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                                       Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid on Man-God Polarity*

A

 

llama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) and Khawaja Ghulam Farid (1845-1901) are two great representatives of the Islamic heritage. Iqbal builds his religious metaphysics by taking fundamental inspiration from Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273) whom he openly acknowledges as his spiritual guide. He says:

باز بر خوانم ز فیض پیر روم
پیر رومی خاک را اکسیر کرد

 

دفتر سر بستہ اسرار علوم
از غبارم جلوہ ھا تعمیر کرد
[1]

 

 “Asrar-i-Khudi (1915)

“Inspired by the genius of the Master of Rum,

I rehearse the sealed book of secret lore.

The Master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold

And set my ashes aflame”.[2] 

مرشد رومی حکیم پاک زاد
 

سرمرگ و زندگی بر ما گشاد[3] 
 

Payam-i-Mashriq (1923)

“Spiritual Master Rumi, the sage of holy origin,

opened the secret of life and death to us”[4]



*      Reproduced from the author’s book: Dimensions of Khawaja Farid’s Metaphysics, Saraiki Adbi Board, Multan, 1998.

[1]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid. 

شرارے جستۂ گیر از درونم
 

کہ من مانند رومی گرم خونم[1]
 

  “Zubur-i-Ajam (1927)

“Have a spark from my innermost heart,

For my heart is as fiery as Rumi’s”[2]

طلعتش رخشندہ مثل آفتاب
پیکرِ روشن ز نور سرمدی
بر لب او سر پنہان وجود
حرف او آئینۂ آویختہ

 

شیب او فرخندہ چوں عہد شباب
در سراپائیش سرور سرمدی
بندھائے حرف و صوت از خود کشود
علم با سوز درون آمیختہ
[3]
 

Javid Nama (1932)

“And like the sun was his clear countenance

And age, in him, did scintillate like youth,

His figure gleamed with godly light that lent

Him bliss and grace. The secrets of this life

Hung on his lips and burst the bounds of word

And sound. The words he spoke were crystal clear

With learning full and inward light”[4]

نکتہ ھا از پیر روم آموختم
 

خویش را در حرف او واسوختم[5]
 

Pas Cheh Baid Kard (1936)

“I have learnt the subtleties from Pir Rumi

I have burnt my-self in his letters.”[6]

وقت است کہ بکشائم میخانۂ رومی باز
 

پیران حرم دیدم در صحن کلیسا مست[7]
 

Musafer (1936)

“It is time that I reopen the tavern of Rumi:



[1]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

[5]     Ibid.

[6]     Ibid.

[7]     Ibid.

The sheikhs of the Ka’aba are lying drunk in the courtyard of the church.”[1]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid, on the other hand, commits to the traditional metaphysics of Islam by mainly accepting the doctrinal formulations of metaphysical and traditional truths as realized by a number of Sufis including Bayazid Bistami (d.260-874), Mansur Hallaj (858-922), Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) and his own spiritual master Khawaja Ghulam Fakhruddin (d.l288-1871). He pays homage to these saints in the following lines:

سِکھ ریت روش منصوری نوں

ہن ٹھپ رکھ کنز قدوری نوں[2]

Learn the Mansurian tradition and its realisation. Now, shelve ‘Kanz’ ‘Kanduri’ (books of jurisprudence).

 

ملا ویری سخت ڈسیندے

بے شک ہن استاد دلیں دے

اِبن العَربی تے منصور [3]

The clerics seem hardened adversaries. Undoubtedly, Ibn’ Arabi and Mansur impart heart–knowledge.

ملوانے دے وعظ نہ بھانے

بیشک ساڈا دین ایمانے

ابن العربی دا دستور

The sermons of the clerics do not touch us. Undoubtedly, our committed way is the tradition of Ibn’ Arabi.

عاشق مست مدام ملامی

کہہ سبحانی بن بسطامی

آکھ اناالحق تھی منصور [4]


The entranced lover exists beyond disdain. Say: ‘Glory to me’ and become Bistami. Say: ‘I am the Truth’ and become Mansur.


[1]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 119.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 50.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 37.

 

ابن العربی دی رکھ ملت

ٹھپ رکھ فقہ اصول مسائل[1]

Shelve jurisprudence, principles and issues. Remain committed to the tradition of Ibn Arabi.

مرشد فخر جہاں نے

کیتم اے ارشاد

Fakhr-i-Jehan, my spiritual master, has pontificated (solemnly declared).

عارف ابن العربی

ساڈا    ہے   استاد[2]

Ibn ‘Arabi, the gnostic, is our Master.

سِکھ خلت سَٹ غیر دی علت

ابن العربی دی رکھ ملت

آکھیم سوہنے فخر جہان[3]

Learn the lesson of unity and leave craving of otherness. Be in the tracks of Ibn’ Arabi. The majestic Fakhr Jehan advises so.

His foremost disciple Maulana Ruknuddin, who recorded the proceedings of his doctrinal sittings over a period of time, says: “In the eye of Hazrat (Khawaja Ghulam Farid), Sheikh Mansur is the Man of God and the Imam of the Righteous…… We servants know full well that Sheikh Mansur, Sheikh Muhyuddin Ibn Arabi and Sheikh Bayazid Bistami are considered by Hazrat (Khawaja Ghulam Farid) as Imams of ‘Faqr’ (Poverty) and ‘Tariqah’ (Sufism). There are numerous ‘Kafis’ in his ‘Diwan’ in which he acknowledges them as his Masters and has followed their Way”.[4]



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 72.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 29.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 134.

[4]     Ruknuddin, Asharat-i-Faridi: Maqabees ul Majalis (Doctrinal Sittings of Hazrat Khawaja Ghulam Farid) translated by Captain Wahid Baksh Sayal, Sufi Foundation Bahawalpur 1979. Translation is my own.

Both Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid believe in man-God polarity but with this essential difference that for Iqbal this polarity is absolute, final and categorical whereas for Khawaja Ghulam Farid it is essentially relative, provisional and hypothetical and is ultimately transcended by virtue of the Self, the Intellect or the Spirit, which is identical with the Divine Essence. Here, lies the essential difference between religious metaphysics and the intellectual one. The former stands for individuality, limitedness and duality whereas the latter is essentially characterized by universality, unlimitedness and nonduality.

Iqbal builds his religious metaphysics on the subject and object structure of reality. His theory of knowledge embraces the triplicity of sense perception, reason and intuition within the framework of individualistic experience. The distinction between subject and object subsists at each level of experience including the mystical one. Mystic experience maintains this subtle distinction, which is understood in the language of religion as a polarization between man and God. The polarization alluded to is manifest in the following main characteristics of religious experience as presented by Iqbal:

  1. Mystic experience is immediate like other levels of human experience. Its interpretation gives us knowledge of God. “The immediacy of mystic experience simply means that we know God just as we know other objects. God is not a mathematical entity or a system of concepts mutually related to one another and having no reference to experience.”[1]
Mystic experience is characterized by unanalysable wholeness. “The mystic state brings us into contact with the total passage of Reality in which all the diverse stimuli merge into one another and form a single


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

  1. unanalysable unity in which the ordinary distinction of subject and object does not exist.” [1]
  2. The private personality of the mystic, in state of mystic experience, is neither obliterated nor permanently suppressed. “The mystic state is a moment of intimate association with a unique Other Self, transcending, encompassing, and momentarily suppressing the private personality of the subject of experience.”[2] The truth of this intimate association is the element of response, which essentially posits “the presence of a conscious self.” [3]
  3. Mystic experience by virtue of being direct is incommunicable but the interpretation put on it can be conveyed in the form of propositions.
  4. The mystic, in the ultimate analysis, remains linked with serial time. “The mystic’s intimate association with the eternal which gives him a sense of the unreality of serial time does not mean a complete break with serial time. The mystic state in respect of its uniqueness remains in some way related to common experience. This is clear from the fact that the mystic state soon fades away though it leaves a deep sense of authority after it has passed away. Both the mystic and the prophet return to the normal levels of experience.”[4]
Iqbal consistently maintains that sense-perception needs to be supplemented by the perception of heart in order to have a total vision of Reality. “In the interests of securing a complete vision of Reality, therefore, sense-­perception must be supplemented by the perception of what the Qur’an describes as ‘Faud’ or ‘Qalb’, i.e. heart... The ‘heart’ is a kind of


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

inner intuition or insight which, in the beautiful words of Rumi, feeds on the rays of the sun and brings us into contact with aspects of Reality other than those open to sense-perception. It is, according to the Qur’an, something which ‘sees’ and its reports, if properly interpreted are never false. We must not, however, regard it as a mysterious special faculty; it is rather a mode of dealing with Reality in which sensation, in the physiological sense of the word, does not play any part. Yet the vista of experience thus opened to us is as real and concrete as any other experience”.[1]

Iqbal considers man as self, ego, ‘nafs’ or soul. Both ‘Anfus’ (self) and ‘Afaq’ (cosmos) are sources of knowledge. “God reveals His signs in inner as well as outer experience, and it is the duty of man to judge the knowledge - yielding capacity of all aspects of experience”.[2] In other words, “One indirect way of establishing connections with the reality that confronts us is reflective observation and control of its symbols as they reveal themselves to sense-perception, the other way is direct association with the reality as it reveals itself within”.[3] Here, conscious experience is the royal road to Reality. “Now my perception of things that confront me is superficial and external; but my perception of my own self is internal, intimate and profound. It follows, therefore, that conscious experience is that privileged case of existence in which we are in absolute contact with Reality and an analysis of this privileged case is likely to throw a f1ood of light on the ultimate meaning of existence”.[4] Both efficient and appreciative aspects of the ego are oriented towards conscious existence which means life in time. Human “self in its inner life moves from the centre…outwards... on its


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

efficient side it enters into relation with what we call the world of space... The self here lives outside itself as it were and, while retaining its unity as a totality, discloses itself as nothing more than a series of specific and consequently numerable states... The unity of the appreciative ego is like the unity of the term in which the experiences of its individual ancestors exist, not as a plurality, but as a unity in which every experience permeates the whole. There is no numerical distinctness of states in the totality of the ego, the multiplicity of whose elements is, unlike that of the efficient self wholly qualitative”.[1]

The levels of experience are understood in reference to the dynamism of human thought. “In its deeper movement, however, thought is capable of reaching an immanent Infinite in whose self-unfolding movement the various finite concepts are merely moments. In its essential nature, then, thought is not static; it is dynamic and unfolds its internal infinitude in time like the seed which, from the very beginning, carries within itself the organic unity of the tree as a present fact... It is in fact the presence of the total Infinite in the movement of knowledge that makes finite thinking possible. It is a mistake to regard thought as inconclusive, for it too, in its own way, is a greeting of the finite with the infinite”.[2] Also, one finds no cleavage between thought and intuition. “They spring up from the same root and complement each other.”[3] “Thought therefore, in its true nature, is identical with life”.[4]

Iqbal believes in the individuality and uniqueness of man. Human ego is real and its reality cannot be denied. “The finite centre of experience, therefore, is real, even though its reality is too profound to be intellectualized... The ego reveals itself as a unity of what we call mental states... True time-


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

duration belongs to the ego alone... Another important characteristic of the unity of the ego is its essential privacy which reveals the uniqueness of every ego”.[1] Iqbal rejects the theological view of considering the ego as “a simple indivisible and immutable soul substance, entirely different from the group of our mental states and unaffected by the passage of time”.[2] He states that “our conscious experience can give us no clue to the ego regarded as a soul substance; for by hypothesis the soul­-substance does not reveal itself in experience... the interpretation of our conscious experience is the only road by which we can reach the ego, if at all”.[3]

Iqbal considers the ego as a directive energy which “is formed and disciplined by its own experience.”[4] He quotes the Qur’anic verse in this context:

“And they ask thee of the soul. Say the soul proceedeth from my Lord’s ‘Amr’ (command) but of knowledge, only a little to you is given” (17: 85).[5] His explanation of the verse is as follows: “The verse quoted above means that the essential nature of the soul is directive, as it proceeds from the directive energy of God; though we do not know how Divine ‘Amr’ functions as ego-unites. The personal pronoun used in the expression Rabbi (My Lord) throws further light on the nature and behaviour of the ego. It is meant to suggest that the soul must be taken as something individual and specific, with all the variations in the range, balance, and effectiveness of its unity... Thus my real personality is not a thing, it is an act…. My whole reality lies in my directive attitude.”[6]



[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore, 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

[5]     Ibid.

[6]     Ibid.

In the divine scheme of things, ego occupies a prominent place. “The degree of reality varies with the degree of the feeling of egohood. The nature of the ego is such that, inspite of its capacity to respond to other egos, it is self-centered and possesses a private circuit of individuality excluding all egos other than itself. In this alone consists its reality as an ego. Man, therefore, in whom egohood has reached its perfection occupies a genuine place in the heart of Divine creative energy and thus possesses a much higher degree of reality than things around him. Of all the creations of God he alone is capable of consciously participating in the creative life of his Maker”.[1]

Iqbal, on the basis of individualistic experience, considers the ultimate Reality too as an ego. He says: “Thus, a comprehensive philosophical criticism of all the facets of experience on its efficient as well as appreciative side brings us to the conclusion that the ultimate Reality is a rationally directed creative life... Intuition reveals life as a centralizing ego. This knowledge however imperfect as giving us only a point of departure is a direct revelation of the ultimate nature of Reality. Thus, the facts of experience justify the inference that the ultimate nature of Reality is spiritual, and must be conceived as an ego.”[2] In other words: “The more important regions of experience, examined with an eye on a synthetic view, reveal as the ultimate ground of all experience, a rationally directed creative will which we have found reasons to describe as an ego. In order to emphasize the individuality of the ultimate Ego the Qur’an gives Him the proper name of Allah, and further defines Him as follows:

Say: All is One:       All things depend on Him;



[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

He begetteth not, and He is not begotten;

And there is none like unto Him” (l12: 1-4).[1]

Iqbal derives the egos from the ultimate Ego. He says: “Reality is, therefore, essentially spirit. But, of course, there are degrees of spirit... from the ultimate Ego only egos proceed. The creative energy of the ultimate Ego, in whom deed and thought are identical, functions as ego unities. The world, in all its details, from the mechanical movement of what we call the atom of matter to the free movement of thought in the human ego, is the self revelation of the “Great I am.” Every atom of Divine energy, however low in the scale of existence, is an ego. But there are degrees in the expression of egohood. Throughout the entire gamut of being runs the gradually rising note of egohood until it reaches its perfection in man. That is way the Qur’an declares the ultimate Ego to be nearer to man than his own neck vein. Like pearls do we live and move and have our being in the perpetual flow of Divine Life.”[2]

Iqbal presents an individualistic conception of God and interprets the metaphor of light in the Qur’an accordingly. He says: “The metaphor of light as applied to God, therefore, must, in view of modem knowledge, be taken to suggest the Absoluteness of God and not His Omnipresence which easily lends itself to a pantheistic interpretation.”[3] He poses a question: Does not individuality imply finitude? In other words, if God is an ego and as such an individual, how can we conceive Him as infinite. He says: “The answer to this question is that God cannot be conceived as infinite in the sense of spatial infinity. In matters of spiritual valuation mere immensity counts for nothing - moreover, temporal and spatial infinities are not absolute... space and time are interpretations which thought puts upon the creative activity of the ultimate Ego... The infinity of the ultimate Ego


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

consists in infinite inner possibilities of his creative activity of which the universe, as known to us, is only a partial expression”.[1] He believes in the self-revelation of God. “God’s life is self-revelation, not the pursuit of an ideal to be reached. The “not-yet” of man does mean pursuit, and may mean failure, the “not-yet” of God means unfailing realization of the infinite creative possibilities of His being which retains its wholeness throughout the entire process.”[2] Further, “it is in the concrete individuality manifested in the countless varieties of living forms that the ultimate Ego reveals the infinite wealth of His being”.[3] Infinite Reality remains in the process of creative unfolding. “Life is one and continuous. Man marches always onward to receive ever fresh illuminations from an Infinite Reality which “every moment appears in a new glory”. And the recipient of Divine illumination is not merely a passive recipient. Every act of a free ego creates a new situation, and thus offers further opportunities of creative unfolding”.[4]

Iqbal poses another question: Does the universe confront God as His “other” with space intervening between Him and it? He answers in the negative. “The answer is that, from the Divine point of view, there is no creation in the sense of a specific event having a “before” and an “after”. The universe cannot be regarded independent reality standing in opposition to Him. This view of matter will reduce both God and the world to two separate entities confronting each other in the empty receptacle of an infinite space….space, time and matter are interpretations which thought puts on the free creative energy of God. They are not independent realities existing per se, but only intellectual modes of


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

[4]     Ibid.

apprehending the life of God”.[1] He further discusses the intuition of I amness in reference to both the human self and the Divine Self with corresponding relation to Nature. “To exist in pure duration is to be a self, and to be a self is to able to say “I am”. Only that truly exists which can say “I am”. It is the degree of the intuition of “I amness” that determines the place of a thing in the scale of being. We too say “I am”. But our “I amness” is dependent and arises out of the distinction between the self and the not self. The ultimate Self, in the words of the Qur’an, “can afford to dispense with all the worlds”. To Him the not-self does not present itself as a confronting “other”, or else it should have to be...like our finite self, in spatial relation with the confronting “other”. What we call Nature or the not-self is only a fleeting moment in the life of God. His I amness is independent, elemental, absolute. Of such a self it is impossible for us to form an adequate conception. As the Qur’an says: “Naught is like Him”, yet “He hears and sees”…... Now a self is unthinkable without a character- a uniform mode of behaviour. Nature... is not a mass of pure materiality occupying a void. It is a structure of events, a systematic mode of behaviour, and as such organic to the ultimate Self. Nature is to the Divine Self as character is to the human self. In the picturesque phrase of the Qur’an, it is the habit of Allah. From the human point of view, it is an interpretation which, in our present situation, we put on the creative activity of the Absolute Ego…Nature, then, must be understood as a living, ever-growing organism whose growth has no final external limits. Its only limit is internal, i.e., the immanent self which animates and sustains the whole. As the Qur’an says: “And verily unto the Lord is the Limit”[2] (50: 14). All limits have to be understood in this context. For instance, “the element of guidance and directive



[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

control in the ego’s activity clearly shows that the ego is a free personal causality. He shares in the life and freedom of the Ultimate Ego Who, by permitting the emergence of a finite ego, capable of private initiative has limited this freedom of His own free will”.[1] Iqbal mentions Bayazid Bistami on the question of creation to bring home the fact that matter is not co-eternal with God. He says: “The question of creation once arose among the disciples of the well-known saint Bayazid of Bistam. One of the disciples very pointedly put the commonsense view saying: “There was a moment of time when God existed and nothing else existed beside Him”. “It is just the same now” said he, “as it was then”. The world of matter, therefore, is not a stuff co-eternal with God, operated upon Him from a distance as it were. It is, in its real nature, one continuous act which thought breaks up into a plurality of mutually exclusive things.”[2]

