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Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari(AD 1250)



THE past has flown away,
The coming month and year do not exist;
Ours only is the present’s tiny point.

Some beautiful lines related to the world of illusion from the famous book, “The Secret Rose Garden” of Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari(K.S).




THE past has flown away,
The coming month and year do not exist;
Ours only is the present’s tiny point.

Time is but a fancied dot ever moving on
Which you have called a flowing river-stream.

I am alone in a wide desert,
Listening to the echo of strange noises.


You have heard much of this world,
Yet what have you seen of this world?
What is its form and substance?

What is Simurgh [1], and what is Mount Kaf [2]?
What is Hades(*) and what is Heaven and Hell?
What is that unseen world
A day of which equals a year of this? [3]

(*) Hades is Araf in other translations in Turkish.

Come and hear the meaning.

You are asleep, and your vision is a dream,
All you are seeing is a mirage.
When you wake up on the morn of the last day [4]
You will know all this to be Fancy’s illusion; [5]
When you have ceased to see double,
Earth and Heaven will become transformed;
When the real sun unveils his face to you,
The moon, the stars, and Venus will disappear;
If a ray shines on the hard rock
Like wool of many colours, it drops to pieces.


THE world is an imaginary figure,
A diffused shadow of the Infinite;
One breath created the worlds of command
And all living things.

As they appear to come forth, so they appear to go.
Though there is no real coming and going.
For what is going but coming?

. . . All are one, both the visible and the invisible.
God most high, the Eternal One,
Creates and destroys both worlds.

. . . The varied forms you see are but phantoms of your fancy,
And by revolving quickly in a circle
Appear as one.


THE imagination produces phenomenal objects
Which have no real existence,
So this world has no substantial reality,
But exists as a shadowy pageant or a play.

All is pervaded by Absolute Being
In its utter perfection.

There are many numbers, but only One is counted.


THE house is left empty, save for the Truth,
For in a moment the world has passed away;
Then you, rid of self, fly upwards
And are united to the Beloved.

Union is yours when this dream-world
Fades and dies away.

Translated by Florence Lederer in 1920.

(pages 46-50)



[1]  Simurgh and [2] Mount Kaf: In the 12th century Conference of the Birds, Iranian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar wrote of a band of pilgrim birds in search of the simurgh. According to the poet’s tale, the simurgh has thirty holes in her beak and drew the wind through them whenever she was hungry. Animals heard a pretty music and gathered at the peak of a mountain called Mount Kaf where they were eaten by the simurgh.

[3] Qur’an [Al-Sajda 32/5]:

 يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ مِنَ السَّمَاء إِلَى الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ يَعْرُجُ إِلَيْهِ فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ مِّمَّا تَعُدُّونَ

 Yudabbiru Al-’Amra Mina As-Samā‘i ‘Ilá Al-’Arđi Thumma Ya`ruju ‘Ilayhi Fī Yawmin Kāna Miqdāruhu ‘Alfa Sanatin Mimmā Ta`uddūna: 

He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon.

[4] Qur’an [Al-Naziat 79/14]:

 فَإِذَا هُم بِالسَّاهِرَةِ

 Fa’idhā Hum Bis-Sāhirahi

And lo! they will be awakened.

Qur’an [Al-Yasin 36/52]:

 قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا مَن بَعَثَنَا مِن مَّرْقَدِنَا هَذَا مَا وَعَدَ الرَّحْمَنُ وَصَدَقَ الْمُرْسَلُونَ

Qālū Yā Waylanā Man Ba`athanā Min Marqadinā Hādhā Mā Wa`ada Ar-Raĥmānu Wa Şadaqa Al-Mursalūna:

Crying: Woe upon us! Who hath raised us from our place of sleep? This is that which the Beneficent did promise, and the messengers spoke truth,

[5] Qur’an [Al-Hadid 57/20]:

 اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ

 A`lamū ‘Annamā Al-Ĥayāatu Ad-Dunyā La`ibun Wa Lahwun Wa Zīnatun Wa Tafākhurun Baynakum Wa Takāthurun Al-’Amwli Wa Al-’Awlādi Kamathali Ghaythin ‘A`jaba Al-Kuffāra Nabātuhu Thumma Yahīju Fatarāhu Muşfarrāan Thumma Yakūnu Ĥuţāmāan Wa Fī Al-’Ākhirati `Adhābun Shadīdun Wa Maghfiratun Mina Allāhi Wa Riđwānun Wa Mā Al-Ĥayāatu Ad-Dunyā ‘Illā Matā`u Al-Ghurūri :

Know ye (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: how rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a Penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah). And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception? (see also Al-An’am 6/32 )






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