Tuesday, December 30


Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.

Hurting the Feelings of Others

Hurting the Feelings of Others
Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani |
Saturday, Dec 13, 2008 | Washington, DC US

A`udhu billah min ash-shaytan ir-rajeem

Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem

Nawaytu'l-arba`een, nawaytu'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu'l-khalwah, nawaytu'l-riyaada, nawaytu's-salook, nawaytu'l-`uzlah lillahi ta`ala fee hadha'l-masjid

They say that if speaking is from silver, if you like to talk, it is equal to silver, then to be silent is equal to gold because we cannot as a human being control our tongues. And the biggest problem in this world is that people are not able to control their tongues from talking. And the Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad (s) he said, in the meaning of his hadith, tradition, part of the hadith is that “anyone who can guarantee for me,” he is saying, “can guarantee for me his tongue,” he didn’t say “his tongue” but he said, "what is between his jaws, I will guarantee for him Paradise.” Because you don’t know how you might address people and you hurt their feelings.

I heard my master in his teachings to many Muslim and non-Muslim. …As I said, "the place is small but the hearts are big.”

So… the Prophet (s), I heard my teacher many times was saying that “people might commit sins, too many and they might do things that are not allowed.” It means they might lie or they might cheat or they might because of their greediness, they might raise prices more than it should be, or they might do other things, not listening to the mother or the father or the elders, or not following what they need to follow in their beliefs, all that if you ask repentance, Allah will forgive you. God will forgive you. Anything that is between you and God, Allah swt, you do something wrong and you might take something to your advantage from the rights of your Lord, you repent, Allah is merciful He will forgive you.

As it is said in the Holy Qur'an, “Say [O Muhammad] to the people, ‘If they were oppressors to themselves, let them not lose hope of My forgiveness. I will forgive them, just let them repent.”

God is always merciful. But the problem is that when we hurt the feeling of someone else or we backbite someone else or we spread a bad rumor about someone else, the problem is not that you repent and god will forgive. The problem is that the person you hurt you must ask forgiveness. So there is a problem there. Might be the person you ask will not forgive you. So what happens? You are falling into a valley that has not bottom.

When the Prophet (s) asked his companions about the meaning of bankruptcy, and we have lot of bankruptcy going around today. He asked them, “who is the bankrupt one?” They said, "whoever loses his wealth.” He said, "No, this is not the real meaning of bankrupt." Although that is what we understand, bankruptcy is whoever lost all his wealth. He said, "No, the bankrupt one is the one who has no good deeds to present to God on Judgment Day.” And the companions said, "even if he is praying and fasting?” and he said, "even if he is praying and fasting, he might not have any good deeds.” They were surprised.

So it means on the Day of Judgment, and it is called judgment like you are judged here in a court, one person accuses the other. So on the Day of Judgment whoever has been harmed he will give from his good deeds to give to you. If he hurt you a lot then all the good deeds he did in his life will be transferred to you. Then he will be left with nothing, bankrupted.

So we said at the beginning that the Prophet (s) Muhammad (s) and Jesus Alayhissalam and Moses Alayhissalam and Abraham Alayhissalam and Noah Alayhissalam, all these heavenly religions came to discipline us and to teach how to behave with each other and to be relate with each other. That is the message that we have to carry with us.

Unfortunately many of us they try to hurt the others… in different ways. Look. Some Muslims hurt the majority of Muslims. Why? Because they thought this is their way, so even though they prayed and fasted, as the prophet said, because they hurted the other they are bankrupted in the presence of Allah they have nothing, they deserve punishment. Those who blended or branded or labeled the name of Islam and Muslim as terrorists because of their actions that they killed innocent people, they hurt the whole Muslim community. And not only the Muslim community, but they hurt the whole human race. What do you think the punishment will be on them. It is not going to be an easy punishment.

Antichrist, and we know in the Holy Bible and in the Torah of Moses Alayhissalam and in the Holy Qur'an and the holy hadith of the prophet, about the last days we know that Antichrist is coming. Antichrist means the one who does not accept Jesus Alayhissalam coming back on earth .it means he does not accept except his own belief. How many Antichrist we now have around this world?

Prophet Muhammad (s) came 1400 years ago and delivered his message and he said, "Tis message will go to the Day of Judgment and in the Last Days Jesus Alayhissalam will come back, and him and one of my grandchildren, Mahdi Alayhissalam, will come to eliminate injustice." But before that a lot of confusion that Antichrist will bring on earth before Jesus Alayhissalam comes. So Jesus Alayhissalam will come to eliminate what the Antichrist is doing.

