Samples of Sufi Literature and Lyrics

in Article
Published on: 27 April 2016

The following passages have been culled from the writings of various Sufis who practised in South Asia. They have been placed in no particular order.


Ali Hujwiri Data Ganj Bakhsh

‘Know that I have found this universe an abode of Divine mysteries, which are deposited in created things. Substances, accidents, elements, bodies, forms, and properties - all these are veils of Divine mysteries. From standpoint of Unification (tawhid) it is polytheism to assert that any such veil exists, but in this world everything is veiled, by its being, from Unification, and the spirit is held captive by admixture and association with phenomenal being. Hence the intellect can hardly comprehend those Divine mysteries, and the spirit can but dimly perceive the marvels of nearness to God. Man, enamoured of his gross environment, remains sunk in ignorance and apathy, making no attempt to cast off the evil that has fallen upon him. Blind to the beauty of Oneness, he turns away from God to seek the vanities of this world and allows his appetites to domineer over his reason, notwithstanding that the animal soul, which the Quran describes as 'commanding to evil' (ammarat bi'l-su), is the greatest of all veils between God and Man.’


Al-Hujwiri, Ali bin Usman, Kashf al-Mahjub, A Persian Treatise on Sufism, translation and preface by Pir M.K.Shah, Ziaul Quran Publications, Lahore, 2001, pp.78-79.


Syed Mohammad Usman Marvandi, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (Sehwan, Sindh) (This popular song is sung by qawwals and folk singers all over Pakistan and north India, and may have been composed in praise of Shahbaz Qalandar by a later composer. The language is mostly Punjabi with some Hindi, Arabic and Sindhi words.)


Laalmeri pat rakhiyo bhala Jhoole laalan

Sindri da, Sehvan da, Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar

Duma dum mast Qalandar, Ali dum dum de andar.

Mawaan nu peera bachhre daina,

Behna nou deina veer mala Jhoole laalan

Sindri da, sehvan da, Sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar

O, chaar charaag tere balan hamesha

Panjwa ne baalan aayio bala jhoole laalan

Uchra roza peera tera, uchra roza peera tera,

Haith wagay gharyaal bhala Jhoole laalan

Sindri da, sehvan da, sakhi shabaaz qalandar

Ghanan ghanan teri naubat baajay

Naal bajay gharyaal bhala Jhoole laalan

Sindri da, sehvan da, sakhi Shabaaz Qalandar


Moinuddin Chishti

Andar aaina-e jaan aks-e jamal-e deedam

Hamcho khursheed ke dar ab zalaal deedam

Ta Moin zarra sifat raft pi-e nor azal

Na tulu-o na ghuroob-o na zawal-e deedam


(In the mirror of life, I saw reflection of the beautiful one

Like the sun, I saw it reflected in water

When Moin was on his path to the eternal light,

There was neither a rising nor a setting or a decline)


Baba Farid

Farida khaak na nandiye khako jed na koe

Jyundiyan peeran tale moiyyan apar na hoe

O Farid, don’t consider the clay so lowly, there’s nothing like it.

All your life it remains under your feet, and buries you underneath after death

Rukkhi sukkhi kha ke thanda paani pi

Dekh parai chopdi na tarsaen ji


O Farid, be content with your dry bread and cold water

Don’t be attracted by others’ well-oiled bread

Farida ratein wadiyan dhak dhak uthan paas

Dhrag tanha da jivya jinhan wadani aas

O Farid, the nights are long and every pore is releasing smoke

Damn the people who have abandoned all hope



Nizamuddin Aulia



Saba basuye Madina ro kun azeen dua go salam bar khwan

Be gard-e Shah-e Madina gard-o be sad tazra-e payam bar khwan


(O breeze when you visit Madina, say my salutation and prayer

And pass my message to the King of Madina )


I have come to Your street in a rush, in a rush.

My cheeks with my tears are all awash, all awash.

To be at one with you how I try, how I try.

As I invoke Your name let me die, let me die.

Quoted from Lawrence (1992:173)



Bu Ali Shah Qalandar

Roz ba-khush pisaran nard wafa mae baazam

Shab hama shab ba-sharab-e wa shama-e saazam

Be khabar az do jahan kard mara jalwa-e dost

Bad-o alam ze rukh-e dost name parwaazam

Sajdah dar pesh to awurdam-o masjood shudam

Ke dareen sadja malayk na-shawad ambaazam


In the daytime I play the game of love with beautiful boys,

The entire night I spend drinking and lighting the lamp.

