Moses and the Shepherd

One my favorite stories from the Masnavi, its dialectic is brilliant and dizzying…

yazd cieling


How Moses, on whom be peace, took offence at the prayer of the shepherd.

1720. Moses saw a shepherd on the way, who was saying, “O God who choosest (whom Thou wilt),
Where art Thou, that I may become Thy servant and sew Thy shoes and comb Thy head? That I may wash Thy clothes and kill Thy lice and bring milk to Thee, O worshipful One; That I may kiss Thy little hand and rub Thy little foot, (and when) bedtime comes I may sweep Thy little room,
O Thou to whom all my goats be a sacrifice, O Thou in remembrance of whom are my cries of ay and ah!”


1725. The shepherd was speaking foolish words in this wise. Moses said, “Man, to whom is this (addressed)?”
He answered, “To that One who created us; by whom this earth and sky were brought to sight.”
“Hark!” said Moses, “you have become very backsliding (depraved); indeed you have not become a Moslem, you have become an infidel.
What babble is this? what blasphemy and raving? Stuff some cotton into your mouth!
The stench of your blasphemy has made the (whole) world stinking: your blasphemy has turned the silk robe of religion into rags.


1730. Shoes and socks are fitting for you, (but) how are such things right for (One who is) a Sun?
If you do not stop your throat from (uttering) these words, a fire will come and burn up the people.
If a fire has not come, (then) what is this smoke? Why has your soul become black and your spirit rejected (by God)?
If you know that God is the Judge, how is it right for you (to indulge in) this doting talk and familiarity?
Truly, the friendship of a witless man is enmity: the high God is not in want of suchlike service.


1735. To whom are you saying this? To your paternal and maternal uncles? Are the body and (its) needs among the attributes of the Lord of glory?
(Only) he that is waxing and growing drinks milk: (only) he that has need of feet puts on shoes.
And if these words (of yours) are (meant) for His servant, of whom God said, ‘He is I and I myself am he’;
(For him) of whom He (God) said, ‘Verily, I was sick and thou didst not visit Me,’ (that is), ‘I became ill, not he (the sick man) alone’;
(For him) who has become seeing by Me and hearing by Me— this (talk of yours) is foolish nonsense even in regard to that servant.


1740. To speak irreverently to one chosen of God causes the heart (spirit) to perish and keeps the page (record) black.
If you should call a man ‘Fátima’—though men and women are all of one kind—
He will seek to murder you, so far as it is possible (for him), albeit he is good-natured and forbearing and quiet.
(The name) Fátima is (a term of) praise in regard to women, (but) if you address it to a man, ’tis (like) the blow of a spearhead.
Hand and foot are (terms of) praise in relation to us; in relation to the holiness of God they are pollution.


1745. (The words) He begat not, He was not begotten are appropriate to Him: He is the Creator of begetter and begotten.
Birth is the attribute of everything that is (a) body: whatever is born is on this side of the river,
Because it is of (the world of) becoming and decay and (is) contemptible: it is originated and certainly requires an Originator.”
He (the shepherd) said, “O Moses, thou hast closed my mouth and thou hast burned my soul with repentance.”
He rent his garment and heaved a sigh, and hastily turned his head towards the desert and went (his way).


How God rebuked Moses, on whom be peace, on account of the shepherd.

1750. A revelation came to Moses from God—“Thou hast parted My servant from Me.
Didst thou come (as a prophet) to unite, or didst thou come to sever?
So far as thou canst, do not set foot in separation: of (all) things the most hateful to Me is divorce.
I have bestowed on every one a (special) way of acting: I have given to every one a (peculiar) form of expression.
In regard to him it is (worthy of) praise, and in regard to thee it is (worthy of) blame: in regard to him honey, and in regard to thee poison.


