The Initiation of Nasir-i Khusraw

March 13, 2009

That sage set his hand upon my heart
(a hundred blessings be on that hand and breast!)
and said, “I offer you the remedy
of proof and demonstration; but if you
accept, I shall place a seal upon your lips
which must never be broken.” I gave my consent and he
affixed the seal. Drop by drop and day
by day he fed me the healing potion, till
my ailment disappeared, my tongue became
imbued with elegant speech; my face, which had
been pale as saffron now grew rosy with joy;
I who had been a stone was now a ruby;
I had been dust-now I was ambergris.
He put my hand into the Prophet’s hand,
I spoke the Oath beneath the exalted Tree
so heavy with fruit, so sweet with cooling shade.

Have you ever heard of a sea which flows from fire?
Have you ever seen a fox become a lion?
The sun can transmute a pebble, which even the hand
of Nature can never change, into a gem.
I am that precious stone, my Sun is he
by whose rays this tenebrous world is filled with light.
In jealousy I cannot speak his name
in this poem, but can only say that for him
Plato himself would become a slave. He
Is the teacher, healer of souls, favored of God,
image of wisdom, fountain of knowledge and Truth.
Blessed the ship with him for its anchor, blessed
the city whose sacred gate he ever guards!

O Countenance of Knowledge, Virtue’s Form,
Heart of Wisdom, Goal of Humankind,
O Pride of Pride; I stood before thee, pale
and skeletal, clad in a woolen cloak,
and kissed thine hand as if it were the grave
of the Prophet or the Black Stone of the Kaaba,
Six years I served thee; and now, wherever I am
so long as I live I’ll use my pen and ink,
my inkwell and my paper…in praise of thee!

- from the Diwan of Nasir-i Khusraw, greatest of the Isma’ili Shia Persian poets, on his initiation. It is a striking example of the depth of the Master-disciple relationship expressed in beautiful poetic form.

Ya Haqq!


A Handful of Dirt

February 4, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

For a moment ponder the Lord’s subtleties and kindnesses and the traces of the divine solicitude and care that have arranged this handful of earth. Look at the different kinds of honor and the special privileges of nearness that He has placed within human beings. For He created the whole cosmos, but He looked not upon a single creature with the eye of love, He sent not a single messenger to any existent thing, He sent no message to any creature. When the turn of the children of Adam arrived, He pulled them up through gentleness and caressed them through bounty and quarries of light. He made their inmost mystery the place of His own glance, He sent them messengers, He set angels over them as guardians, He placed the fire of love in their hearts, and He sent them continuous incitements to yearning and motives for desire.

The purpose of all these words and allusions is to show that a human being is a handful of earth. Whatever ennoblement and honor people have received derives from the gentleness and care of the holy Lord. When He gives, He gives because of His own generosity, not because of your worthiness. He gives because of His magnanimity, not because of your prostration. He gives through His bounty, not because of your good works…

- From the Kashf al-asrar wa ‘uddat al-abrar (Unveiling of Mysteries and Provision of the Righteous), by Rashid al-Din Maybudi, a Sufi Persian commentary, or tasfir, on the Noble Qur’an. The Kashf al-asrar is based on, and probably embodies, the only surviving text of an earlier Qur’an commentary by the famous Hanbali mystic, ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari. Click HERE for more information.

With thanks and gratitude to the Journey to the Garden blog for pointing the way.

Ya Haqq!


Rumi’s Masnavi read by Jawid Mojaddedi, With Music

October 12, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

This is wonderful!!

Rumi’s Masnavi, Book One, is read by Jawid Mojaddedi from his own excellent translation, and in his beautiful voice. The first seven tales are included in the ongoing project, all podcast in mp3 format, which you can play on the Windows Media Player or download to your own music player.

This translation, the Oxford World’s Classics edition, which was awarded the 2004 Lois Roth Prize, follows the Persian original by using rhyming couplets. To add to the experience, Toure Moumouni and Alain Kersanty perform backround music on ney, robab, tar, and daf, to enhance the lovely words.

Alhamdulillah! Jawid, Toure and Alain are all dervishes of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.

There is also a Paypal donation button on the site. Donations received by the author are given to the Nimatullahi charity that maintains medical clinics for the neediest citizens of several West African nations, where no one is turned away.

(It is the same charity that receives 10% of all profits from my book Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel).

Click HERE and scroll down to listen.

To order Book One and/or Book Two from Amazon, click HERE.

Ya Haqq!


Happy 800th Birthday Rumi – Sept. 30, 1207-2007

September 28, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Molana Jalal-e din Mohammad Balkhi, commonly known as Rumi, was a Persian mystic of Islam, a Sufi. His doctrine advocates unlimited tolerance, positive reasoning, goodness, charity and awareness through love. His peaceful and tolerant teaching has appealed to men and women of all sects and creeds. As a love poet, he has no peer:

My Mother is Love        My Father is Love

My Prophet is Love      My God is Love

I am a child of Love     I have come only to speak of Love

Rumi was born on 30th of September 1207 in Balkh in today’s Afghanistan, then within the domains of the Persian Empire, and died on 17 December 1273 in Konya, in present-day Turkey, where he spent many years of his life. His body was laid to rest beside his father and a splendid shrine was erected there, which every year attracts a large number of pilgrims from all parts of the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

Happy Birthday Rumi :)

Ya Haqq!


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