What is the ultimate nature of the ego in reference to the climax of religious life? Iqbal says: “Indeed, the incommunicability of religious experience gives us a clue to the ultimate nature of the ego. The climax of religious life, however, is the discovery of the ego as an individual deeper than his conceptually describable habitual self-hood It is in contact with the Most Real that the ego discovers its uniqueness; its metaphysical status, and the possibility of improvement in that status. Strictly speaking, the experience which leads to this discovery is not a conceptually manageable intellectual fact; it is a vital fact, an attitude consequent on an inner biological transformation which cannot be captured in the net of logical categories.”[3]

Iqbal understands the ultimate aim of the ego not in the category of seeing but in the category of being. He says: “The


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore – 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

ultimate aim of the ego is not to see something, but to be something. It is the ego’s effort to be something that he discovers his final opportunity to sharpen his objectivity and acquire a more fundamental “I am” which finds evidence of its reality not in the Cartesian “I think” but in the Kantian” “I can”. The end of the ego’s quest is not emancipation from the limitations of individuality: it is, on the other hand, a more precise definition of it. The final act is not an intellectual act, but a vital act which deepens the whole being of the ego and sharpens his will with the creative assurance that the world is not something to be merely seen or known through concepts, but something to be made and re-made by continuous action. It is a moment of supreme bliss and also a moment of the greatest trial for the ego.”[1] Iqbal holds that even the Day of Judgment shall not “affect the perfect calm of a full grown ego... Who can be the subject of this exception but those in whom the ego has reached the very highest point of intensity? And the climax of this development is reached when the ego is able to retain full self possession, even in the case of a direct contact with the all-embracing Ego. As the Qur’an says of the Prophet’s vision of the ultimate Ego:

“His eye turned not aside, nor did it wander”.  (53: 17)

“This is the ideal of perfect manhood in Islam. Nowhere has it found a better literary expression that in a Persian verse which speaks of the Holy Prophet’s experience of Divine illumination:

(‘Moses fainted away by a mere surface illumination of Reality: Thou seest the very substance of Reality with a smile’) “Pantheistic Sufism obviously cannot favour such a view, and suggests differences of a philosophical nature. How can the Infinite and the finite egos mutually exclude each



[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore, 1986.

other? Can the finite ego, as such, retain its finitude besides the Infinite Ego. This difficulty is based on a misunderstanding of the true nature of the Infinite. True infinity does not mean infinite extension which cannot be conceived without embracing all available finite extensions. Its nature consists in intensity and not extensity, and the moment we fix our gaze on intensity, we begin to see that the finite ego must be distinct, though not isolated, from the Infinite. Extensively regarded, I am absorbed by the spatio-temporal order to which I belong. Intensively regarded, I consider the same spatio-temporal order as a confronting “other” wholly alien to me. I am distinct from and yet ultimately related to that on which I depend for my life and sustenance.”[1]

Iqbal further discusses the nature of this final experience. He says: “This final experience is the revelation of a new life process-original, essential, spontaneous. The eternal secret of the ego is that the moment he reaches this final revelation he recognizes it as the ultimate root of his being without the slightest hesitation. Yet in the experience itself there is no mystery. Nor is there anything emotional in it… Thus, the experience reached is a perfectly natural experience and possesses a biological significance of the highest importance to the ego. It is the human ego rising higher than mere reflection and mending its transiency by appropriating the eternal. The only danger to which the ego is exposed in this Divine quest is the possible relaxation of his activity caused by his enjoyment of and absorption in the experiences that precede the final experience”.[2] It is interesting to note that for Iqbal the religious experience of the Prophet is in fact, the contact of the Prophet with the root of his own being. He says: “A Prophet may be defined as a type of mystic consciousness in which “unitary experience” tends to


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore, 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

overflow its boundaries, and seeks opportunities of redirecting or refashioning the forces of collective life. In his personality the finite center of life sinks into his own infinite depths only to spring up again with fresh vigour, to destroy the old, and to disclose the new directions of life”.[1]

Iqbal moves on to discuss the expression of this experience in the religious life of Islam. He says: “The development of this experience in the religious life of Islam reached its culmination in the well-known words of Hallaj ­“I am the creative truth.” The contemporaries of Hallaj, as well as his successors, interpreted the words pantheistically, but the fragments of Hallaj, collected and published by the French Orientalist, M. Massignon, leave no doubt that the martyr-saint could not have meant to deny the transcendence of God. The true interpretation of his experience, therefore, is not the drop slipping into the sea, but the realization and bold affirmation in an undying phrase of the reality and permanence of the human ego in a profounder personality”.[2] He further says: “In the history of religious experience in Islam which, according to the Prophet, consists in the “creation of Divine attributes in man”, this experience has found expression in such phrases as “I am the creative truth” (Hallaj), “I am Time” (Muhammad) “I am the speaking Qur’an” (Ali) “Glory to me” (Ba’ Yazid). In the higher Sufism of Islam unitive experience is not the finite ego effacing its own identity by some sort of absorption into the Infinite Ego; it is rather the Infinite passing into the loving embrace of the finite”.[3]

Before we proceed to present the views of Khawaja Ghulam Farid on man-God polarity, it is imperative to examine a few essential points arising out of Iqbal’s approach on the subject. Iqbal is a religious metaphysician and he starts with an individualistic conception of man and God. He is


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. Edited and Annotated by M. Saeed Sheikh, Institute of Islamic Culture Club Road, Lahore, 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

neither concerned with pure metaphysics nor with the traditional one. This is precisely the reason that he does not start from the Essence or undifferentiated Reality.

His starting point is the Divinity or differentiated Reality. This approach lands him in the orbit of individualistic experience whether discursive or intuitive. His conception of man and God within the individualistic framework is fraught with much meaning for both religion and philosophy but remains incomplete from the traditional metaphysical point of view. His starting point is not the Supreme Principle which is formless but the divine form which is termed as God or the ultimate Ego. “Metaphysically speaking, it has been possible to say that the Avatara was “created before creation”, which means that before creating the world, God has to “create Himself” in divinis, if one may say so, the word “create” having here a higher and transposed meaning which is precisely that of Maya”.[1] Thus, “there is Atma and there is Maya; but there is also Atma as Maya, and this is the manifesting and acting Personal Divinity.”[2] And when it comes to understanding the total universe, Iqbal does not appreciate that Maya is Atma. From the metaphysical point of view, “there is also Maya as Atma, and this is the total Universe when seen as one polyvalent reality. The world will then be the Divine aspect termed “Universal Man” (Vaishwanara) or, in Sufism, “The Outward” (as-Zahir); this is, incidentally, the deepest meaning of the Far Eastern Yin-Yang.”[3] Iqbal considers man as an individual, ego, self, soul or ‘nafs.’ He does not take into consideration the metaphysical reality of man that is understood by dint of Intellect or Spirit (ruh), “which is in man but is not his.” It is the presence of this universal element i.e. the Self in man which makes him transcend the narrow circuits of his individuality. Iqbal not only misses this metaphysical perspective but further makes a mistake of translating ‘ruh’ Spirit as ‘nafs’ soul


[1]     Schuon, Frithjof, In the Face of the Absolute, World Wisdom Books, USA, 1989.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid.

in the Qur’anic verse alluded to. Resultantly, many problems like pantheism arise which have no cause of origin in traditional metaphysics. Thus, when it comes to realization, Iqbal can only talk of individual realization and not of universal one. He is condemned to interpret the utterances of Mansur Hallaj and the like from the individualistic perspective whereas they can only be understood in reference to the universal realm. It is here that Khawaja Ghulam Farid emerges on the scene to provide intellectual foundations to both religion and philosophy; by reiterating the doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) which not only embraces man-God polarity but further suggests doctrinal measures, with possibilities of their realisation, to transcend it. It is emphatic to note that Iqbal in his study of God, man and universe, at certain points reaches the threshold of traditional metaphysics but in the absence of intellectual perspective he fails to develop these points and returns back to his essential individualistic approach. Khawaja Ghulam Farid, as if by Providence, takes these points to their logical conclusion. Thus, Iqbal’s incomplete religious metaphysics, in a certain sense, is completed by the traditional metaphysics of Khawaja Ghulam Farid.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid starts with the metaphysical idea of the Absolute. He uses the word ‘Haqq’, which literally means the Truth or the Reality in referring to the Absolute. He brings home the message, in one of his ‘kafis,’ that nothing can be ascribed to the Absolute for all ascriptions, in principle, fall short of describing the “Most Real.” He starts his ‘kafi’ by posing a fundamental question as to whether the essential Beauty or Primordial light can be called necessity and possibility. He goes on equating it with certain sensuous and non-sensuous realities and in the end shows the deficiency of this approach in the following verses:

کر توبہ ترت فرید سدا

ہر شے نوں پر نقصان کہوں

Farid! Quicken to repent once for all. I consider each of the descriptions fraught with harmful implications (highly deficient in describing the Essence that transcends even transcendence).

اسے پاک الکھ بے عیب کہوں

اسے حق بے نام نشان کہوں[1]

 I describe Him as the Pure and the Transcendent, without any imperfection. I describe Him as the Nameless Truth without signs.

These verses are very translucent in revealing the essential nature of the metaphysical Reality. “The Absolute in its absoluteness is Nameless and it has no Signs by which it can be approached.” It is beyond human perception, conception and imagination. “No qualification or relation can be attributed to it for it even transcends transcendence.” It is “the most indeterminate of all indeterminates”. No linguistic category can describe it. It lives in “permanent abysmal darkness” and is “the most unknown of all the unknown”. The Absolute in its absoluteness is the “Mystery of mysteries” and no one, in principle, can have access to it. The Absolute does not manifest itself in its absoluteness. “The self-manifestation of the Absolute does not yet occur. There is yet no theophany or tajalli.” The Absolute in its absoluteness is termed as ‘dhat’ or Essence. The Pure Absolute in its fundamental aspect of absoluteness is beyond the insatiable human quest and all attempts to reach it prove to be nugatory. Khawaja Ghulam Farid says:

کہاں پاؤں کہاں پاؤں یار

Where should I find and seek you, my friend?

جِن انسان ملائک سارے

حیرت دے قلزم وچ کل تھئے

کیا سگلا سنسار

مستغرق سرشار

 All the fiery creatures, human beings, cosmic forces and the entire world are amazingly drowned in the sea of bewilderment.

صوفی شاغل گیانی دھیانی

عرشی تے بَسطامیؒ گل لگ

گئے اوڑک سَب ہار

رووِن زار و زار

 The Sufis, devotees, men of wisdom and those who meditate have ultimately lost. Arshi and Bistami cry profusely with folded arms.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 91.

بطلیموس تے فیثا غورث

کھوج سراغ نہ پایا پتہ

کر کر سوچ بچار

تھک بیٹھے تن مار

Ptolemy and Pythagoras did a lot of thinking and reasoning but found no trace. It made them resign to the human limitation (of not finding the Absolute in its absoluteness).

بدھ مجوس یہود نصارا

آکھن پاک منزہ ہے

ہندو تے دیندار

بے انت الکھ اپار

 The Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Hindus and the People of Book say that He (the Absolute) is Pure, Perfect, Unlimited, Transcendent and Infinite.

پیر پیمبر غوث قطب

کرن منادی رو رو کے

کیا مرسل کیا اوتار

لا یدرکہ الابصار

 The Mystics, Prophets, Ghaus (Saints), Poles, Messengers and spiritually incarnate proclaim, while crying that no eye can see Him (He is beyond the reach of human perception).

عالم فاضل عارف کامل

آکھ فرید نماناں بھولا

عجز کیتا اقرار

توں وچ کون قطار[1]

 The knowledgeable, erudite, gnostics and perfectionists have admitted in all humilities (their limitation of not finding the Absolute in its absoluteness). Ask Farid, modest and simple, where do you stand? (It is not possible for you to find Him in His Essence).

Thus, the Absolute in its absoluteness is the highest metaphysical stage of Reality. At this highest metaphysical stage, Reality is undifferentiated. Khawaja Ghulam Farid accounts for the principle of differentiation within the Reality. He says:

کُنت کنزاً عشق گواہی

پہلوں حب خود ذات کوں آہی

جیں سانگے تھیا جمل جہان [2]


‘Hidden Treasure’ testifies love itself. Originally, the Essence inspired itself with love. It caused the entire universe.

[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 53.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 134.

The above verses refer to the Holy Tradition: “I was a hidden treasure, and longed to be known, so 1 created the universe.” Self-consciousness is the primordial and fundamental polarization within the Absolute. The otherness is not absolute for in case of Self-consciousness the principle of otherness or differentiation is essential for Self-Realization. Ibn’ Arabi explains this point in these beautiful words: “The Reality wanted to see the essences of His Most Beautiful Names or, to put it another way, to see His own Essence, in an all-inclusive object encompassing the whole (divine) Command, which, qualified by existence, would reveal to Him His own mystery. For the seeing of a thing, itself by itself, is not the same as its seeing itself in another, as it were in a mirror, for it appears to itself in a form that is invested by the location of the vision by that which would only appear to it given the existence of the location and its (the locations), self disclosure to it. The Reality gave existence to the whole Cosmos (at first) as an undifferentiated thing without anything of the spirit in it, so that it was like an unpolished mirror…. the (divine) command required (by its nature) the reflective characteristics of the mirror of the Cosmos, and Adam was the very principle of reflection for the mirror and the spirit of that form.”[1]

In order to know the emergence of the principle of differentiation within the undifferentiated Reality, one needs to understand that the Supreme Reality is absolute and infinite. “That is absolute which allows of no augmentation or diminution, or of no repetition or division; it is therefore that which is solely itself and totally itself. And that is infinite which is not determined by any limiting factor and therefore


[1]     Ibn Arabi, Fusus al-Hakim: The Bezels of Wisdom translation and introduction by R.W.J. Austin Preface by Titus Burckhardt, Suhail Academy, Lahore – 1988.

 

does not end at any boundary; it is in the first place Potentiality or Possibility as such, and ipso facto the Possibility of things, hence Virtuality. Without All-Possibility, there would be neither Creator nor Creation, neither Maya nor Samsara”.[1]

The distinction between the absolute and the infinite expresses the fundamental aspects of the Real i.e. the Absolute. “The infinite is so to speak the intrinsic dimension of plenitude proper to the Absolute; to say Absolute is to say infinite, the one being inconceivable without the other. The distinction expresses the two fundamental aspects of the Real, that of essentiality and that of potentiality; this is the highest principle prefiguration of the masculine and feminine poles. Universal Radiation, thus Maya both divine and cosmic, springs from the second aspect, the infinite, which coincides with All-Possibility”.[2] Speaking etymologically, the infinite is that which is without limits. It has absolutely no limits. The infinities of number, space and time belong to the domain of the indefinite- which is qualitatively different from the Infinite. The Indefinite is merely an extension of the finite and may be understood as enhanced finiteness. “The Infinite... if it is truly to be such, cannot admit of any restriction, which supposes that it is absolutely unconditioned and indeterminate, for all determination is necessarily a limitation simply because it must leave something outside itself, namely all other equally possible determinations. Limitation, moreover, presents the character of a veritable negation, for to set a limit is to deny that which is limited everything that this limit excludes. Consequently, the negation of a limit is in fact the negation of a negation, which is to say, logically and even mathematically, an affirmation. Therefore, the negation of all limits is equivalent, in reality, to total and absolute affirmation. That which has no limits is that to which one can deny nothing hence is that which contains all, outside of which there is nothing. This idea of the Infinite, which is thus the most affirmative of all because it comprehends or embraces all particular affirmations whatsoever, can only be expressed by a negation by reason of its absolute indetermination. Any direct affirmation expressed in language must, in fact, be a particular and determined affirmation-the affirmation of something--- whereas total and absolute affirmation is not any particular affirmation unto the exclusion of others, for it implies them all equally. It should now be simple to grasp the very close connection which this has with universal Possibility, which in the same way embraces all particular possibilities”.[3]

The idea of the Infinite cannot be contradicted for it contains no contradiction and there is nothing negative about it. “If, in fact, one envisages the “Whole” in an absolute and universal sense, it is evident that it can in no way be limited. It could only be limited by virtue of something outside itself, and if there were anything outside it, it would no longer be the Whole... the Whole in this sense must not be assimilated to a particular or determined “Whole” which has a definite relationship with the parts of which it consists. It is, properly speaking “without parts” for these parts would be of necessity relative and finite and could thus have no common measure with it, and consequently no relationship with it, which amounts to saying that they have no existence from its point of view. This suffices to show that one should not try to form any particular conception of it”.[4] Likewise, universal Possibility is necessarily unlimited and an impossibility being a pure and simple negation is nothing and cannot limit it. “Thus, when we say that universal Possibility is infinite or unlimited, it must be understood that it is nothing other than


[1]     Schuon, Frithjof, Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism Translated by Gustavo Polit, World Wisdom Books, U.S.A. 1986.

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Guenon, Rene, The Multiple States of Being, translated by Joscelyn Godwin, Suhail Academy, Lahore 1988.

[4]     Ibid.

the Infinite itself, envisaged under a certain aspect, insofar as one may say that there are aspects to the Infinite. For the Infinite is truly “without parts”, and strictly speaking, there can be no further question of a multiplicity of aspects existing really and “distinctively” within it. It is we who in fact conceive of the Infinite under this aspect or that, because we cannot do otherwise, and even if our conception were not essentially limited (as it is which we are in a individual state), it is bound to limit itself in order to become expressible, for that requires its investiture with a determinate form. All that is important is that we should understand well from what side the limitation comes and to whom it applies, so that we do not misattribute our own imperfection, or rather that of the exterior and interior instruments which we now use as individual beings, and which posses only a definite and conditioned existence. We must not transfer this imperfection, purely contingent and transitory as the conditions to which it refers and from which it results, to the unlimited domain of universal Possibility itself… The determinations, whatever the principle, by which one creates them, can exist only in relation to our own conceptions… Perfection being identical in its absolute sense with the Infinite understood in all its indetermination. Being does not contain the whole Possibility, and that in consequent it can in no wise be identified with the Infinite that is why we say that our present standpoint is far more universal than that from which we envisage only Being”.[1]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid identifies the stage of the Absolute in its absoluteness with Allah’s Essence. He ascribes to this view of identity as set forth by Ibn’ Arabi who “explicitly identifies the absolute Being with Allah, the Living, Omniscient, Omnipotent God of the Qur’an.”[2] The Absolute in its absoluteness is not only identified with Allah’s Essence or Divine Essence but has complete identity with Unity (al-ahidiyah). “Divine Essence (dhat) and unity (ahadiyah) are completely identical with each other in indicating one and the same thing, namely, the Absolute in its absoluteness as the highest metaphysical stage of Reality”.[3]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid maintains a subtle distinction between the Essence and the Divinity. “God may be considered in respect of Himself, in which case He is referred to as the Essence, or in respect of His level, in which case He is referred as the Divinity. In both cases he is called Allah”.[4] However, in respect of Himself i.e. the Essence, He is unknowable. “God is known through the relations, attributions and correlations that become established between Him and the Cosmos. But the Essence is unknown since nothing is related to it. In proof of this assertion, the Shaykh (Ibn’ Arabi) often cites Qur’anic verse, “God warns you about His Self (3.28: 30), which he frequently explains in terms of the prophetic saying: “Reflect (tafakkur) upon all things, but reflect not upon God’s Essence”.[5] Ibn’ Arabi says: “God is described by Nondelimited Being (al-Wujud al mutlaq), for He is neither the effect (ma’lul) nor the cause (‘illa) of anything. On the contrary, He exists through His very Essence, Knowledge of Him consists of knowledge that He exists, and His existence is not other than His Essence, though His Essence remains unknown; rather, the Attributes that are attributed to him are known, i.e., the Attributes of Meanings (Sifat alma’ani), which are the Attributes of Perfection (Sifat al-Kamal). As for Knowledge of the Essence’s reality (haqiqat al - dhat), that is prohibited. It cannot be known through logical proof (dalil) or rational demonstration (burhan ‘aqli), nor can definition (hadd) grasp it. For He-glory be to Him-is not similar to anything, nor is anything similar to Him. So how should he who is similar to things know Him to



[1]     Guenon, Rene, The Multiple States of Being translated by Joscelyn Godwin, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1988.

