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Excerpt from 'The Three-Character Rhymed Classic on the Ka‘bah' by Ma Fu-ch’u (Yusuf Ma Dexin)

Excerpt from 'The Three-Character Rhymed Classic on the Ka‘bah' by Ma Fu-ch’u (Yusuf Ma Dexin)

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Photo:  Dervish during the Ottoman Empire by Guillaume Berggren; 1880.

Because there are Heaven and Earth

the ten thousand creatures are born;

because there are sun and moon

Heaven and Earth have light;

because there is the Sage

enlightening teachings arise.

To hear the teaching of the Sage

is to deepen knowledge and perception,

to know the past,

clearly to understand the future and the present,

to grasp the origin of Heaven and Earth

and the source of the myriad creatures,

to attain to celestial principles

and to see into the hearts of men;

it shows us the road we have come by

and demonstrates the return to Reality;

it makes us aware of our heart and nature

and enables us to penetrate ultimate mysteries;

perpetuated by the wise men of old

it is enshrined in scriptural classics.


Ma Fu-ch’u (Yusuf Ma Dexin, 1794–1874)
Recommended Reading:
'Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light: With a New Translation of Jami's Lawa'ih from the Persian'
By William C. Chittick
Purchase Book:
Chinese Gleams of Sufi Light investigates, for the first time in a Western language, the manner in which the Muslim scholars of China adapted the Chinese tradition to their own needs during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The book surveys the 1400-year history of Islam in China and explores why the four books translated from Islamic languages into Chinese before the twentieth century were all Persian Sufi texts. The author also looks carefully at the two most important Muslim authors of books in the Chinese language, Wang Tai-yu and Liu Chih. Murata shows how they assimilated Confucian social teachings and Neo-Confucian metaphysics, as well as Buddhism and Taoism, into Islamic thought. She presents full translations of Wang's Great Learning of the Pure and Real--a text on the principles of Islam--and Liu Chih's Displaying the Concealment of the Real Realm, which in turn is a translation from Persian of Lawa'ih', a famous Sufi text by Jami. A new translation of Jami's Lawa'ih' from the Persian by William C. Chittick is juxtaposed with Liu Chih's work, revealing the latter's techniques in adapting the text to the Chinese language and Chinese thought.
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