Incredible naat by Shaykh Fariduddin Attar (in English translation)

Discussion in 'Poetry' started by naqshbandijamaati, Mar 23, 2008.

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    In Praise of the Prophet

    Submitted by dicryptor on Mon, 2005-11-14 06:11.The Prophet

    Mohammed is the exemplar to both worlds, the guide of the descendants of Adam.
    He is the sun of creation, the moon of the celestial spheres, the all-seeing eye;
    The torch of knowledge, the candle of prophecy, the lamp of the nation and the way of the people;
    The commander-in-chief on the parade-ground of the Law; the general of the army of mysteries and morals;
    The lord of the world and the glory of 'But for thee'; ruler of the earth and of the celestial spheres;
    The most loyal of the Prophets, the proof of the Way, the king without a seal, the sultan without a crown.
    As a king he reared up a lofty palace, but he followed the principle of 'Poverty is my pride'.
    His miracle was 'We have won a victory’ and his banner 'help from God’.
    'As thou livest' was the crown on his musk-raining head and ‘have we not opened thy heart’ the adornment of his life.
    He is of a surety the crown of all sovereigns, he is in very deed the lord of the Prophets.
    He, and only he, is without question the most excellent of mankind; he, and he only, is the confidant of God.
    The seven heavens and the eight gardens of paradise were created for him, he is both the eye and the light in the light of our eyes.
    He was the key of guidance to the two worlds and the lamp that dispelled the darkness thereof.
    His tongue was the interpreter of kingship, his heart the scribe of divine inspiration.
    Heaven and earth come under his sway; the two worlds are co-existent with his reign.
    The Lord of the Worlds made him His depositary because before divine inspiration he was the most trustworthy man in the world.
    Light rose up to heaven because of his beauty, and divine inspiration descended to earth because of his perfection.
    Because he walked only in the way of God he was settled in 'an unfruitful valley’.
    With his mind he solved the difficulties of all mankind for his mind had seen the first design in Eternity Past.
    He came in order that restless souls might quench their thirst every moment in the sea of his Law.
    He was the greatest of the Prophets because though he came after he was also before.
    When Adam opened his eyes for the first time, he saw from where he lay Mohammed's name inscribed on the empyrean.
    He prostrated himself in the dust before his name, but since the dust became Mohammed he fell undefiled.
    He was still a suckling when the flood broke over the fire-worshippers.
    In every fire-temple, because of the Holy Prophet, the fire was at once utterly quenched.
    If fire was quenched for Abraham, it was quenched for the infant Prophet all over the world.
    Dost thou not see how so hot a thing as fire flees before a single hair of his head?
    So high were his sandals raised by his Faith that they knocked the diadem off the Chosroes' head.
    The ringlets of his hair toppled the crown of the Caesar and over-threw with the curls the Emperor of China.
    When, in the beginning, he pulled his cloak over his head, the angel Gabriel descended and stood at his door.
    He said to him: 'Verily there is a great good hidden beneath that cloak.’
    The space of a single brick was absent from the Prophecy—a holy gap, indeed.
    The Prophet has said: 'That precious gap was closed by me for all eternity.’
    He was indeed the culmination of the Prophets; when he came, the Prophecy was complete.
    Hast thou not seen how first the army comes and then the noble King arrives.
    The Prophets are like the army; they came only to announce the king.
    When the sultan of the Prophecy was born, the Prophecy came to an end for he was the culmination thereof.
    When his religion illuminated the world, all other rites were abolished. God is all-knowing.
    What becomes of the countless stars when the bright sun shines forth?
    When the Prophet called himself a brick, it was as though every brick had become a paradise.
    And if that brick was moulded from the seed of Adam, it was because one brick was the foundation of both worlds.
    Since the bricks of this world have four sides, so this brick has as its four sides the Four Friends.
    When the Companion of the Cave set out with him, the world was filled with light from those two peerless ones.
    When he came to the house of Umm Ma‘bad, he saw a she-goat that was unmated and without milk.
    The goat gave her soul to him for she saw that the sun had arisen.
    When the Master touched her udders milk flowed from them like rain.
