Posts Tagged ‘Sufi Poetry’

 Edip Harabi, a Turkish Sufi-Poet of the 19th c., writes to reclaim the women’s voice in ‘man’s world’

O’ Muhammad, they say we are inferior. Where is it men got this mistaken idea?
They disgrace the Prophet’s family with their false claims and blasphemy.

Our Mother Eve, is she not a woman? Beloved Khadija is she not a woman?
The Prophet’s daughter Fatima, is ehe not a woman? Is the Quran not full of praise of them?

These pure consorts of the pure heart can they be any less?
Whoever calls women inferior cannot reach the Truth.
You wouldn’t expect these ideas from one who knows.
Who is it that gave birth to all these Prophets of Truth?

God didn’t do anything absurd in creating us.
We don’t accept being seen as somehow less.
Women raised every saint that has walked the earth.
I dare you to accept this.

Don’t think this world can’t exist without men.
Think of Mother Mary just once: She gave birth to the glorious Christ, fatherless.
O’ mankind, we are more courageous than yourself because we show respect to you out of love.

We travel together with you on the Path, leave all these claims behind!
We may look different to you in your dresses.
In reality we are not trailing behind you.
And we warn you, we don’t consider it courageous to claim we are inferior.

Did Muhammad, the Chosen, come from a lesser being?
Did Ali, the Valiant, come from a lesser being?
Beware! Do not call your mother inferior.
What she prays at night might change your life forever.
Listen carefully to the speech of Zehra.
O’ men and knowers of Truth tell us:
Did we not give birth to all the masters who led you on God’s Way?


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My diary (log) was published in December issue of  Media Voice Magazine (Page 66-77)

Text version:

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi and his friends took a journey from Islamabad to the flood-affected South Punjab with relief materials on October 23. From Nature’s fury and terrorism to snack stopovers, his log speaks of varied experiences.

1700hrs (October 23, 2010)
I was en-route Lahore with three volunteers to make a delivery of relief items to flood affected South Punjab. Hammid Ali, an MBA student, Shakeel Ahsan, an HR executive and Hammad Atta, a telecom engineer were with me on the trip started from Islamabad. We would meet more volunteers in Lahore where we will have to load three trucks with relief with relief items overnight and start our journey early morning the next day.

2000hrs (October 23, 2010)
Talking about the spot-fixing scandals of Pakistani cricketers on the Motorways we had a snack-break. Everyone had his own perception of what’s happening with Pakistan cricket, and same variation of perceptions existed about socio-political problems that we were facing. One wondered, if we will ever find common grounds to move forward.

2300hrs (October 23, 2010)
Markets and hang-out places remained open till late night in Lahore unlike Islamabad which closes down by 9pm. Lahori boys get hyper on weekends and horde the roads on their bikes. Driving through the haphazard traffic wasn’t an easy task. We finally reached the whole-sale bazaar near railway station in Mughalpura, where our trucks were ready to be loaded.

0200hrs (October 24, 2010)
Trucks were loaded. More volunteers arrived from Lahore. A US –based filmographer, Yasmin accompanied us to make a documentary. We had earlier asked for two trucks. One more truck had to be arranged, which demanded huge amount. Although I was angry at the truck-driver who was being unreasonable and cashing in on our emergency need, we had no other option but to hire him.

0500 (October 24, 2010)
Trucks were on their way to Daira Deen Panah, a town adversely affected by monstrous flood water. We had time to kill, and we decided to visit Data Sahib (mausoleum of Hazrat Ali Hajveri, the famous Sufi saint). This tomb recently faced the brunt of a terrorist attack killing many. Many malangs/wanderers were sitting around the tomb, and the atmosphere was simply ecstatic. After paying homage to Data Sahib, we then had to have sizzling breakfast of halva-puri in ‘andaroon’ Lahore (old Lahore which was a walled city).