So how many nowadays can be called “Antichrist on earth” that they are damaging the reputation of Islam and Muslims and against all heavenly messages? And they are coming against all messages and they are coming against every one who doesn’t accept them and the Antichrist will come against the whole world because they don’t accept him, and he will come and conquer one land after another. You found this in Bible in and in the hadith of the Holy Prophet (s). So he will establish himself in one place and then use that place to take over other places. That is the point of departure, intilaq in Arabic, to take over different places in order to take over the whole world.

And the Prophet (s) said, "His evil power will move from one place to another.” Look today you see these circles of evilness, they are forming circles of evilness and they are doing all kinds of miseries around the world, problems around the world; terrorism around the world; fighting around the world; hijacking now, vessels and boats around the world. All kinds of evil work they are doing and this is because they are inheritors of what the Antichrist is coming with, they are paving the road for Antichrist. That means they are his supporters and we are looking and we are surprised how many of them coming around the world, destroying all kinds of beliefs.

“Antichrist,” the Prophet (s) said, "he will not accept except his own beliefs.” He will say to you “if you accept me ok, if you don’t accept me…” he will eliminate them. And he will eliminate anyone who does not accept his belief and he will use massive elimination. And are we not seeing massive eliminations? Yes, look in Iraq, with suicide bombings. In other countries. And 911, after 911, before 911. Look in Africa how they are fighting. All of that is like a collection of different places around the world, with the same behavior and same ideology. Even if their belief is not Muslim but they are from different religions, but their focus, their belief, is to create confusion on earth either by their speeches or by their actions. Listen to what they say in their speeches. They are fiery speeches. And the Prophet (s) said, "Anyone who can guarantee what is between his jaws … I will guarantee for him Paradise.”

These people we don’t hear from them except threatenings and Antichrist comes with threatenings, he cannot come with other than that. He comes before Jesus Alayhissalam, before `Isa Alayhissalam. And as I said, he has supporters. These supporters are coming out of their caves now and are spreading this earth with all these kinds of confusion. Unfortunately there is no end for it. The end will come with arrival of Antichrist. Because the evil power always going to be from century to century And in this century it is increasing a lot.

So what we have to do then is, as the Prophet (s) said, "There will coming a time that there will be huge confusions around the world. Like chunks,… You know how you look at the sky at night and you don’t see any stars, there are huge chunks of dark night. He said, "Confusions will be so dark and so huge,” as if someone looking in the sky and seeing huge darkness there, no light. So at that time he said, "there will be lot of confusions around the world.” He said, "the one sitting, the one who is sitting, means sitting at home or sitting looking after his work, and sitting looking after his children and his family is better than the one standing and looking from the window.” He might receives something that might hurt him. The one looking is exposed. The one who is sitting on his chair, he is not looking outside there is no exposure for anything. He is not going to be exposed. He said, "the one who is sitting, is better than the one who is
standing the one who is standing better than one walking the one walking on the street is better…?

And he said, "If you get angry at that time, then hit on a stone.” Hit your hand or your stick, it means get your anger out on that stone, until you break your stick. At that time “take your bow and arrow and hit it on the rock.” Don’t involve with anyone as something might hurt you. We are in such days.

That is why one of the companions of the Prophet (s), Sayyidina `Ali (r), karam-Allahu wajha, wa Alayhissalam, he said, "you have to be careful what you are saying and what you want to say.” Today what makes people falling into problems is they have to know what they have to speak and what they have to say. He said, "before you speak judge yourself before you talk anything."

Does anyone judge himself before he speaks? Look today these talk shows. Did you see any show they didn’t criticize each other? This one criticize this one and that one criticize that one. They say two opinions. What is the benefit? You are making more confusion with two opinions that one says something and that one says another: Who is right and who is wrong? Both consider they are right.

So the best is to keep silent. Study, learn, raise a family. Look at your work and don’t involve yourself too much with issues that don’t concern you. I don’t want to be long, but as he said, Sayyidina `Ali (r):

اعمل لدنياك كأنك تعيش أبداً ، و اعمل لآخرتك كأنك تموت غدا

A`amal li-dunyaka ka-annaka ta`ayshu abadan wa a`amal li akhiratika ka-annaka tamootu ghaddan - do for you lifetime that you are living on this earth as if you are living forever.”

