Jul 23 2021

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Love came

Published by at 8:08 am under Poetry

Love came
by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

Love came
      flowed like blood
      beneath skin, through veins
emptied me of my self
      filled me
      with the Beloved
till every limb
      every organ was seized
      and occupied
till only
      my name remains.
      the rest is It.

— from The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, Translated by Peter Lamborn Wilson / Translated by Nasrollah Pourjavady

/ Image by Fabrice Nerfin /

I really like the visceral start to this poem.

Love came
      flowed like blood
      beneath skin, through veins

It’s so physical, even slightly disturbing. Sheikh Abu-Said Abil-Kheir wants to literally get under our skin with those opening lines.

But what is it that has taken over the very blood and organs of our body? Love.

When deep mystics speak of love, they aren’t talking about vague and all-too-fleeting emotional states. When we are truly flooded by that foundational love — let’s capitalize it and call it Love — there is something very tangible that is experienced. It is physical. The whole body at every level, “every limb / every organ”, every cell, in fact, suddenly feels alive in a way previously unknown. There is a powerful sense of alignment, as if each cell is an iron filing exposed to a powerful magnet, all lining up harmoniously along hidden lines of force. Something alchemical is happening in the body.

till only
      my name remains.
      the rest is It.

And the small self, what we might call the ego, seems to fade away. Although we are emptied, that isolated sense of self having vanished, we aren’t left bare. Instead, we are filled up with something immense and all-embracing — a sense of identity too open to be called “me.” People may see the same face, use the same name, but those relate to the small self, when in truth only that vast loving presence remains, contentedly witnessing the world through our eyes.

To my many Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak!

Recommended Books: Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir Love’s Alchemy: Poems from the Sufi Tradition
More Books >>

Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

Turkmenistan (967 – 1049) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi

Sheikh Abu-Said Abil-Kheir was one of the earlier Sufi poets. He lived more than two centuries before Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi, yet, like Rumi, much of his mysticism follows a similar path of annihilation in divine Love.

Abu-Said’s poetry ranges from the ecstatic and celestial, to struggles with abandonment. His poetry has an immediacy and even a sort of devoutly wry petulance that can draw comparisons with the great Bengali poet, Ramprasad.

Abu Said referred to himself as “Nobody, Son of Nobody,” to convey the mystic’s sense of having completely merged or disappeared into the Divine, leaving no trace of the ego behind.

He lived in Mayhana in what is modern day Turkmenistan, just north of Iran and Afghanistan in Central Asia.

More poetry by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Abu-Said Abil-Kheir – Love came”

  1. Anna M.on 23 Jul 2021 at 9:01 am

    Wow, Ivan, what a synchronicity repeating again and again….I cant’ resist…
    I was just sitting silently and enjoyed the good dinner, didn’t meditating, just eating…

    Suddenly felt with the whole body a message for you, accompanying with a very quiet flute music…

    The message was something like that:

    “Say to Ivan, that his role, responsibility and destiny is to safe and distribute all the world the true, spiritual knowledge with poetry and commentaries. ..

    There are so many lies and deceptions, and misleading, and distractions in these turbulent times.

    Even Gnostic texts warning us about these times 4000 years ago!”

    I said “Yes, that is true, but he is not online, may be, may be tomorrow I will try”

    And the voice said “No, he is online, go and say the message to him.

    Then I came to the computer and saw your new post…and smiled…smiled and smiled….

    Isnt’t that amazing? 🙂

    In regard to Abu-Said Abil-Kheir’s poem “Love came”, I am just wordless…

    How is possible 1000 years ago, some people to have had the same perceptions and experiences like us today?

    Or we have the same like them today?

    And cycles are repeating on new level?

    And the true spiritual knowledge was/is transmitting generation after generation always safe and true…

    in infinity ….

  2. Odo Mayeron 23 Jul 2021 at 9:06 am

    dear Ivan,

    you always find the deepest of the deep! – expressing the transition from the avatars small self Id to the real divine SELF.



  3. Nicky Mendenhallon 23 Jul 2021 at 9:39 am

    Oh, Ivan – this took my breath away! Thank you!

    Thank you!
    Stay well.
    Nicky aka Nicola

  4. marrobon 24 Jul 2021 at 3:39 am

    Hello Ivan,

    I read this watching the sunrise. I feel a profound love, joy, sadness, silence, all in one
    and search for words to express my gratitude.

    Then I read Anna M’s ‘Say to Ivan….’ and the other replies.
    I can’t say it better, so I nod my agreement and gratitude.

    Eid Mubarak, Ivan, blessings on Poetry Chaikhana, and may your summer harvest be abundant.

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