Oh God, all other men are drunk with wine.

22 Apr

Eastern Iran had been hospital to Sûfism, and with the development of Persian vernacular literature from the eleventh century onward, Sûfî poets made an immortal contribution to Islamic literature.  This was particularly true wherever Persian became the literary language–chiefly those areas where Arabic was not (Persia, Turkey, India, Central Asia), and with the devastation of the Eastern Islamic world by the Mongols invasions of the thirteenth century and the career of Tîmûr (Tamerlane) in the fourteenth century this tendency became stronger. Sûfîsm succeeded in offering men a vision of beauty and some consolation in an exceedingly chaotic and cruel time, and some of Persia’s greatest poets wrote in the age of the Mongols.

A younger eleventh-century contemporary of Abû Sa îd ibn Abî Khayer was “abdallah al-Ansârî (died A.H. 481/AD. 1088), the patron saint of Herat in Khurasan. Pir-i-Ansâr, as he is better known, composed the earliest Persian devotional poetry known, though not all the verses ascribed to him by later generations are his.

Oh God accept my plea,
And to my faults indulgent be.
Oh God, all my days have I spent in vanity,
And against my own body have I wrought iniquity.

Oh God, all other men are drunk with wine.
The wine-bearer is my fever.
Their drunkenness lasts but a night,
While mine abides forever.

John Alden Williams Ed., Great Religions of Modern Man, Islam (George Braziller, New York,1962 p-156-157)

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