It means be ambitious do what you want to do, but check what you want to say, but try to do the maximum, No problem. But make sure you do for your other life, the afterlife, as if you are dying tomorrow.

So look at the both sides. He said, "look at this world as if you are living forever. But keep in mind you might die tomorrow. You have to keep both sides, as any time you might be called and asked.

So the best in this time is to raise good children and a good family and to as soon as possible to get them married. You cannot leave your children without marriage. Too much temptations. Too much unacceptable acts that might make your children to fall down, as we are seeing outside in the streets, too much between girls and boys with drugs that are ruining their lives. Why? Because we are delaying their studies and we are delaying, we are not encouraging them to finish as quick as possible and then get married. Everyone is saying to wait and wait and wait, until they become 60 years old.

Sunday, December 28

You are not the ego

You are not the ego, so when you become aware of the ego in you, it does not mean you know who you are--- it means you know who you are not. But it is through knowing who you are not that the greatest obstacle to truly knowing yourself is removed.
Nobody can tell you who you are.

Saturday, December 27


Create loving energy around yourself. Love your body and love your mind. Love your whole mechanism, your whole organism. By love is meant: accept it as it is, don’t try to repress. We repress only when we hate something, we repress only when we are against something. Don’t repress, because if you repress how are you going to watch?

We cannot look the enemy eye to eye; we can look only in the eyes of our beloved. If you are not a lover of yourself you will not be able to look into your own eyes, into your own face, into your own reality.

Sufi Mysticism of the Indus Valley

Sufi Mysticism of the Indus Valley
Hassan N. Gardezi

From the tyranny of religious dogma
Love will set you free.
_ Fakir Bedil (A Sindhi Sufi)

The rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism in conjunction with geo-political conflicts in different parts of the non-Western world has become the major focus of media and scholarly comment for the last few decades. What is being lost sight of in the process is the existence of a vibrant tradition of Islamic Sufi mysticism which still informs the daily lives and shared understandings of millions of ordinary Muslims around the world, with its message of love, tolerance, peace, equality, and respect for all creation.

The association of the words Sufi and Sufism with the English usage of the term mysticism often leaves the impression on those not too well acquainted with the Sufi way that it is some kind of a mysterious cult centred around enigmatic figures called Sufis. This impression may be reinforced if one approaches Sufism as a system of abstract ideas, but when encountered in real life the Sufi way turns out to be a body of practical wisdom or knowledge employed by people to live harmoniously with one another, with their natural environment and the world beyond. In contrast to the monolithic and doctrinaire projection of orthodox Islam the Sufi tradition exists in a rich variety of real life expressions blended with local cultures, and their semiotics, imagery and symbolism. The way of the Sufi can be best understood by looking at how it is articulated within a specific culture, country and climate (Shah, Idries, p. 9).

This paper will attempt to introduce the Sufi way by exploring one of its specific traditions that has taken shape over centuries, outside the mosque and the academy, in the Indus valley which now constitutes the heartland of Pakistan. The exponents of this tradition are a long line of Sufi poets of few pretensions but much wisdom who have made a creative use of the native languages of their land to establish a shared universe of discourse which brings close together people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds. But before we explore the content of this poetic tradition and its significance for the contemporary human communities, a few words about the geophysical and cultural history of the Indus Valley will be helpful to visualise the setting.

The Indus Valley The hing from the north-western foothills of the Himalayas to the Arabian sea in the middle of which the mighty Indus river has for centuries run a meandering course in a multitude of channels. The shifting landscape around the Indus also varies greatly ranging from verdant farmlands and orchards to forbidding deserts and barren mountain folds. In these constantly changing natural habitats have flourished and blended many cultural traditions since time immemorial. There are scattered throughout the land several sites of a neolithic urban civilization dating back to c3000 B. C. Mass migrations and invasions since 1500 B. C. brought into the Indus valley a great diversity of human races and cultural traditions including the Vedic Aryans, Greeks, Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans and Arabs. During the middle ages of Islam many contemplating and religious minded persons were attracted to the towns and cities of the Indus valley for their reputation for peaceful life and respect for the learned, thus setting the stage for the emergence of a rich tradition of Sufi poetry that has served to unify and synthesise the diverse cultural heritage of the people and their folk wisdom.