0800 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We are on the way to South Punjab now. In the coaster with loud music playing ‘chal way Bulleya othay chaliyeh’ singing, chatting and some playing cards. We are total 12 relief workers. I and Maryam were talking about how after Ramadan, donations have dwindled and people are not donating open-heartedly. The initial phase of immediate relief did not require as much money as the rehabilitation phase. 
1500 hrs [24th Oct, 2010] 
After 10 hours journey, we reached Kot Addu, whose town Daira Din Panah we had to hit. We had been here twice before, but then it took 26 hours as roads were blocked and bridges dismantled. Situation had changed as now only traces of water and its destruction remained. Our trucks were still 2 hours behind and again, after having a delicious lunch we visited the shrine of Syed Abdul Wahab Bukhari, known as Deen Panah, on whom the town was named. Locals told us how flood waters could not drown one street in their town, that was, where the shrine was located. 
1600 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We started making lines of flood affectees, our one team was here yesterday to distribute coupons in affected families. Now we called all of them, and asked the head of families to stand in a line. This impossible process of filtering out genuine affectees, trying to make others, who did not have the coupons understand that we cannot accommodate them due to our limited capacity was tedious and heart wrenching. Female volunteers made females stand in a line, where as, male volunteers made males stand a triple line to ensure distribution without hassle. 
1700 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
Now our trucks had arrived and we started the by-hand distribution process. Each victim had coupons signed and counter signed by us, along with his National ID card to ensure genuine-ness. This process continued till it was dark and after 3 hours of distribution, reaching out to 1000 families we called it a day.
2100 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
We called this delivery, the mystical delivery as once again we decided to visit tombs of Shah Shams Tubrez and Shah Rukh ne Alam in Multan after having dinner at Pizza Hut. The driver and conductor with us strangely took interest in trying ‘how a pizza tastes like’. We went to the tombs, which are located adjacent to each other and had never seen such tight security ever before. Police officials told us, this area was under threat from terrorists, who had been on ‘blast a shrine’ spree. An old woman sat infront of Tubrez’s shrine, asked us to go back to Lahore and pay homage to Data Ali Hajveri on her behalf. 
2300 hrs [24th Oct, 2010]
Now we were on our way back to Lahore. On our minds, the sad faces of victims who had nothing left. Schools, hospitals, homes – all washed away. Another thing that continually became a topic of discussion was our nations reaction to national disasters which showed a ‘sudden burst of patriotism and then relative numbness’. Such was the case with Pakistan floods 2010. When the disaster struck, immediate emergency relief aide needed was nothing compared to what’s needed for rehabilitating 22 Million affected souls. Regular stops were made on juice corners, truck driver hotels and pan-shops on our way back as we had no deadline to meet. Most of us were so exhausted that we went to sleep in our coaster. Others continued to ‘fight’ on issues such as cricket, Zardari, US involvement in our internal affairs and what not.

Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi is an aeronautical engineer, a poet and a social activist who is the founding force & chairperson of Pakistan Youth Alliance(http://www.pya.org.pk/). He can be found tweeting @Ali_Abbas_Zaidi (http://twitter.com/#!/Ali_Abbas_Zaidi) & is available on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aliabbaszaidi

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Read this amazing piece of utterance waking up today, sharing for the greater good 🙂

In the market, in the cloister — only God I saw.
In the valley and on the mountain – only God I saw.
Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation;
In favour and in fortune — only God I saw.
Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance,
Qualities nor causes — only God I saw.
I opened mine eyes and by the light of His face around me
In all the eye discovered — only God I saw.
Like a candle I was melting in His fire:
Amidst the flames outflashing — only God I saw.
Myself with mine own eyes I saw most clearly,
But when I looked away into nothingness, I vanished,
And lo, I was the All-living — only God I saw.

Persian Ode by the dervish-poet, Baba Kuhi of Shiraz, who died in 1050 A.D.

A line that begs for attention here is Professor Nicholson’s introductory comment:

“… though to most of us the living experience is denied…”

Sa’di, the great poet of Persia, wrote:

“Every leaf of the tree becomes a page of the Book when once the heart is opened and it has learnt to read.”

