string of pearls in the field of Persian
Sufi poetry may be to your liking.
Here are some lines of Maghrebi:
Hich kasi be khishtan rah nabord
be suye- u
Balke be paye- u ravad har ke ravad be kuye-
No one by himself
Can find the way to Him.
You have to walk with His feet,
Who goes to His street.
The following quatrain of Sarmad is the
one I like best among his poetry:
Az manzab-e ‘eshq sar
Vaz mennat-e khalq bi niyaazam kardand
Chun sham’ dar in bazm godaazam kardand
Az sokhtagi mahram-e raaz kardand
To the dignified station of
love I was raised,
And from the favours of the people I was
Like a candle I was melted in this assembly,
By being burnt, in the divine mysteries
I was initiated.
Abu Sa’id Abu’l-Khayr writes:
Gar dar safaram toi rafiq-e
Var dar hazaram toi anis-e hazaram
Al-qisse be har kojaa ke baashad gozaram
Joz to nabud hichkasi dar nazaram
If I am travelling, my Friend
during this travel is You.
If I am at home, my Companion at home is
In short, wherever I am and wherever I travel
I am thinking of nobody except of You.
The following beautiful lines are of the
hand of Baba Taher:
Chu shab kiram khayaalat-raa
Sahar az bestaram bu-ye gol aayad
During the night I’m embracing
At dawn the fragrance of flowers rises from
An unknown poet gives this advice:
Zenhaar magui bar sare jam’
Gar ‘aasheqe saadeqi to aasraar
Didi keh beh sokre ‘eshq ramzi
Hallaaj begoft o raft bar daar
Beware, don’t utter a
secret in public,
If you are a sincere lover of secrets.
You saw that in the drunkenness of love,
Hallâj uttered a secret and went to
Here is one of the quatrains of Awhadoddin
Ay dust hejaab-e to kasi nist
Andar rah-e to khaar o khasi nist to’i
Goftam keh be ma’shuq rasam yaa narasam
Az to bar ma’shuq kasi nist to’i.
O, friend! Nobody veils you,
In your path there is no thorn or weed,
You said: Shall I reach the Beloved or not?
Between you and the Beloved there is nobody,
And this quatrain has also been written
Ze-aan pish ke az jomle faru-maani
Aan kon keh nabaayad-at pashimaani khord
Emruz bekon keh mitavaani kaari
Fardaa che koni keh hich natavaani kard
Before they separate you from
the crowd when you've become unfit,
Perform that task you’ll be sorry
about if you had not done it.
Do it today as now you still can do it.
What will you do tomorrow if you’re
no longer able to do it?
Sarmad writes this quatrain about worldly
people (starting with this line in Persian):
In mardom-e donya keh gereftaar-e
People of the world who are
sorry and sad,
A few are wise and many are mad;
For the sake of a short life and their self
Captive to greed and lust they are and bad.
Shaykh Abu Sa’id Abi’l-Khair,
in his quatrain as given below, describes
the habit of some Muslims to get up in the
night in order to say a recommended voluntary
prayer, the tahajjud prayer, which according
to the Qur’an is very helpful for
spiritual development. The inner meaning
thereof is also clear, as a Sufi likes to
be alone with her/his Beloved:
Shab khiz keh ‘aasheqaan
ba shab raaz konand
Gird-e dar o baam-e dust parwaaz konand
Har jaa keh dari bud ba shab dar bandand
Ella dar-e dust raa keh shab baaz konand
Get up in the night as lovers
disclose their secrets at night,
Sit near to the door of the Friend and to
His roof take a flight;
Wherever there is a door, it is closed at
Except for the door of the Friend, which
is open at night.
Sa’di gives us this spiritual advice:
Badaryaa dar manaafe’
Wa gar khaahi salaamat dar kenaar-ast
In the sea there are countless
But if you desire safety, it is on the shore.
Quatrains have often been used as a teaching
vehicle by the Sufis. Here is another one:
If my heart is my sweetheart,
for the sweetheart, which name to use?
And if my sweetheart is my heart, for the
heart, which name to use?
My heart and my sweetheart are so intimately
That I do not know – my heart or my
sweetheart – which name to use?
This quatrain of Baba Taher is written in
a certain dialect of the Persian language.
