the book, now they are the main text before us.
Is it just for us that the city has become too small?
Oh chronicler! What made you exclude us?
Re-write and think again, for I see that you made a grave mistake
The eyes close, then look again
The driver of the yellow car heads north, away from the city’s gates. And now Jerusalem is behind us
I could glance at her through the right wing-mirror
Her colors have changed before the sunset
Then, a smile sneaked onto my face
and said to me when I looked close and careful,
“Oh you who weep behind the wall, are you a fool?
Have you lost your mind?
Do not weep because you were excluded from the main text
O Arab, do not weep, and know for sure
that whomever is in Jerusalem
It is only you I see.”
مَرَرْنا عَلــى دارِ الحبيب فرَدَّنا
عَنِ الدارِ قانونُ الأعادي وسورُهافَقُلْتُ لنفســي رُبما هِيَ نِعْمَةٌ
فماذا تَرَى في القدسِ حينَ تَزُورُها
تَرَى كُلَّ ما لا تستطيعُ احتِمالَهُ
إذا ما بَدَتْ من جَانِبِ الدَّرْبِ دورُهاوما كلُّ نفسٍ حينَ تَلْقَى حَبِيبَها تُـسَرُّ
ولا كُلُّ الغـِيابِ يُضِيرُهافإن سـرَّها قبلَ الفِراقِ لِقاؤُه
فليسَ بمأمـونٍ عليها سـرُورُهامتى تُبْصِرِ القدسَ العتيقةَ مَرَّةً
فسوفَ تراها العَيْنُ حَيْثُ تُدِيرُها***
في القدسِ، بائعُ خضرةٍ من جورجيا برمٌ بزوجته
يفكرُ في قضاءِ إجازةٍ أو في في طلاءِ البيتْفي القدس، توراةٌ وكهلٌ جاءَ من مَنْهاتِنَ العُليا يُفَقَّهُ فتيةَ البُولُونِ في أحكامها
في القدسِ شرطيٌ من الأحباشِ يُغْلِقُ شَارِعاً في السوقِ..
رشَّاشٌ على مستوطنٍ لم يبلغِ العشرينَ،
قُبَّعة تُحَيِّي حائطَ المبكَىوسياحٌ من الإفرنجِ شُقْرٌ لا يَرَوْنَ القدسَ إطلاقاً
تَراهُم يأخذونَ لبعضهم صُوَرَاًمَعَ امْرَأَةٍ تبيعُ الفِجْلَ في الساحاتِ طُولَ اليَومْفي القدسِ دَبَّ الجندُ مُنْتَعِلِينَ فوقَ الغَيمْفي القدسِ صَلَّينا على الأَسْفَلْتْ
في القدسِ مَن في القدسِ إلا أنْتْ!***
وَتَلَفَّتَ التاريخُ لي مُتَبَسِّماً
أَظَنَنْتَ حقاً أنَّ عينَك سوفَ تخطئهم،! وتبصرُ غيرَهم
ها هُم أمامَكَ، مَتْنُ نصٍّ أنتَ حاشيةٌ عليهِ وَهَامشٌ
أَحَسبتَ أنَّ زيارةً سَتُزيحُ عن وجهِ المدينةِ، يا بُنَيَّ، حجابَ واقِعِها السميكَ
لكي ترى فيها هَواكْ
في القدسِ كلًّ فتى سواكْ
وهي الغزالةُ في المدى، حَكَمَ الزمانُ بِبَيْنِها
ما زِلتَ تَرْكُضُ إثْرَهَا مُذْ وَدَّعَتْكَ بِعَيْنِها
رفقاً بِنَفسكَ ساعةً إني أراكَ وَهَنْتْ
في القدسِ من في القدسِ إلا أَنْتْ
يا كاتبَ التاريخِ مَهْلاً، فالمدينةُ دهرُها دهرانِ
دهر أجنبي مطمئنٌ لا يغيرُ خطوَه وكأنَّه يمشي خلالَ النومْ
وهناك دهرٌ، كامنٌ متلثمٌ يمشي بلا صوتٍ حِذار القومْ
والقدس تعرف نفسها..
