You are the Perfect Man

The earth and sky kiss your doorstep; You are the Glow!
Covet of the angels, the Light of Allah; You are the Perfect Man!

The two worlds are illuminated by your [blessed] face
The sun and moon reflect your [blessed] countenance

O Light of Allah Almighty! You are the Luster!
Your eyebrows [reflect the beauty of] the verses of the Quran

Your hair [reflects the vigor of] the exegesis of the Quran
Your [blessed] soul is our Quran; You are [the foundation] of belief!

O Chosen One! O Elected One! Have mercy on us!
Our hands find nothing to cling to; You are the [covering] safe haven!

I am a sinner, I am weak, I am helpless — this is my condition
O Intercessor of the Day of Recompense! You are the savior!

Jami (ra) with his own eyes saw the likeness of the unveiling of God’s [vast] ocean
My body and soul are sacrificed for you; You are the essence!

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The Gulistan (“The Rose Garden”) Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa’di Shirazi r.a

Two sons of Amirs were in Egypt, the one acquiring science, the other accumulating wealth, till the former became the Ulema of the period and the other the prince of Egypt; whereon the rich man looked with contempt upon the Faqih (religious scholar) and said: ‘I have reached the sultanate whilst thou hast remained in poverty as before.’ He replied: ‘O brother, I am bound to be grateful to the most high Creator for having obtained the inheritance of prophets whilst thou hast attained the inheritance of Pharaoh and of Haman, namely the kingdom of Egypt.’

I am that ant which is trodden under foot
Not that wasp, the pain of whose sting causes lament.
How shall I give due thanks for the blessing
That I do not possess the strength of injuring mankind?

~~

Two Khorasani dervishes traveled together. One of them, being weak, broke his fast every second night whilst the other who was strong consumed every day three meals. It happened that they were captured at the gate of a town on suspicion of being spies; whereon each of them was confined in a closet and the aperture of it walled up with mud bricks. After two weeks it became known that they were guiltless. Accordingly the doors were opened and the strong man was found to be dead whilst the weak fellow had remained alive. The people were astonished but a sage averred that the contrary would have been astonishing because one of them having been voracious possessed no strength to suffer hunger and perished whilst the other who was abstemious merely persevered in his habit and remained safe.

When eating little has become the nature of a man
He takes it easy when a calamity befalls him
But when the body becomes strong in affluence
He will die when a hardship overtakes him.

~~

Moses, to whom be salutation, beheld a dervish who had on account of his nudity concealed himself in the sand exclaiming: ‘O Moses, utter a supplication to God the most high to give me an allowance because I am, on account of my distress, on the point of starvation.’ Moses accordingly prayed and departed but returning a few days afterwards he saw that the dervish was a prisoner and surrounded by a crowd of people. On asking for the reason he was informed that the dervish had drunk wine, quarreled, slain a man and was to be executed in retaliation.

If the humble cat possessed wings
He would rob the world of every sparrow-egg.
It may happen that when a weak man obtains power
He arises and twists the hands of the weak.
And if Allah were to bestow abundance upon his servants, they would certainly
rebel upon earth.

What has made thee wade into danger, O fool,
Till thou hast perished. Would that the ant had not been able to fly!

When a base fellow obtains dignity, silver and gold,
His head necessarily demands to be knocked.

Was not after all this maxim uttered by a sage?
‘That ant is the best which possesses no wings.’
The heavenly father has plenty of honey but the son has a hot disease.

He who does not make thee rich
Knows better what is good for thee than thyself.

Book excerpts from chapter three, the number of the stories as follows 2,7,16

The Gulistan (Persian: گلستان‎ Golestȃn “The Rose Garden”) Sheikh Muslih-uddin Sa’di Shirazi r.a (1258) Translated by Sir Edwin Arnold (1899)

Love’s Creativity

Love cannot be defined, though its traces can be described. On this point Ibn Arabi the theoretician and Rumi the poet agree completely:

Love has no definition through which its essence can be known. Rather, it is given descriptive and verbal definitions, nothing more. Those who define love have not known it, those who have not tasted it by drinking it down have not known it, and those who say that they have been quenched by it have not known it, for love is drinking without quenching.

Someone asked, “What is loverhood?”
I replied, “Don’t ask me about these meanings –
“When you become like me, you’ll know;
When it calls you, you’ll tell its tale.”

~

What is it to be a lover? To have perfect thirst.
So let me explain the water of life.