1755. I am independent of all purity and impurity, of all slothfulness and alacrity (in worshipping Me).
I did not ordain (Divine worship) that I might make any profit; nay, but that I might do a kindness to (My) servants.
In the Hindoos the idiom of Hind (India) is praiseworthy; in the Sindians the idiom of Sind is praiseworthy.
I am not sanctified by their glorification (of Me); ’tis they that become sanctified and pearl-scattering (pure and radiant).
I look not at the tongue and the speech; I look at the inward (spirit) and the state (of feeling).
1760. I gaze into the heart (to see) whether it be lowly,
though the words uttered be not lowly, Because the heart is the substance, speech (only) the accident; so the accident is subservient, the substance is the (real) object.
How much (more) of these phrases and conceptions and metaphors? I want burning, burning: become friendly with that burning!
Light up a fire of love in thy soul, burn thought and expression entirely (away)!
O Moses, they that know the conventions are of one sort, they whose souls and spirits burn are of another sort.”


1765. To lovers there is a burning (which consumes them) at every moment: tax and tithe are not (imposed) on a ruined village.
If he (the lover) speak faultily, do not call him faulty; and if he be bathed in blood, do not wash (those who are) martyrs.
For martyrs, blood is better than water: this fault (committed by him) is better than a hundred right actions (of another).
Within the Ka‘ba the rule of the qibla does not exist: what matter if the diver has no snow-shoes?
Do not seek guidance from the drunken: why dost thou order those whose garments are rent in pieces to mend them?


1770. The religion of Love is apart from all religions: for lovers, the (only) religion and creed is God.
If the ruby have not a seal (graven on it), ’tis no harm: Love in the sea of sorrow is not sorrowful.


How the (Divine) revelation came to Moses, on whom be peace, excusing that shepherd.

After that, God hid in the inmost heart of Moses mysteries which cannot be spoken. Words were poured upon his heart: vision and speech were mingled together.

How oft did he become beside himself and how oft return to himself! How oft did he fly from eternity to everlastingness!


1775. If I should unfold (his tale) after this, ’tis foolishness (in me), because the explanation of this is beyond (our) understanding;
And if I should speak (thereof), ’twould root up (men’s) minds; and if I should write (thereof), ’twould shatter many pens.
When Moses heard these reproaches from God, he ran into the desert in quest of the shepherd.
He pushed on over the footprints of the bewildered man, he scattered dust from the skirt of the desert.
The footstep of a man distraught is, in truth, distinct from the footsteps of others:


1780. (At) one step, (he moves) like the rook (straight) from top to bottom (of the chessboard); (at) one step he goes crossways, like the bishop;
Now lifting his crest like a wave; now going on his belly like a fish;
Now writing (a description of) his state on some dust, like a geomancer who takes an omen by drawing lines (on earth or sand).
At last he (Moses) overtook and beheld him; the giver of glad news said, “Permission has come (from God).
Do not seek any rules or method (of worship); say whatsoever your distressful heart desires.


1785. Your blasphemy is (the true) religion, and your religion is the light of the spirit: you are saved, and through you a (whole) world is in salvation.
O you who are made secure by God doeth whatso He willeth, go, loose your tongue without regard (for what you say).”
He said, “O Moses, I have passed beyond that: I am now bathed in (my) heart’s blood.
I have passed beyond the Lote-tree of the farthest bourn, I have gone a hundred thousand years’ journey on the other side.
Thou didst ply the lash, and my horse shied, made a bound, and passed beyond the sky.


1790. May the Divine Nature be intimate with my human nature— blessings be on thy hand and on thine arm!
Now my state is beyond telling: this which I am telling is not my (real) state.”
You behold the image which is in a mirror: it is your (own) image, it is not the image of the mirror.
The breath which the flute-player puts into the flute—does it belong to the flute? No, it belongs to the man (the flute-player).
Take good heed! Whether you speak praise (of God) or thanksgiving, know that it is even as the unseemly (words) of that shepherd.