A Pioneer

A pioneering sage to compose Sufi poetry in Siraiki, one of the oldest native languages of the Indus valley was Shaikh Faridudin Shakarganj popularly known as Baba Fareed. A Sufi of the Chishti order, Fareed was born in c. 1175 A. D. of parents who had immigrated from Persia. Today a substantial part of his verse is incorporated in Adi Garanth, the most sacred book of the Sikh religion. He preached that the path to Divine Union that all Sufis seek lies in love of fellow human beings irrespective of colour creed or status. The following verse in Siraiki captures the motto of his life and the essence of his spirituality.

Every human heart is a pearl

If you seek the beloved, do not break anyone's heart

No religion has monopoly of the path to God, neither do prestige and status make one human being superior than the other. This theme finds expression in a verse with much simplicity which is the hallmark of his style.

In conceit, I have kept the turban on my head free of dirt

Forgetful that my very head is to be consumed by dirt one day.

The metaphor of a clean turban is used here to debunk the illusion of prestige and superiority over others in the face of a common fate awaiting all human beings.

The Golden Age

What might be called the Golden Age of the Indus valley Sufi poetry spans some three hundred years beginning with the verse of Madhu Lal Hussain or Shah Hussain (c. 1539-1594 A.D.) who lived during the time of Moghal Emperor Akbar. From here on a succession of renowned Sufis composed poetry of rare beauty in the native language of the valley, Sindhi, Siraiki, Balochi and Punjabi to spread their message of love and tolerance. Although many of these poets came from a background of rigorous instruction in orthodox Islamic tradition and were well-versed in Persian and Arabic, they chose native languages of ordinary peasants and workers, as a medium of their literary expression. Unlike the Arab and Persian Sufi poets who use a great deal of complex symbolic expression, these poets use the straight idiom of their people. Their poetry is composed in lyrical forms set to the tunes of local folk music. Their mission is to reach the hearts of ordinary men and women. The similes and metaphors that they do employ are drawn from the vocations of the largely rural people, their domestic industries, kinship relations and social customs. For example, charkha, the spinning wheel, is a common symbol for this world, and the poets's persona is represented as a maiden whose work of spinning cotton stands for good deeds. The "good deeds" in turn represent any time spent in contemplation of the Divine Beloved, the "God" of the monotheistic religions or the supreme deity of any religion, also represented as Truth or Eternal Reality. It should be noted here that the male Sufi in this tradition uses the female gender for himself or his surrogate and male gender for the object of his love. This tradition is consistent with the conventions of the ancient Indus Valley civilization where females were not dominated by men. Down the ages Hindus have celebrated the love of Radha for Krishna, and the legendary heroic lovers in the Punjabi and Sindhi folk-tales have been women; Heer pursued Ranjha, Sasi and Sohni gave their lives trying to unite with their male beloveds, Punnu and Mahiwal. Symbolically the beloved stands for God, the supreme deity of any religion or Universal Spirit, but in its human manifestation the male beloved in the Sufi poetry is a highly sensuous person of real life. This extends the appeal of Sufi love poems much beyond the circles of the initiated. `The love of another human being and divine love are not mutually exclusive. The love of another human being can be conceived as a bridge that leads to love of the Divine. Conversely a person who hates other human beings is devoid of true religious or spiritual experience and can never hope to receive divine blessing, no matter how much time spent on ritual prayers and worship.

Central to the understanding of the content of Sufi poetry being reviewed here is the unique cosmology or the theory of origins of the universe in which it is embedded. The centrepiece of this cosmology is the Sufi belief in wahdat-ul-wajud, the oneness of all beings. The poet's message of universal fraternity, love and respect for all creation is firmly rooted in this pivotal concept. The God of the Muslims, according to this view is the symbol of this Oneness, variously perceived as Universal Beauty, Truth or Eternal Reality from which all creation emanates, just as light radiates from the sun. If one cultivates the love of God, or the Beloved of the Sufi poetic parlance, His reflection can be seen in all creatures including in one's own self. Conversely, it is the destiny of all creation to be reunited with Him, the source of all beauty, growth and knowledge. Shah Hussain, for example, portrays such a union with the Beloved through a poetic rendering of the famous Punjabi folk tale celebrating the love of Heer for Ranjha. Says Heer in the words of Shah Hussain:

I have become Ranjha.

Call me Ranjha everyone

Not Heer any more.

