Jul 13 2009

Seyh Ibrahim Efendi – The Sufi Way

Published by at 8:05 am under Poetry

The Sufi Way
by Seyh Ibrahim Efendi

English version by Jennifer Ferraro & Latif Bolat

They say the Sufi way
      is to give one’s life away.

The Sufi way is to become a sultan
      on the throne of the soul.

In the station of the Path,
      it is to destroy appearances.
In the station of Reality,
      it is to become a guest
in the innermost palace of the heart.

They say it is to be pure of body,
      the light of the Beloved.
The Sufi way is to gradually take off
      the dress of earth and water.

They say it is to burn up in Love’s fire–
The Sufi way is to be utterly inflamed
      with the light of the Beloved.

They say it is to believe and follow the rules–
The Sufi way is to discover the rules
      of the multitude of heavens.

They say it is to become a medicine for every ailment–
The Sufi way is to know and become all the secrets
      of creation.

They say it is to destroy the illusion of bodies–
The Sufi way is to open the secrets of the body
      with the key of the Divine Names.

O Sufi, to comprehend it, one must be it.
The one who gets lost in words
      will never be their meaning.

They say it is to become the secret of God
      within one’s innermost heart–
The Sufi way is to read the outer signs
      and know the inner meanings.

They say it is to be in wonder
      at the greatness of creation–
The Sufi way is to be constantly amazed
      by the nature of Reality.

They say it is to make each heart
      the throne of God–
The Sufi way is to remove all else but God
      from the heart’s dwelling.

They say it is to watch over all humanity–
The Sufi way is to cover East and West
      with every breath.

They say it is to shine as brightly as the sun–
The Sufi way is to perceive God
      in every minute thing.

They say it is to be in harmony
      with every kind of person–
The Sufi way is to appear
in a hundred thousand forms daily.

They say it is to be like Solomon
      to the whole universe;
The Sufi way is to understand
      and speak in every language.

They say it is to become an ocean
      from a single drop–
The Sufi way is to make your heart a cellar
      to hold the wine of the Truth.

They say it is to become a human being
      illuminated with the light of Being–
The Sufi way is to destroy Being utterly
      in the light of Non-Being.

They say it is to become a life
      for each particle of life–
The Sufi way is to die a thousand times
      and return to life each moment.

They say it is to become a master
      of wisdom and eternal justice–
The Sufi way is to become an eye
      looking out from every hair.

They say it is to surrender
      your soul to the Beloved–
The Sufi way is to become
      the soul of the Beloved.

They say it is the proof
      of Muhammad’s message–
The Sufi way, O Ibrahim,
      is to embody God
            as one’s own self.

— from Quarreling with God: Mystic Rebel Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey, Translated by Jennifer Ferraro / Translated by Latif Bolat


/ Photo by M.Omair /

Regardless of your religious or spiritual tradition, this poem is one worth contemplating deeply. Re-read it. This is one of the reasons I started the Poetry Chaikhana: While so many in religion bog down in the minutia of the tradition, mystics are never satisfied with mere form. They know one must get down to the real ground. The mystic is content with nothing less than to touch the truth in its most universal purity. Merely following the rules never satisfies the heart or soul.

O Sufi, to comprehend it, one must be it.

Seyh Ibrahim Efendi

Turkey (1591 – 1651) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Aksaray Seyh Ibrahim Efendi was a member of the Helveti dervishes and the spiritual head of the Aksarayi Sufi lodge in Istanbul in the early part of the 17th century.

His poem “The Sufi Way” has inspired some prominent commentaries.

More poetry by Seyh Ibrahim Efendi

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Seyh Ibrahim Efendi – The Sufi Way”

  1. Jim Atwellon 13 Jul 2009 at 10:31 am

    So many words to say one thing.
    Love I am You.

    Much Love
    Jim Atwell

  2. Davidon 13 Jul 2009 at 10:46 am

    who is the they as in, “they say”:

  3. Paula Micallefon 13 Jul 2009 at 11:17 am

    Dear Ivan

    From a self realized person I truly loved and understood deeply todays poem “The Sufi way”.

    Paula

  4. amberon 13 Jul 2009 at 11:49 am

    Today’s selection appealed to all the five senses and inspired me.

    its no doubt a feast.

    THanks for this wonderful treat.

  5. David Hykeson 13 Jul 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, such a powerful, clear and inspiring StateMeant…

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