-Translation by R.A. Nicholson



دید موسی یک شبانی را براه
کو همی‌گفت ای گزیننده اله
تو کجایی تا شوم من چاکرت
چارقت دوزم کنم شانه سرت
جامه‌ات شویم شپشهاات کشم
شیر پیشت آورم ای محتشم
دستکت بوسم بمالم پایکت
وقت خواب آید بروبم جایکت
ای فدای تو همه بزهای من
ای بیادت هیهی و هیهای من
این نمط بیهوده می‌گفت آن شبان
گفت موسی با کی است این ای فلان
گفت با آنکس که ما را آفرید
این زمین و چرخ ازو آمد پدید
گفت موسی های بس مدبر شدی
خود مسلمان ناشده کافر شدی
این چه ژاژست این چه کفرست و فشار
پنبه‌ای اندر دهان خود فشار
گند کفر تو جهان را گنده کرد
کفر تو دیبای دین را ژنده کرد
چارق و پاتابه لایق مر تراست
آفتابی را چنینها کی رواست
گر نبندی زین سخن تو حلق را
آتشی آید بسوزد خلق را
آتشی گر نامدست این دود چیست
جان سیه گشته روان مردود چیست
گر همی‌دانی که یزدان داورست
ژاژ و گستاخی ترا چون باورست
دوستی بی‌خرد خود دشمنیست
حق تعالی زین چنین خدمت غنیست
با کی می‌گویی تو این با عم و خال
جسم و حاجت در صفات ذوالجلال
شیر او نوشد که در نشو و نماست
چارق او پوشد که او محتاج پاست
ور برای بنده‌شست این گفت تو
آنک حق گفت او منست و من خود او
آنک گفت انی مرضت لم تعد
من شدم رنجور او تنها نشد
آنک بی یسمع و بی یبصر شده‌ست
در حق آن بنده این هم بیهده‌ست
بی ادب گفتن سخن با خاص حق
دل بمیراند سیه دارد ورق
گر تو مردی را بخوانی فاطمه
گرچه یک جنس‌اند مرد و زن همه
قصد خون تو کند تا ممکنست
گرچه خوش‌خو و حلیم و ساکنست
فاطمه مدحست در حق زنان
مرد را گویی بود زخم سنان
دست و پا در حق ما استایش است
در حق پاکی حق آلایش است
لم یلد لم یولد او را لایق است
والد و مولود را او خالق است
هرچه جسم آمد ولادت وصف اوست
هرچه مولودست او زین سوی جوست
زانک از کون و فساد است و مهین
حادثست و محدثی خواهد یقین
گفت ای موسی دهانم دوختی
وز پشیمانی تو جانم سوختی
جامه را بدرید و آهی کرد تفت
سر نهاد اندر بیابانی و رفت


وحی آمد سوی موسی از خدا
بندهٔ ما را ز ما کردی جدا
تو برای وصل کردن آمدی
یا برای فصل کردن آمدی
تا توانی پا منه اندر فراق
ابغض الاشیاء عندی الطلاق
هر کسی را سیرتی بنهاده‌ام
هر کسی را اصطلاحی داده‌ام
در حق او مدح و در حق تو ذم
در حق او شهد و در حق تو سم
ما بری از پاک و ناپاکی همه
از گرانجانی و چالاکی همه
من نکردم امر تا سودی کنم
بلک تا بر بندگان جودی کنم
هندوان را اصطلاح هند مدح
سندیان را اصطلاح سند مدح
من نگردم پاک از تسبیحشان
پاک هم ایشان شوند و درفشان
ما زبان را ننگریم و قال را
ما روان را بنگریم و حال را
ناظر قلبیم اگر خاشع بود
گرچه گفت لفظ ناخاضع رود
زانک دل جوهر بود گفتن عرض
پس طفیل آمد عرض جوهر غرض
چند ازین الفاظ و اضمار و مجاز
سوز خواهم سوز با آن سوز ساز
آتشی از عشق در جان بر فروز
سر بسر فکر و عبارت را بسوز
موسیا آداب‌دانان دیگرند
سوخته جان و روانان دیگرند
عاشقان را هر نفس سوزیدنیست
بر ده ویران خراج و عشر نیست
گر خطا گوید ورا خاطی مگو
گر بود پر خون شهید او را مشو
خون شهیدان را ز آب اولیترست
این خطا را صد صواب اولیترست
در درون کعبه رسم قبله نیست
چه غم از غواص را پاچیله نیست
تو ز سرمستان قلاوزی مجو
جامه‌چاکان را چه فرمایی رفو
ملت عشق از همه دینها جداست
عاشقان را ملت و مذهب خداست
لعل را گر مهر نبود باک نیست
عشق در دریای غم غمناک نیست


