Chapter 29
A Mystical Poem (Ghazal-e-Irfani) of Imam Khomeini (R.A.)

 

(Added by [Tr].) Since the present book: Self-Building of Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini deals with Islamic Mysticism, I thought it appropriate to include here the translation of a famous mystical poem of Imam Khomeini (R.A.) [1] -the most celebrated gnostics of our times -as a gift to our readers. These verses were composed by the late Imam (R.A.) a little before when he permanently joined his beloved God-Almighty, leaving this temporary abode -with a tranquil, and contented heart , a spirit full of joy, and a conscience hopeful ( of receiving) God' s forgiveness. The following are the mystical verses:

 

 

Man beh khale labat-e-doost giraftar shudom.

Chashme bimar too ra didam wa bimar shudam.

 

Oh my beloved! After witnessing your Infinite Beauty (*) I become entangled.

Seeing, the manifestation of Your Glory, I become saturated with joy and ecstasy.

 

[*] During the spiritual migration or gnostic journey (ser wa salook), away farer (salik) gradually succeeds in witnessing divine illumination which are revealed to him intermittently. i.e. He witnesses at certain instants then it disappears. How such things occur are beyond description and those who have experienced it are helpless to explain it to others.

 

Ibn abi al-Hadid Moatazali writes:

 

"Whatever the most celebrated gnostics have said has been obtained from the Commander of the Faithful Imam' Ali (A). He says: 'Sheikh Abu Ali Sina and Qashiri, whatever about the status of wayfarer and his journey have said is quoted from the words of Imam' Ali (A) Following is an example: Sheikh Abu Ali Sina has said:

 

 

'When a wayfarer in his determination reaches to a certain limit pleasant ecstasies from Divine illumination becomes manifested for him like the lightening sparks which shines and become silenced. This state has been called by the learned mystics as a situation whereby a wayfarer is confronted with the joy of union and pain of separation (with the beloved) alternately. i.e. After the illumination is silenced the wayfarer is filled with grief and pain. The more deeper a wayfarer goes into asceticism this situation becomes further intense.'

                                                                                          -Share Isharat, vol.3 p-384.

 

And these are the meanings of this first verse.

 

 

Farigh az Khud shudam wa koos anal haq bezadam.

Hamchu Mansoor kharidar sare dar shudam.

 

I forget my own existence [2] and proclaimed the slogan -'I am the truth', and like the Mansoor Hallaj volunteered my self for hanging [3].

 

 

Ghame dildar fakandeh ast be janam sharari,

ke bejan amadam wa shorahe bazar shudam.

 

The agony and pain of your love has burnt [4] my entire existence.

That I become fed up with my own self; and my affairs become the talks of the town [5]

 

 

 

Dare meykhana gooshaid beravim shabo rooz,

ke man is masjido wa az madrase bezar shudam.

 

"Let the doors of tavern [6] be opened,

and let us go there day and night.

 

Because, I become disgusted with,

the Mosque [7] as well as from the School.

 

 

 

Jame zohdo riya kardam wa bar tan kardam,

kharqe pir kharabati wa hashyar shudam.

 

"I took off the dress of ascesticm and dissimulation.” [8]

 

And become awakened  [9] after wearing the robe of a tavern's haunter."

 

 

 

Waiz shahar, ke az pind khud azaram dad,

Az dome rinde mai allodeh madad kar shudam.

 

"The town's preacher [10] with his preaching made me uncomfortable [11]

 

Therefore, I sought refuge [12] in some on who was inwardly upright but outwardly lewd."

 

Beguzarid ke az butkadeh yadi be kunam,

Man ke ba daste bute malkada bedar shudam.

 

Let me allow to remember the temple's [13] sweet memories.

Where I was awakened [14] from the sweet touch of my beloved's hand.

 

 

The above translation and commentary of Imam's mystical poetry was a difficult task indeed for some one like me, but thanks God that it has been accomplished. I have utilized the most common mystical terms and phrases which are most conventional among gnostics. However, it must be admitted that Imam Khomeini 's  level of mysticism (irfan) is far higher that its interpretation could be limited to such conventional mystical boundaries.

 

Notes

 

[1] Imam Ruhollah Mousavi Khomeini: Was born on the 20th Jamadi-ul- Thani 1281 A.H. (1902 AD in Khomein (Isfahan Province), in Iran. His father was Sayyid Mostafa Khomeini, a well-known and beloved scholar of his day, martyred by the agents of Reza Khan (the father of the deposed Shah). His father left three sons and three daughters. Imam Khomeini was the youngest in the family. Imam Khomeini lost both his tutors, his mother and aunt at the age of 15.

 

The Father and Founder of the Islamic Revolution in Iran studied Islamic sciences under the guidance of his elder brother Ayatollah Pasandideh. Ayatollah Khomeini also underwent special instructions with the help of Sheik Abdul-Karim Ha'eri Yazdi in 1922. When Ayatollah Ha'eri Yazdi passed away in 1937, Imam Khomeini was established as a genius scholar of high distinction.