    His hand was whitened with her milk and thus did Predestination produce the White Hand.
    The Prophet was adult whilst he was still a suckling; Adam was plainly but a child beside him.
    When, during the Flight, he entered the cave with the Friend, and there appeared the famous spider,
    Which built its web across the entrance, weaving the warp and crossing it with the weft.
    When the web was finished an enemy arrived and sought to make his way through that screen.
    He went proudly up to the spider, saying: 'Remove the screen before these two lovers of the Faith.
    Why dost thou make a screen for the lovers? Produce two tricks from behind this closed screen. Sing this song to the tune of truth.’
    The spider, realizing the enemy's thought, thus made denial in dumb show:
    'Never will a Jamshid or a Faridun fall into a spider's web.
    Thou hast not a whit of sense if thou seek a Simurgh in a fly-trap.
    The flesh of a fly is enough for me—how should a falcon fall into my snare?
    What effect could a talisman produced from a spider's saliva have upon the one Immortal Being?'
    If this miracle is not as I have related, my head is attached to my waist like a spider's.
    If his enemy were in the seventh earth, the seventh heaven would lay in wait for him; ,
    To kill his enemy the sun would smite him in the eye with its sword.
    Without love for him the heavens cannot revolve; without their longing for him the angels cannot breathe.
    The Faith itself could have nothing without his support; no eye ever saw him knit his brow.
    He was pure contentment with no feeling of anger; no eye ever saw him frown.
    In the beginning the curves came from his knitted brow but they had all departed into his hair.
    The curls in his hair were without number; to seek knowledge in them is the highest task.
    When his hair fell in ringlets there sprang from it the seventy-two sects.
    When these curls and locks appeared on his shoulders, there appeared out of those sixty these seventy.
    Each group coveted a ringlet and made a handle out of it.
    None can ever hold back his hand from such a ringlet, for it is the 'strongest handle’.
    No one admitted to the Glorious Presence passed beyond self except Mohammed.
    Since he passed entirely beyond self all speak for themselves there save only him.
    Mohammed was the eternal sun and Jesus the dawn that announced his coming.
    Since Jesus brought the glad tidings of the Chosen One, he was born in a single moment without a father.
    Aye, since he brought the good news to the people, he was the evangelist and he came in great haste.
    As he was the first to bring the good news from God, so he shall return again at the end of time.
    There will be but one purpose in his return, to announce Mohammed. O most glorious return!
    As his pure heart was the main body of the army, so was the center of his soul the king.
    Now at the time of a revelation, the six hundred thousand wings of Gabriel formed the flanks of this main army.
    Now, a select throng of angels stood in ranks on either side thereof.
    Patience was his buckler and sincerity his sword; his lance cast a shadow over the sky.
    He held in his hand the bow of 'the distance of two bow-shots’; he fought with the arrows of ‘when thou didst shoot’.
    He is the Prophet of the Sword with the crown of 'as thou livest’, auspiciously mounted upon Buraq.
    What though he ruled the realm of the soul? Holy war was his trade, and hence all this.
    Wishing to be slave to the Prophecy he asked God for two weeping eyes.
    He called himself ‘the son of the two slain ones’, from which it is clear to soul and mind.
    That he sought glory of God in annihilation and was never attached even for a moment to any single thing.
    Because he placed no hope in existence he was sealed with the seal of ‘his eye turned not aside’.
    And when his soul was seething with the turmoil of yearning, sometimes he would say:
    'Would that God the Wise, the Just had never brought Mohammed into existence!’
    This he said because the Lord of the World had called him his ever-shining light.
    Though the wax produces a bright light, yet it is always in pain and suffering without the honey.
    At first the wax was absorbed in the honey, and because of their oneness it had no thought of this and that.
    Afterwards, when it was taken away and removed from union with the honey,
    It whispered these words: 'What have I in common with candles? I have lived in oneness; what have I in common with the crowd?
    If I had not become a candle I should still be together with the honey.
    When I became a candle and was parted from my beloved, God called me a light; but how long shall I burn?
    If I had remained with the honey I should have been saved from all this burning.’