[2]     Izutsu, Toshihiko, Sufism and Taoism University of California Press, USA, 1983.

[3]     Izutsu, Toshihiko, Sufism and Taoism University of California Press, USA, 1983.

[4]     Chittick, William C, The Sufi Path of Knowledge New York Press USA, 1989.

[5]     Ibid.

whom nothing is similar and Who is similar to nothing? So your knowledge of Him is only that “Nothing is like Him” (Koran 42: 10) and “God warns you of His Self” (Koran 3: 27). Moreover, the Law (al-shariha) has prohibited meditation upon the Essence of God”.[1]

The principle of differentiation emerging within the undifferentiated Reality as alluded to is named by Khawaja Ghulam Farid as Ahmad. He says:

احدوں ویس وٹا تھی احمدؐ[2]

حسن ازل دا تھیا اظہارؐ

The essential Beauty became manifest. Ahad’s formlessness assumed Ahmad’s form.

Again:

احد ہا  بن احمد  آیا[3]

Ahad emerged in the form of Ahmad.

The name Ahmad signifies the Logos; First Intellect; Reality of realities; Light of Muhammad; Reality of Muhammad and so on and so forth, “Thus understood, the Reality of Muhammad is not exactly the permanent archetypes themselves. Rather, it is the unifying principle of all archetypes, the active principle on which depends the very existence of the archetypes. Considered from the side of the Absolute, the Reality of Muhammad is the creative activity itself of the Absolute, or God “conceived” as the self-revealing Principle of the universe. It is the Absolute in the first stage of its eternal self-manifestation, i.e., the Absolute as the universal Consciousness... The “Reality of realities” is ultimately nothing but the Absolute, but it is not the Absolute in its primordial absoluteness; it is the very first form in which the Absolute begins to manifest itself.”[4] Likewise, the Reality of Muhammad can be called the Light of Muhammad for the prophet said that the first thing which God created was his light. This Light was eternal and non-temporal and was manifest in the chain of prophets till its final historical manifestation in the prophet himself. “Since the light was that which God created before anything else and that from which He created everything else, it was the very basis of the creation of the world. And it was “Light” because it was nothing else than the First Intellect i.e., the Divine Consciousness by which God manifested Himself to Himself in the state of the Absolute Unity. And the Light is in its personal aspect the Reality of Muhammad”.[5]

How does the possibility of relativity arise in the Absolute? “The Divine Essence-Beyond-Being include in its indistinction and as a potentiality comprised within its very infinity a principle of relativity; Being, which generates the world, is the first of the relativities, that from which all the other flow; the function of Being is to deploy in the direction of “nothingness”; or in an “illusory” mode, the infinity of Beyond-Being, which thus, becomes transmuted into ontological and existential possibilities.... Relativity is the “shadow” or “contour” which allows the Absolute to affirm itself as such, first before itself and then in “innumerable” gushings forth of differentiations.”[6] “The chapter of Sincerity (Surah al Ikhlas) beautifully delivers the message of the Essence, all ahadiyah. “Say: He, God is One (Ahad) God, the Absolute Plenitude Sufficing-unto-Himself (as-Asmad). It is no doubt in virtue of this last Name... of Oneness that the chapter is called the Chapter of Sincerity (Surah al Ikhlas). For sincerity implies an unreserved assent, and for this to be achieved the soul needs to be made aware that the oneness in


[1]     Ibn Arabi, Less Illuminations de La Mecque. The Meccan Illumination al-Futuhat al-Makhiyya Texts Choisis/selected texts presented and translated by Will C Chittick and others Paris, 1988.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 30.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 140.

[4]     Izutsu, Toshihiko, Sufism and Taoism University of California Press, USA, 1983.

[5]     Ibid.

[6]     Schuon, Frithjof, Understanding Islam, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1985.

question is not a desert but a totality, that the One-and-­Only is the One-and-All-and that if the Indivisible Solitude excludes everything other than itself, this is because Everything is already there”.[1] “Behind the illusory veil of created plurality there is the One Infinite Plenitude of God in His Indivisible Totality.”

Khawaja Ghulam Farid is highly committed to the metaphysical idea of “the Indivisible One-and-Only”. He says:

بٹھ گھت کوڑ نکمڑیں

ہک حق کوں کر یاد

Do cast aside the false and the valueless and remember the sole Reality.

تھی کر گہلا رت پوں تے

کر دیں دھانہہ فریاد

Your insatiable cravings for worldliness are worthless and are essentially despicable like bloody watery substances oozing out from the body.

باجھوں احد حقیقی

محض خراب آباد

All things are merely depraved without the essential One.

حسن مجازی جوٹھا

ہے فانی برباد

The profane beauty is false. It is ephemeral and ruinous.

کِتھ مجنوں کتھ لیلیٰ

کِتھ شیریں فرہاد

Where is Majnun? Where is Layla and where are Shireen and Farhad?

کل شے غیر خدا دی

ہالک بے بنیاد

All things other than the Divine are perishable and devoid of being.

باجھ محبت ذاتی

کوجھا  شور  فساد[2]

There is ugliness and mere loud chattering without divine love.

سَٹ سِک غیر خدا دی

سَب شے وہم خیال

Cast aside the desire of all those things that are not divine. All the existence is an illusion and imagination (cosmic illusion and imagination within imagination).

کِتھ لیلیٰ کِتھ مجنوں

کِتھ سوہنی مہینوال

Where is Layla and where is Majnun? Where are Sohni and Mahinwal?

کِتھ رانجھن کِتھ کھیڑے

کِتھ ہے ہِیر سیال

Where is Ranjhan and where are the Kheras? Where is Heer Sayyal?

کِتھ سسی کِتھ پنوں

کِتھ او درد کشال

Where is Sassi and where is Punnal? Where have those pains and adversities gone?

کِتھ سیفل کِتھ پریاں

کِتھ او ہِجر وصال

Where is Saifal and where are the fairies? Where are all disunion and union?

باجھوں احد حقیقی

کل شے عین زوال

All the things are demonstrably perishable excepting the essential One.

چار ڈہاڑے چیتر دے

کڈے بکر وال

These are mere four days of the spring season, which make the shepherd dance with joy.

ما خلا اللہ باطل

بے  شک  کوڑ پپال[3]

Anything beside God is devoid of reality. Undoubtedly, it is false and illusory.

ذاتاً فعلاً کل شے باطل

حق ہے فاعل بیو سبھ عاطل [4]

The things in their essence and existence are devoid of reality (existence). It is the Reality that is the animating force in all things and everything else is powerless.



[1]     Lings, Martin, What is Sufism, Suhail Academy, Lahore.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 29.

[3]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 73.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 72.

ہے بے شک دین ایمان ایہو [1]

ہر آن احد ڈوں دھیان دھرو

Do concentrate on the One at all times. It is undoubtedly, the traditional way.

الف ہکو ہم بس وے میاں جی

Alif (the alphabet symbolizing Allah, the Reality) is simply and solely enough for me, my respected teacher.

ہور کہانی مول نہ بھانی

الف گیم دل کَھس وے میاں جی[2]

There is absolutely no other narration that has touched me. It is Alif that has grabbed my heart, my respected teacher.

After establishing the principle of “the Indivisible One-and-Only,” which in the religious language means transcendence of God, Khawaja Ghulam Farid moves to affirm that the “Indivisible One-and-Only” is the “One-and-All.” He says:

ہِک ہے ہِک ہے ہِک ہے

ہِک دی دم دم سِک ہے

It is the unified oneness. The desiring of the One is at each and every moment.

ہِک دے ہر ہر جا وچ دیرے

کیا اُچ ہے کیا جھِک ہے

The One dwells at each and every place whether it is high or low.

ہِک ہے ظاہر ہِک ہے باطن

بیا سَب کجھ ہالِک ہے

The One is manifest. The One is unmanifest. All else is perishable.

جیڑھا ہِک کوں ڈو کر جانے

او کافر مشرِک ہے[3]

A person who considers the One as two veils the truth and places divinity beside Allah.

ہر جا ذات پنل دی

عاشق جان یقین

There is omnipresence of my beloved’s essence. Lovers! Know it with certainty.

ہر صورت وچ یار دا جلوہ

کیا  اسمان  زمین[4]

My friend’s manifestation is in each form. What to talk of the heavens and the earth.

وَاہ وَاہ سوہنے دا ورتارہ

ہر صورت وچ کرے اوتارہ [5]

It is laudation to the conduct of the Beautiful. He descends in each form.

سمجھ سنجانیں غیر نہ جانیں

سبھ صورت ہے عین ظہور

Do understand and identify and do not consider it as otherness. It is his open manifestation in all forms.

رکھ تصدیق نہ تھی آوارہ

کعبہ، قبلہ، دیر، دوارہ

مسجد، مندر، ہِکڑو نور [6]

Do verify and do not remain on the periphery. The House of God, the direction of prayer, the idol- temple, and the Sikh place of worship, the mosque and the temple manifest the same (essential) Light.

سب صورت وچ ذات سنجانی

حق باجھوں بیو غیر نہ جانی

Discern the essence in all forms. Do not consider any other reality except the Reality.

نہ کوئی آدم نہ کوئی شیطاں

بن گئی اے کل کُوڑ کہانی

There is neither any Adam nor any Satan. It has become a totally fabricated story (bereft of symbolism).

باجھ خدا دے محض خیالے

دل نا کر غیریت ہانی

It is just your imagination to see anything except God. Do not make your heart intimate with otherness (God is everywhere).



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 23.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 169.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 267.

[4]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 140.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 20.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 50.

مطلب وحدت ہے ہر چالوں

سِک نہ رکھ بئے پاسے تانی[1]

Oneness is manifest on all sides. Do not be desirous of the other sides (for they are not).

 

سوہنے یار پُنل دا
اول، آخر، ظاہر، باطن

ہر جا عین ظہور
اس  دا  جان حضور
[2]

My lovely friend Punnal is openly manifest.

Witness his presence in the first, the last, the outward and the inward (in all dimensions).

It is pertinent to note that both transcendence and immanence are human viewpoints pertaining to the understanding of the Supreme Principle, which is neither one nor the other. “In itself, the Supreme Principle is neither transcendent nor immanent. It “is that which is” only in relation to Manifestation may one speak either of transcendence or immanence….transcendence annihilates, reduces or diminishes the manifested; immanence on the contrary ennobles dilates or magnifies it”.[3]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid’s understanding of the Absolute as the Essence (al-ahadiyah) and as the Divinity (al-wahidiyah) becomes precisely formulated in his metaphysical conception of Tawhid. He manifests an intellectual understanding of the idea beyond the exoteric constrictions of it. He says:

کر توبہ استغفار سدا

رکھ بدعت شرکوں عار سدا

تھی محض موحّد صاف یگانہ[4]

Repent everlastingly and seek forgiveness. Always refrain from infidelity and duality. Be simply Unitarian and purely unique.

دویت فرید ہے جوٹھا لارا[5]

Farid! Multiplicity is merely ephemeral.

فقہ، اصول، کلام، معانی

منطق، نحو تے صرف مبانی

ٹھپ رکھ ہے توحید غیور

Shelve jurisprudence, principles, kalam (theology), lexicon, logic, syntax and accidence. The doctrine of unity is high minded (transcends to higher planes).

ملا پٹھڑے معنی کر دے

آیت درس حدیث خبر دے

صرف صدا تے تھئے مغرور

The clerics impute contrary meanings to the messages entailed in the verses, teachings and sayings of the Prophet. They take pride in playing the mere game of words.

ملا ویری سخت ڈسیندے

بے شک ہن استاد دلیں دے

اِبن العَربی تے منصور

The clerics seem hardened adversaries. Undoubtedly, Ibn’ Arabi and Mansur impart heart–knowledge.

شاہد، واحد اصل فرع وچ

راز طریقت رسم شرع وچ

ہے مشہود نہیں مستور

The manifest Unity is there in substance and accidents. It is in secret of esoterism and mode of exoterism. It is apparent and not hidden.

بٹھ گھت ریت روش تقلیدی

رہ تحقیقی، سلک فریدی

کر منظور تے تھی مسرور[6]

Discard the customs and conventions of blind following (servility). The way of witnessing is the Faridian tradition. Accept it and experience spiritual joy.

سبھو شاہد اصلی جانیں

ہے وحدت سمنجھ سنجانی

ہے وَاحد پرم کہانی

وچ پردے کثرت سَازی



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 225.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 52

[3]     Schuon, Frithjof , To have a Centre. World Wisdom Books, U.S.A, 1990.

[4]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 152.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 20.

[6]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 50.

مذہب مشرب لَا مذہب دا

لب ہے سارے اَرث عرب دا

شاہد درس حدیث قرآن

The religious tradition of ‘negation’ (in the connotative sense and not in the denotative one for there is nothing except Reality) is the kernel of the entire Arab heritage. It is evident in the teachings, Hadith and the Qur’an.

سِکھ خلت سَٹ غیر دی علت

ابن العربی دی رکھ ملت

آکھیم سوہنے فخر جہان

Learn the lesson of unity and leave craving of otherness. Be in the tracks of Ibn’ Arabi. The majestic Fakhr Jehan advises so.

غافل شاغل ناسی ذاکر

صالح طالح مومن کافر

سَب ہے نُور قدیم دا شان

All is the Splendour of the Primordial Light (manifest) in the unmindful and the devotee, the neglectful and the attentive, the virtuous and the vicious and the faithful and the infidel.

اَحد اوہی ہے احمدؐ اوہے

میم دے اولے دِلڑی موہے

دھیان فرید رکھیں ہر آن[1]

He is Ahad. He is Ahmad. He captivates the heart by being manifestly hidden (remaining immanent and transcendent) in the form of Meem (Muhammad). Farid! Keep constant watchfulness (about this Divine disclosure).

From this inward, esoteric and intellectual point of view Shahadah means: “There is no divinity (or reality, or absolute) outside the only Divinity (or Reality or Absolute) and Muhammad (the Glorified, the Perfect) is the Envoy (the mouthpiece, the intermediary, the manifestation, the symbol) of the Divinity.”[2] The entire Shahadah demonstrates that “God alone is” and “all things are attached to God”. “All manifestation and so all that is relative is attached to the Absolute.” “The Shahadah, “There is no divinity (reality, quality) but the sole Divinity (Reality, Quality)” - which in the first place signifies the exclusive and extinguishing primacy of the Sovereign Good, assumes in esoterism an inclusive and participatory signification; applied to a given positive phenomenon; it will mean: this particular existence or this particular quality - this miracle of being or of consciousness or of beauty cannot be other than the miracle of the Existence or the Consciousness or the Quality of God, since precisely there is no other existence, Consciousness or Quality, by the very terms of the Shahadah. And it is this truth that lies at the basis of such theopathic expressions of the highest level as “I am the Truth” (anal’Haqq) of the illustrious AI-Hallaj, or “Glory be to me” (subhani) of the no less illustrious Abu Yazid al-Bistami. It goes without saying that in ordinary language; the first Shahadah... is connected with Transcendence, without in any way excluding a certain casual existentiating and efficient Immanence which is essential for Islamic Unitarianism. But it is in the second Shahadah “Muhammad (the perfect Manifestation) is His Envoy (His unitive prolongation) that we meet with the direct expression, or the formulation symbol of Immanence and thus of the mystery of Union or Identity”.[3]



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 134.

[2]     Schuon, Frithjof, Understanding Islam, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1985.

[3]     Schuon, Frithjof, In the Face of the Absolute, World Wisdom Books USA, 1985.

The metaphysical conception of Tawhid opens the door to the doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud). The term Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) simply means that “there is only one Being, and all existence is nothing but the manifestation or outward radiance of that One Being. Hence “everything other than the One Being” that is whole cosmos in all its spatial and temporal extension is nonexistent in itself, though it may be considered to exist through Being”.[1] Khawaja Ghulam Farid considers the sensible world as not-self, imagination and dream. He says:

جگ وہم خیال تے خوابے

سب صورت نقش بر آبے

The world is illusion, imagination and dream. All forms are marks on water.

 

جے پچھدیں حال حقیقت

جیویں بحر محیط ہے وحدت

سن سمجھ اُتے رکھ عبرت

کل کثرت شکل حبابے

 If you ask about the state of reality, then listen, understand and take a note of the fact that the sea encompasses unity. All the multiplicity is bubble-faced.

نہیں اصلوں اصل دوئی دا

گیا پُھوکا نکل دوئی دا

خود جان ہے نسل دوئی دا

ول اوہی آب دا آبے[2]

 Duality has no essential reality. Know yourself that duality is not everlasting. The airy duality vanishes. The water essentially remains the same water.

These forms and properties are not real in themselves but are manifestations of the Reality. In other words, “reality is not a subjective illusion” whim or caprice but is an “objective illusion.” It “is an unreality standing on a firm ontological basis”. One could say that “the world of being and becoming (kawn) is an imagination but it is, in truth, Reality itself”.

The doctrine of the Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) accounts for both the undifferentiated Reality and the differentiated one and gives us metaphysical vision of wholeness. Thus, “God although One in His Essence is multiple in forms”.[3] Khawaja Ghulam Farid spells out this metaphysical idea in numerous verses. He says:

سمجھ سنجانی غیر نہ جانی

سب صورت سبحانے

Do have a deeper understanding and never consider it as the other because the Reality (Transcendent) is manifest in all forms of immanence.

اول آخر ظاہر باطن

 یار  عیان  بیانے[4]

 The First, the Last, the Outward and the Inward are the open-manifestations of my friend.

 

یار فرید نہیں مستورے

ظلمت بھی سب نور حضورے

ہر جا اس دا عین ظہورے

اسم فقط بیا آیاہے[5]

Farid! My friend is not hidden. He is openly manifest at each and every place (Omnipresent). Darkness too is the pervasive presence of Light. It has just been named differently.