 

Imam Khomeini was well versed in Islamic Jurisprudence, Philosophy, Mysticism, and Astronomy. In the earliest" Fatwa" issued by Imam Khomeini in 1963, he condemned the shah's regime for its complete subordination to foreign powers specifically the United States. He further criticized the deposed Shah for maintaining close political, economic, military, and intelligence ties with Israel and his anti-Islamic policies.

 

Imam Khomeini was first arrested after the uprising on June 1963 and finally exiled to Turkey. In October 1965, Imam Khomeini moved to the Holy City of Najaf (Iraq). From Najaf, Imam Khomeini continued to issue fatwas (religious guidance). The deposed Shah who hoped that by sending Imam Khomeini to an exile, he would succeed in preventing the Imam's influence and totally diminishing his popularity. The Shah was frustrated. Throughout the fourteen years of the exile in Najaf, Imam Khomeini continued his ceaseless campaign.

 

The success of Islamic Revolution of Iran springs out from his untiring endeavors in awakening and directing the Ummah. It was in December 1978, when one of the greatest of all the demonstrations took place. It can be said to be an exceptional demonstration in the history of the world. This demonstration paved the way for the escape of the Shah, his final overthrow and ultimate triumph of the Islamic Revolution.

 

[2] When the gnostic journey of a wayfarer ends his interior becomes a mirror of God-Almighty whereby real pleasures descend upon him. At this stage he feels happy and joyful with himself, because he sees something special within his innerself. Sometimes the gnostic looks at God-Almighty while at other times he looks at him, thus, finding himself wavering between these two views. Eventually, he reaches to a point where his ownself disappears and he sees only God-Almighty, which are the meanings of "forgetting my own existence" .In gnostic terms this stage is also called being annihilated in God-Almighty (fana fillah).

 

[3] Means being patient, offering resistance, tolerating difficulties, and hardships, and becoming a target of acquisation by the people for the sake of God-Almighty. And that is the way Imam Khomeini (R.A) was, who suffered a imprisonment, exiles, pains, and suffering for the sake of his beloved.

 

[4] There is a narration from the Commander of the Faithful Imam' Ali (A):

 

                                                                                      

 

“God's love never passes over a thing without getting it burnt.”

 

[5] The becoming the talks of the town may be explained in the light of the following tradition quoted from the Holy Prophet (S):

 

 

 

“When God-Almighty loves a person from my Ummah He fills the hearts of His favorite distinguished saints, spirits of angels and other Heavenly creatures with his love so that all of them love him. How fortunate is he ? How fortunate is he ? He will have the right of intercession on the Day of Judgment. So for as a servant is not liked by God-Almighty he does not become famous.”

-Faiz Kashani, al Muhajatul Baiza, 7-8.

 

[6] The tavern here means the spiritual position of God's Nearness attained through performance of recommended (nawafil). In accordance with authentic narrations, after attaining such a position, God-Almighty becomes the ears and eyes of the servant. The eyes and ears are for seeing and listening and what pleasure could be greater for a person than seeing and listening through those special eyes and ears.

 

[7] Here the Mosque and School mean worships which lack the conditions required for attaining God's Nearness or they might indicate the preliminaries required for starting the gnostic journey of a wayfarer. Islam being one of. the most perfect and comprehensive divine religion consists of degrees and stages containing exoteric and esoteric affairs. In order to understand its mysteries the condition of confidentiality (mahram) is essential which is only possible through deeds, struggle, abstinence, and guidance of Prophet's Infallible Household (A) (Ahlul Bayt).

 

The school, books and class are preliminaries for understanding, understanding is preliminary for action and action is preliminary for acquiring confidentially (mahram).

 

Sayyid Bin Taoos a great Shiite scholar in his will to his son:

 

 

"My son! If you deal with God-Almighty through the path of truth and reality, He will make your heart like a mirror in which the knowledge which God-Almighty desires for you could be seen, because according to the traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) it has been mentioned that a believer looks at Divine illumination.”

-Kashf al-Mohajateh, p-136.

 

In nutshell, it could be said that the book and school which could not elevate a person to the level of Sayyid bin Taoos or Imam Khomeini (R.A.) -one should not be blamed for being disgusted with them which are the meanings of this verse.

 

[8] Means relinquishment of moral indecencies like deceit etc., renunciation of worldly attachments, and reaching to the real asceticism which makes a wayfarer worthy of receiving Divine mysteries and sublime realities.

 

[9] Renunciation of world and its allurements and possession of real piety and ascesticm result in association with the Holy Prophet (S) and his Infallible Household (A) in this world and Hereafter, which are the meanings of becoming awakened.

 

[10] Means the pseudo-preachers who prevent people from nearing the real pious scholars, thus, depriving them from being benefited from their sacred existence.

 

[11] Means restrictions imposed by them cheap talks and illogical arguments.

 

[12] Taking shelter with those perfect and pious models who are intoxicated with God is love. The indication here means towards the learned teachers of Imam Khomeini (R.A.).

 

[13] Means the Celestial Kingdom and the Celestial Lights representing the sacred existence of Holy Prophet (S) and his Household Ahlul Bayt (A) who are the infinite and absolute source of blessing and guidance for the mankind.

 

[14] Means acceptance of receiving the blessing guidance through the sacred light of the Holy Prophet and his Holy House Hold (A)