It sounds thus:
Agar del delbar delbar che numa
O gar delbar dela del az che numa
Del o delbar beham aamita
Nazunam del keha delbar karuma
Shaykh Bahâ’î (d. 1621)
has written this beautiful poem:
Har dar keh zanam sâheb-e-khâne
Har jâ keh rawam par to kâshâne
Dar maykade o dayr jânâne to-î
Maqsûd-e-man az ka’ba o butkhâne
Maqsûd-e-to-î ka’ba o
Every door that I knock on,
the Lord of the house is You, You!
Every place that I go to, the light in the
house is You, You!
In the tavern and in the convent, the Beloved
is You, You!
The One I seek in the Ka’ba and the
idol temple is You, You!
Your purpose behind the Ka’ba and
the idol temple
is to create but a pretext.
Maghrebi, a Sufi of the 14th century, who
expressed in poetical terms what Ibn al-‘Arabi
taught in his many books, recited the following
poem for his murshed Isma’il Sisi.
He was delighted by the poem and praised
his disciple for composing it. The Persian
text comes from A Critical Edition of the
Divan of Muhammad Shirin Maghribi; ed. By
Leonard Lewisohn; Tehran and London; ghazal
122; pp. 253-4.
At the moment we saw your sun,
we left all particles of dust behind us
On account of that Essence we left all attributes
All the world is but a stage,
displaying the signs of Being
So we have left the search of these signs
Do not talk to us about revelations
As we have left such talk behind us.
Do not boast about your many
mystic states and stations
As we have left these states and stations
We have escaped from the Sufi
centres, monasteries and convents
As we have been liberated from litanies
and we left time behind us.
We have fled from school, lessons
As we have left obscurities, doubts and
questions behind us.
And the ka’ba, the idol
temple, the Christian cincture and the cross
And the wine shop and the lane to the tavern
of ruin, we have left it all behind us.
We spent some time as an ascetic
in our retreat
But even the seven heavens, seen in true
dreams, we have left it all behind us.
We saw it all in our sleep and
in our imagination,
So like true men, this sleep and imagination,
we left it all behind us.
O, shaykh! If this is all you
have realised in the field of perfection,
Then rest at ease, as this perfection, we
left it all behind us.
All of this is nothing more than
difficulties on our path;
These difficulties, thanks to God, we left
it all behind us.
We in our search of lights, yes,
even the most oriental of all lights:
Maghrebi, the ‘glittering star’,
and the ‘niche’, we left it
all behind us.
The first few lines sound thus:
Tâ mehr-e-to dîdîm
ze zarrât gozashtîm
Az jomla-e-sefât az paye ân
Andar talab az mazhar-e-âyât
Here are some lines by a Turkish Sufi poet:
Herkime kim dervislik bagislana
Kalpi gide pâk ola gümüslene
Whoever receives the favour
To live like a dervish,
Turns his heart into a mirror
Free from worldly cares.
There is a Persian book written by Shaykh
Nuroddin Esfaraayini, which contains these
The day has disappeared behind
the mountain, so bring the candle and the
Likewise, bring an elegant cupbearer and
bring pure wine.
From his sweet lips come sweetmeats and
And quickly consume this burning heart that
Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian
text of the above quatrain on p. 21
of his Kaashef al-asraar:
Ruz firu shod bekuh sham’
o sharaab aawaried
Saaqi hamchun nabaat badeye naab aawaried
Az labe shirine u noql o tabarzade nahid
Waz dele beryane man zud kebaab aawaried.
There is more:
Why is it that You do not look
You do not improve nor make worse the state
of the broken heart of me.
You ravish my heart and body by sheer force
and like the heaven
You are truly One Whose gifts show no compassion
Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian
text of the above quatrain on p. 14
of his Kaashef al-asraar:
Chist keh hich suye maa khod
Haale del shekaste beh battari namikoni
Del bebari o tan ze niro keh to niz chun
Dar haqq kas ‘enaayati bi jagar namikoni.
O, the copy of the divine book,
Ah, the miror of the beauty of the king,
Apart from you there is nothing in the two
All you want, seek it in yourself, as that
Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this corresponding
Persian text on p. 12
of his Kaashef al-asraar:
Ai noskheye naameye ilaahi to-i
Wai aaineye jamaale shaahi keh to-i
Birun ze to nist har cheh do ‘aalam
Dar khod betalab har aancheh khaahi keh
Hermann Landolt says that this famous quatrain,
sometimes attributed to Baabaa Afdal-e Qaashaani
or to Majd-e Baghdaadi, is in reality written
by Najm-e Raazi, at least this is what the
Sufi claims a number of times.