إسأل هناك الخلق يدْلُلْكَ الجميعُ
فكلُّ شيء في المدينة
ذو لسانٍ، حين تَسأَلُهُ، يُبينْ
في القدس يزدادُ الهلالُ تقوساً مثلَ الجنينْ
حَدْباً على أشباهه فوقَ القبابِ
تَطَوَّرَتْ ما بَيْنَهم عَبْرَ السنينَ عِلاقةُ الأَبِ بالبَنينْ
في القدس أبنيةٌ حجارتُها اقتباساتٌ من الإنجيلِ والقرآنْ
في القدس تعريفُ الجمالِ مُثَمَّنُ الأضلاعِ أزرقُ،
فَوْقَهُ، يا دامَ عِزُّكَ، قُبَّةٌ ذَهَبِيَّةٌ،
تبدو برأيي، مثل مرآة محدبة ترى وجه السماء مُلَخَّصَاً فيها
تُوَزِّعُها كَأَكْياسِ المعُونَةِ في الحِصَارِ لمستَحِقِّيها
إذا ما أُمَّةٌ من بعدِ خُطْبَةِ جُمْعَةٍ مَدَّتْ بِأَيْدِيها
وفي القدس السماءُ تَفَرَّقَتْ في الناسِ تحمينا ونحميها
ونحملُها على أكتافِنا حَمْلاً إذا جَارَت على أقمارِها الأزمانْ
في القدس أعمدةُ الرُّخامِ الداكناتُ
كأنَّ تعريقَ الرُّخامِ دخانْ
My Heart Is In The East
Translated by A.Z. Foreman
My heart is in the east, and the rest of me at the edge of the west. How can I taste the food I eat? How can it give me pleasure? How can I keep my promise now, or fulfill the vows I’ve made While Zion remains in the Cross’s reign1, and I in Arab chains? With pleasure I would leave behind all the good things of Spain, If only I could gaze on the dust of our ruined Holy Place.
One of my favorite poems in praise of the Prophet is this gem from the Sudanese Sufi Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Qamar al-dīn al-Majdhūb (d. 1831) a friend and student of Aḥmad ibn Idrīs (d. 1837).
Upon you be God’s blessing, and then His peace too
O Messenger of God, I am so enamored with you
I shed tears from witnessing the sorrow that they
Brought up from a heart in longing, enthralled
But there is not, for this infatuation an explanation
Without seeing its beloved and greeting him
The beloved said to me, don’t fear after this
Any veil or exile, for my covenant is fulfilled
Whenever you want closeness with me, then call on me
O Messenger of God, I am enamored with you
I will answer you from a distance while I am seated with
Whomever is lovingly busy with my remembrance, describing me
I swear that a heart that loves you
For it the torment of the fire is absolutely forbidden
So what of one who waits on you at each hour?
Such a one is certainly in paradise delighting
Greetings of peace be upon you and this greeting grants me
The perfection of witnessing Beauty, inspiring
My tongue with salutations worthy of your rank
Repeating them, saluting you, murmuring
Greetings of peace be upon the head of the Messenger, Muhammad
A majestic head with Majesty turbaned
Greetings of peace be upon the face of Muhammad
O what a wondrous face in brightness veiled!
Greetings of peace be upon the eyes of the prophet Muhammad
Eyes of the deepest black with black lined
Greetings of peace be upon the nose of the prophet Muhammad
A nose straight and bright and aquiline
Greetings of peace be upon the cheeks of the Beloved, Muhammad
Cheeks luminous, soft, and fragrant
Greetings of peace be upon the mouth of the Prophet Muhammad
A mouth in which precious pearls are arrayed
For other than God’s speech and remembrance and the call
to the presence of his Master, he would not speak
Greetings of peace be upon the neck of the prophet Muhammad
A neck flashing bright and shapely
Greetings of peace be upon the chest of the beloved Muhammad
A chest wide, with knowledge brimming
Greetings of peace be upon the heart of the beloved Muhammad
A heart in the Light of God perpetually abiding
It witnesses the Lord of the Throne at every instant
For if the eyes rest, it does not, so know this!