بعد از آن در سر موسی حق نهفت
رازهایی گفت کان ناید به گفت
بر دل موسی سخنها ریختند
دیدن و گفتن بهم آمیختند
چند بی‌خود گشت و چند آمد بخود
چند پرید از ازل سوی ابد
بعد ازین گر شرح گویم ابلهیست
زانک شرح این ورای آگهیست
ور بگویم عقلها را بر کند
ور نویسم بس قلمها بشکند
چونک موسی این عتاب از حق شنید
در بیابان در پی چوپان دوید
بر نشان پای آن سرگشته راند
گرد از پرهٔ بیابان بر فشاند
گام پای مردم شوریده خود
هم ز گام دیگران پیدا بود
یک قدم چون رخ ز بالا تا نشیب
یک قدم چون پیل رفته بر وریب
گاه چون موجی بر افرازان علم
گاه چون ماهی روانه بر شکم
گاه بر خاکی نبشته حال خود
همچو رمالی که رملی بر زند
عاقبت دریافت او را و بدید
گفت مژده ده که دستوری رسید
هیچ آدابی و ترتیبی مجو
هرچه می‌خواهد دل تنگت بگو
کفر تو دینست و دینت نور جان
آمنی وز تو جهانی در امان
ای معاف یفعل الله ما یشا
بی‌محابا رو زبان را بر گشا
گفت ای موسی از آن بگذشته‌ام
من کنون در خون دل آغشته‌ام
من ز سدرهٔ منتهی بگذشته‌ام
صد هزاران ساله زان سو رفته‌ام
تازیانه بر زدی اسپم بگشت
گنبدی کرد و ز گردون بر گذشت
محرم ناسوت ما لاهوت باد
آفرین بر دست و بر بازوت باد
حال من اکنون برون از گفتنست
اینچ می‌گویم نه احوال منست
نقش می‌بینی که در آیینه‌ایست
نقش تست آن نقش آن آیینه نیست
دم که مرد نایی اندر نای کرد
درخور نایست نه درخورد مرد
هان و هان گر حمد گویی گر سپاس
همچو نافرجام آن چوپان شناس

nasr-i molk cieling

Hamza el-Din—Desse Barama

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists:



The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon, smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction
flows through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
I marvel at people who are not in love with life.
You, my girl, are beautiful,
and your beauty,
like the beautiful thought of peace,
belongs to the eternity.
Detest war and destruction.
When you go to the riverbank,
and the sun sets in the evening,
the waters of the river will be rippling softly,
and from a distance, in the twilight, you will see white sails.
A song of the boatman will come from there.
‘Today no suffering, no suffering.’
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon,
smiling like a rose.

Translation from:

Yoruba poetry in praise of Olodumare

The remarkable Mayowa Adeyemo performs a powerful poem in praise of Olodumare, the Supreme Deity.



Odíderé ayékòótá máa wolè máràba
Odéderé ayébòútó máa wolè máràba
oò ri’ báyé nwá doríto dò tó dobúépo
ọmọ ò gbọ́ tí baba mo, baba ò gbó dimọ má, aya ò gbọ́ lọkọ mo
gbogbo rè wá polúkúrámusu nílé ayé o
Elédùmarè e, Olódù só màre
Òbá wá bá wa túnlé ayé se
Káyé ó máse dàrú má
Káyé ó rójú, káyé ó ráàyè
Kóòdè ó gba gbogbo wa nílé ayé
Torílé ayé yìí kansoso la wá
Àjò sì nilé ayé
Gbogbo wa la ó padà relí bóbá dọjọ́ kaa
Elédùmarè o o o
Ìwọ mà lọ̀mọ̀ràn tí moyún ìgbín nínú ìkọrọhua
Ìwọ mà leni tó tọgbọ́n mọgbá orí
Ìwọ mà leni tó dá gbogbo wa rílé ayé
Tí wọ́n ti ń pelé ayé nílé dúníyàn o
Elédùmarè ọba toto bọ bí orí
Bíyá tín bì ó díè kórí ire ó lè wá
Bo lè dámí l’óhùn gbogbo ohun tí mo bá
bèrè lọ́wọ́ ò ré lújúọ tòní o
Oba atérere káré ayé, Ọba kòṣeuntì
Òbàmùbárá matéré bamba
Ènìyàn wèròwèsò tí ò sée lowó wàdùwàdù mú
Enítóbá tasè àgèsè pérén
Kódà á sanwó láyé, á wá lo rèé sekà lórun ni
Elédùmarè o o o
Ọba ńlá, tí ò seé gbíjá, ọba tí ò seé gbìjà
Torí mọ súmóba níwọ̀n egbèje
Mo jìnnà sóba níwọ̀n egbejà
mi ò mà róba fín torá róba fiń loba ń pa
Ọba tótó bí aró, ọba rèrè bí osùn
Eléní àtèká gbogbo mekùn oòyè
Òpó àndù oyè
Ọba tí wọ́n kìí bá du oyè láíláí
L’elédùmarè ọba tèmi
Ọ̀bá dákun o gbébè mi
Ọ̀bá dákun o gbébè mi
Káyé ó ńjú fún wa
Káyé ó ńjú fún wa
Kílè yí ó sàn wá
Kílè yíí ó san wá
Kámáse rógun àdáyà
Kámáse rógun àgbédá
Kámáse rógun àkóbá
Lólá Elédùmarè jóo bá jé gbó àdúrà wa
Mose tótó, mo se sákì olú
Gbogbo èyí náà, ko ba lè gbóhùn èbè mi ni
Ọ̀bá dákun wá gbọ́ o o o


