“The speech of Birds” of Faridudin Attar
“The speech of birds” (Mantiqu’t-Tair) of Faridu’ d-Din ‘Attar translated by Peter Avery
Who is the Simurgh God of birds?
This Sufi tale written by Attar is a travel of thirty birds (representing the souls of thirty Sufis) to see their King called the Simurgh (representing God), and during their travel, the hoopoe (same as Hud Hud of Sulayman) is their leader (representing the Sufi Shaykh), and the Hoopoe in this long and difficult travel tells others birds different Sufis tales, and sometimes he answers to the difficulties of the birds. So in fact the Hoopoe teaches to them stories containing Wahdtul Wujud and Wahdatul Adyan, so the birds arrive at the end of the travel.
About the meaning of Simurgh, Peter Avery quoted p 473 in note 40: “Nicholson in his “Commentary on the Mathnawi” Book 1, verse 1441 says: “In Persian Mysticism the simurgh represents God or the soul as a mode of Divine being…and (it) is supposed to dwell on mount Qaf like the ‘anqa with which it is often identified”
Also before Avery also explained that “si” in Persian also means “Thirty”, so “si murgh” would means “Thirty birds”. And at the end, the thirty birds when they come to the place of seeing the Simurgh, there was no Simurgh, but the thirty birds “si murgh” discover that they were the Simurgh (God), meaning Attar plays with words and identifies these thirty Sufis birds “si murgh” with their God Simurgh
Read the end and conclusion of this long tale:
“The Sun of Proximity shone before them.
The lives of all by Its rays were cauterized.
Then by reflection, the faces of the thirty birds of the world
The face of the Simurgh found, from the world
When these thirty birds looked hard,
No doubt about it, these thirty birds were that “Thirty-Birds”
In amazement all of them were startled;
Again, in another way did they become amazed.
Themselves the complete Simurgh they saw;
The Simurgh Himself was all the time the si murgh!
When upon the Simurgh they looked,
These thirty birds, they were that Other.
And if they looked at both together,
Both were the one Simurgh in every way;
These were that One, and that One was these;
In all the world nobody has heard this!
All those were left consumed by astonishment:
They were bereft of the faculty of thought, and could not work it out.
Since they, from a state of nothingness, nothing understood,
Wordlessly that Majesty they dumbly questioned.
They asked for the unveiling of this mighty secret;
They asked for the solution of You being us and being You.
Wordlessly from that majesty came the reply,
That, “A mirror is this sun-like Majesty.
Whoever comes to it sees himself;
Body and soul, soul and body he sees in it.
As you came here thirty birds,
Thirty in this mirror have you appeared.
Were you to come back forty or fifty birds,
Still from yourselves would the veil be lifted.
Although numerous you have arrived,
You see yourself and it is yourself you have seen:
How might the eye of anyone reach to Us;
The eye of an ant and the Pleiades reach?
Have you seen an ant that could lift an anvil?
A gnat that could take an elephant between its teeth?
What you knew, when you saw it, it was not that,
And what you said and heard, it was not that.
All these valleys which you have put behind you,
And all this manliness that each of you has performed,
All in Our effecting have you been,
You have lain in the vale of the Essence of the Attributes.
Since you have remained thirty birds amazed,
Been left without hearts and without patience, and without spirit,
We are infinitely better than any thirty birds,
Because We are the quintessential Thirty Birds.
You are obliterated to Us in a hundred glories and graces
That through Us you might again discover yourselves.
You have finally been obliterated in Us:
The shadow has become lost in the Sun, and Peace be upon you.”
So long as they were on the march, this had been the burden of the hoopoe’s exhortations.
Now they had arrived, neither was beginning nor ending left;
So here the exhortations were drawing to a close:
No voyager and no guide was left, and the journey was accomplished.”
Let’s read now some stories of this book that the Hoopoe taught its traveling students:
‘Attar and Wahdatul Wujud
P 14 and after, ‘Attar shows his belief in Wahdatul Wujud (unity of existence):
“The throne is on water and the world is on air.
Forget water and air; all is God
Throne and cosmos are no more than talismans.
He alone exists. All this is no more than a name.
Look how this world and that world are He,
Not other than Him, and were there other, that also would be He.
