By Charles C. Mann Photograph by Vincent J. Musi Every now and then the dawn of civilization is reenacted on a remote hilltop in southern Turkey. The reenactors are busloads of tourists—usually Turkish, sometimes European. The buses (white, air-conditioned, equipped with televisions) blunder over the winding, indifferently paved road to the ridge and dock like […]
Ghazal 441 by Jalaluddin Rumi, Literal Translation Show your face, for the orchard and rosegarden are my desire; open your lips, for abundant sugar is my desire. Sun of beauty, come forth one moment out of the cloud, for that glittering, glowing countenance is my desire. Out of your air I heard the sound of […]
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Rambam (רמב”ם – Hebrew acronym for “Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon”), was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages. Maimonides was born during what some scholars consider to be the end of the golden age of Jewish […]
Tonight is a night of union for the stars and of scattering,
scattering, since a bride is coming from the skies, consisting of a full moon.
Venus cannot contain herself for charming melodies, like the
nightingale which becomes intoxicated with the rose in spring-time.
See how the polestar is ogling Leo;
behold what dust Pisces is stirring up drom the deep!
Jupiter has galloped his steed against ancient Saturn, saying
“Take back your youth and go, bring good tidings!”
Mars’ hand, which was full of blood from the handle of his
sword, has become as life-giving as the sun, the exalted in works.
Since Aquarius has come full of that water of life, the dry
cluster of Virgo is raining pearls from him.
The Pleiades full of goodness fears not Libra and being
broken; how should Aries flee away in fright from its mother?
When from the moon the arrow of a glance struck the heart
of Sagittarius, he took to night-faring in passion for her, like Scorpio.
On such a festival, go, sacrifice Taurus, else you are crooked of
gait in the mud like Cancer.
This sky is the astrolabe, and the reality is Love;
whatever we say of this, attend to the meaning.
Shamsi-Tabriz, on that dawn when you shine, the dark night
is transformed to bright day by your moonlike face.
“Mystical Poems of Rumi“A.J. Arberry
The University of Chicago Press, 1968
By Jalaluddin Rumi It is the rule with drunkards to fall upon each other, to quarrel, become violent, and make a scene. The lover is even worse than a drunkard. I will tell you what love is: to enter a mine of gold. And what is that gold? The lover is a king above all […]
By Jalaluddin Rumi Reason says, “I will beguile him with the tongue;” Love says, “Be silent. I will beguile him with the soul.” The soul says to the heart, “Go, do not laugh at me and yourself. What is there that is not his, that I may beguile him thereby?” He is not sorrowful and […]
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT Suddenly (yet somehow unexpected) he arrived the guest… the heart trembling “Who’s there?” and soul responding “The Moon…” came into the house and we lunatics ran into the street stared up looking for the moon. Then-inside the house- he cried out “Here I am!” and we beyond earshot running around […]
O Friend! we are near you in friendship,
Wherever you set foot, we prostrate ourselves like earth.
How is it permissible, in the religion of love,
That we should see your Creation and neglect to see You?
That Friend brought me up with great care and attention;
He sewed me a garment from skin and veins.
The body is like a cloak and my heart in it like a mystic,
The world is like a monastery and He is my Guide.
Seek knowledge which unravels mysteries
Before your life comes to close
Give up that non-existence which looks like existence,
Seek that Existence which looks like non-existence!
There is a world outside Islam and Disbelief,
We are enamoured of the atmosphere therein.
The mystic lays down his head when he reaches there.
There is neither Islam nor Disbelief in this place.
Whenever I prostrate my head He is the one to whom I bow;
In six directions or outside the six, he is the one I worship.
The garden, the rose, the nightingale, music and the beauteous maiden
Are a mere excuse and He alone is the real object.
From Divani Shams, Translation by Afzal Iqbal
BIOGRAPHY Muzaffer Ozak Hz. was born in Istanbul in 1916. (d.1985) He was educated by a succession of wise and learned who instructed him in all branches of the Islamic tradition. He became Muezzin and eventually Imam to many of the mosques of Istanbul. He later retired from the office of Imam and preached the […]
Majnun the King of the Land of Desire. Unique in all ages and beauty is Layla, For Majnun the poets still pluck at the lyre. The sapling of Sorrow’s green Meadow is Layla, Majnun ever faithful her love to inspire. The Moon in the sky ruling heaven is Layla, Majnun but the sport of the […]