For so long have I yearned for my beloved

Called his name so many times

Now I have become Ranjha myself and Heer is no more

Through this rendering of the folk tale the poet is conveying the idea of union with the beloved. The religious act becomes the act of love for the Beloved, rather than ritual prayer offered to an impersonal deity. Shah Hussain , the most latitudinarian of these Sufi poets used to drink, dance and sing freely in the streets of Lahore and was deeply in love with Madhu Lal, a handsome Brahman boy whose name he appended to his own to become known as Maddhu Lal Hussain. The strict moral code of Islamic shari'a would of course prohibit such acts, yet to this day his shrine is the site of an annual pilgrimage and fair where Muslim villagers from far and wide gather to celebrate his vision and sing his poems.

All Sufi poets portray the pangs of separation from the Beloved with whom all creation was once united, but none excels the pathos of a rare poem composed by Madhu Lal Hussain. He says in the voice of a young maiden separated from her beloved

O' Mother to whom shall I tell the story of my separation's grief.

The fire lit inside me by the teacher smolders and smokes

As I stir the ambers, I see the red Jewel

The pain of separation has driven me mad

Suffering is the bread I eat

Pain is my curry dip, sighs of grief my cooking fire

I roam the jungles and deserts in vain

Says Hussain, the God's fakir:

How happy I will be to find my prince

Shah Hussain's antinomianism is matched by the anti-authoritarianism of another Sufi poet, Sultan Bahu (c. 1631-1691 A. D.). Bahu's father was a strict Muslim and a noble who was warded a jagir (estate) by the Moghal court, yet Bahu exhibits a special aversion to the secular and religious authorities. The religious clerics and priests come under censure in particular as Bahu says

Lofty are the gateways to religions

But the way to God is a narrow path

Better to hide from the pandits and mullas

They kick their heels and stir up conflicts

For the compassionate is the song of union (with the Beloved)

The place to live is where no pretenders be

Bahu reminds those who are enchanted by this-worldly power that religious rituals will not wash away their heartless deeds, as in the following verses

Gone are my worries since the teacher handed me the cup

What good are your unguided nightly vigils?

What use your nights of prayer and days of tyranny?

The vocation of the fakir is true kingship

This-worldly throne is only an illusion

Here the poet is alluding to the actions of the reigning Emperor Aurangzeb, known in history as a staunch orthodox Muslim and a ruthlessly cruel ruler who used to spend his nights in prayer. As for Bahu himself who was brought up with rigorous religious instruction and was known for his scholarship in Arabic and Persian, we get only a few disclaimers in his Siraiki poems, such as

I am not knowledgeable, nor a learned man

Neither a Jurist, nor a qazi (judge)

No desire for hell in my heart, nor heaven do I seek

I do not keep the thirty fasts or say the five prayers

Without union with Allah, this world is an illusory game

According to the Sufi belief, God as Truth and Beauty is the Eternal Reality. Eventually emanated from this Reality the infinite physical forms found in the universe today ranging from the lowliest of all creatures to the most elevated saints , prophets and deities of all religions. Another Sufi poet, Bulhe Shah (1680-1758 A. D.) captures this thought in the following Punjabi poem

Now I see the beautiful Friend

When the One was alone by itself, sending no light to view

There was no God, Prophet or Allah

No Omnipotent or the Wrathful

The One was without any likeness or simile

Without any shape or form

Now he appears in shapes galore

Now I see the beautiful Friend

These poets articulate a cosmology which bridges gaps between Greek Gnosticism, Judaic- Christian-Islamic monotheism, Hindu Vedantism and ancient animism. Sufi's God is not the God of institutionalized religions, feared more often by humans for their sins than loved. Neither is the Sufi God, a mere metaphorical abstraction. Sufi God or Beloved is the all pervasive spirit which manifests its glory in the physical beauty of a human face or body, now in the person of a murshid, (the teacher), again in a Hindu deity, Krishna, or the various attitudes of Lord Buddha. Sufi God is a playful beloved who appears so close at times, yet evades one's attempts at union. Bulhe Shah, perhaps the greatest of the Punjabi Sufi poets, sees his beloved appearing at various times as Krishna, Rama and Allah as visualized in the following verses

How long this hide-and-seek

You are the Cowherd in the Jungles of Bindraban

You are the Victor in the land of Lanka

You are the Pilgrim coming to Mecca

How lovely the colours you change

How long this hide-and-seek

Bulhe Shah finds the conventional labels of good and evil, clean and unclean too static and perverse to describe different forms and levels of existence, for all existence reflects the same Divine Beloved. Pondering his own being Bulha muses:

Bulha, how can I tell who I am?

