Daf

Drum your fingers gently,
Doum, tekke-te, doum!
First light is rising
And the white thread of dawn
Approaches!
Doum, tekke-te, doum!

Drum the Name of Beauty,
Doum, tekke-te, doum!
The goat skin sings,
And the rosewood blooms,
Crying, ‘Love!’
Doum, tekke-te, doum!

Drum the Name of Glory!
Doum, tekke-doum,
Tekke-te, tekke-te, tekke-doum!
Flames on the ocean,
Land aglow!
Doum, tekke-doum, doum!

Hush as the orb rises,
Tekke, tekke-te, tekke, te!
Lay the daf aside,
Stand and listen,
To the echo on the horizon,
Doum, tekke-te, doum!

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Sufi Soul: Part 1

A beautiful video on Sufism, its origins and context, by the acclaimed author, William Dalrymple. It contains a description of the meaning of the sema of the whirling dervishes and focuses on the power and transformative effect of music. This is a very informative video and a treat to watch. In this first part, William Dalrymple goes to Syria and then to Konya and speaks with Mercan Dede.

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more about “Sufi Soul: Part 1“, posted with vodpod

Sufis in Palestine

two-who-attained

"Rare glimpses of two 20th-century Sufi saints are offered in this work: the eminent Shaykh al-Alawi and the lesser-known woman saint Fatima al-Yashrutiyya, both of whom continued on the Sufi path even as they watched their world crumble. Shaykh al-Alawi's influence was pivotal to the spiritual development of Thomas Merton, who looked to al-Alawi's writings and teachings in his own practice. Fatima al-Yashrutiyya is a rare example of a literate Muslim woman living a public spiritual life. Readers will see a new side of the Sufi Path from her uncompromising viewpoint, and can catch an uncommon glimpse of life in the early 20th century for a spiritual seeker, writer, and self-educated woman in the Muslim world. These essays represent Islam in its esoteric dimension and raise issues of regional unrest and colonial intervention that are still relevant. Through the words of these two saints the world of the Sufi brotherhood is opened, revealing an underlying theme of the oneness of Allah."

Fatimah al-Yashrutiyya was born in Acre, Palestine in 1883. The Yashruti Sufi Order in which she grew up and in which her father was a Shaykh (spiritual guide) are a branch of the Shadhili Order, founded in 1258. Fatimah’s father promoted the advance of education for women and in her autobiography she speaks of the many scholars of philosophy and the Sufi path from whom she learnt. Following the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, known to the israelis as the War of Independence, Fatimah and her family had to flee their home to live permanently in Beirut. The book pictured on the left, Two Who Attained contains a translation of her autobiography and is published by Fons Vitae. Just click on the image if you would like to order it. Below is an excerpt from the autobiography. The book also contains translations of the work of Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, another 20th century Sufi saint.

“The Shadhiliyya Sufi method is founded on the Holy Book and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad, the search for knowledge, and the frequent practice of invocation in an attitude of worshipfulness and consciousness of the divine. This means of calling upon God is the easiest and most direct of spiritual paths, for it does not entail great hardship or much strenuous effort. The primordial light lying dormant within the soul gains strength through the light of knowledge and through the light of invocation, so that the soul is rid of its defects and impurities. It can then draw nearer to the Divine Presence until it is completely absorbed and the invocation burns away all thoughts of anything other than the One Invoked.”

Photo of Fatima al-Yashrutiyya taken from the Fons Vitae website

Photo of Fatima al-Yashrutiyya taken from the Fons Vitae website

Eternity is Now

clipped from henrycorbinproject.blogspot.com

Delighting in one of the wonderful comparisons of which he was so fond, Corbin recounts a conversation with D. T. Suzuki in Ascona in 1954: “…we asked him what homologies in structure he found between Mahayana Buddhism and the cosmology of Swedenborg in respect of the symbolism and correspondences of worlds: I can still see Suzuki suddenly brandishing a spoon and saying with a smile ‘This spoon now exists in Paradise… We are now in Heaven,’ he explained. This was an authentically Zen way of answering the question; Ibn ‘Arabi would have relished it. ”

– Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi, 354

Boddhisatvas in the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves in Turfan, on the Silk Road, Xinjiang, western China.
I found this over at Tom Cheetham’s blog and am delighted with, ‘This spoon now exists in Paradise… We are now in Heaven’ because I have often thought that eternity can have no beginning or end by definition. Therefore, even if this planet is in some way time-bound, it can be no more than a veil, and perhaps a necessary one for our lives here, but nevertheless eternity is now and not at some future time. It also reminds me of something I read recently while studying Mahayana Buddhism for a field study. This sounds very Sufi to me, “Until you reach the path you wander in the world with the precious form of the sugata completely wrapped as in a bundle of rags” and also, “Here it is. You have this precious tathagata wrapped in rags. Unwrap it, quickly!” (1). If we understand ‘sugata’ and ‘tathagata’, as Buddhists do, as Ultimate Reality, the Real, then in Sufi Muslim terms this is Al-Haqq. Under the veils (rags) that appear to separate us from Allah (swt) is our primordial nature, our fitrah, that is a manifestation of the Attributes of Allah. may we all have clean hearts that are clear mirrors reflecting the One.

(1) The Arya-tathagatagarbha-sutra in The door of Liberation translated by Geshe Wangyal, p.205

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