بٹھ وہم خطرے دی ادا

اندر تے باہر ہے سدا

ڈوجھا نوہی ہے ہک خُدا

موجود حق موجود حق

Discard the style of apprehension and risk. There is nothing except One God. The Reality or Truth is everlastingly present in the interior and the exterior.

 

توں بِن فقط بیا کو نہیں

ہے ہک سدا اتے دو نہیں

منڈھوں غیر دی اِتھ بو نہیں

ہک نال تھی ہک سَٹ فرق[6]

There is no other except you. There is no odour of the profane at its roots. He is the Everlasting One without any duality. Be with the One and discard otherness.



[1]     Chittick, William C, The Sufi Path of Knowledge, New York Press USA, 1989.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 199.

[3]     Ibn Arabi, Fusus Al-Hikam. The Bezels of Wisdom, Translation and Introduction by R.W.J. Austin.

[4]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 246.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 217.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 64.

 

وجہہ اللہ فرید ہے باقی

باقی ہالک زاہق زائل[1]

Farid! The Face of Allah is Permanent. All else is annihilating, dying and ephemeral.

ہمہ اوست دے بھید نیارے

ہر ہر شے وچ کرن نظارے

جانن وحدت دے ونجارے

اصل تجلی طوری نوں[2]

The mysteries of Oneness of Being are remarkable. They are known by the dealers of Unity. They behold the real Sinai theophany in each and every existent.

 

 

عاشق مست مدام ملامی

کہہ سبحانی بن بسطامی

آکھ اناالحق تھی منصور[3]

The entranced lover exists beyond disdain. Say: “Glory to me” and become Bistami. Say: “I am the Truth” and become Mansur.

جو کجھ ہے ظاھر برملا

مرشد محقق وَج وجا

جاناں میں کیویں ماسوا

ہمہ اوست دا ڈتڑا سبق[4]

All is obviously manifest. How can I acknowledge anyone except Him? My spiritual master, after full verification, imparted me instructions on Oneness of Being.

ہمہ اوست سجھائی ریت بھلی[5]

The doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) has made me realise a noble tradition.

ہمہ اوست دا سبق گھدوسے

فاش تھئے گجھ لکڑے[6]

I have learnt the doctrine of Oneness of Being. All mysteries and secrets have become openly manifest to me.

 

مذہب وجودی فرض ہے

دیدیم با چشم یقیں

بیو کُل اجائی غرض ہے

ھذا جنون العاشقیں[7]

The doctrine of Oneness of Being is mandatory. All else is meaningless prompted by selfishness. I have witnessed it with the eye of certainty. This is the frenzy of the lovers.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid maintains a subtle distinction between the soul or ‘nafs’ and the spirit or ‘ruh.’ The former is individual whereas the latter is universal. He follows the metaphysical tradition which considers the “intellect” and the “spiritual” as more or less equivalent terms. “Both body and soul are purely human and belong to the individual domain, the spirit or Intellect is universal and transcends the human state as such….the Latin Spiritus vel Intellectus (Spirit or “Intellect” corresponds to the Arabic Ruh. Anima (‘soul’) corresponds to the Arabic nafs.”[8] Resultantly, the realization of the soul is individual, whereas the realization of the Spirit is universal.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid, under the guidance of his spiritual master, attained both mystic and metaphysical realization. He expresses it thus:

انہد مرلی شور مچایا

The divine flute has created percussion.

گُر نے پورے بید بتائے

مدہوشی وچ ہوش سکھائے

عقل فکر سب فہم گمائے

سارا سفر عروج سُجھایا

My spiritual master communicated to me esoterism in fullness. He made my reason, reflection and entire understanding dwindle into insignificance. He taught me sobriety in drunkenness. He enlightened me on the ascending stages of spiritual journey.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 72.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 119.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 37.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 64.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 213.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 177.

[7]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 94.

[8]     Stoddart, William, Sufism: The Mystical Doctrines and Methods of Islam, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1981.

وحدت عین عیان ڈٹھوسے

مخفی کل اظہار تھیوسے

طمس حقیقی سمجھ لیوسے

ہر گن گیان دے گیت نوں پایا

I have witnessed Oneness as openly manifest. I have understood the reality of annihilation. All hidden has become seeable. I have realised, each and every tune (degree) of virtuousness and gnosis.

تھئے واضح مشہود دقائق

ظاہر گجھ سب کجھ دے لائق

تھئے لائح انوار حقائق

قُرب تے بُعد دا فرق اٹھایا

The subtleties of existence have opened up. The lights of realities have become perceptible. The visible and the Invisible are capable of being understood. The difference between proximity and remoteness has withered away.

بنسی خوب بتایاں باتاں

گم تھیاں کوڑیاں ذات صفاتاں

گجھڑے راز انوکھیاں گھاتاں

لمن الملک دا دورہ آیا

The flute has successfully unravelled the reality of deeper secrets and novel stations. The dawning realisation of His Omnipotence has led to the privation of false existents and their properties.

خمر طہوروں پی پیمانے

بھل گئے صوم صلوۃ دوگانے

تھیوسے عاشق مست یگانے

رندی مشرب سانگ رسایا

We have become matchless enraptured lovers after drinking from the cups of pure wine. We have transcended fasting and ritualistic prayer and adopted an inebriate mode of expression.

جانے کون گنوار مقلد

تھی مطلق بے قید موحد

وَہ وَہ ریت مقدس جیّد

سبھ صورت وچ آپ سمایا

How can an unenlightened person bereft of gnosis know the laudable, holy and powerful tradition (of Oneness of Being)? The One is identified with Freedom Itself without delimitation. He has descended in all forms.

جب ہک رمز ملی توحیدوں

تھی کر فرد، فرید! فریدوں

دل آزاد ڈٹھم تقلیدوں

سِری روحی وعظ سنایا[1]

My heart was freed from merely following the letter of law after getting a clue of Oneness. Farid! The individual by ceasing to be– narrated the sermon: My essentiality is Spirit.

وَاہ وَاہ سوہنے دا ورتارہ

ہک جا چاوے عشق اجارا

ہر صورت وچ کرے اوتارہ

بئی جا ڈیوے حُسن ادھارا

It is laudation to the conduct of the Beautiful. He descends in each form. He is love itself at times and at times He is Manifest Beauty.

او مالک میں ادنیٰ سگ دا

میں کَیا موہ لئیس من جگ دا

ہر صورت وچ مٹھڑا لگدا

ماریس ہر جا ناز نقارا

I am canine and He is my Master. He looks sweet in each form. What to say of me, he has captivated the heart of the world. He has beaten the drum of his pride everywhere.

میں بے آس امید دا مانا

دوست اویڑا یار ایانا

ہر کس ناکس دے من بھانا

ہر ہک دل کوں لگے پیارا

I am bereft of any hope but He is the ground of my expectations. He is heartily appealing to the apt and the inept. My friend is peculiar and amateur in love but still every heart rules him lovable.

جو میں وانگ بجھارت بجھدا

ہرگز دخل نہیں کہیں کجھ دا

سوتھیا واقف ساری گجھ دا

جان نظارا یار دا سارا

The one, who like me unravels the mystery, becomes acquainted with whole esoterism. There is absolutely no possibility of any thing. Do witness the total manifestation of the friend.

چرن گرو دے سیس نوائیں

جہد جہاد دا بار اٹھائیں

جو آکھے چم اکھیاں چائیں

قرب کمال ہئی مطلب بارا

Bow your head at the feet of your Master. Carry out his commands wholeheartedly. Bear the onerous obligation of spiritual struggle. The meaning of this quest lies in achieving perfect proximity.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 2.

 

تھی گر پیر دا چیلا سچا

برہوں کڑاہ چڑھیا مچ مچیا

نہ ہو قدم ہٹا کر کچا

جل بل مار انا دا نعرہ

Be a true disciple of your spiritual Master. Do not become frail by faltering your steps. The cauldron of love is ablaze. Get burned in it completely by raising the cry: I am Truth.

جو کوئی رکھسی اے گن چارے

ونج خوش وسسی شام دوارے

جو راتی جگ جوگ جگارے

رہسی جنم جگت سوں نیارا

The one who cultivates the four virtues of self-restraint, generosity, meditation and night watchfulness, shall enter and remain happy in the temple of the beloved detached from the cycles of decadence.

جگرت سپن سکوپت ٹریا

جیندا پیر سنجانوں تُھڑیا

تیڈی سیر دے سانگے جڑیا

پھر سی تھی چو گوٹھ آوارہ

The one, who traverses the terrestrial world along with the world of imagination and the world of spirits, shall know that all this has been created for Self-realisation. But the one, whose steps falter in realising this truth, shall remain itinerant in the four corners of the world.

توں ہیں سمجھ، سنجان نہ چھوڑیں

اپنے آپ توں مونہہ نہ موڑیں

نرگن سرگن وچ جا جوڑیں

سب ہے روپ سروپ تہارا

Do not discard this Gnostic learning and understanding. Be in harmony with your Self. Never be oblivious of your essentiality. All is your splendid Face.

چاروں بید بدانت پکارن

آتم اوتم روپ سدھارن

اوم برم نارائن دھارن

دویت فرید ہے جوٹھا لارا[1]

The four Vedas and Hindu sacred tenets openly proclaim that the Nameless has been named as Om, Brahma and Vishnu. He has assumed the form of the Supreme Soul. Farid! Multiplicity is merely ephemeral.

پیر مغاں ہک رمز سجھائی

ساجن سمجھ قرین

The cup bearer has made us realise an intricacy of understanding the beloved as absolutely near.

غافل نہ تھی یار تھوں ہک دم

ہر جاگہ ہر حین

Don’t be oblivious of your friend for an instant at any place or moment.

دل فرید دی لٹن کیتے

بنیا  فخر  الدین[2]

He has assumed the form of Fakhr-ud-Din in order to loot the heart of Farid.

فخر پیا توں بَل بَل جاواں

اس دی ہو کر کیوں غم کھاواں

جیندے نال میں لدھیاں لاواں

سب کجھ یار سُجھایا ہے[3]

I sacrifice myself for the sake of Fakhr. I have accomplished my nuptial rites with him. Why should I be in the state of sorrowfulness, when I belong to him? My friend has made me realise everything.

گجھڑے راز فقر دے سارے

فخر الدین سُجھائے

Fakhruddin made me realise all the deeper mysteries of the way of ontological nothingness.

حال مقام دی رتق فتق

سب شرحیں کر فرمائے

He made me fully understand the states and stations of the soul and the ensuing contractions and expansions.

یاریاں باشیاں رلڑے داریاں

وس وسیب وِہائے

My friendly associations, sittings and relationships with my neighbours have all ended.

پیُم فرید بِرہوندے پندھڑے

بئے دَھندڑے مکلائے[4]

Farid! I bade goodbye to all other activities ever since I took the way of love.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 20.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 140.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 217.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 218.

 

لطف ازل دا ویلہا آیا

طبع سلیم فرید دی پایا

فخر جہاں گُر گیان سنایا

فہم لغات طیوری نوں[1]

It was the dawning of eternal bliss that Fakhr Jehan laid bare the principles of gnosis. The harmonious disposition of Farid understood the language of birds.

فخر جہاں ہک ریت سجھائی

اَرضی تِھیا یَک بار سمائی

ظلمت بن گئی نور و نور [2]

Fakhr Jehan made me realise a metaphysical tradition. The terrestrial became celestial and darkness turned into lighting upon light.

بہہ کر کلہڑیں رمز سجھائی

پیر مکمل عارف کامل

My perfect spiritual master, an adept in esoterism, secretly gave me a clue to the mystery.

وجہہ اللہ فرید ہے باقی

باقی ہالک زاہق زائل[3]

Farid! The Face of Allah is Permanent. All else is annihilating, dying and ephemeral.

گُر، بات، بتائی پوری

تھئی فاش تجلی طوری

طیفوری تے منصوری

ہر جا ایمن تے میقاتاں[4]

The master taught me the whole doctrine of Bayazid Bistami and Mansur Hallaj. The Sinai theophany became openly manifest. There is ‘aiman’ (the valley of Mount Sinai) and ‘mekataan’ (the moments of communication with the Sustainer) every where.

فخر الدین مٹھل دے شوقوں

دم دم نکلم دود

My each breath emits smoke in fondness of sweet Fakhruddin.

وصل فرید کوں حاصل ہویا

جب  ہو  گیا  نابود[5]

Farid attained union (identity) by ceasing to be.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid consistently maintains a distinction between mystic realization and metaphysical realization. Mystic or individual realization is by virtue of self, ego soul or ‘nafs.’ It realizes the way from man to God. It manifests a temporary identity with the Lord (Rabb) for a complete identity, in principle, is not possible in the axis servant-Lord. Such an experience momentarily suppresses the soul or ‘nafs’ of the subject of experience and in this single unanalysable unity the ordinary dichotomy of subject and object ceases to exist and there is a “sense of the unreality of serial time”. When the mystic state fades away, the mystic returns back to the normal level of selfhood, which includes the distinction between subject and object and the reality of the serial time. But such an experience is restricted entirely to the individual domain for the nature of the mystic state is in no manner supra-individual. Mystic state stands for “indefinite extension of purely individual possibility” spread on a broader spectrum than ordinarily supposed by the psychologists but it only leads to partial realization. This realization of the soul or ‘nafs’ is no match to the realization of the Self, which is universal for in the latter it is not the soul or ‘nafs’ but the Spirit or Intellect that attains universal realization. Ordinary mystic returns to his ordinary self but the one who has attained metaphysical realization does not return to his habitual selfhood. He achieves a complete emancipation from the limitations of his individuality. His human overlay no more remains permanent, fixed and unalterable but becomes impermanent, fleeting and ephemeral. Khawaja Ghulam Farid says:

دِل مست محو خیال ہے

سرمو تفاوت نہ سہوں

My heart is engrossed within imagination. I cannot bear any differentiation.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 119.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 57.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 72.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 124.

[5]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid., Kafi 32.

 

اے خیال عین وصال ہے

تے کمال ہے نہ کہ ہے جنوں

My imagination is an immanent union. It is perfection and not lunacy.

اصل الاصول شہدتہ

چہ شہود عین بعینہ

ہمہ سو بسو ہمہ کوبکو

نہیں فرصت اتنی کہ دم بھروں

I have openly witnessed the Supreme Principle in every nook and corner. The witnessing is so glaringly evident that I cannot disengage myself even for a moment.

جو مکاں تھا بن گیا لامکاں

شدہ اسم و رسم زمن دواں

جو نشان تھا ہو گیا بے نشاں

اللہ اپنے آپ کو کیا کہوں

The spatial turned spaceless. The sign turned without a sign. The names and customs of the ages have left me forlorn. My Allah! What should I call myself?

نہ عیان ہے نہ نہان ہے

نہ رہا ایہہ جسم نہ جان ہے

نہ بیان ہے نہ دھیان ہے

کِیہاں ڈوس ہوش حواس کوں

There is neither openness nor hiddenness. There is neither speech nor a thought. My body has neither remained nor the life-impulse. How can I blame my sense and sensibility?

شد عکس در عکس ایں بِنا

باقی نماند بجز انا

کہ فنا بقا ہے بقا فنا

کِتھ او تے توں کِتھ ہاں تے ہوں

There is double reflection. ‘Fana’ (extinction) is ‘baqa’ (subsistence) and ‘baqa’ (subsistence) is ‘fana’ (extinction). There is solely the ultimate, without any question of that and you (otherness)?

کڈیں شور دے سطوات ہن

کئی قسم دے بکوات ہن

کڈیں زور دے شطحات ہن

ستوں دے بتوں، بتوں دے ستوں

There are percussions and spiritual impositions at times and at times there are drives and antinomian utterances. There are so many types of prattling leading to meaningless discourse.

اٹھ گئی ”فرید“ ہوس مُنڈھوں

کسے کس ہو کس ناکس منڈھوں

نہ رہا ہئی وَس ہک خس منڈھوں

چپ چاپ فیل فساد توں[1]

Farid! Lust has been uprooted. I have become incapacitated as a straw. You should be quiet for there will be tumult in determining, who absolutely merits or who does not merit.

آہن قلندر روز و شب

پہنجی خودی میں خود غرق

The Qalandars, day and night, are themselves drowned in their own selves.

حاجت نہ صوم صلوٰت دی

چاہت نہ ذات صفات دی

خواہش نہ حج زکوٰۃ دی

ہک شان وحدت جی مرک

They transcend fasting and prayer. They have no wish of the pilgrimage and alms giving. They have no keenness of essence and attributes. They simply yearn for the Majestic One.

نہ طلب ملک تے مال دی

مستی خدائی خیال دی

نہ غرض جاہ و جلال دی

پوونیں نہ آدم جئے تے تک

They have no craving of dominion and wealth. They have no concern with rank and dignity. They are enraptured in contemplating Divinity. Their eyes don’t cast a glance on the human sphere.

تونے جو دریا نوش ہن

اسرار دے سرپوش ہن

پرجوش تھی خاموش ہن

صامت رہن مارن نہ بک

They remain composed, in spite of being heavily drunk and animated. They are the coverings of the mysteries. They remain quiet and do not prattle.

 

 

عاشق اتے معشوق ہن

خود دُر اتے صندوق ہن

سابق اتے مسبوق ہن

ہر طور وچ رہندے اُچھک

They are themselves lovers and beloveds. They are themselves vanguards and rearguards. They are themselves pearls and caskets. They remain serene in all situations.

 


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 103.

 

مسکین اتے مظلوم ہن

ہر وقت کالمعدوم ہن

محزون اتے مغموم ہن

رکھدے نہ دل وچ کئی امک

They are themselves modest and oppressed. They are themselves sad and melancholy. They are perpetually in a state of annihilation. They do not nurture any urge in their hearts.

جو کجھ ہے ظاھر برملا

مرشد محقق وَج وجا

جاناں میں کیویں ماسوا

ہمہ اوست دا ڈتڑا سبق

All is obviously manifest. How can I acknowledge anyone except Him? My spiritual master, after full verification, imparted me instructions on Oneness of Being.

ایہو فکر ہے ایہا گالھ ہے

ایہو ذوق دم دم نال ہے

ایہو وجد ہے ایہو حال ہے

ایہو وچ ہے بیا سبھ ہے نحق

It is the reflection and it is the discourse. It is an ecstasy and it is the state. It is the taste that is constantly present. It is the Truth and every other thing is untrue.

بٹھ وہم خطرے دی ادا

اندر تے باہر ہے سدا

ڈوجھا نوہی ہے ہک خدا

موجود حق موجود حق

Discard the style of apprehension and risk. There is nothing except One God. The Reality or Truth is everlastingly present in the interior and the exterior.

توں بِن فقط بیا کو نہیں

ہے ہک سدا اتے دو نہیں

منڈھوں غیر دی اِتھ بو نہیں

ہک نال تھی ہک سَٹ فرق

There is no other except you. There is no odour of the profane at its roots. He is the Everlasting One without any duality. Be with the One and discard otherness.

