Writings of Shah Nimatullah

This Order takes its name from the great Shah Nimatullah Vali (1330 A.D. – 1431 A.D.). Shah Nimatullah is known for, not only opening the door of his bounty to all seekers and aspirants as well a his own followers, but he also paying respect to all nations and peoples and to other sufi orders of his time. His behavior was based on a code of purity and fidelity. Shah Nimatullah followed his predecessors in not separating the tariqat (the spiritual path) from the shari’at (the Islamic law) because of his belief that the haqiqat (Reality) could be attained only through integration of the two. What follows is a selection of his writings.

The Sea is Our Essence
We are of the sea, and the sea is our essence
why then is there this duality between us?
The world is an imaginary line before the sight
read well that line, for it was inscribed by us.
Whatsoever we possess in both the worlds
in reality, my friend, belongs to God.
His love I keep secretly in my heart
the less of the pain of His love is our cure.
Companions are we of the cup, comrades of the saki
lest thou suppose that he is apart from us
it is the assembly of love, and we are drunk
who ever enjoyed so royal a party?
So long as Nimatullah is the slave of the Lord,
the king of the world is a beggar at his door.

Tarjiband

I
Ah, by Your Love,
ruined hearts are rebuilt,
And from Your sorrow
miserable souls are made happy.
In the arch of Your eyebrow,
Khosrow found the Qiblih of his prayers,
And in Your enchanting eyes,
Farhad, his seduction.
Your ruby lips grant life
its gratification,
And the tip of Your curl
opens the know of aspiration.
Who can ever become
a professor of Your Love
Who was never a student
of Your sadness?
We’ve abandoned
our own desires.
On the Path of the Friend,
let whatever happens, happen.
Last night,
in the height of my intoxication,
I stumbled down
by the doorway of the mosque.
Praises of His stature
were being sung by a minstrel there.
Whoever came round
stood by, listening happily.
I followed
that assembly
To see if I could grasp
their litany.
Suddenly he appeared,
their spiritual leader;
He mounted the pulpit
and cried out:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
II
A handsome man
from the wine-seller’s shop
Was drunk and out walking
on the road last night
He had placed in his ear,
like the pearl of a lover,
The ring of slavery
to the master of the fire temple.
He had a goblet in one hand
and a cloak over his shoulders
And, like a Christian, had wrapped
a girdle about his waist.
I said,
“O raiser of the sober,
From where have you come
so drunk and beyond your senses?”
He gave me the goblet
which reveals the world
And said “Here,
take a drink of this wine.”
I asked, “Whose cask
did you draw this from?”
He bit his lip and said in reply,
“Shh…silence.
“If you want to be
a confidant
Of the tavern of ruin,
make sure you keep the secret.”
So I questioned the master, asking of him,
“From whom comes all this passion?”
Nobody would part their lips to speak,
but suddenly the harp sounded forth:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
III
Chief of Beauty’s dominion,
that tall and ravishing
Capricious Turk,
genies and men enraptured.
Enthralled by his lovely face,
men and women
Run amuck, crazy
from his disturbance.
His splendor was the moon
in the constellation of Goodness.
His height was a cypress,
towering in the garden of Elegance.
As he strolled out the monastery door,
everyone who saw him went crazy.
Upon me, worn-out, cast down in a frenzy,
he suddenly glanced in grace.
“Lover,” he said,
“lover, so dismayed,
There is no love
without disgrace.
“If you really want to join us
and enter our circle,
How long will you endure
solitude and separation?”
“Cast away faith and blasphemy
on the Path of the Friend.
Come into the tavern of ruin and drink,
drink the wine!”
And when I abandoned
my imitating ways,
He taught me
in the way of knowledge:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
IV
When that drunken Turk
took up the bow,
Whoever saw him
instantly drew his heart from his soul.
I was in doubt
over reflection on his waist,
But my suspicions abandoned me
when he girded his loins.
“O Khosrow of all
who possess faith and fidelity,
Come, let us go for a walk,”
I cried.
“Let us travel together
through the ‘garden of roses’
So that I, who’ve become heartless,
can also lose my soul.”
He went into the garden
and bloomed like a flower,
Assuming a beautiful
purple-like hue.
The cupbearer,
when he got drunk,
Took the seal
from the lip of the bottle.
From polishing its face,
the wine became warm,
And the rust was erased
from the mirror of the soul.
The heaviness caused
by the pain in the heart
Was removed by the dregs
of the wine.
From the purified neck
of the bottle
The wine began to sigh,
and cried:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
V
The insolent glance
of that capricious idol,
Left and right, slays human beings
with its teasing and flirting.
Behind a curtain
a harp is playing,
And that incense-burning minstrel
is striking his lute.
He is the King of Kings
of the dominion of Goodness,
We are but beggars
at the door of supplication.
Sometimes He’s like wine,
nourishing the soul,
Sometimes like a hangover,
consuming the spirit.
He is the aim
of the synagogue’s congregation,
He is the goal
of the Meccan pilgrims.
If He slays, He is a King,
enjoying His pleasure
And if He spares, He is a King,
kind to His slave.
O heart, if you want
this secret to be revealed
Stroll by the way of the wine-house
until you see the Truth distinct from allegory.
From end to end,
the sufis, spiritually,
Are crying out in chorus:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
VI
O, this sadness from You is the king
of the country of the heart,
And this flirtatious glance form Your drunken eye
is the heart’s guide.
When You scatter
Your hyacinth curls
The country of the heart
becomes torn to pieces.
We’ve tried it so often, breath by breath,
and still our souls
Don’t complain of the sadness
at the threshold of the heart.
Though this cloak of ours
is worth millions,
It is this mountain of sadness
that rests upon the heart.
Make my heart alive
with Your pure wine!
For it’s a drink freshly poured
into the goblet of the heart.
At dawn
that nymph-like Beauty came
And struck the ring
upon the door of the heart.
I opened the door
and She sat there, drunkenly,
Face to face
with the heart.
And when I descended
into the book of the heart,
I saw these words
inscribed:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
VII
O cupbearer,
where has the night’s wine gone?
Bring wine,
for in the circle, it’s our turn.
Bring us
the world-revealing goblet
Where the wine of God
is apparent.
Ah! make me totally unconscious
of my own being
So I can tell you
where the Beloved is.
Yes, we’ll go beggar-like
to the Friend’s door
For the whole world’s desire
is there.
The cupbearer,
when he heard me talk like this,
Turned to the master and said,
“Where is the righteousness in this?”
But that ever-faithful,
wine-drinking master replied
As he was preparing
that wine gathering,
“Whoever sits down
with the Friend
Must give up holding
his own opinion.”
Eventually with the eyes
of pure intuition, you can see
That left and right and everywhere
there’s Ni’matullah, the wealth of Allah.
Then whatever is hidden
or revealed in this world
Will materialize before the ears
of your soul and declare:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
VIII
Ah! We’re prisoners
in the shackles of an immense passion,
Afflicted and tormented
with manacles on our ankles.
We are the miserable ones
in the desert of Love,
Skilled in the field
of riot and revolution.
Sometimes we’re thunder,
sometimes a bolt of lighting.
Sometimes we’re clouds,
sometimes sea.
Sometimes we’re intellectuals,
sometimes we’re crazy.
Ah! We’re bewildered, bewildered,
headless and footless!
Sometimes we have nothing in our pockets,
sometimes we’re worthless drunkards.
Sometimes we’re revealed,
and sometimes concealed.