You may also like this poem:
In the beginning when You caught
me in Your snare,
You promised a hundred times to be faithful
while You presented more wishes.
When You understood that I had become a
lover of Your face,
You behaved like a perfect stranger to me!
Shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini gives this Persian
text on p. 27 of his Kaashef al-asraar:
Avval keh maraa bedaam-e-khish
Sad gune wafaa o kaam bish aawardi
Chun daanesti keh aa’sheq-e-ruye-toyaam
Bigaanagi-ye-tamaam bish aawardi.
And what do you say of this
If love did not exist and there
was no pain of love,
Who would say beautiful words like these
and who would listen?
If the wind did not exist, who would lift
up the tip of the tresses?
Who would show to the lover the face of
Gar ‘eshq nabudi o gham-e-‘eshq
Chandin sokhan-e-naghz keh kofti keh shonudi
Gar baad nabudi keh sar-e-zolf robudi
These above ‘beautiful words’
of Ruzbehaan Baqli are to be found in the
Kaashef al-asraar of shaykh Nuroddin Esfaraayini
(1242-1317). The ‘wind’ in this
quatrain is the divine breath, which gives
an estatic intoxication. Without this help
and only relying on your actions you can
never reach the divine presence nor contemplate
the divine beauty. The more you become a
lover the more you are close to the Beloved.
There is beyond this language
another language for us,
Beyond hell and paradise there is another
place for us.
To be a drunkard and a pauper is our fortune:
Reading the scriptures or being ascetic
is another world for us.
This quatrain attributed to Najmoddin Daya
can be found on p. 58 of the Persian text
of the Kaashef al-asraar of shaykh Nuroddin
Esfaraayini (1242-1317) and it sounds thus:
Maa raa joz az in zofaan zofaani
Joz duzagh o ferdaws makaani degarast
Qallaashi o moflesi sarmaaye-maa
Qarra’i o zaahedi jahaani degarast.
The father of Shah Wali Allah, shaykh ‘Abd
ar-Rahim, asked his son, after they had
performed the prayers, for some pen and
paper. He then wrote down some verses and
advised his son to be mindful of this couplet.
God had inspired him with it all of a sudden
and it was the sign of his great favour
on them. It sounds thus in Persian:
Gar to râhî haqq
bekhâhî âî pesar
Khâter kasî râ maranjân
Dar tarîqat rokn-e-a’zam rahmat
În chonîn farmûd-e-ân
This has been translated by Jalbani in his
biography of Shah Wali Allah as follows:
O, my son, if you want to work
on the path of Truth,
Then beware of injuring the feelings of
In the path of the tariqat mercy is the
This is the saying of the best of mankind.
Some time ago Maghrebi has written the following
Ganjî ke telesm-e ust
Zâtî ke sefât-e ust âdam
Ay ânke tuîy-e tâleb-e
Az mâ maguzar ke ism-e a’zam
The treasure for which the world
is the talisman, we are!
The essence whereof Adam was a quality,
O, you! Searching for the Greatest Name,
Do not abandon us as the Greatest Name,
Sa’di wrote the following easy to
dar hamâm rûzî
Rasîd az dast-e mahbûbî
Badû goftam keh moshk yâ ‘abîrî
Keh az bûî dil-awîz-e
Begoftâ man gelî nâchîz
Walîken moddatî bâ gol
Kamâl-e hamneshîn dar man asar
O garneh man hamân khâkam keh
By the hand of a beloved in
the bath one day,
There was given to me some perfumed clay.
‘O, musk or ambergris!’ –
‘Your heart-ravishing perfume has
turned my head!’
He said: ‘I was naught but worthless
Till I sat by the side of a rose one day.
My companion’s perfection affected
Otherwise I am the clay I used to be’.
In another section of this website some
explanation has been offered to the inner
meaning of the letters of the Arab alphabet.
Ibn al-‘Arabi reminds us that, according
to a statement of Hakim at-Tirmidhi, the
science of the letters is the science of
the friends of God (‘ilm al-awliya’).
Shabistari writes about the mîm:
The One (Ahad) was made manifest
in the mim of Ahmad.
In this circuit the first emanation became
A single mim divides Ahad from Ahmad;
The world is immersed in that one mim.