Neither am I a true Muslim in the Mosque

Nor am I in the ways of paganism

Neither among the pure, nor the unclean

Neither am I the Moses, nor the Pharaoh

What do I know who I am?Neither in happiness, nor in sorrow

Neither in sin nor in purity

Neither of water, nor of earth.

Bulha, how can I tell who I am?

I am the first and the last

None else do I recognize; none wiser than me.

Bulha who is the true master here?

After all the questions, the state of being defined in the last lines of this poem points to the ultimate stage of union with the Beloved or Eternal Truth. No Indus valley Sufi poet claims to have reached that state of union in this life, although Buhla comes very close. Mansur Al-Hallaj of Baghdad was one of the first to claim such a union by declaring annal-haq, I am the Truth (God). The Qazis (Muslim judges) of Baghdad convicted him of blasphemy and he was hanged in the 9th century A.D. only to make him immortal in the folklore of the world of Sufis. It is this concept of oneness of all manifest reality, even in its apparently contradictory forms, out of which flows the Sufi poet's message of fellowship, tolerance and love transcending colour, caste, creed and status.

For Shah Abdul Latif. (1689-1752), one of the most popular of the Indus valley Sufi poets who composed highly lyrical poems rich in local imagery and always set to the tunes of prevailing musical notes, the many different ways in which the supreme Deity is conceived in different religions makes little difference because in their own ways they have visualised the same One. He illustrates this by invoking some familiar sensory experiences as in the following verses:

The echo is the call itself

If you understand the puzzle

One sound but heard twice

Many doors and windows opening into one palace

Where ever I look, the same God I see

Latif, just as the other Indus valley poets, draws upon the many popular folk tales of love and passion that abound in the region. The belief that one can see the reflection of the beloved in one's own self, if freed from false illusions, is conveyed in the following lines of a poem about the love of Sasui for Punnu. Latif addresses Sasui, who is said to have scorched herself to death while in hot pursuit of her beloved's camel on foot on the mid-day sands of the Sindh desert, in the following verses:

The loved one that thau suffereth for

Of very sooth resides in thee

Why go to Wankar, if not here

Thou searchest thy Belov'd to see?

Go with thy heart towards thy love

Cease, Sasui, wanderings of thy feet

Ask not the sand how lies the path

To travel soul-fully is meet

(Translation in verse by H. T. Sorley)

None other among these Sufi poets has had as deep and as pervasive an influence on the character of the ordinary people among whom they lived as did Latif. A senior British civil servant who worked in the province of Sindh for a long time and translated Latif's poems into

English, observed a widespread "conviction of the tenets of tolerant Sufism" and noted the extraordinary fact that Latif's poems steeped in Islamic mysticism were "loved in Sind by Hindus as much as Muslims (Sorely, H. T. , p. 216).

The list of renowned Sufi poets of the Indus valley is very long, but we will refer to only one more of their line who carried this tradition into the dawn of the 20th century. Khawja Ghulam Fareed (1845-1901) who composed poems in Siraiki is unique in using a highly sensuous imagery for his Beloved. In one of his poems Fareed speaks as a female lover who attempts to lure her beloved into her house by extending compelling temptations. Says Fareed

If for once you stepped into my humble place

I'll pull down the shades and serve your pleasure

I'll surround you with flowers and feast you to your heart's content

Will bathe you in rose water and massage your body

Make you colourful with applications of henna

Dress you as a bridegroom and seat you in front

If just for once you stepped into my humble place

Timeless Ethics

Whatever the poetic style, the Sufi believes that without the spark of love no true knowledge of oneself or the external reality can be achieved, and above all it is love that teaches higher values, cures alienation of humans from themselves, their fellow beings and all that exists in nature. Although the Sufi way, as knowledge and practice, predates the breath-taking scientific discoveries and mechanical and social innovations that have modernized and changed the face of the planet Earth, much can still be learned from some of the insights found in the simple poems of the Indus valley sages composed centuries ago and transmitted as an oral tradition which is still part of the daily social life of the people of the region.