All is of one Essence but in varied categories:
All one language but of differing idiom.
Man must be the acknowledger of the King,
Although he sees the Shah on a hundred guises.
Be not in error. He knows who He is.
Since all is He, why should there be any mistaking?
It is those who cannot see straight who fall into error:
This is the sightedness of the man who denies God attributes.
Ah the pity! Nobody possesses the power:
Eyes blind and the world filled with sunlight!
If you do not see this, you mislay understanding.
See all He and lose yourself.
Strange how everyone’s girded for the quest,
But far from all and yet sitting with Him,
That which you say and that which you know, they are you.
Know yourself: you are a hundred times you.
Know Him through Him, not through the self;
The Way to Him arises from Him, not from senses.
If they have said He is utmost good, or if they have said, bad,
Whatever they said about Him they have said about themselves.
Since there was no Prophets and Apostles,
For anyone, a morsel of the Whole of the Whole,
All helplessly fell to the dust:
Crying out, “We know You not”, they came.
Who might I be that I should boast of knowing?
He becomes knowing who consorts only with Him.
Since apart from Him in both worlds there is no-one,
With whom might He consort? This is the torment and the longing.
Whatever God brought from oblivion into existence,
All fell before Him in worship.
When at last His creative act came to Adam,
From behind a hundreds veils He brought him in jealous guardianship.
He said, “O Adam be you the ocean of bounty.
All these are worshippers. Be you the worshipped”.
Than one who turned his head away from worshiping him,
Became a monster and accursed, and did not share the secret.
P 332 and after, we have a story explaining Wahdatul Wujud
“An old woman went up to Abu ‘Ali
She bore a draft for gold. She said, “Take this from me.”
The Shaykh answered her: “I have a covenant that no more
Except from God will I take anything at all.”
The old woman at once asked: “O Abu ‘Ali,
Whence then have you acquired double-vision?
You in this Way, Abu ‘Ali, are not the man for binding
How much longer will you, if you are not squint-eyed,
In this place a man has no other in sight,
Because in it there is neither Ka’ba nor temple.
Both from Him hear the words plain,
And with Him his being remains permanent
None but He at any time does the person see,
None but He knows the person eternally.
He is both in Him, from Him, and with Him.
Also, beyond all these three it were good to be.
Whoever has not in the Ocean of Unity become lost,
Though he were Adam himself, he would not be of mankind.
Everyone of the people of virtue and the people of infamy,
Has a sun within the invisible Invisible.
Ultimately there will be a day when this sun
Will take them to itself, throwing down the veil.
Whoever to his own sun has attained,
Know you for certain that the good and the bad has reached.
So long as you exist, good and bad are here.
When you have disappeared, all will be gain.
But if you continue to remain in your own being,
You will experience plenty of good and ill, and a long road.
As soon as from nothingness you became apparent,
In the grip of the self you became ensnared.
Would that now you were as at first,
That is to say, that of being you were void.
Cleanse yourself entirely of the attributes of evil.
After this, empty of all, turn to duts.
How do you know in your body what
Corruption you carry, what an ash-pit you have?
Snakes and scorpions are under the curtain in you.
They are asleep and have not found themselves.
Were you to pull out a hair-tip of theirs
Each of them you would arouse like a hundred dragons.
Everyone has an inferno full of serpents.
So long as you are self-preoccupied, it is Hell’s business.
If you come out cleansed of each in their turn,
Then you will enter a sweet beneath the sod.
But if not, under the ground what scorpions, what snakes
Will be biting you hard until the Day of Reckoning!
Every one who is unaware of this cleansing,
Whomever you take is a worm in the earth.
How much more, oh ‘Attar, must there be of this metaphorical language?
Come back to the question of the mysteries of Oneness.
The wayfaring man, when he reaches this valley,
The space in which the man stands will raise from the Way;
He will vanish, because He becomes apparent.
He will be struck dumb, because He becomes the speaker.
The part is changed: it becomes the whole. Neither whole nor part,
A form it will be, neither soul nor limb the attribute.
All the four elements will go beyond all the four:
A hundred thousand they’ll become; more than a hundred thousand.
In the schools of this wondrous mystery,
See a hundred thousand intellects parched-lipped.