Greetings of peace be upon the palm of the prophet Muhammad
A wide-open palm, how generous and ennobling
By which how many a poor man became after his poverty
Rich, and how many a tyrant by it was harmed
Greetings of peace be upon the feet of the Beloved, Muhammad
that trampled the veils of glory that were offered
By which he stood in the Mihrab for God devoutly
In intimate converse with the Lord of the Throne, while people slept
His persistence continued every night
Until they colored and swelled
Greetings of peace be upon the essence/body (dhāt) of the prophet Muhammad
For in its loveliness, all Beauty is completed
Greetings of peace be upon all of the prophet Muhammad
A magnificent prophet, by the Majestic, magnified
A Prophet [who is] from His Exalted Master, a solicitude
Which appears as creation in the gathering is dumbfounded
Raising the banner of praise as a standard
While the prophets and messengers crowd beneath it
In him, each wayward one in the resurrection is seeking refuge
And each lover is triumphant and spoken to
By him, Majdhūb hopes to be delivered with his companions
Without trial, O intercessor, safe and sound.
Upon you be the blessings of God and then His peace too
Including all [his] family, and here we conclude.
The Iwan of Chosroes in Iraq is the only visible structure remaining of the Sassanid capital of Ctesphion (Madā’in in Arabic), about 35 km south of present-day Baghdad. Its Iwan, or arch, the largest vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world, is considered an architectural marvel. Possibly constructed during the reign of Anushirwan (Chosroes I) c 540 AD, the ruins of this palace have served as inspiration for many poets, particularly due to Islamic legends that this Iwan cracked upon the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, signaling the emergence of Islam as a new empire and civilization that would replace that of the Sassanids.
Below are three of the most famous poems inspired by these ruins. The first, written by the Senegalese Sufi shaykh, Ibrahim Niasse, upon his visit to the site in 1960, references many of the miraculous legends surrounding the Prophet’s birth and life; it is a celebration of the coming of the spiritual reality of the Prophet Muhammad into the world, eclipsing all other temporal power, and representing the miraculous, but inevitable triumph of truth, justice and spiritual authority over seemingly invincible political authority and power. The second, by the Persian poet al-Khaqānī, inspired by his visit to the site on his way back from ḥajj, is one of the most-celebrated Persian qasidas and takes the ruins as a moralizing reminder of the transience of power, wealth and glory, and the inevitable march of time which tramples all underfoot. The third, and oldest of these poems is by the ‘Abbasid court poet al-Buḥturī, and is a complex and vibrant celebration of the glory of the Sassanid kings, an appropriation and alliance of their civilization and time with that of the poet, and a textured reflection on memory, time, decay, and renewal. Whereas al-Buḥturī’s poem is largely celebratory of the memory of bygone glory and nobility, Khāqāni’s verse emphasizes its transience and evanescence, and the moral renewal such contemplation can provoke (as described in Qur’an 3:137, 6:6, 30:9, 40:21, 40:82, 44:25 etc.), and Niasse’s shorter, more straightforward and repetitive poem takes the ruins as a reminder of the glory of the spiritual reality of the Prophet and the once, future, and always victory of the truth over earthly power. All three poems are filled with literary allusions, creative and evocative imagery, literary devices, and profound musicality, as you can hear in the recordings below.
Ibrahim Niasse (d. 1975)
Was it Chosroes’ Iwan that was crushed, heralding
The emergence of the Prophet and Chosroes’ evanescence?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came with
His greatest signs, was it your castle that he saw?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came
Did the rivers run dry? Or did they gush forth?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, when Muhammad came
Did not the Magi come to you extolling him?