اپنی حقیقت گول توں

رکھ یاد اساڈا بول توں

بے کوں نہ اصلوں پھول توں

آنیں نہ شک ہے محض پک

Search your own reality. Do not bother about the other. Do remember my saying without doubting its veracity.

پی کر فریدی جام توں

ڈینہوں ڈینہہ ودھا رکھ گام توں

تھی رند مست مدام توں

واہ واہ کرے ساری خلق[1]

Do attain inebriation and rapture after drinking from the Faridi cup. Keep advancing your steps on the spectrum of time. The entire folk may laud you.

جیں رمز راول جی بجھی

تن کھے مشاہدہ رات دن

The one who unravels the mystery of the beloved does remain in the state of witnessing day and night.

نہیں جا اتھاں افیون دی

جنہاں سدھ لکھی بے چون دی

نہ بھنگ نہ معجون دی

نت مست رے پیتیں وتن

Here, there is no scope of opium, hemp or electuary. They keep a track of the Unique. They are enraptured without wine.

رل وسدے لوکاں نال ہن

ہر آن غرق خیال ہن

پر اصل فارغ بال ہن

شاغل سمہن شاغل اٹھن

They remain and dwell with the people but are essentially free from the worldly strings (worldliness). They are drowned in imagination at every moment. They remain committed in sleep and remain absorbed, while awake.

 

خود توں خودی توں دور ہن

حق دے ہمیش حضور ہن

سَرمست جام طہور ہن

اولیں وچوں بھولے بَھنِن

They are beyond themselves and ego hood. They are enraptured in Divine illuminations. They are permanently in the fold of Divine Presence. The worldly activity is for them a persona.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 64.

نہیں مِلک ملک تے مال دے

ہِن ذوق وجد تے حال دے

نہیں زال دے نہیں بال دے

گم کر گماں یک رو رہن

They are not attached to property, dominion and wealth. They are neither attached to a wife nor to children. They belong to tasting, inspiration, and a mystic state. They thrust aside all doubts and remain meditative.

سر ڈے لہن سر دا لقا

ہو کر فنا پاوِن بقا

گئے محض مرنوں سر لکا

سو سود نقصانوں کرن

They witness the real mystery by sacrificing their head. They save their head from ordinary death. They attain subsistence by annihilating themselves. They reap countless benefits from one loss.

ونج وٹھڑے دیس سہاگ دے

بارہ مہینے پھاگ دے

سُکھ روپ مانن بھاگ دے

پاچین چڑھ سیجیں بہن

They go and dwell in the nuptial city. They enjoy the destined forms of peace. Their twelve months are the season of spring. They sit, while mounting on the nuptial bed in the state of fulfilment.

جیں من مندر پایا پیا

تھی محو اثباتی تھیا

ڈکھ پاپ سارا مٹ گیا

رَہندا فرید فرید بِن[1]

The one who finds the beloved in his heart, it leads to the effacement of all his sufferings and sins. Farid remains without individuality by subsisting in the everlasting one (non duality).

The ultimate aim of the Self is to see His own Essence in the “human” medium. Once the soul or ‘nafs’ has withered away, the self-identity of mystic realization is transformed into the Self-identity of metaphysical realization, understood as the “Supreme Identity”. Such identity cannot be termed as philosophical monism though it can be called “sapiential monism.” From the purely metaphysical point of view, this identity is essentially covered under the principle of non-duality. Man subsists in the Divine Consciousness as realized possibility. It is pertinent to note that originally man is nothing but a mere name of the Divine unrealized possibility. It is by virtue of freedom and grace that this possibility is partially realized in the mystic state and completely realized in the universal one. In the mystic state the principle of fana (extinction) and baqa (subsistence) has a single reflection whereas in metaphysical realization this principle has a double reflection. Fana (extinction) is baqa (subsistence) in the sense that nothing remains of man as such except the Spirit, which is not his; and baqa (subsistence) in the sense that the baqa (subsistence) or the feeling of “I am-ness” is an illusion for in the ultimate analysis it is only the Reality which can say “I am”. Thus, it is the Spirit which says: “I am the Truth”, “Glory to Me. How great is My Majesty.” In other words, “the final end and ultimate return of the gnostics though their entities remain immutably fixed is that the Real is identical with them, while they do not exist.”[2]

From the metaphysical point of view, “I” is an imagination, dream and illusion but it is not vain, groundless or false. “It is not the Reality itself but it vaguely and indistinctively reflects the latter on the level of imagination.” It is “a symbolic reflection of something truly real.” It is essentially a dream-symbol, which needs to be interpreted and whose interpretation shall lead to the real I. “Man does not see in a dream the Reality itself but an “imaginal” form of the Reality and by interpretation he has to take back this symbol to its Origin.” The Prophet says: “All men are asleep (in this world); only when they die, do they wake up”. This dying to the soul or ‘nafs’ means that man realizes that the reality of the “I” does not belong to him but to the Spirit, which is identical with the Divine essence. Thus, the “I”, which is


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 100.

[2]     Ibn Arabi, Quoted in the Sufi Path of Knowledge by William C Chittick, New York Press, USA,1989.

essentially Spirit, fully unravels itself once the soul or ‘nafs’ has withered away. And this “I” is nothing but the Reality itself. The veracity of this metaphysical truth dawns when one has achieved metaphysical realization.

The problem with Iqbal is that he remains at the individualistic level and does not transcend to the universal realm. He commits a category-mistake in the sense that he tries to place the metaphysical truths at the level of the mystical plane and abhors them for being pantheistic. He interprets the utterance of Mansur Hallaj: “I am the Truth” on the mystic plane whereas Khawaja Ghulam Farid excels in interpreting and realizing the truth of this assertion at the metaphysical level to which it rightfully belongs. What is the secret of Mansur al-Hallaj’s assertion ana’ I-Haqq, “I am the Truth”? The secret revealed in the process of metaphysical realization is that “the Self withdraws from the “servant-Lord” polarity and resides in its own transpersonal being. The subject object dichotomy is transcended by virtue of pure intellect or Spirit, which is identical with the Divine Essence.” “If soul is the element in Man that relates to God, Spirit is the element that is identical with Him - not with his personal mode, for on the celestial plane God and soul remains distinct, but with God’s mode that is infinite. Spirit is the Atman that is Brahman, the aspect of man that is the Buddha-nature, the element in man, which, exceeding the soul’s fully panoply is that something in the soul that is uncreated and uncreate (Eckhart), It is the true man in Lin Chi the Ch’an master’s assertion that “beyond the mass of reddish flesh is the true man who has no title”; and the basis for the most famous of Sufi claims: Mansur al-Hallaj’s assertion ana” I.... Haqq, “I am the Absolute Truth” or the True Reality….. Peripherally, Spirit is without boundaries; internally it is without barriers. It knows neither walls that encompass nor walls that divide”.[1]

Mansur al-Hallaj delved on this secret by virtue of inner illumination. “His ana” I-Haqq (I am the Truth) has become perennial witness to the fact that Sufism is essentially gnosis and ultimately it is God within us who utters “I” once the veil of otherness has been removed”.[2] It is a process of annihilation wherein the Divine Self is alone real. Mansur al Hallaj says: “You have wasted your life in cultivating your spiritual nature: What has become of annihilation in Unification (al-fan fi Tawhid).”[3] It is at this stage that even man’s own individual self as testifier to the Shahadah ceases to exist for “the soul is not competent to voice the Shahadah. The Witness must be, not the self, but the Self.”[4] It is in this ultimate sense that Mansur al Hallaj says. “Whose claimeth to affirm God’s Oneness thereby setteth up another beside Him.”[5] “No one can affirm truly the Oneness of God for the very process of affirmation creates a duality through the intrusion of one’s own person. Who is it that can bear witness that there is no god but God, no reality but the Reality? And for the Sufis the answer to this question lies in the Divine Name ash-­Shahid (the witness), which significantly enough, comes next to al-Haqq (the Truth, the Reality) in the most often recited litany of the Names. If God alone is, no testimony can be valid except His. It is hypocrisy to affirm the Oneness of Being from a point of view which is itself in contradiction with the truth”.[6] There is nothing beside God. “If there were anything which,


[1]     Smith, Huston, Forgotten Truth, The Primordial Tradition. Suhail Academy Lahore, 1981.

[2]     Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Three Muslim Sages, Avicenna, Suharwardi-Ibn ‘Arabi’.

[3]     Hallaj, Mansur, Quoted in a Treasury Of Traditional Wisdom, Ed. Whittal N. Perry Cambridge University Press London, 1981.

[4]     Lings, Martin, What is Sufism,. Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1983

[5]     Hallaj, Mansur, Quoted in A Treasury of Traditional Wisdom, Ed. Whittal N. Perry Cambridge University Press London, 1981.

[6]     Lings, Martin, What is Sufism, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1983.

in the Reality of the Eternal Present, could show itself to be other than God, than God would not be Infinite, for Infinity would consist of God and that particular thing”.[1] Thus, the Self, the pure intellect or the Spirit says ana’ I-Haqq (I am the Truth) and it was obliviousness of this metaphysical truth, which led people to crucify the great Saint.

Metaphysical realization is the process through which man ceases to be for the final goal is union. “If sacred knowledge involves the whole being of man, it also concerns the giving up of this being for its goal is union. The miracle of human existence is that man can undo the existentiating and cosmogonic process inwardly so as to cease to exist, man can experience that “annihilation” (the fana of the Sufis), which enable him to experience union in the ultimate sense. Although love, as the force “that moves the heavens and the stars”, plays a major role in attracting man to the, “abode of the Beloved” and realized knowledge is never divorced from the warmth of its rays, it is principal knowledge alone that can say neti neti until the Intellect within man, which is the divine spark at the center of his being realizes the Oneness of Reality Which alone is, the Reality before whose “Face” all things perish according to the Qur’anic verse. All things perish save His Face.”[2]Thus, it is the immanent Divinity, pure Intellect or Spirit within man that says: “Glory to me” and “I am the Truth” “Man qua man cannot have union with God. But man can, through spiritual realization and with the aid of Heaven participate in the lifting of the veil of separation so that the immanent Divinity within him can say “I” and the illusion of a separate self, which is the echo, and reverberation upon the planes of cosmic existence of principal possibilities contained in the Source, ceases to assert itself as another and independent “I” without of course the essential reality of the person whose roots are contained in the Divine Infinitude ever being annihilated.”[3] Thus, “the goal of sacred knowledge is deliverance and union, its instrument the whole being of man and it’s meaning the fulfillment of the end for which man and in fact the cosmos were created”.[4]

Before, we conclude, it is exceedingly imperative to reiterate the point that Iqbal’s rigorous approach to man-­God polarity is purely derived from the individualistic dimension and it has nothing metaphysical about it. Also, his fear of pantheism has no foundation in the metaphysical realm. “Metaphysical pantheism, if we can use this term, neither denies the transcendence of God nor the degrees of reality. Though the separation between the Creator and creature is rigorous yet by compensation there is an aspect which admits the created and the Uncreated to be linked, since nothing that exists can be other than a manifestation of the Principle or an objectivization of the Self; “everything is Atma”….. If philosophical pantheism had this aspect of things in view-which it has not, being ignorant of the degrees of reality and ignorant of transcendence - it would be legitimate as a synthetic or inclusive perspective. The polemics of the theologians readily confuse these two kinds of pantheism”.[5]



[1]     Lings, Martin, A Sufi Saint Of the Twentieth Century, Shaikh Ahmad Al Alawi: His Spiritual Heritage and Legacy, Suhail Academy, Lahore, 1981.

[2]     Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Knowledge and The Sacred, Suhail Academy, Lahore.

[3]     Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Knowledge and The Sacred, Suhail Academy, Lahore.

[4]     Ibid.

[5]     Schuon, Frithjof, In the Face of the Absolute, World Wisdom Books, USA, 1989.

 

                                                                 Metaphysics of Knowledge:
                    Jalaluddin Rumi, Muhammad Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid*

T

 

he problem of knowledge has remained a lively issue in the history of man and continues to remain so in varied forms. Both the traditional and the modern worlds have weaved different theories of knowledge. The era of postmodernism has raised certain epistemic questions that make it exceedingly imperative for us to delineate the metaphysics of knowledge in order to reach the heart of the matter and understand the relationship between knowledge and being.

The Greeks, in the History of Western philosophy, grappled with the problem of knowledge and the questions raised by the Sophists were handled by Socrates and later by Plato and Aristotle within the Greek tradition. The birth of Descartes was the birth of modern philosophy. The Rationalists and the Empiricists constructed their theories of knowledge and it was left to Kant to retain certain elements of both schools of thought by initiating a Copernican revolution in philosophy by introducing the conceptual categories of mind such as space, time and causation to organize the data received from the world of senses. He tried to integrate concept and percept in his theory of knowledge. However, his ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ by denying the possibility of metaphysics sealed the prospect of genuine epistemology in the Western world. The ground had been earlier prepared by the empiricist Locke who thought that the role of philosophy was not to extend the boundaries of knowledge but was precisely to limit it. Sense-experience became the sole source of knowledge and reason as the singular mode of knowledge. Both science and philosophy, as a consequence, became imperious. Hegel extolled reason to a lofty position by considering the real as the rational and the rational as the real. The fallible assumptions of Hegel’s rational metaphysics stood challenged in the course of time. The subsequent Western philosophy, in one way or the other, developed in contradistinction to the philosophy of Hegel. It initiated many divergent philosophical trends and movements including Existentialism, Dialectical Materialism, Pragmatism, Logical Positivism, Philosophy of Language and Postmodernism. The one and only metaphysical element in the West (in the traditional sense) was the Christian tradition, which was first metamorphosed by the Reformation and then made to dwindle into insignificance in the mainstream of Western life and thought. Science and philosophy entered into an unholy alliance whereby science turned into scientism and philosophy became a handmaid of science.

In order to understand the hegemony of different forms of scientism and rationalism (including all those trends and movements that are negatively related to science and reason) it is imperative to know that the foremost, subtlest and recurring fallacy committed by Western thought is, which I call, the Delimitation Fallacy. It consists in delimiting the realms of knowledge and being by negating the principle of Non-delimited being or the possibility of metaphysics and thereby turning the true relative into false absolutes. The father of Western philosophy initiated the formal process of Delimitation, which assuming different forms continue till the present times. The modern West, for example, arbitrarily considers sense-experience as the only source of knowledge and thereby the world revealed by it as the only world. The denial of any experience beyond the level of sense-experience and the denial of any world beyond the ordinary world is the fallacy of Delimitation. Both science and philosophy are valid within their respective legitimate spheres but they become fallacious when science oversteps its boundaries and becomes scientism by encroaching upon other areas of human experience and pronouncing judgments beyond its legitimate sphere and when reason loses its rationale by appropriating rationalism and thereby conceiving itself as autonomous in the scheme of things. If sense-experience is considered as the sole source of human experience and reason is taken as the measure of all things then they tend to usurp the domain of the Universal. The approach of positing sense-experience as the only form of experience and reason as the only mode of knowledge does not stem from knowledge itself but is arbitrarily aligned with knowledge. It is fallacious to consider these postulates arising logically from within the bosom of knowledge. The student of philosophy is well aware of such arbitrariness frequently being made in the realm of philosophy since its inception. Rather, it was one of such presuppositions, which gave birth to philosophy whereby the ancient wisdom was displaced by speculative reason. One of such presuppositions, in modern times, is exhibited by Logical positivists through their statement that the meaningfulness of a proposition lies in the mode of its verification. It arises from the Logical positivists’ consideration to regard only those propositions as meaningful which can be verified in the light of sense experience and to relegate the propositions of religion, philosophy and ethics as meaningless for their being not verifiable on this standard. It is such fallacious reasoning that makes the modern man impose his own arbitrariness on things instead of understanding the ultimate structure of things. The case of postmodernism is typical in this regard. The approach is not only faulty in principle but has negative consequences for humanity.

The traditional world, on the other hand, does not delimit epistemology or ontology as such. It is the repository of primordial wisdom. Islamic tradition, for instance, makes Man accountable for denying the Signs of God (within one’s own self and the cosmos) without encompassing them with knowledge.[1] It rightfully integrates sense-experience, reason and intuition in its metaphysical theory of knowledge with corresponding realization. The traditional world is essentially metaphysical in the sense that it posits a realm beyond physics which is experienced by virtue of intellectual intuition. Intellect is a faculty in man that has direct knowledge of the transcendent or the metaphysical world. Metaphysical realization leads to the identity of knowledge and being unlike ordinary or rational knowledge, which creates a dichotomy between subject and object in the structure of reality. The metaphysical terms intellect, spirit and ‘heart’ are often misunderstood by a number of modern thinkers. The most common error is to use the term Intellect in the sense of reason leading to the Delimitation Fallacy as stated earlier. However, Rene Guenon, Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings and many other writers have brought forth the metaphysical and traditional meanings enshrined in these metaphysical and traditional terms. Intellect, Spirit and ‘Heart’, are essentially the same. Intellect points to the doctrinal aspects whereas Spirit and ‘Heart’ stand for realized or effective knowledge. The modern West has not only to rediscover its own Christian tradition but also needs to learn anew the traditional lessons of Truth, Beauty and Love from other traditions of the world.

Rumi (1207-1273), Iqbal (1877-1938) and Khawaja Ghulam Farid (1845-1901) represent different shades of Islamic metaphysics and Tradition. Rumi in his Diwan-i-Shams-Tabriz, Mathnawi, Fihi ma fihi (collection of his doctrinal sittings) and letters has made the ‘Hidden Treasure’ manifest in different grades of being and different levels of knowledge. His understanding of things and events is not static but dynamic. He takes them in their creative totality without recourse to building a system of metaphysics or philosophy. This is one of the reasons that he mainly uses the poetic mode to convey the primordial wisdom and universal message of love to common man and people of different levels of understanding. And this constitutes his chief strength. People belonging to different ages and countries of the world find something meaningful in his thought, which gives meaning to their lives. His tales impregnated with mystic meaning continue to enlighten minds of people belonging to different walks of life. He is the wisest of the Sufis whose feet remain on the ground but whose head soars high in the heavens. The subtle distinction he makes between the form and meaning of a thing and his concentration on the latter has to be constantly kept in mind in order to reach the heart of reality. He says:

چند صورت آخر ای صورت پرست

جان بی معنیت از صورت نرست

گر بصورت آدمی انساں بُدی

احمد و بُو جھل خود یکسان بُدی

نقش بر دیوار مثل آدمست

بنگر از صورت چہ چیز او کمست

جان کمست آن صورت باناب را

رو بجو آن گوھر کم باب را

شد سر شیرانِ عالم جملہ پست

چون سگ اصحاب را داوند دست

چہ زیانسنش از آن نقش نفور

چونک جانش غرق شد در بحر نور

 

 

“How long (this regard for) form? After all, O form-worshipper, has thy reality-lacking soul not (yet) escaped from form?

“If a human being were a man in virtue of form, Ahmad (Mohammed) and Bu Jahl would be just the same.

“The painting on the wall is like Adam: see from the (pictured) form what thing in it is wanting.