    Because he was naked he sat on the sand; because he was hungry he tied a stone to his belly.
    These are proofs of his perfect poverty: the poverty of God is a very exalted stage.
    Had he had the slightest desire, how should he have been the leader of the poor?
    He remained poor because it is ill-mannered to pick up the largesse scattered at one's own wedding.
    He had no wish for goods and chattels; one day he ate his fill and the next he went hungry.
    What though this nine-chambered palace was raised up for him out of nothing, out of smoke?
    Often a month would pass without any one's seeing smoke rise from his nine chambers.
    If those nine chambers were created out of smoke, it was because no smoke was to rise from these.
    When he returned, with a hundred honors, from his ascension, his face never grew dark.
    His stars relate that when he sat like the moon in their company,
    He eclipsed that company with a light such as that with which the sun eclipses a candle.
    All his Companions, when they were near him, were lost to self because of the awe he inspired.
    Faced by the sea, how shall a drop of water retain its separate self?
    It was because of the awe he inspired that there was disagreement about those on whom the light shone.
    As to whether the eyebrows of that leader of the two worlds were joined or not.
    The people of the two worlds could not see his eyebrows, for it is not easy to see at a distance of two bows.
    The whole world was spread out like a tablecloth before his eyes,
    So that the secrets of the universe were revealed to him and he had knowledge of both worlds.
    When the divine mysteries were unveiled to him, because of what he had seen he said: 'Thou art what thou wilt.'
    Seeing with the eye that had looked in the mysteries he could look through the wall at Paradise and Hell.
    Paradise and Hell concealed themselves behind him; thou knowest then who were the beggars behind his wall.
    They preferred their place behind the wall to the Hereafter because thus they could see the sun of his face.
    They both of them strayed from the Hereafter because of their longing to gaze on such a sight.
    Having met those that had lately been with God he hurried forwards to be received by God Himself.
    He went bareheaded before God, for one can approach God (only) when bareheaded.
    Blackhearted Satan does not dare to appear in his garb.
    His food was barley bread, yet he clove the breast of the loaf-like disc of the moon as though it were a grain of wheat.
    The food of his soul came from the table of poverty, but though poverty was his so was glory.
    When the light of his poverty shone forth Solomon would come to be his slave.
    Now he would sweep the dust of the road out of his house; now he would take his rest in the dust of the road.
    Now he would run to and fro with Aisha; now he would fetch bricks and mud to build a mosque.
    Now he would stitch at sandals; now he would tell secrets to children.
    Now he would take part in a funeral procession; now he would visit the sick.
    Now he would collect fodder for the camels; now he would carry a hand-mill in his turban.
    Now he would act as cupbearer at a banquet, standing in the place of 'the lord of the people’.
    Now in the kindness of his heart he would pretend to be a camel to amuse those two intelligent children.
    When that Holy Prophet came into the world, babe though he was he at once prostrated himself in worship.
    He came forth from the womb with his umbilical cord already severed; his mother bore him already circumcised.
    If he stood among a crowd of men he was taller by a head than the tallest of them.
    No one ever saw his excrement: the earth would swallow it up like ambergris.
    He could see both in front and behind equally well. Never did a fly settle on his person.
    Since his shadow fell on the celestial spheres, how then could he cast a shadow on the ground?
    Since his shadow covered the empyrean how then could it fall on the earth?
    One night he resolved to ascend into heaven and to rise above the two worlds.
    Buraq, who was pining for his master, had long been tethered to the tree called Tuba.
    Sniffing the scent of Mohammed he brayed loudly, broke his tether and galloped towards him.
    Then Gabriel appeared and said: 'Why art thou still on earth, O Pure One? Ascend into the heavens.
    Thou art by right the lord of the empyrean; rise from the earth to its loftiest pinnacle.
    Thou art the symbol of mercy in both worlds; thou art the host that dispenses it to both worlds.
    Thou hast regaled the earth for a while, and now it is the turn of the heavens.
    Make of thy poverty an elixir for the peoples of the earth; make of the dust of thy feet a collyrium for the angels.'
    When the Holy Prophet set out upon Buraq he rose with the speed of lightning to the seventh heaven.