O Chosroes Anushirvan, did not Muhammad come
Reciting, reminding, warning and giving glad tidings?
While the idols had prostrated to God, speaking [of his coming]
And the soothsayers had told of what was hidden?
Greetings of peace to the light of God that
Overshadowed, by his lights, the lights of Chosroes and Caesar
Greetings of peace to he who brought, while he was in Mecca
A light by which Chosroes’ Iwan was cracked
Greetings of peace to being’s secret and its mystery
For God’s alone is what is more exalted, and precious, and dazzling
Greetings of peace to he who came, while existence, all of it
Was darkness, and from his lights it was illumined
Greetings of peace to him from a lovelorn servant
In Baghdad, exhausted from having spent the night in sleepless contemplation
So he who razed this castle while he was a child in Mecca
did not leave behind any appearance of that infidelity
So he who razed this castle while he was in Mecca
He will demolish the castles of infidelity whenever he is remembered
Upon him be the blessings of God and then His peace too
For I see that the lot of Muslims is abundant fortune
Upon him be the blessings of God and then His peace too
And the share of the enemies of religion is a scourge of destruction
 An allusion to a miracle of the Prophet at the Battle of the Trench: when attempting to split a rock while digging a trench to protect the Medinan community, the Prophet’s three blows produced three flashes of light by which he reported that he saw three landmarks: the palace of Chosroes, the castles of the Yemen and those of Syria, each representing an opening of a direction for the spread of Islam (East, South, and North/West).
أإيوان كسرى هل دهاك وأنذرا بروز نيبيّي إنّ كسرى تقهقرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد بآياته الكبرى وقصرك أبصرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد وهل قطع الأنهار أم هل تفجّرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد وهل قد أتاك الموبذان مكبّرا
أكسرى أنوشروان جاء محمّد يرتِّل ذكراً منذراً ومبشّرا
وقد سجد المعبود لله ناطقاً وقد أبنأ الكهان ما كان مضمرا
سلام على نور الإله الذي خبت بأنواره أنوار كسرى وقيصرا
سلام على من جاءوهو بمكّةٍ بنورٍ به إيوان كسرى تكسّرا
سلام على سرّ الوجود ورمزه فللّه ما أعلى وأغلى وأبهارا
سلام على من جاء والكون كلّه ظلام ومن أنواره قد تنوّرا
سلام عليه من خديمٍ متيّمٍ بببداد وهناً لا ينام تفكّرا
فمن هدّ هذا القصر وهو بمكّةٍ وليداً فلا يبقي لذا الكفر مظهرا
ومن هدّ هذا القصر وهوبمكةٍ سيهدم قصر الكفر حين تذكّرا
عليه صلاة الله ثمّ سلامه وأبصر حظّ المسلمين موفّرا
عليه صلاة الله ثمّ سلامه يلقى عدوّ الدّين سوطاً مدمّرا
al-Khَāqānī (d. 1199)
(By Julie Meisami, from Qasida Poetry in Islamic Africa and Asia: Eulogy’s Bounty, Stefan Sperl and Christopher Shackle, eds. (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 163-169.
Awake!, O heart that sees portents, reflect on what you see,
Awake! Consider Madaʾin’s great arch as admonition’s mirror.
Leaving the banks of the Tigris, alight at Madaʾin,
on its ground let spill from your eyes, another Tigris
The very Tigris weeps a hundred Tigrises of blood; you’d say
Heat makes its bloody torrent pour fire from its lashes
Consider how the Tigris’ lips have caused its mouth to foam;
You’d say its fevered sighs of pain have caused its lips to blister
Consider how the fire of grief is grilling Tigris’ liver;
Have you ever heard of water that was roasted by a fire?
Again and again weep over the Tigris; give it alms from your eyes,
Even though the Tigris itself bestows its alms on the seashore.