The River of Love

One of the most popular and beautiful verses of the wonderful Amir Khusrau…


Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar.

Oh Khusrau, the river of love
Runs in strange ways.
One who enters it drowns,
And one who drowns, gets across.



it is popularly performed alongside the equally famous poem Chaap Tilak, as in the videos below:


You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine from the distillery of love
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been bound by you by just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nizam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance.




Chhāp tilak sab chīnī re mose nainā milāike

Bāt atham keh dīnī re mose nainā milāike
Prem bhaṭī kā madvā pilāike
Matvālī kar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Gorī gorī baīyān, harī harī chuṛiyān
baīyān pakaṛ dhar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Bal bal jāūn main tore rang rajvā
Apnī sī kar līnhī re mose nainā milāike
Khusro Nijām ke bal bal jaiye
Mohe suhāgan kīnhī re mose nainā milāike
Bāt atham keh dīnī re mose nainā milāike



The first verse is a part of the following family of couplets:

Bae gaye baalam, bae gaye nadia kinaar,
Aapay paar utar gaye, hum to rahay ehi paar.

He has crossed, the beloved has crossed,
Has reached the other side, on his own.
With me, left here alone.


Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar.

Oh Khusrau, the river of love
Runs in strange directions.
One who jumps into it drowns,
And one who drowns, gets across.


Bhai ray malla jo hum kon paar utaar,
Haath ka devongi mandra, gal ka devun haar.


Oh, brother oarsman, if you let me cross the river,
I have for you my gold bangle, my necklace.



job persian miniature


Hafez and Basho




A strange flower 
for birds and butterflies
the autumn sky


Glorious the moon . . .
therefore our thanks
dark clouds
Come to rest our necks

Shoson Ohara Koson Pluvier au bord de la Mer avec un croissant de lune

The first day of the year:
thoughts come – and there is loneliness;
the autumn dusk is here.


None is travelling
Here along this way but I,
This autumn evening.


Dewdrop, let me cleanse
in your brief
sweet waters . . .
These dark hands of life
In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued
hibiscus . . .
A lovely sunset


Fever-felled half-way,
my dreams arose
To march again . . .
Into a hollow land




Wholesome is the ambergris-scented, fragrant breeze
that arose, longing for you at dawn
O bird of good omen, be my guide
My eye melted in yearning for the dust of that door
To recall my ailing body, drowned in my heart’s blood
look at the crescent moon in the evening twilight
It is I who breathe without you. What a shame!
Unless you forgive me, I have no excuse for my sin
The way of love, the dawn learned from your lovers
to tear its black garment at daybreak
When I am gone from this world with the love of your face
Instead of grass, the red rose will bloom from my dust
Do not allow your sensitive heart to be hurt by me
For your Hafez has just said “Bismillāh.”