 “The spirit is wanting in that resplendent form: go, seek that jewel rarely found!

“The heads of all the lions in the world were laid low when They (God) gave a hand to (bestowed favour on) the dog of the companions (of the Cave)

“What loss does it suffer from that abhorred shape, inasmuch as its spirit was plunged in the ocean of light?”[2]

                                                                         Rumi is the most unique thinker in the annals of human history who stresses formlessness as against the form and the kernel as against the husk. This point becomes more enlightening when we see that he himself was formally trained in different disciplines and who could understand the labyrinth and delimitation of forms better than him? Though he was already a Sufi when he met Shams Tabriz but it was at the hands of this strange man that he reached the utmost limits of formlessness. It is formlessness, which is the transcendent principle of unity behind all multiplicity, which distinguishes him from other Sufis and, which provides a key to unravel the mysteries of the ‘Hidden Treasure’.

Rumi has not weaved any theory of knowledge as has been so fashionable in the Western epistemology. He has reflectively pointed out various horizontal and vertical aspects of knowledge in the scheme of things. He makes the distinction between ordinary senses and the five spiritual senses; knowledge based on authority and the immediate vision of the Reality; acquired knowledge and innate knowledge; outward eye and inward eye; the eye of the head and the hidden eye; the sensuous eye and the rational eye; conventional knowledge and personal knowledge; knowledge of the world and knowledge of poverty (Faqr); the domain of reason and the realm of the intellect; theoretical knowledge and realized knowledge; knowledge learning from book and



*      Paper on “Metaphysics of Knowledge: Jalaluddin Rumi, Muhammad Iqbal and Khawaja Ghulam Farid” presented in the International Symposium on Mawlana Jalaleddin Rumi, 8-12 May, 2007, Istanbul & Konya (Turkey).

[1]     Qur’an 27: 83-84

[2]     Rumi, The Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi (Complete Persian Text), edited from the oldest manuscripts available: with critical notes, translation & commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson, Book I - 1018-1023, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004

 

learning by the truth; the outward knowledge of the signs and the beholding of the signs from within; the sensual man’s knowledge and the spiritual man’s knowledge; the relative knowledge and the absolute knowledge; spurious knowledge from the unlawful morsel and knowledge impregnated with wisdom from the lawful one; profane knowledge and sacred knowledge; the rational knowledge and the intellectual knowledge and so on and so forth.

Rumi integrates sense-experience, reason and intuition in his paradigm of knowledge. He assigns each a positive role within its respective ambit. He accepts the fact that it is the role of reason to cohere the data received from the senses. He wants us to open our rational eye so that we do not see falsely[1] thus, reiterating the Islamic foundations of scientific knowledge. But he supplements sense-experience with the five spiritual senses, which perceive beyond the empirical level and even purify the ordinary senses[2]. He takes his point of departure from all those who delimit the realm of knowledge to the outward world alone. He essentially stands for primordial inwardness. He testifies by his experience the primordial wisdom enshrined in different traditions of the world in the dictum: Know thyself. He quotes the Prophet of Islam in this regard:

بہر آن پیغمبر این را شرح ساخت

ہر کہ خود بشناخت یزدان را شناخت

Hence the Prophet expounded this (matter), (when he said),

“Whoso knoweth himself knoweth God.”[3]

He wants man to search truth within his own self. He says:

عقل تحصیلی مثال جویھا
راہ آبش بستہ شد شد بی نوا

کان رود در خانۂ از کویھا
از درون خویشتن جو چشمہ را

The acquired intelligence is like the conduits which run into a house from the streets:

(If) its (the house’s) water-way is blocked, it is without any supply (of water). Seek the fountain from within yourself!”[4]

چشمہ شیرست در تو بی کنار

تو چرا می شیر جُویی از تغار

“There is an illimitable fountain of milk within thee: Why are thou seeking milk from the pail?”[5]

He considers heart as the abode of the Divine. He says:

نگہ کردم اندر دل خویشتن

در آن جاش دیدم دِگر جانبود

“I gazed into my own heart;

There I saw Him; He was nowhere else.”[6]

He says:

واھب ھمت خداوند ست و بس

ھمت شاھی ندارد ھیچ خس

“God alone is the giver of aspiration: no base churl aspired to be a king.”[7]



[1]     Rumi, Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz - Edited and Translated with an Introduction, Notes and Appendices by Reynold A. Nicholson – XLV, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004

[2]     Rumi, The Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi (Complete Persian Text), edited from the oldest manuscripts available: with critical notes, translation & commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson, Book II, 3236 – 3245, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004.

[3]     Ibid., Book V - 2114.

[4]     Ibid., Book IV - 1967-1968.

[5]     Ibid., Book V - 1069.

[6]     Rumi, Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz - Edited and Translated with an Introduction, Notes and Appendices by Reynold A. Nicholson – XVII, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004.

[7]     Rumi, The Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi (Complete Persian Text), edited from the oldest manuscripts available: with critical notes, translation & commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson, Book IV – 2913, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004

 

 

دل کہ گر ھفصد چو این ھفت آسمان

اندرو آید شود یاوہ و نہان

صاحب دل آینۂ شش رو شود

حق از و در شش جھت ناظر بود

“The Heart into which if seven hundred (heavens) like these Seven Heaven should enter, they would be lost and hidden (from view).

“The owner of the Heart becomes a six-faced mirror: through him God looks upon (all) the six directions.”[1]

He assigns degrees to knowledge and assigns real place to realized knowledge achieved by virtue of heart-perception. He says:

چونک سد پیش و سد پس نماند

شد گذارہ چشم و لوح غیب خواند

ھر کسی اندازۂ روشن دلی

غیب را بیند بقدر صیقلی

ھرک صیقل بیش کرد اور بیش دید

بیشتر آمد برو صورت پدید

گر تو گویی کآن صفا فضل خداست

نیز این توفیق صیقل ز آن عطاست

قدر ھمت باشد آن جھد و دعا

لَیس لِلاِنسَانِ اِلَا مَا سَعَی

 

“When the barrier in front and the barrier behind are removed, the eye penetrates and reads the tablet of the Unseen.

Every one, according to the measure of his spiritual enlightenment, sees the things unseen in proportion to the polishing (of the heart’s mirror).

 

The more he polishes, the more he sees and the more visible does the form (of things unseen) become to him.

 

“If you say that that (spiritual) purity is (bestowed by) the grace of God, this success in polishing (the heart) is also (derived) from that (Divine) bounty.

That (devotional) work and prayer is in proportion to the (worshipper’s) aspiration: Man hath nothing but what he hath striven after.”[2]

 

 

   

چاشنی گیر دلمر شد با فروغ

راست را داند حقیقت از دروغ

“My heart, which tastes (and distinguishes), has become bright (like a clear mirror): it really knows truth from falsehood.”[3]

He considers the Heart as the repository of Truth. He says:

اسم خواندی رو مُسَمی را بجو

مہ ببالا دان نہ اندر آب جو

گر زنام و حرف خواھی بگذری

پاک کن خود را ز خودھین یکسری

بینی اندر دل علوم انبیا

بی کتاب و بی معید و اوستا

“You have pronounced the name: go, seek the thing named. The moon is in the sky, not in the water.

 

“Would you rise beyond name and letter, make yourself entirely pure.

“And behold in your own heart all the knowledge of the prophets, without book, without learning, without preceptor”[4] .

The innateness of knowledge is one of the most subtle themes in the metaphysical thought of Rumi. He considers ‘wahi’ or inspiration not external to man but arising from within the depths of one’s own being. He says:

طوطی کاید ز وحی واز او
اندرون تست آن طوطی نہان

پیش از آواز وجود آغاز او
عکس او را دید تو براین و آن

“The parrot whose voice comes from (Divine) inspiration and whose beginning was before the beginning of existence “The parrot is hidden within thee; thou hast seen the reflexion of her upon this and that (the things of the phenomenal world).”[5]

He further says:

پس محل وحی گردد گوش جان

وحی چہ بود گفتنی از حِس نہان

گوش جان و چشم جز این حِس است

گوشِ عقل و گوش ظن زین مفلس است

“Then the spiritual ear becomes the place where wahi (inspiration) descends. What is wahi? A speech hidden from sense-perception

“The spiritual ear and eye are other than this sense-perception, the ear of (discursive) reason and the ear of opinion are destitute of this (inspiration).”[6]

Rumi’s understanding is corroborated by the Qur’an, which says that ‘wahi’ or inspiration has been revealed on the heart of the Prophet meaning thereby that the immanent truth has been unveiled or manifested on the mirror of the heart. This point is very decisive in understanding the nature of prophetic experience and the further possibility and desirability of mystic experience in different ages and countries. The ordinary understanding of ‘wahi’ or inspiration takes it as an external event and closes down the possibility of experiencing God within the infinite depths of one’s own being. It has, among other things, the harmful consequences of turning religion into a body of mere doctrines, lifeless rituals and mechanical actions. It is not a mere coincidence that the phenomenon of modern militancy in Islam is being spearheaded by those who are antagonistic to Sufi thought and its message of universal love. The Sufi integration of contemplation and action has been severed by the militants. The obliviousness of the spiritual dimension tends to deprive the flower of religion of its sweet fragrance. It amounts to de-flowering religion. Rumi has made an inestimable service to world spirituality by freshly demonstrating the innateness of Truth and thereby the possibility of experiencing God in one’s inwardness. He offers a fresh drink from the fountainhead of knowledge, which lies within each and every person. Iqbal quotes Rumi in these words: “The Sufi’s book is not composed of ink and letters: it is not but a heart white as snow. The scholar’s possession is pen-marks. What is the Sufi’s possession? – Foot-marks. The Sufi stalks the game like a hunter: he sees the musk-deer’s track and follows the footprints. For some while the track of the deer is the proper clue for him, but afterwards it is the musk-gland of the deer that is his guide. To go one stage guided by the scent of the musk-gland is better than a hundred stages of following the track and roaming about.”[7]

“Divine knowledge is lost in the knowledge of the saint! And how is it possible for people to believe in such a thing?”[8]

Rumi brings the role of the murshid or spiritual master who makes man discover his inner self and attains heart-knowledge. It was the intensity of Rumi’s mysterious love with Shams Tabriz that he achieved metaphysical realization or realized knowledge. He says about his own spiritual master:

بی دولتِ مخدومی شمس الحق تبریز

نی ماہ توان دیدن و نی بحر توان شد

“Without the power imperial of Shamsu‘l Haqq of Tabriz

One could neither behold the moon nor become the sea.”[9]

He highlights an unconditional surrender to the spiritual master in these words:

چون گرفتنت پیر ھین تسلیم شو

ھمچو موسی زیر حکم خضر رو

صبر کن بر کار خضرے بی نفاق

تا نگوید خضر رو ھذا فِراق

“When the Pir has accepted thee, take heed; surrender thyself (to him): go, like Moses, under the authority of Khizr.

‘Bear patiently whatever is done by a Khizr who is without hypocrisy; in order that Khizr may not say, “Begone, this is (our) parting.”[10]



[1]     Ibid., Book V, 872, 874

[2]     Ibid., Book-IV, 2904, 2909-2912

[3]     Ibid., Book II, 2755

[4]     Ibid., Book-I, 3457, 3458 & 3461

[5]     Ibid., Book I - I 717.

[6]     Ibid., Book–I, 1461-1462.

[7]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.91

[8]     Ibid., p. 110.

[9]     Rumi, Selected Poems from the Divani Shamsi Tabriz - Edited and Translated with an Introduction, Notes and Appendices by Reynold A. Nicholson – XIX, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004

[10]    Rumi, The Mathnawi of Jalaluddin Rumi (Complete Persian Text), edited from the oldest manuscripts available: with critical notes, translation & commentary by Reynold A. Nicholson, Book-I, 2969-2970, Sang-e-Meel Publications, Lahore, 2004

He brings out the universal nature of the religion of love. He says:

ملت عشق از ھمہ دینہا جُداست

عاشقان را ملت و مذھب خداست

“The religion of love is apart from all religions: for lovers, the (only) religion and creed is - God.” [1]

Rumi gives a cosmic and universal vision of love. Love not only created the universe but also sustains it. He says:

از محبت تلخھا شیرین شود
از محبت دُردھا صافے شود
از محبت مردہ زندہ می کنند
این محبت ھم نتیجہ دانش است
دانش ناقص کجا این عشق زاد
بر جمادی رنگ مطلوبی چو دید
دانش ناقص نداند فرق را

از محبت مِسھا زرّین شود
از محبت دُردھا صافے شود
از محبت شاہ بندہ می کنند
کی کَزافہ بر چنین تختی نشست
عشق زاید ناقص امّا برجماد
از صفیری بانگِ محبوبی شنید
لا جرم خورشید داند برق را

“By love bitter things become sweet; by love pieces of copper become golden;

By love dregs become clear; by love pains become healing;

By love the dead is made living; by love the king is made a slave.

This love, moreover, is the result of knowledge: who (ever) sat in foolishness on such a throne?

On what occasion did deficient knowledge give birth to this love? Deficient (knowledge) gives birth to love, but (only love) for that which is (really) lifeless.

When it sees in a lifeless being the colour (appearance) of a desired one, (‘tis as though) it heard the voice of a beloved in a whistle

Deficient knowledge cannot discriminate: of necessity it deems the lightning to be the sun.” [2]

گفت پیغمبر کہ حق فرمودہ است
در زمین و آسمان و عرش نیز
در دل مومن بگنجم اے عجب

من نگنجم در خُم بالا و پست
من نگنجم این یقین دان ای عزیز
گر مرا جویی در آن دلھا طلب

“The prophet said that God has said, ‘I am not contained in the jar of “high” and “low” (spatial dimensions);

I am not contained in earth or heaven or even in the empyrean-know this for certain, O noble one;

(But) I am contained in the true believer’s heart; oh, how wonderful! If thou seekest Me, search in those hearts.”[3]

تو ز قرآن باز خوان تفسیر بیت

گفت ایزد ما رمیت اِذ رَمَیت

“Recite from the Qur’an the interpretation of (i.e. a text which interprets) the (preceding) verses: God said, Thou didst not throw when thou threwest.” [4]

 

عارفا تو از معرف فارغی

خود ھمی بینی کہ نور بازغٰی

 “Though you may know (all) the minutiae of knowledge, O trustworthy (scholar), not by that (means) will your two (inward) eyes that discern the invisible be opened.” [5]

It is pertinent to point out that knowledge and love in Rumi are not poles apart but are polarizations of the same Reality, which is manifest in its Attributes of Knowledge and Love. Both knowledge and love are inter-related for a deficient knowledge cannot lead to perfect love and a deficient love cannot attain perfect knowledge or gnosis (maarfah). In other words, knowledge of the beloved deepens


[1]     Ibid., Book-II, 1770

[2]     Ibid., Book-II, 1529 - 1535.

[3]     Ibid., Book-1, 2653-2655

[4]     Ibid., Book-1, 615

[5]     Ibid., Book-VI, 263

love and love of the beloved heightens knowledge. The cognitive aspects of love reveal wonders. It is by virtue of love that one attains gnosis wherein the knower and the known achieve identity.

Iqbal has attained uniqueness in the world of Islam by manifesting a vital understanding both of the Islamic heritage and the West. His prose and poetry is replete with higher commitment to the principles of Islam and an earnest desire of opening the Muslim society to the positive aspects of the Western world and thus, making the Muslim nation earn a respectable position in the comity of nations He at times tends to show an ambivalence regarding the West but when one revisits him, one understands that he never betrays his original vision of remaining true to the spirit of Islam. He does not advocate a blind following of the West but at times criticizes the Western world for some of her failings. He takes upon himself the colossal task of reconstructing the religious thought of Islam in the light of modern times. In the whole process of reconstruction, he assigns a pivotal position to knowledge for twofold reasons: First, true knowledge is the edifice on which is built rightful conduct. Second, knowledge of sciences, humanities and arts is decisive in changing the plight of the Muslims in particular and people in general.

Iqbal takes Rumi as his guide and acknowledges him in his prose and poetry. He says:

باز بر خوانم ز فیض پیر روم
پیر رومی خاک را اکسیر کرد

دفتر سر بستہ اسرارِ علوم
از غبارم جلوہ ھا تعمیر کرد

Asrar-i-Khudi (1915)

“Inspired by the genius of the Master of Rum,

I rehearse the sealed book of secret lore.

The Master of Rum transmuted my earth to gold

And set my ashes aflame”.[1]

مرشد رومی حکیم پاک زاد

سر مرگ و زندگی بر ما گشاد

Payam-i-Mashriq (1923)

“Spiritual Master Rumi, the sage of holy origin,

Opened the secret of life and death to us”[2]

شرارے جستۂ گیر از درونم

کہ من مانند رومی گرم خونم

Zubur-i-Ajam (1927)

“Have a spark from my innermost heart,

For my heart is as fiery as Rumi’s”[3]

طلعتش رخشندہ مثل آفتاب
پیکرِ روشن ز نور سرمدی
بر لب او سر پنھان وجود
حرف او آئینۂ آویختہ

شیب او فرخندہ چون عہد شباب
در سراپائیش سرور سرمدی!
بند ھائے حرف و صوت از خود کشود
علم با سوزِ دروں آمیختہ!

Javid Nama (1932)

“And like the sun was his clear countenance

And age, in him, did scintillate like youth,

His figure gleamed with godly light that lent

Him bliss and grace. The secrets of this life

Hung on his lips and burst the bounds of word

And sound. The words he spoke were crystal clear

With learning full and inward light”[4]

Bal-i-Jabiril (1935)

“Iqbal has quoted Rumi’s verses in reply to the questions of ‘Murid-i-Hindi in the dialogues of ‘Pir- o- Murid’”[5]

نکتہ ھا از پیر روم آموختم

خویش را در حرف او واسوختم



[1]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint,

[2]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint

[3]     Ibid

[4]     Ibid

[5]     Ibid

Pas Cheh Baid Kard (1936)

نکتہ ھا از پیر روم آموختم

خویش را در حرف او واسوختم

“I have learnt the subtleties from Pir Rumi

I have burnt my-self in his letters.”[1]

است کہ بکشائم میخانۂ رومی باز

پیران حرم دیدم در صحن کلیسا مست وقت

Musafer (1936)

“It is time that I reopen the tavern of Rumi:

The sheikhs of the Ka’aba are lying drunk in the courtyard of the church.”[2]

گسستہ تار ہے تیری خودی کا ساز اب تک
کہ تو ہے نغمۂ رومی سے بے نیاز اب تک

Zarb-e-Kalim (1936)

“That the string of the instrument of your ego is broken is due to your indifference to Rumi’s music.”[3]

بروے من در دل باز کردند
ز فیض او گرفتم اعتبارے

ز خاک من جہانی ساز کردند
کہ با من ماہ و انجم ساز کردند

Armaghan-i-Hijaz (1938)

“Destiny acquainted one with the secrets

And raised a world from my dust

I have acquired such respect because of

(Rumi’s) beneficence that even the moon and

The stars have become in harmony with me.”[4]

Masnawi Pas Chah Baid Kerd

نور قرآن درمیان سینہ اش

جام جم شرمندہ از آئینہ اش

“The light of the Qur’an is hidden in his breast

The bowl of Jam fades in the presence of his mirror.”[5]

Iqbal laments that no other Rumi has arisen from the earth of Persia. He says:

نہ اٹھا پھر کوئی رومی عجم کے لالہ زاروں سے
وہی آب و گل ایراں وہی تبریز ہے ساقی

No other Rumi has bloomed forth in the Persian orchards, though it is the same environ of Persia and Tabriz, O’ cup-bearer.[6]

He demonstrates the need of Rumi in the modern world to enkindle hope against despair. He says: “The world of to-day needs a Rumi to create an attitude of hope and to kindle the fire of enthusiasm for life”.[7]

One cannot think of Rumi without Shams Tabriz, likewise one cannot think of Iqbal without Rumi. Dr Nazir Qaiser has shown Rumi’s impact on almost all aspects of Iqbal’s thought including his understanding of the nature of the self and its development, destiny, freedom, immortality and self –realization; the values of ishq (love), intellect, action and Faqr; disvalues of fear, disappointment, imitation, slavery and segregation from community; stages of religious life comprising faith, rational understanding and discovery; symbolism of the Fall of Adam, ‘wahi’ or revelation, ‘mehraj’ or Ascension, heavens and hell; physical world and evolution; God, His Attributes, relation with man and the universe; love as basis of higher religion, humanity and universalism; perfect man, his status, characteristics and pragmatic value; Muhammad the most perfect man and finality of prophethood.