What is notable is that the Sufi cosmology articulated in these poems is not incompatible with the modern science of astrophysics and evolutionary biology. Both point to the essential unity and time-mediated interconnectedness of all existence and life forms. However for modern scientists no moral precepts flow from this central maxim, while the Sufi invites people to read into it a message of profound reverence and love for all manifestations of life and nature. The pursuit of dispassionate, value-free knowledge has created a spiritual void in the institutions of formal education. Scientific knowledge in our commercialised world has become a mere tool of exploitation of the Earth's resources and promotion of consumerism at the expense of environmental integrity and human development.

On the other hand the onslaught of globalization is leading to an unprecedented trend of people withdrawing into the shelters of their narrowly defined ethnic and religious identities, breeding prejudice and triggering wars of mutual hatred. Under these circumstances the Sufi message of respect for all creation, tolerance and love articulated in the little known Indus valley tradition assumes a real contemporary and global relevance. The assessment of the place of people in our universe elucidated clearly and coherently in the Sufi poems reviewed shows how important it is to live in harmony with nature and how un-divine and destructive of human spirit are the many lethal conflicts still being waged in this age of enlightenment and mastery over nature in the name of religious and ethnic loyalties.

Lessons For Pakistan

It is ironic that Pakistan's ruling elite have had to rely on the very hypocritical, power hungry, orthodox clergy against whose spiritual bankruptcy and political ambitions the Sufi poets of the Indus valley have warned for centuries. The sectarian bloodshed, honour killings of women, abuse of blasphemy laws, repression of labour and authoritarian rule are only a few consequences of abandoning the values inherent in Pakistan's own indigenous spiritual heritage, and instead following an alien Islamic orthodoxy in the name of national ideology. It is a sad situation that the power elite of Pakistan are not even literate in the native languages in which the Sufi poets of the land expressed their wisdom.


Since the Indus valley Sufi poets quoted in this paper rarely, if ever, wrote down their verse for publication, the existing anthologies of their poetry give different versions of the same poems. This, however, is a matter of diction, rhyme and style rather than content.

Not all poems quoted here are in their entirety.

The English translations are literal as far as possible. Closest English idioms have been used where a literal translation from the original language of composition would make little sense in English.

The following anthologies and critical works have been used as source materials:

1. Kafian Shah Hussain, Islamabad, National Institute of Folk Heritage, 1977.

2. Kalam Bulhe Shah, Lahore, Pakistan International Printers Ltd., n.d.

3. Kafian Buhle Shah, Islamabad, National Institute of Folk Heritage, 1975.

4. Kuliat-e-Bahu, Lahore, Aina-e-Adab, 1978.

5. Devan-e-Farid, Bahawalpur, Maktaba Azizia, 1963.

6. Lajwanti Rama Krishna, Punjabi Sufi Poets, Karachi, Indus Publications, 1977 (Reprint).

7. Syed Ali Abbas Jalalpuri, Wahdat-ul-Wajud Te Punjabi Shairi, Lahore, Pakistan Punjabi Adabi Board, 1977.


Shah, Idries, The Way of the Sufi, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1974.

Sorley, H. T., Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit: His Poetry, Life and

Times, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 1966.

Wednesday, December 24

Is it a individual journey?

All the teachers say that spiritual treasure is something one finds alone. So why are we all here together?’ asked a disciple of a Sufi master.

You are all here together because a forest is always stronger than a lone tree,' Sufi master replied. The forest maintains the humidity in the air, it resists the hurricane, and it helps to make the soil fertile. But what makes a tree strong is its root, and the root of one plant cannot help another plant to grow. Working together towards the same end and allowing each one to grow in his own way, that is the path for those who wish to commune with Allah.

Tuesday, December 16

Secret of Peace

All masters are moving towards Heaven and through the Seven Heavens. But first you must cut the tunnel of your ego. When you reach out of that tunnel you will find that there are no more bad desires remaining with you. You will be pure. At that moment you will taste the Sweetness of Lights, the Sweetness of Mercy, the Sweetness of Beauty, the Sweetness of Love, the Sweetness of Knowledge, the Sweetness of Wisdom, the Sweetness of Will Power and the Sweetness of Perfection.

Until then you must be patient and follow. You must not say, "Oh, how long do I have to follow without seeing anything?" No, the tunnel is according to your ego, long or short. May Allah grant you to reach your Heavenly Stations; you will then be happy, absolutely happy.

Source: as quoted from the sohbet(discourse)
by As-Sayyid Muhammad Nazim Adil al-Haqqani