Should the Tigris mingle its lips’ cold sighs with the burning of its heart,
Half of it would freeze over, half become a fiery grate
When the Aivan’s chain of justice broke apart in Madā’in,
The maddened Tigris was enchained, its waves twisted like chains
Now and again, in the tongue of tears, call out to the Aivan
In the hope that with your heart’s ear you will hear an answer from it.
Each palace battlement will give you counsel again and again;
Heed the advice of the battlement’s head from the bottom of your heart.
It says: ‘You are of earth and we are now your earth; so take
Two or three steps upon us; scatter two or three tears as well.
‘Truly the owl’s lamenting wail has caused our heads to ache.
‘Pour rosewater from your eyes to ease our headache and grief.
Indeed why should you marvel so? For in the world’s pleasance
‘The owl follows the nightingale; laments follow sweet songs.’
‘We are the court of justice, yet have suffered this injustice.
‘Say, what reversal will befall the castles of the unjust!’
‘You’d say this Aivan, lofty as the sky, had been overturned by command
Of the turning of the sky itself, or of Him who turns the sky.
You laugh at my eyes, as if to say, ‘What does he weep for here?’
But in this place they weep at those eyes that are not moved to tears
The white-haired crone of Madā’in is no less than Kufa’s old woman
The narrow chamber of the one is not less than the other’s oven
Do you know then what you must do? Make Madā’in equal Kufa
Make your breast a fiery oven; seek the flood from your eyes.
This is that very Aivan where, from the impress of men’s faces,
The dirt of its threshold was transformed to an idol-temple’s wall
This is that very court wherein, of the rulers of the world
Babylon’s king was a Daylami, Turkestan’s king, and Indian
This is that very portico whose grandeur was so awesome
That the lion of its hangings assaulted Lion’s heaven
Imagine it is that very age, and look, with reflection’s eye
On the chain before the court, the splendid assembly in the field
Dismount from your horse, and place your face upon the mat of earth and see
How great Nu’man is checkmated beneath its elephants’ feet
Nay, nay: see, like Nu’man, those elephant-felling kings themselves
Slain by the elephants Night and Day in the winding turns of time
How many an elephant-slaying king has been slain with a king-elephant
By the chess-player of his destiny, mated, deprived of hope.
The earth is drunk, for it has drunken deep–instead of wine—
From the cup of Hurmuz’s skull, the heart’s blood of Anushirvan
So many words of counsel then showed plainly in his crown
That now a hundred fledgling kites are hidden in his brains.
Kisrā and his golden citron, Parviz and his golden quince
Were swiftly carried off the wind, became as one with the earth
Parviz at every feast would scatter herbs of gold; transform
his golden carpet into a garden sprouting golden herbs
Parviz has vanished now; speak less of that vanished one.
where now is his feast, his golden herbs? Go and recite ‘How many…’
You ask, ‘Where have they gone, those crowned heads?’ Behold!
The belly of the earth swells pregnant with them ever more.
The pregnant earth takes long in giving birth. Indeed,
The task of giving birth is difficult, though impregnation’s easy.
It is the blood in Shirin’s heart, that wine the vine gives forth;
It is Parviz’s clay that forms the jar its grower offers
How many tyrants’ bodies have been swallowed by the earth?
No matter, she of greedy eyes is still not sated by them.
She mixes rouge to paint her face from the blood of children’s hearts,
This aged crone with whitened brows, this mother with black dugs
Khāqānī: like a beggar, seek admonition from this court,
That at your door, hereafter, the Khāqān [regal] will seek charity.
If today a traveller seeks provision from the sultan,
Tomorrow at the traveller’s door the sultan will seek provision.
If gifts from every town provision Mecca’s road,
Then you take Madā’in’s provision as a gift for Sharvan’s sake
Everyone takes from Mecca prayer-beads of Hamza’s clay
Then you take from Madā’in prayer-beads from the clay of Salman.
Look on this sea of insight, don’t pass by without a drink;
One cannot leave the shore of such a sea with thirsting lips.
When friends return from journeying, they bring with them a gift.
This bit of poetry is a gift brought for the hearts of friends.
