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Hadj Nemat: I have reason to complain of this world that turns

Hadj Nemat: I have reason to complain of this world that turns
Photo: Seyed Hatam, one of Hadj Nemat's dervishes· Taken in 1901 in the city of Sahneh.


​I have reason to complain of this world that turns
Of the noise and the clamor that rises as it churns
Of its countermovements that deceive
And the shifting fluctuations we perceive

What can I say about this world, so crooked and bent
At times it appears lovely, at times beyond contempt

Fortune and glory it bestows on some
And lifts them higher than the lofty sun

To others it feeds toil and blood
A makeshift bed of soil and mud

To some it gives joy, a cause for celebration
Others it condemns to grief and lamentation

I know not the riddle of this ancient vale
That makes both men and women wail

A world in upheaval, a world that destroys
Nothing remains amid this ominous void

The heart of time and space it rends
So the pain within them never ends

Rust and dust cover this world of old
Its gloomy months and years, its days so cold

O how many luminous prophets and seers
How many saints with illustrious careers

How many kings glorious and heroic
How many sages, wise and stoic

How many mystics absorbed by God’s presence
How many lovers in search of His essence

How many men and women throughout the ages
Advanced in their years or at their younger stages

Have come into this world to be put to the test
All of them perished and were laid to rest

None of them could find any comfort here
What they found instead was turmoil and fear
All who come here suffer some measure of pain
For none can escape the trap of this ephemeral plane

An instant of happiness is chased by a hundred ills
A year’s worth of sorrow follows a moment’s thrills

In this world in which no desire can be realized
In this world in which no problem can be neutralized

He who rode horseback did so for a day
And thereafter walked the rest of the way

No one here has seen the least stability
This world grants nothing but infidelity

Now it’s the spring, now it’s the fall
So it’s always been, for one and all

Though the world constantly changes its hue
Shades of pain is all that it yields for you

Many have journeyed down this trodden lane
They lie beneath the earth, having lived in vain

And you, my heart, do not allow this world to catch you unaware
For it knows full well how to entrap you in its snare […]

In the end, all that remains is a person’s name
The memory of his beneficence or his ill fame

The benevolence of the good remain with them eternally
The malevolence of the bad will accompany them perpetually

O heart, devote yourself to beneficence with all your might
For it will deliver you here and in your eternal plight

Such goodness will endure in the people’s memory
And in the other world bring you joy and prosperity

(Hadj Nemat)


Recommended Reading:

'Letters of a Sufi Master'
By Shaykh Al-'Arabi ad-Darqawi (Author), Titus Burckhardt (Translator), Martin Lings (Preface)

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This book contains spiritual techniques taken from letters of Shaykh ad-Darqawi. Almost all these letters are concerned with the method and the operative aspects of the Way and are considered among the most direct instructions given on Sufic method to be found in all Sufi literature.
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