Our sensory organs for taste and touch and sight and hearing and seeing are only good enough to help keep this body in working order. They are not fine enough to show us reality. Yet we go on blindly believing that they show us everything.

Wheresoever ye turn,
there is the face of Allah.

                          al Qur’an 2:115

This is a crucial step in understanding… our senses deceive us. The truth of this world is beyond what the senses tell us. Beyond the mere sense organs of the body, there is something far greater… the heart.

“My earth and My heaven contain Me not,
but the heart of My faithful servant containeth Me.”


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The majestic Abida Parveen weaving magic with her voice and the words of Khawaja Ghulam Fareed.

Menda Ishq vi tu – Abida Parveen – download the song

Abida- arveen

The heart-piercing Pathanay Khan also sings the same kalam:

Menda Ishq vi tu – Pathanay Khan – download the song

Pathanay Khan

The piece sung by Abida Parveen is irregular. She has masterly knitted together various verses from different kalaams of Ghulam Fareed into one song. I am writing lyrics of the original few lines, detailed work on it would follow.

Every song that I share on my blog here is not a mere song. Please try to get mesmerized with Baba Ghulam Fareed’s love.  Through his words, Ghulam Fareed is trying to express his love for his beloved, Hazur Muhammad (PBHU)

Sufi Poetry would not be the same after reading Khawaja Ghulam Fareed. Sufi music wont be the same after listening to the songs above.

Menda ishq wi tu meda yaar wi tu
My love as well as my beloved is you
Menda deen wi tu eeman wi tu
My religion as well as my faith is you
Menda jism wi tu meda rooh wi tu
My body as well as my soul is you
Menda kalb wi tu jind jaan wi tu
My heart as well as my heartbeat is you.
Menda kaba kibla masjad te member
My ka’ba (in Mecca), Qiblah (direction of ka’ba), mosque, pulpit…
mus’haff te quraan we tu
Copy of the Qur’an as well as the Qur’an itself is you.
Menday farz fareezay haj zakatan
My religious duties and obligations, hajj (pilgrimages), Zakaat (charities)…
saum salatan azaan wi tu
Fasting, Salaat (Prayer), as well as the Azaan (the call to prayer) is you.
Mendi zuhid ibadat
My humble ibadat (worship)…
tooq taqwa
My fear and God-consciousness…
ilm vee tu irfan vee tu
Knowledge as well as intelligence is you.
Menda zikr vee tu
My remembrance is also you.
Menda fikr vee tu
My concern/worry is also you.
Menda tooq vee tu
My fear is you…
wajdan vee tu
Inner consciousness is also you.
Menda sanwal methra sham saloona
My sweet beloved… [sorry can’t translate literally]
mun mohan janan vee tu
desire and life is you. [sorry can’t translate literally
Menda murshad hadi peer treeqat
My spiritual guide, spiritual teacher…
shiekh haqiat jaan vee tu
sheikh of guiding me to know the truth is also you.
Menda aas umeed tay khatya wataya
My wish, hope and [can’t translate]
takya maan kalam vee tu
[can’t translate] My takya and kalam is also you ?
Menda bharm vee tu
My belief is also you.
Menda dharm vee tu
My religion is you.
Menda sharm vee tu
My shyness/decency is also you.
Menda shaan vee tu
My grandeur/glory is also you.
Menda dukh sukh roowan
My worries and relief, cries…
dard vee tu darmaan vee tu
pain as well as the cure is you,
Mendi khushian da asbaab vee tu
My source of happiness is also you.
Menda bakht vee tu
My good fortune is also you.
naam vee tu nishaan vee tu
My name as well as fame is you.
Menda husn tey bhag suhaag vee tu
My beauty, garden and wedding is also you!

Menda ishq wi tu meda yaar wi tu
My love as well as my beloved is you.