Observe then in this poem what magic he displays,
The dead man with a Christlike heart, the madman with a wise soul.
for cleverness is mere opinion and bewilderment is vision.
زیرکی بفروش و حیرانی بخر
زیرکی ظنست و حیرانی نظر
“Now guidance is that man should be guided to bewilderment, and know that the affair is bewilderment and that bewilderment is unrest and motion, and that motion is life, without stillness and so without death, and is existence without non-existence.”
“And thus there is nothing but bewilderment, shattering one’s vision, although the one who knows what we are saying shall not be bewildered.”
“…Drowned in the sea which the knowledge of God is, and which is bewilderment”
As the sprout of bewilderment, your love came
As the perfection of bewilderment, your union came
Many a drowned one, in the ecstasy of union
to whom in the ecstasy itself, bewilderment came
Neither union nor united remain
where the specter of bewilderment came
Show me one heart on his path
in whose face no mole of bewilderment came
From every direction that I listened
the sound of the question of bewilderment came
From head to foot, Hafez’s existence
In love, a sprout of bewilderment became
عشق تو نهال حیرت آمد وصل تو کمال حیرت آمد
بس غرقه حال وصل کآخر هم بر سر حال حیرت آمد
یک دل بنما که در ره او بر چهره نه خال حیرت آمد
نه وصل بماند و نه واصل آن جا که خیال حیرت آمد
از هر طرفی که گوش کردم آواز سؤال حیرت آمد
شد منهزم از کمال عزت آن را که جلال حیرت آمد
سر تا قدم وجود حافظ در عشق نهال حیرت آمد
Give me an excess of love for you, bewildered
And have mercy on a heart scorched by a glance of your love
And if I ask to see you truly
Then allow me, graciously
And let not your answer be, “Thou shalt not see“
O heart, you have promised me to be patient in loving them
So be sure to bear it do not dismay
Passion is life, so die in it lovingly.
Your duty is to die and be absolved
My heart, say to those ahead of me, and those behind me,
Whoever has seen the sacrifice of my sorrow
“Follow my example and listen to me
And tell the tale of my love amongst mankind”
I was alone with the Beloved and between us there was
A secret more subtle than the dawn breeze when it blows
صلاة ربّي مع السلام
على الحبيب سيّد الكيان Ṣalaatu rabbi ma‘ as-salaami ‘alā’l-ḥabeebi seyyidil-Kiyaani
حمداً لربّي لمن يربّ
كلّ الانام و قد كافان ḥamdan li rabbi li man yurabbi kullal-anaami wa qad kafaani
Praise be to my Lord for the one who cares for
All creatures, and has sufficed me
بدر البدور بحر البحور
سرّ السرور سرّ ربّاني Badril-Budoori Baḥril-Buḥoori Sirris-suroori, sirrin-Rabbaani
Moon of moons, sea of seas
The secret of joy, a divine secret
نور الانوار ضوء الابصار
اوج الافكار فخر الانسان Nuril-anwaari, ḍaw’il-abṣaari Awjil-afkaari, fakhril-insaani
Light of lights, light of sights
The summit of thoughts, the pride of mankind
شمس الشموس رأس الرؤوس
تاج العروس سبع المثان Shamsish-shumoosi Ra’sir-ru’oosi Tajil-‘aroosi, Sab‘il-mathaani
Sun of suns, chief of chiefs
Bridegroom’s crown, the seven oft-repeated
نفس النفوس رمزالرموز
في خلق الله ما له ثاني Nafsin-nufoosi, Ramzir-rumoozi Fi khalqiLlahi Ma lahu thaani
The Soul of souls, mystery of mysteries
