Photo: Young Tajik girl from Kokand in eastern Uzbekistan; 1898-1899.
They say the Sufi way
is to give one's life away.
The Sufi way is to become a sultan
on the throne of the soul.
In the station of the Path,
it is to destroy appearances.
In the station of Reality,
it is to become a guest
in the innermost palace of the heart.
They say it is to be pure of body,
the light of the Beloved.
The Sufi way is to gradually take off
the dress of earth and water.
They say it is to burn up in Love's fire --
The Sufi way is to be utterly inflamed
with the light of the Beloved.
They say it is to believe and follow the rules --
The Sufi way is to discover the rules
of the multitude of heavens.
They say it is to become a medicine for every ailment --
The Sufi way is to know and become all the secrets
They say it is to destroy the illusion of bodies --
The Sufi way is to open the secrets of the body
with the key of the Divine Names.
O Sufi, to comprehend it, one must be it.
The one who gets lost in words
will never be their meaning.
They say it is to become the secret of God
within one's innermost heart --
The Sufi way is to read the outer signs
and know the inner meanings.
They say it is to be in wonder
at the greatness of creation --
The Sufi way is to be constantly amazed
by the nature of Reality.
They say it is to make each heart
the throne of God --
The Sufi way is to remove all else but God
from the heart's dwelling.
They say it is to watch over all humanity --
The Sufi way is to cover East and West
with every breath.
They say it is to shine as brightly as the sun --
The Sufi way is to perceive God
in every minute thing.
They say it is to be in harmony
with every kind of person --
The Sufi way is to appear
in a hundred thousand forms daily.
They say it is to be like Solomon
to the whole universe;
The Sufi way is to understand
and speak in every language.
They say it is to become an ocean
from a single drop --
The Sufi way is to make your heart a cellar
to hold the wine of the Truth.
They say it is to become a human being
illuminated with the light of Being --
The Sufi way is to destroy Being utterly
in the light of Non-Being.
They say it is to become a life
for each particle of life --
The Sufi way is to die a thousand times
and return to life each moment.
They say it is to become a master
of wisdom and eternal justice --
The Sufi way is to become an eye
looking out from every hair.
They say it is to surrender
your soul to the Beloved --
The Sufi way is to become
the soul of the Beloved.
They say it is the proof
of Muhammad's message --
The Sufi way, O Ibrahim,
is to embody God
as one's own self.
(Seyh Ibrahim Efendi)
'Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey'
By Jennifer Ferraro (Author), Latif Bolat (Contributor)
This collection presents, for the first time in English, a compilation of seven centuries of the mystic hymns of Turkey’s rebellious Sufi poets — the popular folk counterparts to Rumi whose poems are characterized by a passionate and unorthodox commitment to Truth. At the time Rumi was writing in ancient Anatolia, many other great mystics in the region were also composing wild, ecstatic, and controversial poems that were circulated among the people as spiritual songs and are still played and sung today in sacred dervish ceremonies and gatherings. The poems present a spiritual tradition from the Islamic world that bravely challenged orthodox religion and emphasized universal mystic love and tolerance.
Jennifer Ferraro is a poet, artist and performer and teacher, with a BA and MA from the New School for Social Research and UNM. Author of Divine Nostalgia (2002), she has toured widely with the Latif Bolat Ensemble, playing frame drum, and reciting poetry with devotional dance.
Latif Bolat, a distinguished Turkish musician, giving numerous concerts, lectures, and workshops throughout the world including North America.