My friend’s thought has made me unaware of the two worlds,

I am so engrossed in his face that I take no notice of the world.

I bowed before you and became the bowed one,

My angels are not accompanied in this obeisance.


Naseeruddin Chiragh Delhi

Dar seena Naseeruddin juz ishq nami ganjad

Een tarfa tamasha been darya be hubaab andar


(The passion of love can’t be contained in Naseeruddin’s heart,

What a sight, an ocean is contained inside a bubble.)


Shaykh Sharfuddin Maneri

Hast darya-e muhabbat be-kinar

La jurm yek tishnagi shud sad hazar


(The river of love has no banks,

Once thirsty of its waters, you’ll be thirsty a thousand times.)


Mi na-farosham galeem na-farosham

Gar ba-farosham barehna mand dasham


(I will never sell my tattered cloak and blanket, never

If I did that, my shoulder will be naked then.)


Qazi Hamiduddin Nagauri

Li habeebun khayalo-hu nasbe ayni

Wa ismo-hu fi zamayri maknoon

In tazkerato-hu fak-li quloob

Wa in tamilto-hu fak-li uyoon


(I have a friend, losing myself in whose image is the goal of my life

His name is preserved in the depths of my heart

Remembering him, my heart flutters

Thinking about him, my eyes are impatient to see him)



Amir Khusrau

Kafir-e ishqam musalmani mara darker neest

Har rag-e man taar gashta hajat-e zunnar neest


(I am a pagan of love, the creed of musalman I do not need,

Every vein of mine is taut like a wire, a brahman’s girdle I don’t need.)



Bashahan har che bar khilaf ho ast

Natawan guft garche baashad raast

Hark e shud raast goi dawer khwesh

Zad be tegh-e zaban-e khud sar khwesh


(If it goes against the king,

Don’t utter it, even it’s the truth.

Whoever told such a truth,

Beheaded himself with the sword of his tongue)



Phool khile baguyan mein

Aamad-e fasl-e bahar


(Flowers blossom in the garden,

The season of spring cometh.)



Khusrau darya prem ka ulti wa ki dhaar

Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar


(Khusrau, the river of love flows in strange directions,

Whoever jumped into it, drowned.

And the one who drowned, got across)


Khalq mi goyad ke Khusrau but-parasti mi kunad

Aari aari mi kunam ba khalq-o aalam kar neest


(People tell me that Khusrau has become an idol worshipper

Yes, yes, I have, and I don’t care for the people of the world.)




Sakal ban phool rahi sarson

Angna more tesu phoole, koyal bole daar daar

Aur gori karat singar, malaniya garhwa le aayi karson

Sakal ban phool rahi sarson

Tarah tarah ke phool lagaye, le garhwa hathan mein aaye

Nijamuddin ke darwaje pe, aawan keh gaye Aashiq rang

Aur beet gaye barson

Sakal ban phool rahi sarson


(Mustard flowers in the entire forest,

In my courtyard, the mango flowers,

The cuckoo sings on every branch

And the fair maiden adorns herself

The gardener’s wife brings bouquets

Mustard flowers in the entire forest

Flowers of all hues are available

And brought in bouquets

At the doorstep of Nizamuddin

The loved-hued had promised to come

But it’s been so many years.

Mustard flowers in the entire forest.)


Abdul Qadir Bedil

Ze ghuncha-e o dameed Bedil bahar khatt-e nazar farebi

Be mu’jaz-e husn gasht aakhir rak zamurrud-az la’l peda



Sayyid Ali Hamadani (Kashmir)

‘Please know that God Almighty has created the human beings on account of two reasons: the first is the appearance (Surat-i-Zahir) and the second is the inner self (Sirat-i-Batin). The appearance is the styled creation (Khalq), and the nature (Surat) is known as Khulq (character), and both of these have two facets of virtue and vice.’


Shaikh Nuruddin Rishi (Kashmir)

A spring has been lost in the stream,

A saint has been lost among the thieves,

A deeply learned man has been lost in the house of fools,

A swan has been lost among the crows.


Abdul Quddus Gangohi

Guft quddusi faqiri dar fana-o dar baqa

Khud bakhud aazad budi khud giraftar aamadi


(Says Quddusi: being a beggar you lose yourself and you find,

You set free yourself, and get imprisoned yourself.)