Sometimes earth-like,
we’re abased and debased.
Sometimes sky-like,
we’re exalted and transcendent.
In the tavern of ruin,
like “Sayyid”, we’ve fallen down,
Beyond all religion or infidelity
after draining cup after cup of wine.
Anybody who sat with us
became a devoted believer;
We rubbed from his heart
the rut of infidelity.
Then when his soul
was cleared by the wine,
We showed to it
all there is:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.
IX
From the Hidden World, last night,
the master of the world of Love
Taught me these words
out of the breath of Love.
O beggar of all who quaff
the wine, drink from that goblet
Until you become
“The King of Love”.
I myself abandoned
the men of the intellect
For the purity
of the people of Love.
I put on the pilgrim’s clothese and travlled
on the highway to the Ka’aba of the soul.
I did my ablutions with water drawn
from Hajar’s well of Love.
Then, when I reached
the direction of Mt. Arafat,
I saw spinning in the air
of the world of Love
An intense drunken furor,
multiplying, increasing in the heart,
Breath by breath
from the continual inhalation of Love,
The whole world
and everything in it
Drowned before
a drop of Love.
I then saw “Ni’matullah”
and with certainty
It became established for me
that he’s a confidant of Love.
When the page of loverhood
was opened to me,
There words were inscribed
over the Great Chapter of Love:
That everything throughout the world,
everywhere, end to end,
Is but a reflection of a ray
cast from the face of the Friend.