On the divine level, love can be called the motive force for God’s creative activity. In one of his many commentaries on the Hadith of the Hidden Treasure, Ibn Arabi tells us that the kind of knowledge that God loved to achieve through creation was a knowledge that had its origin in time, since He already knew Himself and all things in eternity. Ibn Arabi makes this remark while drawing a parallel between sexual union for the purpose of having children and God’s love to be known for the purpose of creating the universe.

When the marriage union occurs because of the love for reproduction
and procreation, it joins the divine love when there was no cosmos. He “loved to be known.” So, because of this love, He turned His desire toward the things while they were in the state of nonexistence. They were standing in the station of the root because of the preparedness of their own possibility. He said to them, Be!, so they came to be, that He might be known by every sort of knowledge. This was temporal knowledge. As yet it had no object, because the one who knows by it was not yet qualified by existence. His love sought the perfection of knowledge and the perfection of existence.

In another passage, Ibn Arabi explains the meaning of God’s love to be known while commenting on the Koranic verse, “And He is with you wherever you are” (57:4). God’s love for human beings means that He never lets them out of His sight. God’s love for His servants is not qualified by origin or end, for it does not accept qualities that are temporal or accidental . . . Hence the relation of God’s love to them is the same as the fact that He is with them wherever they are [57:4] . . . Just as He is with them in the state of their existence, so also He is with them in the state of their nonexistence, for they are the objects of His knowledge. He witnesses them and loves them never-ending . . . He has always loved His creatures, just as He has always known them . . . His existence has no first point, so His love for His servants has no first point.

In one of his prose works, Rumi explains the significance of the Hidden Treasure by referring to the two categories of God’s attributes – mercy and wrath, or gentleness and severity. God created the world to make all his attributes manifest, and this demands infinite diversity:

God says, “I was a hidden treasure, so I loved to be known.” In other words, “I created the whole cosmos, and the goal in all of it was to make Myself manifest, sometimes through gentleness and sometimes through severity.” God is not the sort of king for whom a single herald would be sufficient. Were all the atoms of the universe His heralds, they would fall short and be incapable of making Him known.

Rumi frequently points to love as God’s motive for creation by commenting on a divine saying addressed to Muhammad: “But for you, I would not have created the heavenly spheres.” The Prophet is the fullness of realized love, through whom and for whom the universe was created.

Love makes the ocean boil like a pot,
love grinds mountains down to sand.
Love splits the heaven in a hundred pieces,
love shakes the earth with a mighty shaking.
Pure love was paired with Muhammad –
because of love God said to him, “But for you.”
Since he alone was the goal of love,
he was singled out from all the prophets.
“If not for pure love,
why would I give existence to the spheres?
“I raised the celestial wheel on high
so that you might understand love’s elevation.

~ Sufism: A Beginner’s Guide – William C. Chittick

 

9th November Iqbal Day Pakistan

THE MYSTERIES OF SELFLESSNESS ~ Asrar-e-Khudi in Persian

By SIR MUHAMMAD Allama IQBAL ~ Translated, By ARTHUR J. ARBERRY

Our Essence is not bound to any Place;
The vigour of our wine is not contained
In any bowl, …….
…… And so the Prophet answered, Rather say
A Sword of God, if Truth thou worshippest,
No other pathway travel but of Truth.
Full well he knew the mystery of Part
And Whole, the very dust beneath his feet
Being the magical collyrium
Laid on the eyes of all God’s messengers;
And so he spoke to his community,
“Of all this world of yours, I love alone59
Obedient hearts, sweet perfumes, women chaste.
If the perception of realitics
Guideth thy steps, the subtlety confined
In that word yours will not be hid from thee.
Indeed, that lantern of all Beings night
Dwelt in the world, but was not of the world;
His splendour, that consumed the adoring breasts
Of holy angels, shone while Adam yet
Was clay and water. Of what land he was
I know not; this much only I do know,
He is our comrade. These base elements
He reckoned for our world, himself our guest
We, who have lost the souls within our breasts,
Have therefore lost ourselves in this mean dust.
Thou art a Muslim, do not bind thy heart
to any clime, nor lose thyself within
this world dimension ate. The Muslim true
Is not contained in any land on earth; …..