خنک نسیم معنبر شمامه‌ای دلخواه            که در هوای تو برخاست بامداد پگاه
دلیل راه شو ای طایر خجسته لقا          که دیده آب شد از شوق خاک آن درگاه
به یاد شخص نزارم که غرق خون دل است                     هلال را ز کنار افق کنید نگاه
منم که بی تو نفس می‌کشم زهی خجلت         مگر تو عفو کنی ور نه چیست عذر گناه
ز دوستان تو آموخت در طریقت مهر             سپیده دم که صبا چاک زد شعار سیاه
به عشق روی تو روزی که از جهان بروم                ز تربتم بدمد سرخ گل به جای گیاه
مده به خاطر نازک ملالت از من زود           که حافظ تو خود این لحظه گفت بسم الله



O Saqi, brighten my cup with the light of wine
Musician, sing, for the world is now as I wish

The sky’s green sea and the crescent moon’s cup
have been filled with the blessings of our Hajji Qavām

ساقی! به نور باده برافروز جام ما            مطرب، بگو که کار جهان شد به کام ما

دریای اَخضَر فَلَک و کشتی هِلال                   هستند غرقِ نعمتِ حاجی قوام ما



Basho on poetry

zen enso

“What is important is to keep our mind high in the world of true understanding, and, returning to the world of our daily experience, to seek therein the truth of beauty. No matter what we may be doing at a given moment, we must not forget that it has a bearing upon our everlasting self which is poetry.”


The autumn full moon
All night long
I walked around the lake

japanese pine

“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.”




Whoever tastes the flavour of our drink…

A well-known and oft-quoted Sufi classic by the 14th C Egyptian poet, Ibn bint Mayliq

Whoever tastes the flavour of the drink of the people knows it
and whoever becomes aware of it tomorrow [the Day of Resurrecton] will give his soul for it
Even if he risked his spirits, and sacrificed them
with every blink of the eye, it would still not equal it
A drop of it suffices all creation, had they but tasted,
they would declare themselves above all the worlds in drunken pride
The possessor of love, were he given the universe as a cup
to drink as many times as the number of souls, he still would not be quenched



من ذاقَ طعم شرابِ القوم يدريهِ          ومن دراه غداً بالروح يشريهِ
ولو تعرّضَ أرواحاً وجاد بها          في كل طرفةِ عين لا يُساويهِ
وقطرةٌ منه تكفي الخلقَ لو طعموا          فيشطَحونَ على الأكوان بالتيه
وذو الصبابة لو يسقى على عددِ الأن       فاسِ والكون كأساً ليس يرويهِ


The end of Surah Baqarah

The final two verses of the second, and longest, Surah of the Quran are among its most beautiful and touching, as you can see and hear below

2-286 wall callig




The Messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in God and His angels and His books and His messengers – We make no distinction between any one of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the homecoming.


God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark! Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as thou didst lay on those before us! Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear! Pardon us, absolve us, and have mercy on us, You are our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.

Trans. modified from Pickthall’s


It is said that the “disbelieving folk” refers to the elements of ourselves that refuse to recognize who we are, to come to grips with reality.  “Victory over them refers to victory over illusion and confusion, and the reunification of the soul.  The beginning of the verse assures this victory since, “God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity.”

baqara 2;285,6 folio


آمن الرسول بما أنزل إليه من ربه والمؤمنون كل آمن بالله وملائكته وكتبه ورسله لا نفرق بين أحد من رسله وقالوا سمعنا وأطعنا غفرانك ربنا وإليك المصير ( 285 ) لا يكلف الله نفسا إلا وسعها لها ما كسبت وعليها ما اكتسبت ربنا لا تؤاخذنا إن نسينا أو أخطأنا ربنا ولا تحمل علينا إصرا كما حملته على الذين من قبلنا ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به واعف عنا واغفر لنا وارحمنا أنت مولانا فانصرنا على القوم الكافرين ( 286


2-286 old kufic



(God does not burden a soul beyond its capacity)


Wonderful calligraphy and a beautiful recitation of these verses…




In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Compassionate
We have not sent down the Quran unto you that you may be distressed,
but as a reminder to him who fears
A revelation from He who created the earth and the heavens on high
The All-Merciful, established on the throne,
To Him belongs that which is the Heavens and which is in the Earth
and that which is between the two
and that which is below the ground