[1]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint

[2]     Ibid

[3]     Ibid

[4]     Ibid

[5]     Iqbal, quoted (with translations of different scholars) in Dr. Nazir Qaiser’s Book: Rumi’s Impact on Iqbal’s Religious Thought, Published by Iqbal Academy of Pakistan, Lahore 1989, Reprint

[6]     Iqbal, Bal-i-Jabiril (translation in English is my own)

[7]     Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.121

Iqbal starts his discussion on knowledge by questioning Kant’s viewpoint that metaphysics is impossible since one can have only knowledge of the phenomena and not of the noumena that is the Reality existing beyond the phenomenal world or experience. He finds these observations unacceptable in the face of human experience. It has led to spinning of pseudo theories of knowledge, which delimit the universal realm of knowledge. Iqbal rightly rejects the Kantian assumption and points to the legitimacy of exploring other levels of knowledge-yielding experience as well. He, as a religious metaphysician, makes a case for religious experience in the hierarchy of knowledge. He knits sense perception, reason and intuition in his concept of knowledge. He says that “there are potential types of consciousness lying close to our normal consciousness (which) are life-giving and knowledge-yielding experience.”[1] Thought and intuition do not oppose each other. “They spring up from the same root and complement each other.”[2] “Knowledge is sense-perception elaborated by understanding.”[3] He considers inner experience, Nature and History as sources of knowledge.[4] “Knowledge must begin with the concrete. It is the intellectual capture of and power over the concrete that makes it possible for the intellect of man to pass beyond the concrete.”[5] “One indirect way of establishing connexions with the reality that confronts us is reflective observation and control of its symbols as they reveal themselves to sense-perception; the other way is direct association with that reality as it reveals itself within.”[6] “In the interest of securing a complete vision of Reality, therefore, sense-perception must be supplemented by the perception of what the Qur’an describes as ‘Faud’ or ‘Qalb’, i.e., heart…. The heart is a kind of inner intuition or insight, which in the beautiful words of Rumi, feeds on the rays of the sun and brings us into contact with aspects of Reality other than those open to sense-perception. It is, according to the Qur’an something which ‘sees’ and its reports, if properly interpreted are never false. We must not, however, regard it as a mysterious special faculty; it is rather a mode of dealing with Reality in which sensation, in the physiological sense of the word, does not play any part. Yet the vista of experience thus opened to us is as real and concrete as any other experience.”[7]

He defines prophecy ‘as a type of mystic consciousnesses’ and his ‘wahi’ as the fruit of his being in ‘contact with the root of his own being’. He says that the idea of the finality of prophethood “does not mean that mystic experience, which qualitatively does not differ from the experience of the prophet, has now ceased to exist as a vital fact. Indeed the Qur’an regards both ‘Anfus’ (self) and ‘Afaq’ (world) as sources of knowledge. God reveals His signs in inner as well as outer experience and it is the duty of man to judge the knowledge-yielding capacity of all aspects of experience. The idea of finality, therefore, should not be taken to suggest that the ultimate fate of life is complete displacement of emotion by reason. Such a thing is neither possible nor desirable. The intellectual value of the idea is that it tends to create an independent critical attitude towards mystic experience by generating the belief that all personal authority, claiming a supernatural origin, has come to an end in the history of man…The function of the idea is to open up fresh vistas of knowledge in the domain of man’s inner experience”[8]

Here, again Iqbal again follows Rumi in demonstrating the possibility of mystic experience as a universal possibility


[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.185

[2]     Ibid., p.2

[3]     Ibid., p.12

[4]     Ibid., p.127

[5]     Ibid., p.131

[6]     Ibid., p.15

[7]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.16

[8]     Ibid., p.127

in all ages and countries. He discusses the stages of religious life and considers the stage of discovery as the climax of religious life. Man has to pass through the stages of faith and rational understanding in order to have a direct contact with God that is a direct contact with the roots of his own being. He says: “It is here, that religion becomes a matter of personal assimilation of life and power; and the individual achieves a free personality, not by releasing himself from the fetters of the law, but by discovering the ultimate source of the law within the depths of his own consciousness.”[1]

Khawaja Ghulam Farid is a Saraiki Sufi poet par excellence belonging to the Southern Punjab of Pakistan who has enriched Saraiki culture by virtue of his intellectuality, spirituality and artistic expressions. He is a household name in the Saraiki world and he has bestowed Saraiki cultural identity to his people. The cultural aspects of Sufism are manifest in his Sufi thought. He is rooted in the Saraiki tradition but the purport of his message is universal. There are many commonalities between Rumi and Khawaja Ghulam Farid as Sufis including their principal choice of expressing themselves in the poetic mode; having a boundless universal perspective; being well versed in both theoretical and realised knowledge; stressing meaning as against the mere form; responsiveness to different levels of understanding; unveiling the reality of love in the attainment of gnosis; indicating the alchemy of suffering in love; manifesting a sincere commitment of love with the common man; demonstrating the universal possibility of a direct contact with God; making man realise his original cosmic vocation; exhibiting unflinching surrender to their respective spiritual masters; revering a very deep love for the holy Prophet and holding on to the principle of unity behind all multiplicity.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid in consonance with the universal Islamic tradition has no problem in accepting sense-experience as the source of knowledge and the legitimate role of reason within the legitimate spheres but the problem arises when they are de-linked from the fountainhead of knowledge or gnosis, which ultimately leads to the veiling of the Reality within human self and the cosmos. Mere theoretical knowledge divorced from the root of knowledge becomes veiled. He says:

علم فرید ہے حاجب

بے شک بے عرفان[2]

Farid! Knowledge is veiled. It is undoubtedly bereft of gnosis.

He goes beyond reason and its counterfeits in order to attain genuine knowledge. He says:

ذوق، ورا، ہے طور عقل دے

بٹھ گھت کوڑے بحث دلائل[3]

Tasting transcends the limits of the human reason. Cast aside the false mode of argumentation and proofs.

 

ادبّنی ربّی جب ہویا

شرع مسائل مکڑے[4]

The Prophet’s saying: “My Lord has taught me and made me aware of secrets” has come to light. It has led to the settlement of all issues of jurisprudence and its principles.

The knowledge of one’s self, which is the epitome of the traditional doctrines, brings one to have an intuitive grasp of the Reality, which resides within man. He says:

جو کوئی چاہے علم حقائق

تھیوے اپنے آپ دا شائق

راز لدنی کشف دقائق

سَٹ نزدیکی دوری نوں[5]

The one, who yearns for knowledge of realities, inspired knowledge and illumination of subtleties, should delve within his own self. He should cast away proximity and distance.



[1]     Iqbal, Muhammad, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, p.181

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 139.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 72.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 177.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 119.

اپنی حقیقت گول توں

رکھ یاد اساڈا بول توں

بے کوں نہ اصلوں پھول توں

آنیں نہ شک ہے محض پک[1]

Search your own reality. Do not bother about the other. Do remember my saying without doubting its veracity.

توں ہیں سمجھ، سنجان نہ چھوڑیں

اپنے آپ توں مونہہ نہ موڑیں

نرگن سرگن وچ جا جوڑیں

سب ہے روپ سروپ تہارا[2]

Do not discard this Gnostic learning and understanding. Be in harmony with your Self.  Never be oblivious of your essentiality.  All is your splendid Face.

فاش فرید اے وعظ سنا توں

جے کوئی چاہے فقر فنا کوں

عالم جاہل شاہ گدا کوں

اپنے آپ کوں گولے[3]

Farid! Openly narrate this spiritual discourse to the knowledgeable, ignorant, king and beggar that any one who wishes to attain the consciousness of his ontological nothingness and annihilation should search within himself.

رہ توحیدی رِیت فریدی

اپنے آپ دا دھیانے[4]

The way of unity and the Faridi tradition is watchfulness of one’s inner self.

”نَحْنُ اَقْرَبْ“ راز انوکھا

سمجھ سنجانو، عالم لوکا

”وَھُوَ مَعَکُمْ“ ملیا ہوکا

ہے ہر روپ میں عین نظارہ

His being nearer to man than his neck vein is a novel secret.  His ever presence with you has been proclaimed. O people! Do grasp and identify that it is His open manifestation in each form.

”وَفِیْ اَنْفُسِکُمْ“ سر اِلٰہی

ہر صورت وچ رانجھن ماہی

”لودُلّیتم“ فاش گواہی

کیتا ناز دا ڈھنگ نیارا[5]

It is a divine secret that He dwells in the self. It is a divulged testimony to His Omnipresence. Ranjhan friend is in each form. His mode of pride is unique.

یار فرید عیان بیانے

ایہو عقیدہ دین ایمانے

نَحْنُ اَقْرَب وچ فرقانے

توڑے پکڑ چڑھاوِن دار[6]

Farid! My friend is openly manifest. His being nearer to man than his neck vein entails the entire holy discernment (Furqan). It is our doctrine imbibed in the religion of the heart. It may end up in captivation or crucifixion.

The point of Adam’s heart is the door to eternity. He says:

ڈیکھو شوکت شان پسارا

مرکز دور محیط دا سارا

محور گردش سبع سیارا

نقطہ دل آدم دا ہے[7]

Witness the widespread splendour and grandeur, the axis of seven revolving around planets and the all-encompassing centre: the point of Adam’s heart.

Heart is the repository of knowledge. He says:

نہ کافی جان کفایہ

کر پرزے جلد وقایہ

نہ ہادی سمجھ ہدایہ

ایہا دل قرآن کتابے

Do not consider ‘Kifaya’ (a book of jurisprudence) as sufficient. Do not consider ‘Hidaya’ (a book of jurisprudence) as the guide. Just tear to bits the pages of ‘Wiqaya’ (a book of jurisprudence). Our heart is the immanent Qur’an (corroborated by the earthly Qur’an).

   

ہے پرم گیان وِی دلڑی

ہے جان جہان وِی دلڑی

ہے بید پُران وِی دلڑی

دل بطن بطون دا بابے

Heart is love and gnosis. Heart is the essence of life as portrayed in Hindu Scriptures: Vedas and Puranas. Heart is the artery of the universe. Heart opens to infinite depths of interiority.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 64.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 20.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 180.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi, 246.

[5]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 7.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 60.

[7]     Ibid., Kafi 224.

 

دِل لُب ہے کون مکاں دا

دل مرکز زمین زماں دا

دل غایت اصل جہاں دا

بیا کُوڑ پَلال حجابے

Heart is the quintessence of the universe. Heart is the raison d’etre of creation. Heart is the centre of the heavens and the earth. All else is false, deceptive and veiled.

وِچ صورت دے ناسوتی

جبروت اتے لَاہوتی

وچ معنے دے ملکوتی

دل اندر سب اسبابے

It is terrestrial in form. It is celestial in meaning. It is omnipotent and beyond space and time. All possibilities of knowledge inhere in the heart.

رَکھ انتر دھیان فریدیؔ

ہے دوری سخت بعیدی

سَٹ سِکھنی پیر مُریدی

جی سُکھڑیں کان عذابے[1]

Farid! Meditate within the infinite depths of your own being. Leave aside the empty profession of becoming a spiritual master and having disciples. Distancing (from concentrating on one’s heart) is being greatly remote (from one’s destination). It is a curse to lead a life of comforts (for it makes one oblivious of his basic vocation).

سینہ صاف صفا بے کینہ

دِلڑی خالص پاک نگینہ

نُور حقیقی دا آئینہ

نقشہ بیّت حرم دا ہے[2]

A clear and pure self without any malice is the mirror of the supernal light. A pure heart is a sacred jewel figuring the House of God.

جو کوئی دل ڈوں دھیان رکھیسی

اِثنینیت کل اُٹھ ویسی

سارے گجھڑے راز نوں پیسی

بھج پوسن سبھ بھولے[3]

The one, who concentrates on his heart, shall unravel the deep secret (of unity or oneness) in entirety. All the duality (multiplicity) will wither away. All doubts will be removed.

He brings out the reality of love, which remains opaque to the consciousness of the clerics who do not understand it. He says:

عشق دی بات نہ سمجھن اصلوں

اے ملوانے رکھڑے[4]

These exoteric clerics essentially do not understand the reality of love.

The creative reality of Love is manifest in different forms. He says:

ہے عِشق دا جلوہ ہَر ہر جا

خود عاشق خود مَعشوق بنیا

سُبحان اللہ سُبحان اللہ

سُبحان اللہ سُبحان اللہ

The immanence of Love is manifest everywhere. Glory is to Allah, the Glorious. The lover himself has assumed the form of the beloved. Glory is to Allah, the Glorious.

خود بُلبل تے پروانہ ہے

تھی چاند چکور نوں موہ لیا

گل شمع اتے دیوانہ ہے

سُبحان اللہ سُبحان اللہ[5]

He is himself the nightingale and the moth. He is crazy of the rose and the candle. He has enchanted the red-legged partridge in the form of the moon. Glory is to Allah, the Glorious.

جو کوئی عشق مدرسے آیا

بے شک عارف ہو کر پایا

فقہ اصول دا فکر اٹھایا

رمز حقیقت پوری نوں[6]

 

The one who joined the academy of love, ceased to bother about jurisprudence and its principles. Undoubtedly, he attained gnosis and thereby fully understood the clue to Reality.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 199.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 224.

[3]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 180.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 177.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 154.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 119.

 

عشق ہے ہادی پرم نگر دا

عشق ہے رہبر راہ فقر دا

عشقوں حاصل ہے عرفان[1]

Love is the guide to the city of affection. Love steers the way to ontological nothingness. Love leads to the realisation of gnosis.

کیا رِیت پریت سِکھائی ہے

سَب ڈسدا حُسن خدائی ہے

What a tradition love has made me realise. The Divine beauty is manifest everywhere.

ڈسدی یار مِٹھل دی صورت

ہر ویلھے ہے شگن مہورت

کُل تصویر اتے کُل مورت

غیر دی خبر نہ کائی ہے[2]

I see the sweet form of my friend in its complete picture and full face. It is a good omen to see the form of my friend every time. There is no trace of otherness (or non divine).

عشق ہے ڈکھڑے دل دی شادی

عشق ہے ساڈا پیر

عشق ہے رہبر مرشد ہادی

جیں  کل  راز  سُجھایا[3]

Love is the delight of the suffering heart. Love is the mentor, spiritual master and guide. Love is our spiritual teacher, who has made us realise the whole secret.

The metaphysics of love points to the alchemy of suffering in the transformation of base metal into gold. It effaces the traces of duality corresponding to the longing of the lover to achieve identity or oneness with his beloved. He says:

درد فرید ہمیشہ ہووے

رہندی تانگھ تے تان

سارے پاپ دوئی دے دھودے

پہنچاں پریم نگر وچ[4]

Farid! I am having constant pain. It wipes out all the sins of duality. I have insatiable longing to reach the City of Love.

Love ultimately leads to heart-knowledge that makes man identify himself with Knowledge itself leading to deliverance and union. Both ordinary knowledge and action are transcended since they both belong to individual contingencies or to the contingent realms. He says:

جڈاں عشق فرید استاد تھیا

پر حضرت دل آباد تھیا

سَب علم و علم برباد تھیا

سو وجد کنوں لکھ حال کنوں[5]

Farid! When love becomes the mentor of someone, it ravishes all his knowledge and action. But, it enlivens his heart with hundreds of spiritual states and hundred thousand of ecstasies.

الف ہکو ہم بس وے میاں جی

Alif (the alphabet symbolizing Allah, the Reality) is simply and solely enough for me, my respected teacher.

ہور کہانی مول نہ بھانی

الف گیم دل کَھس وے میاں جی

There is absolutely no other narration that has touched me. It is Alif that has grabbed my heart, my respected teacher.

بے تے دی بئی کل نہ کائی

الف کیتم بے وس وے میاں جی

I have no knowledge of ‘bay’ and ‘tai’ (alphabets symbolising formal learning). Alif has made me helpless, my respected teacher.

ٹھپ رکھ فقہ اُصول دے مَسلے

باب برہوں دا ڈس وے میاں جی

Shelve the issues of jurisprudence and its principles. Open the chapter of loving for me, my respected teacher.

جے کر لگڑو چاٹ برہوں دی

جایاں کوں ڈیسیں ڈس وے میاں جی

 

Once you get the taste of love (get existentially involved in love), you will even caution your descendants (about the sufferings of love), my respected teacher.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 134.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 253.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 8.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 28.

[5]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 141

 

جے ناں سبق برہوں دا ڈتڑو

اَج کل وِیساں نَس وے میاں جی

If you do not teach me the lesson of love, then I will one of these days flee from you, my respected teacher.

برہوں سکھیں تے برہوں سکھائیں

ہئی شابس شابس وے میاں جی

Learn love and teach love. Bravo! Bravo, my respected teacher.

جیندیں موئیں ہک یار دے رہسوں

وسری ہور ہوس وے میاں جی

We shall remain committed to the one beloved in life and death. All other craving has been fallen in oblivion, my respected teacher.

منتر پریت دا پھوک شکاریں

لنگنیں ہم آلس وے میاں جی

Blow over me the incantations of love since there is indisposition in parts of my body, my respected teacher.

اُلفت زر دی گھر دی ور دی

نہ رہ گئی ہِک خَس وے میاں جی

No attraction of wealth, household and husband has remained in me even to the extent of a straw, my respected teacher.