Bulleh Shah

Jangal jangal kya bhavin? Van kanda morein

Wasi rab hiya liye jangal kya dhoonden

Why wander around in jungles, there’s nothing but thorns here

The God resides in hearts, why look for him in forests


Padh padh mullan hove qazi, Allah ilman bajhon razi

Hovve hirs dinon din taazi, teenon keetta hirs khwar

Ilmon bass Karen O yaar

The scholar gained great knowledge to become a judge

Even though Allah can be pleased even without gaining knowledge

You have been disrepute precisely for this greed (of knowledge)

O friend, beware of such knowledge which does not stop you from greed and insatiability.


Shah Turab Kakorvi

Nooh se kahiyo ke jald aye o kashti laye

Hijr mein ro ro yahan aankh ne toofan kiya

Shaykh go tu-ne bahot but-kade tode to kiya

Nafs-e kaafir ko kisi din na musalmaan kiya


(Ask Noah to come soon with his ark

Waiting for the beloved, the eyes have created quite a flood

O cleric although you have broken many a pagan temple

But never managed to convert the heart of a pagan).



Aashiq hun tera talib-e deedar hun tera

Parda tu na kar mujh se ke mein yaar hun era

Karta hai abas mujh ko tabeebon ke hawale

Khud nabz meri dekh ke beemar hun tera


(I’m your lover, desirous of your sight,

Don’t cover yourself with a veil, I’m your friend.

Why do you hand me over to the doctors?

Hold my pulse yourself; I’m lovesick for you.)


Kisi pe jaal na dale khuda muhabbat ka

Ke chhoot-ta nahin jeete phansa muhabbat ka

Kahani ishq ki kahiye to neend ud jaye

Na poochhe ham se koi majra muhabbat ka

Mujhe to sab kahin mehboob dekh padta hai

Mien kis tarah se na hoon mubtela muhabbat ka


(Go may never put anyone in the web of love

The one entangled in it can never come out alive

Tell the story of love, and you lose your sleep

Don’t ask me anyone, the occurrence of love

I see the beloved everywhere

Why shouldn’t I suffer from love.)


Jo ma-e ishq se hua sarshar

Hai kuchh auri tarah se uski tarang

Saaf munh dekh lo haqiqat ka

Gar na ho dil ke aaine mein zang

Hai wohi dost aur wohi dushman

Sulah us se hai aur usi se jang


(The one intoxicated in the wine of love,

His manners are something else.

You may see the reality vividly in the mirror

If that mirror of your heart is without blemish.

He is a friend and he a foe as well,

Peace is with him, and the war as well.)


Khwaja Mir Dard

Dard-e dil ke waste paida kiya insaan ko

Varna ta’at ke liye kuchh kam na the karr-o bayan


(Man was created for this ache in the heart

Else, the creatures only praying to God were no less.)


Jigar Muradabadi

Ishq ki had se nikalte phir yeh manzar dekhte

Kaash husn-e yaar ko ham husn ban kar dekhte

Door jaakar dekhte nazdeek aakar dekhte

Ham se ho sakta to ham un ko barabar dekhte

Fitrat-e majboor par qaboo hi kuchh chalta nahin

Varna ham to tujh ko bhi tujh se chhupa kar dekhte

Dam bakhud hain hazrat-e Zahid yahin tak dekh kar

Hosh ud jate agar sheeshe se bahar dekhte


(I would exit the boundaries of love to look back at this scene

Wish I could see the beloved’s beauty through the eyes of beauty itself.

I would look from afar, from near

If I could, I would see the beloved forever

I have control over my natural self

Else I would see you by hiding from yourself.

The cleric is astounded, just by watching until here,

Imagine if he could see beyond the goblet.)


Kamil Hyderabadi 

Ba-tufail-e daman-e Murtaza mein bataun kya mujhe kya mila

Ke Ali mile to Nabi mile, jo Nabi mile to Khuda mila

Tere naqsh-e pa se qadam qadam, jo maqam-e sabr-o Raza mila

Kahin khaak ahl-e junoon mili, kahin khoon-e ahl-e wafa mila


Due to the mediation of Ali Murtaza’s company, guess what all I found?

With Ali I met the Prophet, and with Prophet I met with the Almighty.

Going along with your footsteps, I found the state of patience and contentment

Found somewhere the soil of passionate ones, and elsewhere the blood of the steadfast.




Lawrence, Bruce B., trans. 1992. Nizam ad-Din Awliya: Morals for the Heart: Conversations of Shaykh Nizam ad-din Awliya Recorded by Amir Hasan Sijzi. New York: Paulist Press, 1992.