Andalusian Love songs: Shushtari and Camaron

The poems of the Andalusian Sufi, Abu’l-Hasan Shushtari (d. 1269) parallel and perhaps indirectly influenced some of my favorite Flamenco lyrics.  Compare this pair of songs:


Your love for me is not a fantasy

However much they forbid that I love you,
like a jib to the water I will resist.
Only your tender love I would have for company
I wanted to give you more and more I’d give you,

Because I know that without you I won’t live,
because wherever you are I will follow,
that’s why I love you and dream of you.

Your love for me is not fantasy,
the memory hurts me every day,
I am of your love that abandons me,
and loved me and wanted me.

You and I on the blanket,
you and I under the moon,
your dark eyes were glistening
reflecting the tenderness

A love looks strong,
my heart,
if my eyes didn’t look at you
every day

You were something that goes and never comes
and clear was your farewell and clear was my sorrow.
Without your love, I only love the earth
without your love, two minutes is one day,
that’s why I love you and you take my life.

I would like to hear the voice of the wind
that brings the sighs that you give,
your sorrows are like mine,
like the waves of the ocean

Your love for me is not fantasy,
the memory hurts me every day,
I am of your love that abandons me,
and loved me and wanted me

Translation from:


Tu amor para mi no es fantasia
Por más que a mí me quiten que te quiera
como el foque al agua remetiera
sólo tu amor tendré por compañera
que más te quise dar y más te diera,


Porque sé que sin ti yo no vivo,
porque donde tú estés te persigo,
por eso te quiero y sueño contigo.


Tu amor para mí no es fantasía,
me duele el recuerdo cada día,
soy de tu querer que me abandona,
y me quería y me quería.


Tú y yo sobre la manta,
tú y yo bajo la luna,
brillaban tus ojos negros
reflejando la ternura.


Fuerte mira un amor,
sentrañas mías,
si no te vieran mis ojos
todos los días.


Fuiste algo que pasa y nunca llega
y claro fue tu adiós y clara mi pena.
Sin tu amor sólo a la tierra quiero
sin tu amor dos minutos es un día,
por eso te quiero y me quitas la vía.


Quisiera escuchar la voz del viento
que trae los suspiros que tú das,
tus penas son como las mías,
como la oleá del mar.


Tu amor para mí no es fantasía,
me duele el recuerdo cada día,
soy de tu querer que me abandona,
y me quería y me quería.

My neglect of you is reprehensible, your love is obligatory
my longing is everlasting, and union is elusive
On the tablet of my heart, your love has been marked
my tears are the ink, and beauty is the writer
The reader of my thoughts constantly recites
lessons on the signs of the beautiful one
My gaze wanders in the heaven of your beauty
its penetrating star pierces my mind
Talk about others, listening to that is forbidden
for all of me is stolen and your beauty is the thief
They said to me: repent of loving the one you love
so I replied: I repent of my neglect
The torments of love are sweet for every lover
even if, for another, they are hard and never-ending


Translation modified from: L.M. Alvarez. Abu’l-Hasan Shushtari: Songs of Love and Devotion. p. 55



سُلُوِّيَ مكروهٌ وحُبكَ واجبٌ               وشوقِي مقيمٌ والتَّواصلُ غائبُ

وفي لوح قلبي من وِدَادكِ أسطرٌ            وَدمعي مِدادٌ مثل ما الحسن كاتبُ

وقارىء فكري لْلمحَاسِن تالياً               على دَرْس آيات الجمالِ يواظبُ

أُنَزِّهُ طَرفي في سماء جَمالكمْ                    لِثاقب ذِهني نَجمُها هو ثاقبُ

حَديثُ سواكَ السمع عنهُ محَّرمٌ                    فَكُلِّيَ مسلوبٌ وحسنكَ سالبُ

يقولونَ لي تبْ عن هوى من تُحبُّهُ                 فقلتُ عن السلوان إِنِّيَ تائبُ

عَذابُ الهوى عذبٌ على كل عَاشِق       وإِن كان عندَ الغير صعبٌ وواصبُ