……. His wisdom founded one Community
The world its parish—on the sacred charge
To civilize, that Ruler of our faith
Of his abundant bounty gave the earth
Entire to be the confines of our mosque.
He, whom God eulogized in the Koran
And promised He would save his soul alive,
Struck hapless awe into his enemies
So that they trembled at his majesty.
Why fled he, then, from his ancestral home?
Supposest thou he ran before his foes?
The chroniclers, ill understanding what
The Flight portends, have hid the truth from us
Flight is the law that rules the Muslim’s life,
And is a cause of his stability
Its meaning is, to leap from shallowness,
To quit the dew, the ocean to subdue.
Transgress the bloom; the garden is thy goal;
The loss of less more vastly gain adorns.
The sun’s great glory is in ranging free;
The skies’ arena lies beneath his feet.
Be not a streamlet seeking wealth from rain;
Be boundless; quest no limit in the world.
The frowning sea was once a simple plain,
Played being shore, and liquefied of shame.
Have thou the will to master everything,
That thou mayest win dominion over all;
Plunge like a fish, and populate the sea;
Shake off the chains of too constricted space.
He who has burst from all dimensions bonds
ranges through all directions, like the sky.
The rose’s scent by parting from the rose
Leaps far abroad, and through the garden’s breadth
Disseminates itself. Thou, who hast snatched
One corner of the meadow for thine own,
Like the poor nightingale art satisfied
To serenade one rose, Be like the breeze;
Cast off the burden of complacency
From thy broad shoulders, in thy wide embrace
Gather the garden, Be thou wary; lo,
These times are full of treachery, the way
Beset by Brigands; wayfarer, beware!

A. J. Arberry~An autobiographical sketch

… In 1926, while still an undergraduate, I had attended the funeral of Edward Granville Browne. It was a studentship established under his will that enabled me in 1927 to embark on my new studies. My teachers were Anthony Ashley Bevan, a Victorian agnostic who was a splendid philologist and a most kindly man, and Reynold Alleyne Nicholson, the eminent authority on Islamic mysticism. My encounter with Nicholson was the turning point in my life. He was at that time engaged on his last and greatest work, the editing and translating of the Masnavi of Jalal al dın Rumi; and when I was ready to undertake research in Arabic and Persian, he persuaded me to follow in his footsteps and to explore the rich literature of the Sufis. My first labor was to edit and translate the Mavaqif of al-Niffari, and this led to my first journey to the East and three years’ residence in the lands of Islam. In those years I married and became a father. Nicholson was a very shy and retiring man, painfully diffident— a scholar of the study who never traveled out of Europe, yet he achieved a deeper penetration of the mind and spirit of Islam than any other man I have ever known. He rarely spoke of his personal beliefs, and in twenty-five years of close friendship I learned little of his own spiritual formation. But the impression I gained was that he too had lost his faith as a young man, and had regained it through his intellectual communion with the mystics of Islam. In his old age he composed a poem in which he revealed for the first time his inner thoughts. These thoughts had obviously been profoundly influenced by his long studies of Rumi.

Deep in our hearts the Light of Heaven is shining

Upon a soundless Sea without a shore.

Oh, happy they who found it in resigning

The images of all that men adore.

Blind eyes, to dote on shadows of things fair

Only at last to curse their fatal lure,

Like Harut and Marut, that Angel-pair

Who deemed themselves the purest of the pure.

Our ignorance and self-will and vicious pride

Destroy the harmony of part and whole.

In vain we seek with lusts unmortified

A vision of the One Eternal Soul.

Love, Love alone can kill what seemed so dead,

The frozen snake of passion. Love alone,

By tearful prayer and fiery longing fed,

Reveals a knowledge schools have never known.

God’s lovers learn from Him the secret ways

Of Providence, the universal plan.

Living in Him, they ever sing His praise

Who made the myriad worlds of Time for Man.

Evil they knew not, for in Him there’s none;

Yet without evil how should good be seen?

Love answers: “Feel with me, with me be one;

Where I am nought stands up to come between.”

There are degrees of heavenly light in souls;

Prophets and Saints have shown the path they trod,

Its starting points and stages, halts and goals,

All leading to the single end in God.

Love will not let his faithful servants tire,

Immortal Beauty draws them on and on

From glory unto glory drawing nigher

At each remove and loving to be drawn.

When Truth shines out words fail and nothing tell;

Now hear the Voice within your hearts. Farewell.

~ Excerpt taken from “Mystical poems of rumi” – Translated from Persian by A. J. Arberry