    He rose, thus mounted, up to the throne of God, for he was lord of Buraq and of the pulpit.
    On his right stood the supporters of God’s throne and on his left the guardians of the earth.
    Beneath the hooves of Buraq the heavens were as the earth, while Gabriel was as the servant at his door.
    He unfurled his banner over the empyrean and took his stand on the 'seat of truth’.
    There came a cry from the denizens of the heavens: 'The Lord of the World has come to the trysting-place.
    The orphan who followed Abu Talib is now a precious pearl sought by all seekers.’
    A hundred thousand lofty souls were brought from the Divine Presence to welcome him.
    Jesus passed in front of him as Zulaikha had passed in front of Joseph, and he restored him from old age to youth as Joseph had done to Zulaikha.
    From the breath of his spirit Jesus the Pure received, as it were, new life in heaven.
    Solomon came and offered him a crown; beggar-like he set a basket in front of him.
    Moses, having paid his respects to him, departed in hopes of being received amongst his people.
    Abraham brought his all to sacrifice before him, his son.
    Noah came from his Ark to meet him and was proud to find him on Mount Judi.
    Adam came and made merry; he questioned Mohammed about the secret of man's nature.
    Ridwan brought in wine and asked him about his long journey.
    Because he had grown thirsty of that journey he brought him a draught from Salsabil;
    And because he was heated with the ardor of his love he tempered that draught with camphor;
    And because he was affected with the coldness of certainty he tempered it likewise with ginger.
    And when his humors were restored to equilibrium he offered him honey tempered with milk.
    And because in Ta Ha he had been designated as the Pure One he received 'a drink of pure beverage'.
    His drink was 'choice sealed wine’, whereof the seal was known to none but God.
    The sky, the master of the sun, had led Buraq that night.
    The golden sun was the pommel of the Prophet's saddle; the new moon kissed his feet like a stirrup.
    The halo of the moon provided Buraq with barley from Gemini and straw from the Milky Way.
    As the Prophet galloped along the road that night Buraq cast one of his shoes upon the sky.
    That shoe became the new moon; the sky fixed it in its ear and formed an archway for him.
    Arcturus offered him a lance having cleared Medusa's Head from the way.
    The houris stood all along the road from the Fish to the Moon.
    In that turquoise garden, despite the darkness of the night, thousands of eyes were brightened with the splendor of his face.
    For gladness the empyrean reared up a pavilion for him and placed a throne in it.
    Taking its support from his two tresses Tuba cast its shadow over Paradise.
    When the Dragon's Tail reared up against him, it was docked like Scorpio's from fear of him.
    The heavens made Virgo into a broom, then bent to sweep the way for him.
    Cancer, recognizing his glory, flung himself headlong into the water.
    When Gemini girded his loins as his bodyguard. Libra came and balanced its beam.
    Sagittarius unstrung his bow: it had two houses and offered them both to his soul.
    Aries and Capricorn were roasted for him and a table laid that stretched from the Moon to the Ox-Fish.
    Leo became like a lion painted on his carpet and Aquarius like a wheel rolling after him.
    When the Two Sisters beheld his face, they threw back their veils in their longing for him.
    The Two Vultures appeared without their attributes in order that there might be no evil omen.
    Although the Seven Thrones were revolving around the Pole like the seven men.
    When they beheld his manliness and life, they became dead women carried upon a bier.
    Each angel came with his censer to burn aloes-wood as a token of sincere love.
    Ridwan opened the eight gates of Paradise and washed the nine approaches with the water of Kauthar.
    The guardian of Paradise rejoiced the world by displaying a great company of houris.
    Awed with his splendor the empyrean ceased to move; it stood as still as the eighth heaven.
    When the Preserved Table saw the value of the dust under his feet, he made of it clay tablets such as the Shiites use when prostrating themselves in worship.
    When the world of light had been filled with his beauty, the 'Frequented Temple’ fell in ruins out of love for him.
    The heavens scattered largesse in very deed, for they offered all they possessed.
    Each sphere brought a hundred purses, lawful gifts, for they came from the Sidra tree.
