Jami: One Heart

Nuradin abd ar Rahman Jami (1414 – 1492 CE) was a Persian poet, mystic, scholar, historian and theologian born in Jam, Khorosan, now in modern-day Afghanistan.  He studied in Herat and Samarkand, and held an important position in the Timurid court that involved him in the politics and economics of the day.  He wrote extensively, not only on religious and philosophical subjects but also on practical matters, including a manual on irrigation design that included technical drawings and advanced calculations.  Sufism, though, was the central pole of his life and his writing, and the text below is from a Sufi work called Lawa’ih, meaning Gleams or Shafts of Light. 

The First Gleam

“God has not assigned to any man two hearts in his breast.” [Koran 33:4] The How-less Presence, who has given you the blessing of being has placed within you only one heart, that you may be one-faced and one-hearted in love, turning away from other than Him and turning toward Him—not that you should make one heart into a hundred pieces, each piece wandering after a goal.

O you who’ve turned to the qibla* of faithfulness,
why make the shell into the kernel”s veil?
It’s not good for your heart to run after this and that—
with one heart, one friend is enough for you.

*niche indicating the direction one should face during prayer.

Tr. William C. Chittick

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