Like always, cant help writing another verse of Khawaja Ghulam Fareed:

Uth Farida sutiya tu duniya dekhan ja,

Je koi mil jaye bakshaya tan tu wi balshaya ja


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At times, writers are out of words whilst praising a personality. Allama Iqbal had such a charisma that is difficult to transform into words. Dr / Sir / Allama / Hazrat and many other salutations used to refer to his multi-dimensional personality do not do justice to the man whose every face embraces a new height of perfection. My ignorant self is often at loss of words and does not know where to start and when to end whilst mentioning the great poet, philosopher, revolutionist, Ideologist, Spiritualist, humanitarian, politician and Muslim.

The departed melody may return or not!
The zephyr from Hijaz may blow again or not!
The days of this Faqir has come to an end,
Another seer may come or not!

– Allama’s verse minutes before his death.

Through various excerpts, I will try to uncover a side of him many of us have not seen. The biggest influence on Iqbal’s personality was none other than the greatest Sufi poet of all time, Maulana Jelal-ud-din Rumi. To understand the verses of Iqbal and unveil the mysticism concealed in his words, it is imperative to study Rumi.

The poetry and philosophy of Rumi had the deepest influence on Iqbal’s mind. Deeply immersed in religion since childhood, Iqbal began concentrating on the study of Islam, the culture and history of Islamic civilization and its political future, the mystical side of Islam and embrace Rumi as “his guide.” .Iqbal refers to Rumi in countless poems to underline the message of a pure, spiritual focus on Islam as a source for socio-political liberation and glory.

Iqbal was not the same after reading Masnavi, perhaps the greatest masterpiece of spiritual poetry in all of human history. Iqbal pays tribute to Rumi in almost all of his books and acknowledges him as his spiritual guide.

Few verses in chronological order are given below:

Inspired by the genius of Master of Rum
I rehearse the sealed book of secret lore;
The master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold
And set my ashes aflame

– Asrar-i-Khudi

Spiritual Master Rumi, the sage of holy origin
Opened the secret of life and death to us

– Payaam-e-Mashriq

Have a spark from my innermost heart
For my heart is as fiery as Rumi’s

– Zubur-e-Anjum

In Javed Nama, Iqbal describes how Rumi’s soul appeared to guide him:

And like the sun was his clear countenance
And age in him, scintillate the youth
His figure gleamed with godly light that lent
Him bliss and grace, the secrets of his life
Hung on his lips and burst the bound of word
And sound, the words he spoke were crystal clear
With learning full and inward light
Again, Iqbal calls him!

– Javed Nama

In “Letter from Europe“, Rumi is described by Iqbal as “Lamp of the way of free man”.

I have learnt the subtleties from Pir Rumi
I have burnt myself in his letters

– Pas Cheh Bayd Kard

It is time that I reopen the tavern of Rumi
The sheikhs of Kaaba are lying drunk, in the country-yard of the church

– Musafer

That string of the instrument of your ego is broken
Due to your indifference to Rumi’s Music

– Zarb-e-Kalim

Besides there are other numerous pointers regarding Rumi as Iqbal’s guide


An important thing to note here is that there is nothing demeaning in getting guidance from Murshid in Sufi tradition. Like a patient needs doctor and a student needs teacher, Sufis seeking spiritual enlightment need a guide /”murshid”. A question comes to mind that why Iqbal chose Rumi as mentor. Iqbal’s own answer would be that he didn’t. Rumi chose him. “The candle rushed onto the moth,” he says in the prelude of his first book of poetry.

When studied in the illumination of direction from Iqbal, the core essence of Rumi turns out to be that idea can transform into reality. That happens to be the gist of Iqbal’s message as well. Iqbal being the only Sufi poet whose words created a storm within the hearts of a nation who was living in slavery; he used his words to pierce their hearts and shook them to stand up for their rights. It is not an incident that he is the only poet whose imagination gave birth to a real country on the map of the world.

<big>The great master resembles the sea and the great pupil resembles the river which surges in the sea to become the sea itself. </big >


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