Photo: A Muslim Shaykh possibly from Somalia or Eritrea (1936)
I am before, I am after
The soul for all souls all the way.
I'm the one with a helping hand
Ready for those gone wild, astray.
I made the ground flat where it lies,
On it I had those mountains rise,
I designed the vault of the skies,
For I hold all things in my sway.
To countless lovers I have been
A guide for faith and religion.
I am sacrilege in men's hearts
Also the true faith and Islam's way.
I make men love peace and unite;
Putting down the black words on white,
I wrote the four holy books right
I'm the Koran for those who pray.
It's not Yunus who says all this:
It speaks its own realities:
To doubt this would be blasphemous:
"I'm before-I'm after," I say.
'The Drop That Became the Sea: Lyric Poems'
By Yunus Emre (Author), Kabir Helminski (Translator), Refik Algan (Translator)
This collection of poems introduces a general readership to Yunus Emre (1240-1321), called the "greatest folk poet in Islam." An unlettered Turkish shepherd who sang mystical songs that are still popular today, he was the first in a great tradition of Turkish Sufi troubadours who celebrated the Divine Presence as the intimate Beloved and Friend. Yunus's verse conveys the spirit and philosophy of Islamic mysticism in simple, earthy language.
'The songs that sing to us from these pages are fresh and simpleand as deep as the Sea itself. What better to say of a book than it came when it was needed.'