In God’s creation, he has no peer
غوث العباد صوت إنشادي
يوم الميلاد معنى المعاني Ghawthil-‘ibadi ṣawti inshaadi Yawmal-meeilaadi, Ma‘na’l-ma‘aani
Saviour of servants, the voice of my song,
On the birthday, the meaning of meanings
عين الجمال زين الجلال
قطب الكمال روح الرحمان ‘aynil-Jamaali, zaynil-jalaali qutbil-kamaali, Ruuhil-Raḥmaani
The essence of beauty, the beauty of Majesty
The pole of perfection, the spirit of the Merciful
خير الرجال جمع الخصال
ماحي الضلال طول الزماني khayrir-rijaali, jam‘il-khiṣaali Maaḥiḍ-ḍalaali, ṭoolal-zamaani
The best of men, totality of all virtues
The eraser of error, throughout all time
رمز الوجود نور الشهود
معدن الجود رَوح الريحان Ramzil wujoodi, nuurish-shuhoodi Ma‘dinil-joodi, rawhir-rayhaani
the mystery of existence, the light of witness
treasury of good, the rest of repose
شرح الصدور، قرب الحضور
فتح الشكور بحر الاوان Sharḥiṣ-suduuri, qurbil-ḥudoori Fatḥish-shakoori, Bahril-awaani
The expansion of chests, the closeness of presence
The opening of the grateful, the sea of time
لبّ الباب اصل الأسباب
صب الاصحاب نور الاكوان lubbil-lubaabi, aslil-asbaabi ṣabbil-aṣhaabi, nooril-akwaani
the kernel of the kernel, the origin of causes
the love of friends, the light of existence
فتح الأبواب، سكر الشراب
ذكر الاقطاب، ختم القرآن fathil-Abwaabi, sukrish-sharaabi dhikril-aqtaabi, khatmil-Quraani
the opening of doors, the intoxication of the drink
the invocation the of poles, the seal of the Qur’an
صفو القلوب كفّر ذنوبي
واكشف كروبي، خير الكنان Safwil-quloobi, kaffir dhunuubi Wakshif kuruubi, khayral-kinaani
The purity of hearts, cover my sins,
Lift my sorrows, O best of refuges
انت حبيب انت قريب
انت مجيب في كلّ الان Anta habeebun, anta qareebun Anta mujeebun, fi kullil ani
You are beloved, you are near
You respond at every moment
انت محمود حامد احمد
و مدحي فيك مسك الزمان Anta Mahmoodun, Ḥaamidun, Aḥmad Wa madhee feeka miskul-zamaani
You are praised, praiser, and the most praised
And my praise of you is the perfume of time
شوق أشواقي ذوق أذواقي
فمدحي باقي و فيك فاني shawqi-ashwaaqi, dhawqi-adhwaaqi famadhee baaqi, wa fiika faani
the longing of my longings, the taste of my tastings
my praise endures, while I am annihilated in you
وفي الطريق انت رفيق
انا فقير و بك غاني Wa fī’l-Ṭareeqi, Anta rafeequn Ana faqeerun, wa bika ghaani
Upon the path, you are a companion
I am poor, yet by you, rich
وسكري راق وانت الساقي
يقوت الحق عين الإنسان Wa sukri raaqin, Wa anta’s-saaqi Yāqootul-Ḥaqqi, ‘aynul-Insaani
My drunkenness is refined, and you are the Saqi
The Ruby of the Real, the Eye of the Pupil/Essence of Mankind
فوق الافاق عمق العماق
برق المحاق عين الجنان Fawqal-afaaqi, ‘amqul-‘amaaqi Barqul-Maḥāqi, ‘aynul-Jinaani
Above the horizons, the deep of the depths
The lightning of the moonless nights, the fountain of the Gardens
و نعم المولى و انت أولى
علوالأعلى، روح المعاني Wa ni’ma’l-Mawlā, Wa anta Awlā ‘uluuwul-‘Alaa, Ruuḥul-Ma‘aanī
What a great master, yet you are nearer
The exaltation of the exalted, the spirit of meaning
أطلب بك، عين السلام
من السلام حسن الختام Aṭlubu bika, ‘aynas-salaami, Min as-Salaami, husnal-khitaami
I seek from you, O essence of peace
From the Peace, a good end.