SUFI Poetry

In Sufism, it is love that guides and paves the seekers’ path to union with God.

Through the intoxication of love, Sufis learn to let go of their ego and open their heart to the truth that binds all creation. In reaching for the essential nature of this divine love, the Sufi poets evade fixed ideas, embrace paradox and turn to intricate metaphor and allegory that ring more truthful that the everyday reality that blinds us to the ineffable experience of love and the divine.

Sufi poetry is delivered in song, music, written and spoken form in cultures across the world. The Persian poets Rumi, Hafiz, Abu Sa’id Abu-l-Khair, Farid al-Dun Attar, Iraqi are still as relevant today as they were when they were originally penned, speaking directly to the heart of the seekers and lovers everywhere. Here we offer a selection from the Sufi poetry canon.


AUGUST POEM  2017

A Sufi Poem from Dr Javad Nurbakhsh

Transfixed by Idols

You have become a selfless
enraptured lover — I know,
You have become totally helpless
on my path — I know.

Desiring madness you have relinquished
religion, heart and reason;
it is not for nothing
that you are disgraced — I know.

Since you left your self
in the tavern,
you have become free
from the shackles of desire — I know.

When you built an idol-temple
in the Kaaba of the heart,
you became transfixed
by idols — I know.

I have news from you
that you have no news of your self;
you have become free
from the need for news — I know.

“I” and “we”1 is the source
of all agitation and misfortune;
you have become free
from self — I know.

Nurbakhsh, this poem
is not based on erudite style.
Yes, you have become freed
from the chains of the intellect — I know.

 


JULY POEM  2017

A Sufi Poem from the Rumi’s Masnavi

If your sweetness comes from sugar, then it is only temporary.

But if you turn into sugar through your fidelity to the Friend,

then your sweetness is as permanent as the Beloved.

The lover acquires his sustenance from Love, but the intellect

is lost and bewildered at the lovers’ game. The petty intellect denies

the existence of Love, though it may pretend that it knows many secrets.

Though intellect is clever and knowledgeable, it hasn’t annihilated itself

in the Friend. Until the angel becomes nothing, it is no more than the devil.

Know that whoever is summoned by the Friend becomes free from the business

of this world. The one who receives his job and sustenance from the Friend,

he is allowed at the Friend’s throne, becoming free from worldly business.

Those whose only mode of understanding is their intellect walk on a wooden leg.

It is foolish to embark on a long journey if your legs are made of wood.

A blind man’s guide is his cane, it helps him to avoid hidden obstacles.

Your reasoning and argumentations are no more than a cane, but a cane

is never a true substitute for the light of sight.

O blind one, your very cane is the instrument of war and hatred.

Come to your senses, smash your cane of reasoning into pieces.

Do not aspire to join the circle of the blind.

Bring a seeing man amongst yourselves to show you the path.

Grab the garment of the one who has given you the cane.

Beware of what happened to Adam who relied only on his cane.


JUNE POEM  2017

A Sufi Poem from the Divan-i Nurbakhsh

The Basis of Creation

Without love, the world is a tribulation, altogether,
a place of affliction and disappointment, altogether.

Whoever is unacquainted with love
is a stranger to us, altogether.

Love is the basis of creation,
through which everything exists, altogether.

Without love, life is empty and meaningless,
a senseless farce, altogether.

A heart not burning from love’s sorrow
contains only lust and desire, altogether.

If you’re a person of heart, turn towards love;
a heart not burnt in love is a torment, altogether.

Nurbakhsh’s heart spent a lifetime with love,
away from other than the Beloved, altogether.


MAY POEM  2017

A Sufi Poem by Rumi from the Divan-i Shams

I Swear By You.

I am all in a frenzy again,
That way I swear by you.
I tear off the bounds you bind me with,
I swear by you.

I am crazy enough to tie up demons.
I speak to the birds, I am Solomon.
I swear by you.

I do not want this fleeting life.
You are my precious life.
I do not want a gloomy soul.
You are my soul.
I swear by you.

When you hide from me I am all darkness and unbelief.
When you reappear, I am a believer.
I swear by you.

Drinking water from the jug, I saw your image
And regretted every breath I took without you.
I swear by you.

On the highest heaven, without you
I am broody like a gloomy cloud.
In a rose garden without you, I am in a prison.
I swear by you.

Let me declare in love
That He is the lion and I am the deer.
But a deer that guards lions.
I swear by you.

The Sama to my ear is your name.
That, to my brain, is your cup.
Build me up, for I am in ruins.
I swear by you.

In church and mosque, you are my aim.
Wherever you turn, I turn.
I swear by you.

My Master, my guide, my pain and my cure.
I live in your love.
My Master.
My God.


APRIL POEM  2017

A Sufi Poem by Muhammad Shirin (Shams-i) Maghrebi from the Divan-e Meghrebi

Smash the jug;
you’re the water, not the jug.

Let go of yourself;
you are the ocean,
not the stream.

Take a journey beyond your self;
you will see Oneness.

Leave behind “I” and “you”;
you will see you are Him.

How long do you continue to travel around the world?
Start your journey from your self,
and travel within.

Though you have been a seeker for years,
you have never sought Him
in yourself.

Take a step beyond your self,
and you will find the crown of spiritual poverty
on your head.

How could you travel towards His District?
You are still a child chasing the bat and the ball.

Become polished like a mirror
to reflect the Friend;
don’t be a hypocrite with two sides,
like a piece of paper,

Oh Meghrebi, you will not gain the bounty of His union
until you let go of your self,
…completely.