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On Kabir, Bulleh Shah and Lalon Shah

Not a great recording of my talk at Kuch Khaas, Islamabad.

Kuch Khaas_ Raza Rumi on Kabir, Bulleh Shah and… by razarumi1


October 22nd, 2011|Arts & Culture|2 Comments

Destination of love by Ahmad-i-Jam

Sohaib Qureshi has translated 12th century mystic Ahmad-i Jam’s verse – thanks to his endeavours

Manzil-i ishq az makàn-i dìgar ast
Mard-i ìn ràh rà nishàn-i dìgar ast

Bar sar-i bazàr-i sarràfàn-i ishq
Zìr-i har dàr-ì jawàn-i dìgar ast

Kushtagàn-i khanjar-i taslìm rà
Har zamàn az ghaìb jàn-i dìgar ast

Ahmadà! Tà gúm nagardì, hushyàr!
Kìn jaras az karwàn-i dìgar ast

Destination of love […]

January 11th, 2011|Sufism|7 Comments

Saints who ruled India

Book Review

The War that Wasn’t: The Sufi and the Sultan By Fatima Hussain Publisher: Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi Pages: 245

Last year I had a chance to meet Dr Fatima Hussain, a thoughtful and inspiring academic based in Delhi. We had all congregated in Agra for the SAARC writers’ summit and Hussain’s facility with subcontinental history, especially Sufism, was most impressive. This is when I found out that her book had just been published and my curiosity to read the book knew no bounds. The title of this book was even more intriguing: “The War that Wasn’t: The Sufi and the Sultan”. Essentially the title summarises a millennium of the societal resistance offered by the Sufis against state power as well as the embedded social relations in the Indian subcontinent.

Hussain teaches History at Delhi University and was educated at Lady Shri Ram College and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has also authored The Palestine Question: A Historical Perspective (2003) and several scholarly articles. An interesting volume that she edited – Sufism and Bhakti Movement: Contemporary Relevance (2008) – perhaps explains the relative fluency of her familiarity with the subject. After her marriage to Pakistan’s leading Punjabi writer and activist, Fakhar Zaman, she is now delving into documenting the history, culture and morphology of Lahore. […]

August 2nd, 2010|books, Published in The Friday Times, SouthAsia, Sufism|5 Comments

Lovers have nothing to do with existence

The lover’s food is the love of the bread;
no bread need be at hand:
no one who is sincere in his love is a slave to existence.
Lovers have nothing to do with existence;
lovers have the interest without the capital.
Without wings they fly around the world;
without hands they carry the polo ball from the field.
That dervish who caught the scent of Reality
used to weave baskets even though his hands had been cut off.
Lovers have pitched their tents in nonexistence;
they are of one quality and one essence, as nonexistence is.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ […]
March 3rd, 2010|Poetry, Sufism|3 Comments

Magic moments – incredible photos on mysticism

Today, a magical photographer and a brave journalist Iason Athanasiadis, wrote to me after reading some of my comments in NYT. This is such a small world after all. Iason has also lived in Pakistan and some of his beautiful pictures can be found here (I am posting an image from Pakistan below from his collection). What a treasure it is. I am so grateful that Iason got in touch..

Here is another one from Iran – absolutely stunning… […]

February 28th, 2010|Sufism|3 Comments

His form has passed away and he has become a mirror (Rumi)

Sunlight has recently offered two versions/translations of Rumi’s Mathnawi story of the dervish Bayazid Bestami
That magnificent dervish, Bayazid Bestami,
came to his disciples and said,
“I am God.”
It was night, and he was drunk with his ecstasy. […]
February 25th, 2010|Poetry|2 Comments

On the bank of the river

On the bank of the river,
water is grudged by that one alone
who is blind to the flowing stream.
Bar lab-e ju bokhl-e âb ân-râ bovad
ku ze ju-ye âb nâ-binâ bovad
— Mathnawi II:894
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski
“Rumi: Daylight”
Threshold Books, 1994
Persian transliteration courtesy of Yahyá Monastra

On […]

February 16th, 2010|Sufism|1 Comment