    The firmament asked God for a present to offer him, and God adorned it every night with the stars.
    And because such was the present offered him the faithful Companions of the Prophets were said to be 'like the stars’.
    From the splendid sun that shone that night each star received a new light.
    He gave Saturn the charge of the crops of the heavens; by decree he conferred upon Jupiter a cadi’s gown.
    He honoured Mars with the office of executioner; with his hair he cast a shadow over the Sun.
    On Venus he bestowed sweetness of language while to Mercury he gave supremacy in wisdom.
    To the Moon he appeared like Joseph and caused her to cut both hand and orange.
    The Sun of the Law rose up with such speed that even Gabriel with his six hundred thousand wings.
    Could not catch up with him or discover where he was.
    When he had passed through the ranks of the angels he saw another world like one 'level plain’;
    A world in which there were none of the marks of a world, no sign of 'level plain' or of'cushions’,
    A world devoid of nearness and farness, a 'light upon light’ because of his light.
    He found the earth of that world to be patience and all its running water knowledge.
    His glory gave grandeur to the heavens, his beauty illuminated the sun.
    So did his soul perspire with longing for God that he rent his robe into a hundred pieces.
    Aye, since the sky was his robe he rent it all, for that night he could do nothing else.
    The proof of this is the Milky Way, which is made up of small pieces of the nine curtains.
    Those nine curtains were rent to pieces during his ascension, because he was the intimate of God for ever.
    There came a voice from God, saying: 'Master, at last thou hast come to Our door. What is thy wish?
    Thy heart is with all sinners, for thou art right when thou sayst: "Walk at the pace of the weakest among you''.'
    The Prophet said: 'Lord, Thou knowest how I feel, Thou hast no need to question me.
    Thy favors are so continuous that I cannot count them; my tongue is tied.
    Nothing is left of my being; all is now sun, the shadow is gone.'
    When the Lord of the Two Worlds felt weak. God strengthened his arm with the 'two bows’.
    Mohammed was the mightiest man in the world; therefore it is that he holds those bows.
    Better bows the black-eyed houris will never see that the 'two bows’.
    At that moment when he was immersed in knowledge he had, as it were, two qualities of the arrow:
    One of them to stand straight upright and the other to fly through the air like an arrow.
    And having in his being these two attributes of the arrow, the 'two bows' are the symbol of his two stations.
    When, in the first place, he set out towards God, he sped upwards like an arrow from the bow.
    And when, in the end, he was sent back to mankind, he was discharged like an arrow from the bow.
    These two flights were from two bows, hence the parable of the 'two bows'.
    And since Sagittarius is always in two houses, therefore there are always two parts to that bow.
    One thou knowest as that of Ahad, and the other is that of the eternal Ahmad.
    The attraction of God shot forth like an arrow and split the mim of Ahmad in two like a hair.
    The mim of Ahmad fell out and it became Ahad; and all duality became unity.
    In that night the Peacock of the Angels was utterly effaced by the raven of his hair.
    See in his two tresses two ravens; see in the almonds of his eyes how they 'turned not aside’.
    The 'two bows' are a symbol of his eyebrows; the ends of those bows are his two tresses.
    Since his tresses were all light they gave rise to two rainbows.
    I know of no one in the world who could wield the 'two bows'.
    When the ravens of his tresses grow restless, the Peacock of the Heavens is a fitting quarry for them.
    Hurrah for the bow, the thumb and the bow-end! Hurrah for 'is not' and 'what He revealed and 'turned not aside’!
    It is because of its envy of the Prophet's 'two bows' that the sky has two arcs around its axis.
    God, Who to glorify Adam revealed to him the names of all things,
    Revealed to Mohammed the things themselves and therefore made him illiterate and poor.
    Going beyond names to the nameless state of things he had no need to read and was therefore illiterate.
    Since he went disembodied along the road of God he became from disembodiment absolutely poor.
    Impelled by disembodiment and poverty he received from the Archetype of the Book the surname of 'the Illiterate’.
    God first of all ordered that there should be fifty prayers a day but for his sake He reduced the number to five.