Ahad dar mîm-e Ahmad gashte-zâher
Dar în daur âmad âwwal
Ze Ahmad ta Ahad yak mîm farq-âst
Jehânî andar ân yak mîm
Lahiji gives this comment:
Ahmad, or Muhammad (Allah’s
blessings and peace be upon him), is the
type of the ‘perfect man’ who
is the theatre or exhibition place of all
the divine names and attributes. The first
emanation, ‘ayn, was universal reason
and this descended through the intermediate
emanations into man and is again carried
upwards by the ‘perfect man’
in his ascent to unity and is united with
the One. Thus the first becomes the last.
The mîm stands for the forty grades
of emanations, from universal reason down
This is a quatrain of Awhadoddin
Kirmani as he was a poet as well:
Awhad didi keh har cheh didi
Van niz keh gofti o shenidi hich-ast?
Sar tâ sar-e âfâq davidi
Van niz keh dar konj khazidi hich-ast?
Don’t you see, Awhad,
that all you saw, is nothing?
And also all that you said and heard, is
Your travelling from one end of the world
to the other, is nothing.
And also your hiding in a corner, is nothing.
‘Attar was longing for the pain of
Zarrehe-ye dardam deh ây
Ze anke bî dardat bemîrad jân-e
Kofr kâfer râ o dîn dîndâr
Zarrehe-ye dardat del-e ‘Attâr
Give me a particle of pain,
o my Remedy!
Because without Your pain my soul will die.
Unbelief to the unbeliever and faith to
Give a particle of Your pain to the heart
I don’t remember who wrote these lines:
Az haqq joz haqq degar cheh
Az haqq joz haqq cheh guyad baabaa
Dar shedat-e in zohur mahjur-e sefat
Haqq raa joz haqq degar juyad baabaa
What else can come out of the
truth save the truth, my man!
Who else save the truth can speak the truth,
In the intensity of manifestation, being
separated from the source,
Who else save the truth can seek the truth,
There is a section in this website dedicated
but why should we not also show one of his
Daani ke chang o ‘ud che
Penhaan khoried baade ke takfir mikonand
Do you know what the harp and
the lute are explaining?
“Drink wine in secret or else they’ll
call you an unbeliever”.
Guyand ramz-e ‘eshq magu’id
Moshkel hekaayatist ke taqrir mikonand
They say: “Do not divulge
the secret of love!”
It is a difficult task they demand.
Namus-e ‘eshq o rawnaq-‘oshshaaq
Mana’ javaan o sar-zanesh pir mikonand
They remove the law of love
and the elegance of the lovers.
They hinder the young and reproach the old.
Maa az berun dar shode maghrur
Taa khod darun parde che tadbir mikonand
Outside the door, we are deluded
by a hundred tricks,
As we are veiled, we wonder what steps they’ll
Tashvish vaqt-e pir-e maghaan
In saalekaan negar ke che baa pir mikonand
Again you are disturbing the
time of the teacher of the Magians.
Look at what these wayfarers do with the
Sad aab ru be niem-e nazar mitavaan
Khubaan dar-in mo’aamale taqsir mikonand
A hundred honours can be bought
by half a glance.
The lovely ones, however, make mistakes
in this business.
Qaumi be jedd o jehad nehaadand
Qaumi degar havaale be taqdir mikonand
Some people attribute union
with the Friend to hard work and struggle;
Others attribute it to destiny.
Fi’l jomle ‘etemaad
makon bar sabaat-e dahr
Kin kaarkhaane ist ke taghyir mikonand.
To sum it up: Do not rely on
the stability of the world!
For this is a workshop where they do make
Mey deh ke shaykh o hafez o
moft o mohtaseb
Chun nik benegari hame tazvir mikonand
Bring wine as the shaykh, Hafez,
the magistrate and the policeman -
When you look carefully – all are
Awhaduddin Kermani writes:
Gah khaste del o sukhte kherman
Gah baste dam o goshaade daaman baasham
Yaa rabb hamegaan raa to be maqsud rasaan
Baashad ke dar aan miyaan yaki man baasham
At times my heart is wounded
and my harvest is burnt.
At times I stop my breath and I open my
O Lord! Guide all to the goal:
Perhaps I shall be one of them.
To finish these beautiful lines of Ibn al-‘Arabi
as translated by Nicholson:
My heart has become capable of
It is a pasture for gazelles
And a convent for Christian monks
And a temple for idols
And the pilgrim’s Ka’ba
And the tables of the Torah
And the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of love:
Whatever way Love’s camels take,
That is my religion and my faith’.