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Updated: June 16, 2007
Ismaili Web Poetry Page 1
An Anthology of Ismaili Poetry
Here is a sampling of devotional poetry by Ismaili Muslims wherein love and devotion for God, Prophet Muhammad and his family are expressed. The selection here spans a millenium of Muslim History from the Fatimid Caliphate to present day Ismaili poets from North Africa, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Pakistan and were originally composed in Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Popular Ismaili poetry has also been composed in Gujerati, Sindhi and Khojki popularly known as Ginans and enjoyed by a wide population of Shia Ismaili Muslims just as Qasidas, Munajaats and Munqabaats are enjoyed by the Middle Eastern, and Persian Ismailis.
By Al Mu'ayyad fi'l din Al Shirazi By Ibn Hani Al-Andalusi
The Evil of Desire
Alas, my intellect
has become oppressed
and defeated by
the evil of desire.
Woe to me because
I have wronged myself.
I am beyond neither
blame nor reproach.
O why did I waste
my life when the path
of guidance was open
and spacious to me?
And why did I lose
the light by which
I am related to
the close and noble ones?
Why do I debase
the precious pearl
and honor the mean
and insignificant oyster?
The Proof of God
You run with the light of God
among His servants so that you
may illumine their hearts
and shine therein as His proof.
Our eyes have observed your
brilliance, but in fact
opinion has never understood
the essence of your reality.
I fear you with a reverence,
lest the sun forgets its rising,
just as your remembrance made
the angels forget their praise.
You are the Spirit because
your image is shaped from
the spiritual world of your Lord
and supported by knowledge.
I swear that if the world did
not call you a caliph,
they would certainly have
called you a second Messiah.
The Light of Intellect
How many observers are there
with eyes that cannot see?
How many seers are there
with hearts that cannot reflect?
For the human eye to see,
there are certain conditions;
he who disregards them
loses his way in the darkness.
The eye is of no avail
if it does not receive light
from the sun or the moon,
or from the burning torch.
Similarly the intellect,
during reflection by itself,
remains in the throes of
doubt and bewilderment.
Except when it is helped
by a light from outside;
then it ascends the ladder
of enlightened contemplation.
The Pure Progeny
Peace be upon the pure progeny,
and welcome to their resplendent lights.
I begin with peace upon Adam from whom
came all mankind, whether nomadic or sedentary.
Peace be upon the one whose flood made
the reprobates suffer from great misfortune.
Peace be upon the one to whom came
the peace at dawn when he was engulfed by fire.
Peace be upon the one who with his staff
overpowered the unbelievers of the tyrant Pharaoh.
Peace be upon Jesus, the Holy Spirit,
who by his coming, bestowed honor on Nazareth.
Peace be upon Muhammad, the chose,
the one who intercedes in the hereafter.
Peace be upon Ali, the beloved,
and those descended from him, the radiant stars.
Peace be upon you, O Sovreign Lord
of Cairo, and all their gain abides with you.
I sacrifice my soul to Mustansir,
who is supported by the legions of heaven.
I bear witness that it is your blessed face
which illumines the faces of your followers.
You are the custodian of the fountain of life,
and may the fountain of your enemies perish!
Heaven on Earth
Rouse yourself from the sleep
of negligence so that what
shines out in the morning
is not hidden from your eyes!
The heaven you see above
is not the heaven of God,
but it is the earth below
which encompasses that heaven.
The stars submit to him,
but conceal their prostration,
and the sun shields its eyelids
from the brilliance of his light.
He is the intercessor for
the community which follows him,
just as his forefathers
were for their forefathers.
He is the trusted of God
among His servants on earth,
if at all the trusted can
be counted in His country.
This is the beloved one
of the city of Mecca,
and of its mountain paths,
its black stone and the plain.
There is a sign on him
left by the Prophet's marking,
and a splendor about him
which comes from the light of God.
Source: Shimmering Light - IIS Publication
Translation by Faquir M. Hunzai
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