What is reason here? Fallen at the door
It is like the new-born babe born deaf.
An atom of this mystery on whomever it has shone,
He has averted his head from both worlds’ realm.
Since himself this person is not a hair in the midst,
How should he not twist, as if it were a hair, his head from the world?
Although this person is not, yet all this is this person;
Whether being he is or not-being, still this person is.
Comment: One can see that these Sufis only want to purify the evils of humans so they leave their human attributes and they think that doing so will unify them with Allah, Na’uzu Billah, and in this satanic state, there is no Ka’ba and no temple. And this Kufr of unity of existence is the greater Kufr of all, worse than that of Jews, Christians, Polytheists of Quraysh and others.
‘Attar and Wahdatul Adyan (unity of religions)
P 165 and after:
“One night Ruhul Amin was in the Lote Tree
The call, “I am with you”, from the Presence he was hearing
“A devotee”, he said, “At this time must be calling on Him;
I don’t know whether anyone knows who it is.
What I do know is that it is an exalted servitor;
His carnal spirit dead, he is of a living heart.”
He thereupon wanted to know who it was.
Of him no news was traced in all the Seven Heavens.
To earth he returned, and soured the seas.
Still round the world he wandered,
Never that he devoted slave to see. He said, “O God,
Please, now, guide me to him.”
God Almighty answered: “Set off for Rum.
Go into an unbelievers’ cloister. Recognise him.”
Gabriel went and saw him, plain,
Who at that very moment to an icon was he praying, weeping grievously.
Gabriel was profoundly moved at this.
Back to the Presence crying out he came.
Gabriel gave tongue. He said: “O the self-sufficient,
Unveil for me this mystery.
Him I saw in a monastery, for he invokes the idols.
Is it out of Your kindness that You respond to him?”
Almighty God replied: “He is of a heart darkened:
He does not know. Because of this he has mistaken the way.
If unwittingly he mistook the road, that error
I, since I am not unwitting, have not taken the wrong way.
Even now, do I grant him access to the Court:
My benevolence will be visited upon him, the pardon-seeker.”
This He said and opened the way for his spirit;
To utter the words “Lord” his tongue He loosed,
That you might know that this is the Community:
That what goes on here is unharmful.
Though you have for this Court nothing to offer,
Nothing’s fallen by the wayside. Don’t worry;
Not every pious ascetic exempted is bought;
Nothingness, too, at His Court may be bought”
Comment: So we can see that the Christian idol worshiper is answered by Allah, and this is a clear hint towards Wahdatul Adyan (unity of religions).
Avery said in notes that “I am with you” is the translation of “Labayka”. So for these misguided Sufis, Allah says “Labayka” to Christian idol worshiper, while in the Quran, Allah told that he hates polytheism, and the heavens were close to be destroyed hearing that people attributing a son to Allah, and ‘Attar tells us that Allah says “Labayka” to someone involved in trinity and Idol worship. Allahul Musta’an.
P 410 and after, we have another story of Shibli showing this unity of religions
When Shibli had gone from this desolate place,
Some gallant fellow saw him in a dream.
He asked: “How has God treated you, oh Lucky one?”
Shibli answered: “When my reckoning turned out tricky,
Since He saw myself so much my own enemy,
Saw my weakness and despair and incapacity,
He was moved by compassion for my helplessness.
Then out of kindness He entirely forgave.”
O Creator, to You I am a helpless wayfarer;
To You am I like an ant stuck in a pit.
I do not know what I am fit for,
Or where I am or what or who I am.
Bodyless, luckless, profitless,
Destitute, distracted, lacking heart.
A life in the blood of anguish melted,
Life’s requital unpaid,
Whatever has been done, the fine is being exacted;
Upon my lips life is reaching the end.
The heart having eluded me, the Faith having been lost,
My form is passing away, the meaning lost.
I am neither an unbeliever nor a Muslim do I remain,
Staying bewildered between the two.
Neither believer nor infidel, what should I do?
Left bemused and without resolution, how should I act?
I am caught in the narrow gate,
The face turned to the wall of phantasy.
For me, unable to help myself, open wide this door,
And to this one fallen by the wayside show the way.
