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Kashf al-Asrar [The Unveiling of Secrets]

Ruzbihan Baqli
Shiraz, Iran (Original Language: Persian)


  • Explaining Past Experience
  • I was fifteen years old when the beginnings of these secrets occurred in my heart. I am now fifty-five; how shall I explain to you the secrets of my unveilings, and my subtle witnessings, things that have escaped you? But I shall explain some things that were unveiled to me in days past, and I shall mention to you what happened to me after that, if God most high wills.…

    How I learned to Read and Write

    Bibi Ashraf
    Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Urdu)

    The original essay appeared in two instalments in Tehzib-e Niswan (Lahore) (23 and 30 March 1899).  It was then published with a biographical introduction by the journal’s editor, Muhammadi Begum, in a book entitled Hayat-e Ashraf (Lahore: Imambara Sayyida Mubarak Begum, n.d.).  The essay has been translated from this source with a biographical introduction to the author in C.M. Naim, ‘How Bibi Ashraf Learned to Read and Write’, Annual of Urdu Studies, vol.…

    Munis al-Arvah

    Jahanara Begum
    Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Persian)

    Know that, after the performance of religious duties, requirements, and the recitation of the Holy Qur’an, this weak woman who hopes for salvation regards no action as nobler than the remembrance of the spiritual states and stations of the revered saints (may God sanctify their spirits). Therefore, I have spent a portion of my time in reading books and treatises that contain the felicitous accounts of the great ones of religion and the mighty ones of certainty.…


    Nazr Sajjad Haidar
    Dehradun, India (Original Language: Urdu)


    26 May 1912: Today was the most important day of life. When I woke up in the morning to offer my prayers, I saw a different atmosphere in the house. My elder female relatives were busy in arrangements for hosting someone. Everyone in the house including its younger as well as elder members along with the servants seemed extremely happy.…

    Risalah Sahibiya

    Jahanara Begum
    Lahore, Punjab (Original Language: Persian)

    Extract from Risala-i-Sahibiyah (1640)

    Translated by Sunil Sharma


    Since my twentieth year I have had a sincere resolution and firm belief in the … order of the masters of Chisht (may their secrets be sanctified) and the ring of discipleship and servitude to the guiding pir, who is the pole of the saints,    leader of the perfect sages, is marked on the ear of the soul of purity.…

    Kaghazi Hai Pairahan

    Ismat Chughtai
    Badayun, India (Original Language: Urdu)


    I was weeping inconsolably.


    Someone was being beaten brutally. The perpetrator was a giant-like

    monster, while the one being beaten was a tiny, dark-skinned child.

    I do not remember clearly the people involved as I was very small

    at the time. But I remember that when the big cane struck it made

    a horrific, slithering sound. The sound is embedded in my memory,

    and I often still hear it.…

    Tazkirat al-Ahwal

    ٘Muhammad Ali ‘Hazin’ Lahiji
    Isfahan (Original Language: Persian)

    [From Hazin’s days of study as a young man]

    During those days [in Isfahan], of all the strange occurrences and events, there was the passion for a beauty [with such] manner of beautiful qualities, that my heart became maddened.

    You showed me a trace of the beauty of the friend but / Should this world and the next collide I have no agitation or malevolence

    A novel agitation befell the secluded palace of my mind and from my restless heart arose sedition and tumult.…

    160 Kafis

    Punjab (Original Language: Panjabi)


    KAFIS 14-31

    Turaks[1] (I)[2] left have come wheedling, they who stay aggrieved[3]

    Scared they don’t come near (you), they roam about in discord

    Piro (says) in guru’s court power of none will matter

    What shall (I) say of others, even kings stutter

    Petrified they (Turaks) come and cry before the guru

    Wearing their scarves round their necks they stand with folded hands.…