The qibla of love

Qu’ran 2:144

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.

Qur’an 10:87

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.”

 

Qur’an 2:155

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.”

-Hadith

 

Rumi

Since the qibla of the soul has been hidden

everyone has turned his face to a different corner

(Masnavi 5:328-337)

Original:

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)

 

Original:

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 (Divine) grace;
without that Light the qibla becomes (a symbol of) 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.

 

Original:
عجل با آن نور شد قبله‌ی کرم ** قبله بی آن نور شد کفر و صنم
هست اباحت کز هوای آمد ضلال ** هست اباحت کز خدا آمد کمال
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 creed is—God.

 

Original:

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

(Masnavi 6:1768-1770)

 

 

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.

 

Original:

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

 

 

 

Amīr Khusrow

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.

 

Original:

هر قوم راست راهي، ديني و قبله گاهي

من قبله راست كرديم ،‌بر سمت كج كلاهي

 

Transliteration:
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…

 

Mirza Ghālib

The one to whom I bow is beyond senses’ boundaries

The qiblah itself’s a pointer for those who can see

 

Original:

ہے پرے سرحدِ ادراک سے اپنا مسجود

قبلے کو اہلِ نظر قبلہ نما کہتے ہیں

 

 

 

Ibn ‘Arabi:

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.

 

and famously:

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,
And Qays and Layla, and Mayya and Ghaylan*

 

Original:
لقدْ صارَ قلبي قابلاً كلَّ صورة ٍ                فمَرْعًى لغِزْلاَنٍ وديرٌ لرُهْبانِ
وبَيْتٌ لأوثانٍ وكعبة ُ طائفٍ،                 وألواحُ توراة ٍ ومصحفُ قرآنِ
أدينُ بدينِ الحبِّ أنَّى توجَّهتْ                   رَكائِبُهُ فالحُبُّ ديني وإيماني
لنا أُسْوَة ٌ في بِشْرِ هندٍ وأُخْتِهَا               وقيسٍ وليلى ، ثمَّ مي وغيلانِ

 

Also see:

P | A | Chodkiewicz: The Paradox of the Ka‘ba

and

I am the smoke of a blown out candle

Another beautiful death poem, so good it deserves its own post

 

Poetry by Ali Akbar Natiq, sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Translation by A. Changezi:

I am the smoke of a blown out candle, returning to my source
My heart’s desires erased, I now efface my existence
Last night, your lost remembrance came into my heart
Like the silent arrival of spring in the wilderness
Like the soft movement of the morning breeze in the desert
Like an ailing man finding stillness, without a reason
How You have changed, like the times
Whenever we have met, as if for the first time
Should I call it your cruelty – or your favor, this?
That even grief comes to me like a precious souvenir
When the fires of sorrow were stoked in the heart
We cried the way water bursts from the sky
What offerings could we have made to your Beauty?
There is only this one life, received like charity
I am the smoke of a blown out candle, returning to my source
My heart’s desires erased, I now efface my existence
Solely to see Your face, I bring forth images of idols
That I may collect their various splendours, into a likeness of You
I have hidden myself in a shroud, so trouble Yourself not with concealment
In creating a cloak for myself, it is your Veil that I lift
There, You have already departed home – here, my breath is departing
Lord, what is this calamity? You approach just as I am leaving
Love is man’s nature – where is the possibility of abandoning it?
The more I try to forget, the more You are present in my remembrance
“Here I am” on every tongue, on every breath – my brow in prostration at every step
You travel to the home of idols, Naatiq, as if you were journeying to the House of God
Original:

بجھی ہوئی شمع کا دھواں ھوں اور اپنے مرکز کو جا رہا ھوں
کہ دل کی حسرت تو مٹ چکی ھے اب اپنی ہستی مٹا رہا ھوں

تیری ہی صورت کے دیکھنے کو بتوں کی تصویریں لا رہا ھوں
کہ خوبیاں سب کی جمع کر کے تیرا تصور جما رہا ھوں

کفن میں خود کو چھپا لیا ھے کہ تجھ کو پردے کی ھو نہ زحمت
نقاب اپنے لیے بنا کر حجاب تیرا اٹھا رہا ھوں

ادھر وہ گھر سے نکل پڑے ہیں ادھر میرا دم نکل رہا ہے
الہی کیسی ہے یہ قیامت وہ آ رہیں ہیں میں جا رہا ہوں

محبت انسان کی ھے فطرت کہاں ھے امکان ترک الفت
وہ اور بھی یاد آ رہے ہیں میں ان کو جتنا بھلا رھا ھوں

زبان پہ لبیک ہر نفس میں جبیں پہ سجدہ ہے ہر قرم پہ
یوں جا رہا بت کدے کو ناطق کہ جیسے کعبے کو جا رہا ہوں

بجھی ہوئی شمع کا دھواں ھوں اور اپنے مرکز کو جا رہا ھوں
کہ دل کی حسرت تو مٹ چکی ھے اب اپنی ہستی مٹا رہا ھوں