Khajah Abdullah ‘Abdallah al-Ansari

Thou, Whose breath is sweetest perfume to the spent and anguished heart,

Thy remembrance to Thy lovers bringeth ease for every smart.

Multitudes like Moses, reeling, cry to earth’s remotest place

“Give me sight, O Lord,” they clamor, seeking to behold Thy face.

Multitudes no man hath numbered, lovers, and afflicted all,

Stumbling on the way of anguish, “Allah, Allah,” loudly call.

And the fire of separation sears the heart and burns the breast,

And their eyes are wet with weeping for a love that gives not rest.

“Poverty’s my pride!” Thy lovers raise to heaven their battle-cry,

Gladly meeting men’s derision, letting all the world go by.

Such a fire of passion’s potion Pir-i-Ansar quaffing feels,

That distraught, like Layla’s lover through a ruined world he reels. —quoted in Islamic Culture, trans. A.J. Arberry

Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat (aka Pir-i-Ansar)(1006–1088) was a Persian sufi who spent his entire life in the town of Herat in modern-day Afghanistan. The author of several works on Islamic mysticism and philosophy, Ansari is perhaps most famous for
Munajat Namah (“litanies or dialogues with God”), which is considered one of the highest achievements of Persian literature. Eschewing the life of wealth, he lived in a graceful poverty and was renowned throughout Persia for his preaching skills and depth of knowledge — especially of the Hadith.

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