Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poetry to God

I learnt a bit about the Sufi when I took Ministry in a Pluralistic Context last year and we touched on it again today. I was reminded of my life as a Christian as well - there is a lot to learn from them. For one, the Sufi put themselves under the tutelage and guidance of a shaik or spiritual leader - it will be hard to find any such person in our churches these days whom we can call our mentors. They are ascetic, simple and quiet in their way of life. They were not content with just an exterior life of being a Muslim - it must also be lived out in their inner life.

They are also well-known for the poetry they wrote:
So long as we do not die to ourselves,
and so long as we identify with someone or something,
we shall never be free.
The spiritual way is not for those wrapped up in exterior life.

~ Farid ud Din Attar

The Jesus of your spirit is inside you now.
Ask that one for help, but don't ask for body-things...

Don't ask Moses for provisions
that you can get from Pharaoh.

Don't worry so much about livelihood.
Your livelihood will turn out as it should.
Be constantly occupied instead
with listening to God.

~ Rumi, Mathnawi II:450-454

Go sweep out the chamber of your heart.
Make it ready to be the dwelling place of the Beloved.
When you depart out, He will enter it.
In you, void of yourself, will He display His beauties.

~ Mahmud Shabistari - 'Rose Garden of Mystery'

My joy --
My Hunger --
My Shelter --
My Friend --
My Food for the journey --
My journey's End --
You are my breath,
My hope,
My companion,
My craving,
My abundant wealth.
Without You -- my Life, my Love --
I would never have wandered across these endless countries.
You have poured out so much grace for me,
Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts --
I look everywhere for Your love --
Then suddenly I am filled with it.
O Captain of my Heart
Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast,
I will never be free from You
As long as I live.
Be satisfied with me, Love,
And I am satisfied.

~ Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya

And this has become my favourite:
O my Lord,
the stars glitter
and the eyes of men are closed.
Kings have locked their doors
and each lover is alone with his love.

Here, I am alone with you.

~ Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya



  1. I have two ways of loving You:
    A selfish one
    And another way that is worthy of You.
    In my selfish love, I remember You and You alone.
    In that other love, You lift the veil
    And let me feast my eyes on Your Living Face.

  2. Alex,
    Yes, I read this too and remembered it. Beautiful...

  3. Amazing. Are these in books that you buy for your assignments?

  4. Melissa,
    Nope, not from books. I googled them and there various translations of them, as they are originally in Arabic.