    If that night he passed beyond the whole and the part it was because purging himself of self he became wholly absorbed in God.
    O heart, see to the eternal good of thy soul; fasten thyself to this saddlebow.
    Gird thy lions before him as his servant so that thou mayst become a great lord.
    What more can I say, O Prophet of God? Impotent wretch that I am, I know no more.
    Great is Gabriel and yet he is but thy messenger; he does nothing but run thy errands.
    When Michael saw that thou wert king he became a purveyor to thy army.
    With sword in hand and loins girt Izra’il stands ever ready to act as thy executioner.
    The faithful Israfil stands sentry in thy doorway.
    Of the angels that guard thy threshold two are the 'illustrious recorders'.
    Father Adam is the scribe at thy court; many names has he written down describing thy nature.
    Idris, recognizing thee in the stars, established thy worship in Paradise.
    Since thy sovereignty embraces the whole world Noah has chosen to be thy pilot.
    Salih gladly became thy camel-driver and entertained thee with camel's milk.
    When Abraham became thy mason the whole of the Ka‘ba became thy sanctuary.
    When Ishmael heard of thy faith, a son was sacrificed with uncut throat.
    Jacob was filled with grief in his longing for thee; it was in search of thee that he withdrew into solitude.
    Joseph escaped from prison and the well and with a hundred kinds of beauty sought a share of thine.
    The noble Khidr waters the end of thy street from his fountain.
    Elijah received a renewal of life from thee and so had chosen to guard thy life till Judgment Day.
    Jonah became thy friend upon the way and he entered the sea in order to find thee again.
    David felt a great longing for thy soul and he gave a hundred lives in his laments for thy love.
    Job, seeing thee as the physician of love, dragged his body away from the worms towards his cell.
    Solomon, seeing thee as the lord of the world, girded himself like his ring.
    John offered his head to thy crown, and Aaron stood at thy door as a herald.
    Moses was but thy guide upon the road and Jesus thy Indian slave Mubarak.
    Since thou hast such a companion as 'Say: "He is God"’, draw a line through all else than God.
    Though the wife of Abu Lahab, filled with annoyance, scattered thorns in thy path,
    Thou art a hidden rose: walk cheerfully on, for no rose will bloom without a thorn in its foot.
    Some good chance befalls thee every instant, and as a protection against the evil eye it is sufficient for thee to repeat 'Say: "I take refuge in God"'.
    The seven celestial spheres have a lamp on every finger, the stars.
    They call to thee in pain and anguish, but who would seek the sun with a lamp?
    Thou art the sultan of earth and heaven, the lamp of this world and the next.
    The sky is always rolling like a ball in order to catch sonic glimpse of thy majesty.
    In that gathering in which there is scope for thy majesty the highest heaven is but a shoe-rank,
    Although thy majesty is beyond computation, being higher than the nine heavens and hidden behind nine hundred screens,
    Yet for envy of it this beautiful vault turns over and over, day and night.
    A single beam of thy majesty shone on the heavens and from that one beam the sun and moon received their light.
    What more can I say? For thy attributes are such that they would fill a hundred worlds beyond the ken of mind or soul.
    Supposing the whole world were full of poppy seeds and there were a panegyrist inside each one of them,
    I do not know whether thou wouldst be adequately praised or, if thou wert, whether thou wouldst accept it.
    Thou knowest that none of the poets have sung such praise save only I.
    This work is a young bride that seeks the protection of thy generosity and wishes for no jewels and adornment but thy acceptance.
    If thou accept me my task is done, if not there is an end to my grief-stricken life.
    If thou accept these words of mine, I shall with my art rebuild the ancient heavens.
    Although thy presence is a mighty sea, yet this drop too is a precious pearl.
    For though the ocean has a vast mass of water, yet it also cherishes every individual drop.
    Dost thou not see how the boundless sea lovingly assigns its place to every single drop?
    What more can I say, O Prophet of God? I have said what I am capable of saying.
    Thou art generosity itself and thou knowest all. If thou wouldst bestow a hundred favors on me, it is in thy power.
    Shaykh Farid ad-Din 'Attar, Book of God

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