رانجھن میرا میں رانجھن دی

کھیڑیاں دے مونہہ بَھس وے میاں جی

Ranjhan is mine and I belong to Ranjhan. I wish dust in the mouths of the ‘Kheras’ (signifying contempt for one’s adversaries), my respected teacher.

سَٹ گھر بار تے بار وَسیساں

بَدلیں کیتی لَس وے میاں جی

I will leave my household and shall dwell in desolate forests. The clouds have shown flashes of lightning, my respected teacher.

علم عَمل بُھل، ویسی جے کر

عشق پیو کن رُس وے میاں جی[1]

You will become forgetful of knowledge and action (transcend), once the tune of love enters your ears, my respected teacher.

سَب وسرے علم علوم اساں

ہے باقی درد دی دھوم اساں

کل بھل گئے رسم رسوم اساں

بئی برہوں دی یاد رہیو سے گت[2]

We have gone beyond different forms of knowledge. We have transcended ritualistic patterns of behaviour. What remains is the display of pain on the tune of love.

ہن عشق آ دل موں پیا

سب محو منسٰی ہو گیا

ہوش و ہنر ضائع تھیا

جو کجھ سکھی جو کجھ پڑھی[3]

Now, love has dwelled in my heart. All my awareness and skill has been destroyed. My formal education has all been erased and forgotten.

بیعت کرکے عشق کڈھایم

علم  و  عمل  توں  بنّاں[4]

Love has administered me an oath of allegiance. It has made me transcend knowledge and action.

راز حقیقی فاش ڈٹھوسے

علم و عمل توں چھٹیاں چھٹیاں[5]

I have witnessed the Divine secret in manifest openness. I have transcended knowledge and action.

Love makes one transcend the polarisation of right and wrong or good and evil and ultimately leads to the identification with Good itself. He says:

گمراہی سبھ زہد عبادت

شاہد مستی عین ہدایت

جس جا کیتا عشق ظہور[6]

When love manifests itself, then misguidance is total asceticism and worship and inebriation with profane beauty is guidance itself.



[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 169.

[2]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 25.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 211.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 145.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 128.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 57.

The Reality itself is beyond the distinction of rightness and wrongness since it is Rightness itself. It is only in the process of manifestation that a relative polarisation between right and wrong, good and evil, ugly and beautiful come forth, which ultimately through the cosmic cycles reaches its Source. One has always to remember, while understanding this metaphysical truth that Light is essentially light whether it is manifested in the forms of reflection, deflection or rarefaction. He says:

حق باطل، سبھ حق ہے حق ہے

یار ہے یار ہے یار ہے یار

پر اے راز بہوں مغلق ہے

سوہنا کوجھا نیک اتے بد[1]

Truth and falsehood is essentially truth itself but it is a much profound secret. The beautiful, ugly, virtuous, and vicious are our friends, companions, comrades and intimates.

The path of gnosis is traversed under the guidance of one’s spiritual master who guides the disciple on the spiritual way and makes him understand the states and stations of the spiritual voyage. He says:

کشف حقائق محض محالے

جے تئیں مرشد نظر نہ بھالے

پیو کل کوڑ، فریب، تے زُور[2]

The illumination of realities is hardly possible unless the spiritual master casts his glance. All else is absolute falsehood, deception and illusion.

گُر نے پورے بید بتائے

مدہوشی وچ ہوش سکھائے

عقل فکر سب فہم گمائے

سارا  سفر  عروج  سُجھایا[3]

My spiritual master communicated to me esoterism in fullness. He made my reason, reflection and entire understanding dwindle into insignificance. He taught me sobriety in drunkenness. He enlightened me on the ascending stages of spiritual journey.

نفسی خلط ہے تونیں غَالب

پر مایوس نہ تھیویں طالب

پیر مغاں ہے خاص طبیب[4]

O’ seeker! Do not fall in despair even when sensuality has overpowered you. The cup bearer is a special therapist.

گُر، بات، بتائی پوری

تھئی فاش تجلی طوری

طیفوری تے منصوری

ہر جا ایمن تے میقاتاں[5]

The master taught me the whole doctrine of Bayazid Bistami and Mansur Hallaj. The Sinai theophany became openly manifest. There is ‘aiman’ (the valley of Mount Sinai) and ‘mekataan’ (the moments of communication with the Sustainer) every where.

تھی گر پیر دا چیلا سچا

برہوں کڑاہ چڑھیا مچ مچیا

نہ ہو قدم ہٹا کر کچا

جل بل مار انا دا نعرہ[6]

Be a true disciple of your spiritual Master. Do not become frail by faltering your steps. The cauldron of love is ablaze. Get burned in it completely by raising the cry: I am Truth.

فخر پیا توں بَل بَل جاواں

اس دی ہو کر کیوں غم کھاواں

جیندے نال میں لدھیاں لاواں

سب کجھ یار سُجھایا ہے[7]

I sacrifice myself for the sake of Fakhr. I have accomplished my nuptial rites with him. Why should I be in the state of sorrowfulness, when I belong to him? My friend has made me realise everything.

لطف ازل دا ویلہا آیا

طبع سلیم فرید دی پایا

فخر جہاں گُر گیان سنایا

فہم لغات طیوری نوں[8]

 

It was the dawning of eternal bliss that Fakhr Jehan laid bare the principles of gnosis. The harmonious disposition of Farid understood the language of birds.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 30.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 50.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 2.

[4]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 24.

[5]     Ibid., Kafi 124.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 20.

[7]     Ibid., Kafi 217.

[8]     Ibid., Kafi 119.

 

فخر جہاں ہک ریت سجھائی

اَرضی تِھیا یَک بار سمائی

ظلمت بن گئی نور و نور[1]

Fakhr Jehan made me realise a metaphysical tradition. The terrestrial became celestial and darkness turned into lighting upon light.

Khawaja Ghulam Farid makes us remember the primordial lesson of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) by experiencing the Reality within himself He says:

ہمہ اوست دا سبق گھدوسے

فاش تھئے گجھ لکڑے[2]

I have learnt the doctrine of Oneness of Being. All mysteries and secrets have become openly manifest to me.

سمجھ سنجانی غیر نہ جانی

سب صورت سبحانے

Do have a deeper understanding and never consider it as the other because the Reality (Transcendent) is manifest in all forms of immanence.

اول آخر ظاہر باطن

یار  عیان  بیانے[3]

The First, the Last, the Outward and the Inward are the open-manifestations of my friend.

سوہنے یار پُنل دا

ہر جا عین ظہور

My lovely friend Punnal is openly manifest.

اول آخر ظاہر باطن

اس دا جان حضور

Witness his presence in the first, the last, the outward and the inward (in all dimensions).

آپ بنے سلطان جہاں دا

آپ  بنے  مزدور[4]

He himself assumes the form of the sovereign of the world and He himself assumes the form of a labourer.

یار فرید نہیں مستورے

ظلمت بھی سب نور حضورے

ہر جا اس دا عین ظہورے

اسم فقط بیا آیا ہے[5]

Farid! My friend is not hidden. He is openly manifest at each and every place (Omnipresent). Darkness too is the pervasive presence of Light. It has just been named differently.

سمجھ سنجانیں غیر نہ جانیں

سبھ صورت ہے عین ظہور

Do understand and identify and do not consider it as otherness. It is his open manifestation in all forms.

رکھ تصدیق نہ تھی آوارہ

کعبہ، قبلہ، دیر، دوارہ

مسجد، مندر، ہِکڑو نور

Do verify and do not remain on the periphery. The House of God, the direction of prayer, the idol- temple, and the Sikh place of worship, the mosque and the temple manifest the same (essential) Light.

حسن ازل تھیا فاش مبّین

ہر ہر گھاٹی وادی ایمن

ہر ہر پتھر ہے کوہ طور

The Primordial Beauty became openly manifest. Here, each and every pass is Aiman valley. Here, each and every stone is mount Tur.

تھئے ظاہر اسرار قدیمی

ہر ہر شاخ ہے نخل کلیمی

زیر، زَبر، چَپ، راست حضور

The ancient mysteries were unravelled. Here, each and every branch of the tree of Moses and all directions whether up and down, right and left imbibe His presence.

ویرانہ آباد ڈسیجے

جنگل بیلہ شاد ڈسیجے

دوزخ نظرمِ حور قصور

The desolate places look inhabited. The forests and shrubbery look joyful. Hell seems as heavens to me (characterized by houries and palaces).

 


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 57.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 177.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 246.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 52.

[5]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 217.

 

عاری پھردے حج، زکوٰتوں

صوم صلوٰتوں ذات صفاتوں

رند الستوں ہِن مخمور[1]

They wander being liberated from pilgrimage, alms giving, fasting, ritualistic prayer, essence and attributes. The inebriates are intoxicated ever since the primordial day.

ہمہ اوست دے بھید نیارے

ہر ہر شے وچ کرن نظارے

جانن وحدت دے ونجارے

اصل تجلی طوری نوں[2]

The mysteries of Oneness of Being are remarkable. They are known by the dealers of Unity. They behold the real Sinai theophany in each and every existent.

جِتھاں بھال ڈیکھاں تتھے راز ڈسے

سبھ سوز فرید نُوں ساز ڈسے

سَبھ حُسن تے ناز نواز ڈسے

ہمہ اوست سجھائی ریت بھلی[3]

I discern mystery in seeing everywhere with my searching eyes. All the beauty, prides and elegance are visible. Farid! All passions are seen as instrumental to the realisation of my basic vocation. The doctrine of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) has made me realise a noble tradition.

The extinction of the human self or consciousness of one’s own ontological nothingness in face of the Absolute or God has been expressed by the Sufis in different ways. It is not merely a theoretical possibility but it is by virtue of spiritual experience that one experiences such Supreme identity. He says:

وصل فرید کوں حاصل ہویا

جب    ہو    گیا   نابود[4]

Farid attained union (identity) by ceasing to be.

Thus, metaphysical realisation or the state of non duality leads to the effective knowledge of one’s ontological nothingness whereby the ordinary self ceases to exist and the Reality expresses itself in fullness through the human medium. He says:

جیں من مندر پایا پیا

تھی محو اثباتی تھیا

ڈکھ پاپ سارا مٹ گیا

رَہندا فرید فرید بِن[5]

The one who finds the beloved in his heart, it leads to the effacement of all his sufferings and sins. Farid remains without individuality by subsisting in the everlasting one (non duality).

 

 

جانے کون گنوار مقلد

تھی مطلق بے قید موحد

وَہ وَہ ریت مقدس جیّد

سبھ صورت وچ آپ سمایا

How can an unenlightened person bereft of gnosis know the laudable, holy and powerful tradition (of Oneness of Being)? The One is identified with Freedom Itself without delimitation. He has descended in all forms.

 

 

جب ہک رمز ملی توحیدوں

تھی کر فرد، فرید! فریدوں

دل آزاد ڈٹھم تقلیدوں

سِری روحی وعظ سنایا[6]

My heart was freed from merely following the letter of law after getting a clue of Oneness. Farid! The individual by ceasing to be -- narrated the sermon: My essentiality is Spirit.

 

 

دِل مست محو خیال ہے

سرمو تفاوت نہ سہوں

My heart is engrossed within imagination. I cannot bear any differentiation.

 

اے خیال عین وصال ہے

تے کمال ہے نہ کہ ہے جنوں

 

My imagination is an immanent union. It is perfection and not lunacy.


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 50.

[2]     Ibid., Kafi 119.

[3]     Ibid., Kafi 213.

[4]     Ibid., Kafi 32.

[5]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 100.

[6]     Ibid., Kafi 2.

 

اصل الاصول شہدتہ

چہ شہود عین بعینہ

ہمہ سو بسو ہمہ کوبکو

نہیں فرصت اتنی کہ دم بھروں

I have openly witnessed the Supreme Principle in every nook and corner. The witnessing is so glaringly evident that I cannot disengage myself even for a moment.

جو مکاں تھا بن گیا لامکاں

شدہ اسم و رسم زمن دواں

جو نشان تھا ہو گیا بے نشاں

اللہ اپنے آپ کو کیا کہوں

The spatial turned spaceless. The sign turned without a sign. The names and customs of the ages have left me forlorn. My Allah! What should I call myself?

نہ عیان ہے نہ نہان ہے

نہ رہا ایہہ جسم نہ جان ہے

نہ بیان ہے نہ دھیان ہے

کِیہاں ڈوس ہوش حواس کوں

There is neither openness nor hiddenness. There is neither speech nor a thought. My body has neither remained nor the life-impulse. How can I blame my sense and sensibility?

شد عکس در عکس ایں بِنا

باقی نماند بجز انا

کہ فنا بقا ہے بقا فنا

کِتھ او تے توں کِتھ ہاں تے ہوں

There is double reflection. ‘Fana’ (extinction) is ‘baqa’ (subsistence) and ‘baqa’ (subsistence) is ‘fana’ (extinction). There is solely the ultimate, without any question of that and you (otherness)?

کڈیں شور دے سطوات ہن

کئی قسم دے بکوات ہن

کڈیں زور دے شطحات ہن

ستوں دے بتوں، بتوں دے ستوں

There are percussions and spiritual impositions at times and at times there are drives and antinomian utterances. There are so many types of prattling leading to meaningless discourse.

اٹھ گئی ”فرید“ ہوس مُنڈھوں

کسے کس ہو کس ناکس منڈھوں

نہ رہا ہئی وَس ہک خس منڈھوں

چپ چاپ فیل فساد توں[1]

Farid! Lust has been uprooted. I have become incapacitated as a straw. You should be quiet for there will be tumult in determining, who absolutely merits or who does not merit.

In the end, it is instructive to note that the question of Oneness of Being (wahdat al-wujud) is quite relevant in understanding the metaphysics of knowledge since it is the realization of knowledge itself that leads to union and deliverance. Khawaja Ghulam Farid has a total, supreme and absolute commitment with this doctrine and its realisation. However, no direct influence of Ibn Arabi is visible on the thought of Rumi as such. It is pertinent to note that both Ibn Arabi and Rumi do not use the term wahdat al-wujud. It was later used by the followers of Ibn Arabi who interpreted the thought of their master in these terms. The question whether Rumi belongs to Ibn Arabi’s tradition of wahdat al-wujud is being debated in many circles. William Chittick, for example, enlightens us on various facets of the issue and concludes that “Ibn al Arabi exercised no perceptible influence on Rumi….Rumi experienced that vision directly, without historical intermediaries” (Rumi and wahdat al-wujud). He considers Ibn Arabi and Rumi manifesting ‘divergent modes of spirituality.’ The former has ‘relatively sober and intellectual form’ while the latter has ‘intoxicating imagery of love and rapture’. It is pertinent to note that even these ‘divergent modes of spirituality’ have to be understood in their true import. Khawaja Ghulam Farid, for example, wholly belongs to the Intellectual tradition of Ibn Arabi but the blissful rapture, ecstatic love and inward suffering he expresses in Diwan-i-Farid is predominant and finds parallels in Rumi’s Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrizi but he directly experiences


[1]     Diwan-i-Khawaja Farid, Kafi 103.

the reality of love in line with the tradition of his master Ibn Arabi and Mansur Hallaj.

There is a shade of thinking among many scholars that the thought of Rumi is opposed to that of Ibn Arabi since the thought of the former is characterized by the doctrine of wahdat al-shuhud whereas the latter’s thought has wahdat al-wujud as its essential frame of reference. This line of thinking finds its support in Iqbal who seems to interpret Rumi on the lines of wahdat al-shuhud and identifies wahdat al-wujud with pantheism. The problem arises because Iqbal interprets the Eastern metaphysical doctrine of wahdat al-wujud in the Western philosophical sense of pantheism. But, it is an established metaphysical truth (thanks to the metaphysical works of Rene Guenon, Frithjof Schuon, Titus Burckhardt, Martin Lings, Syed Hossein Nasr and others) that wahdat al-wujud is qualitatively different from pantheism since it does not deny God’s transcendence in the Face of His Immanence. We find an essential unity between Rumi and Ibn Arabi in their understanding of the doctrinal truth and there is no opposition between the thought of these two great Sufis. It has to be borne in mind that the distinction between wahdat al-shuhud and wahdat al-wujud has mainly a local reference in our part of the world and is creating barriers in the understanding of metaphysical doctrines.

Rumi’s metaphysical discussion on different subjects including existence and non-existence; the reality of unity; the transcendence of the self; the purification of heart; the union with the Beloved and his understanding of the reality behind the ecstatic utterances of Bayazid Bistami and Mansur Hallaj do not contradict the metaphysical thought of Ibn Arabi but essentially expresses the same Reality in a different mode. A Sufi of the stature of Rumi does not remain oblivious of deriving the logical consequences of the Holy tradition of the ‘Hidden Treasure’, which he quotes with such enthusiasm, so much the more, when he understands Faqr as ontological nothingness. A faqir in the true sense of the word is essentially devoid of both being and having and this is the contemplative principle of Tawhid enshrined in the thought of Ibn Arabi and Rumi. The first part of Shahadah: there is no ilah (or self-subsistent reality) except Allah (that is the Reality) reflects the ontological nothingness of everything except God. The second part of the Shahadah: Muhammad is the Messenger (Manifestation) of Allah confers relative existence on things. It can be symbolically understood as the sun conferring existence on its rays. The rays are not the sun but they are also not other than the sun. The rays lack self-subsistent existence and for that matter all relative existence lacks self-subsistence including man. It is true that iron remains iron even when it temporarily becomes fire but it does not mean that the iron is a self-subsistent reality or is a reality in itself. Metaphysically speaking, it is a relative reality essentially devoid of real being otherwise it would tantamount to denoting ilah, which is impossibility. This is the essential teaching of wahdat al-wujud and it is one of the most significant points of identity between Ibn Arabi and Rumi that makes us understand their unitive perception of things and events. The doctrinal point becomes more evident at the level of metaphysical realization when the provisional man-God polarity is withdrawn by the Reality or the Self. In other words, the polarization is ultimately transformed into non duality. One of the stumbling blocks in the understanding of this metaphysical truth pertains to a general misconception regarding the principle of unity in multiplicity. One has to realize that the principle of unity does not obliterate the relative reality of distinctions contained in the world of multiplicity. According to Baba Husayn Shah, an ardent advocate of wahdat al-wujud, the doctrine does not wipe out the distinction, for instance, between one’s mother and wife in the realm of multiplicity but actually names the Nameless Reality in the forms in which it manifests itself. We have also to understand that the Reality is transcendent / immanent in each and every medium in simultaneity and it is not affected by the medium in which it manifests itself. Rumi’s does not suggest any thing in contradistinction to such metaphysical conception of Tawhid, which is essentially contained in the doctrine of wahdat al-wujud; rather he discovers the same metaphysical truth in his own unique way. We do not find any compulsion in using the formal category of wahdat al-wujud for the thought of Rumi since his uniqueness lies in his formlessness and we must concentrate on the essential meaning of his thought. However, the metaphysical thought of Khawaja Ghulam Farid, which reiterates the primordial Truth couched in the metaphysical terminology of Ibn Arabi’s world-view, can help us in gaining a much deeper understanding of Rumi’s metaphysics.

 

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