Although the slave has no provision at all for the road,
Yet he never rests at all from tears and sighs.
You could with this sighs burn his sin away,
And with his tears, wash clean the Black Book.
To whomsoever has for harvest his oceans of tears,
Say “Come”, because he is worthy of this dwelling place.
But to him the burden of whose eyes is not tears of blood,
Say “Go”, for he has nothing to do with us.
Comment: So here Shibli tells he is not a Muslim, and says whomsoever has tears is welcomed, so ‘Attar clearly says that Sufis follow their own fabricated religion of love, whether one is non-Muslim. These people were not satisfied with the religion of Allah, so they abandoned it and invented their religion inspired by Shaytan to misguide people and throw them in hell-fire.
‘Attar and Nur Muhammadi (the Prophetic light)
Farid ud Din ‘Attar believes that the creation was created through the Prophet’s light, and he wrote p 26 and after:
“Both worlds through his existence found a name.
The Throne too through his name was established.
Like dew-drops they came out of the Ocean of Munificence:
The creatures of the cosmos in his wake into being.
The purpose of his Light was created beings.
It was the origin of inexistences and existences.
God when He saw that Absolute Light in His presence,
He created from its light a hundred oceans of light.
For Himself that pure Soul He created.
For it the creaturely world He created.
Creation has no purpose but him.
Purer than he there is no being.
That which first appeared from the Invisible of the Invisible
Was his Pure Light without doubt.
After that this Light exalted its banner aloft.
It turned into the Throne and the Dais and the Tablet and the Pen.
One unfurling of his Pure light is the world;
One unfurling is the seed and is Adam.
When the Majestic Light became apparent,
Prostrate it fell before the Creator.
Centuries in prostration was it fallen;
Life-times with head bowed was it in the standing position (ruku’) standing.
Years were they (the banner of light) occupied with the standing position.
In making the profession of Faith there was also a whole lifetime.
From the orisons of the Light if that Ocean of Mystery,
Obligatory for the whole Community prayer became.
God held that Light, shinning like the sun and the moon,
Breast to breast undifferentiated for ages long.
Then to the ocean of reality suddenly
He opened for that Light a clear way!;
When that light saw the surface of the Sea of Mysteries,
Agitation upon it fell because of the Power and Glory.
Casting about, it turned on itself seven times;
The seven circumferences of the firmament became visible.
Every glance that from God reached towards it,
Became a star and the galaxies were revealed.
After this Pure Light found repose.
The Throne was exalted and the Dais discovered a name.
The Throne and the Dais the reflection of his Essence arose.
Then the Angels out if its attributes arose.
From his breaths lights became manifest,
And from his thought-filled heart the mysteries appeared.
The secret of the spirit is from the World of Thought alone:
Only ‘Did I breath from my spirit into him’
When those breaths and those mysteries were conjoined,
For this reason souls became a multitudinous body.
Since the hangers-on of his Light the people came,
The Apostle to all because of this he inevitably became.
He became the Deputy until the Day of Reckoning
For the sake of all the creatures of time.
His light since it was the origin of existences,
His essence since it was the bestower of every essence”
Comment: Anyone having reason can see the falsehood of this creed, and this is the religion of Batini and Shi’ah, Zoroastrians and others, this has nothing to do with the religion of Islam. These people have nothing from the Quran or the Sunnah to justify such an heretical creed, rather they follow Shaytan who wants to destroy the religion of the Prophet (saw) as he destroyed the Jewish and Christian religion.
‘Attar and defense of Iblis
P292 and after, we have a story of Iblis knowing the secret of Allah and that he will be forgiven:
“The hoopoe said: “When God was breathing this quintessential spirit
Into the body of Adam, which was water and earth,
He wished that all the host of the Angels
Should no knowledge discover of the soul, nor any trace,
He commanded: ‘Oh Hallowed Ones of Heaven,
At this time before Adam make prostration.’
All of them bowed their heads to the ground;
Consequently not one saw that holy secret.
Then Iblis came and instantly whispered,
‘No-one will see any prostration of my part.
Were my head from my body to be riven,
It would not matter when I have this neck!
I am quite aware that Adam is not of dust;
I would lose my head without any fear, to discover the secret.’
Since Iblis had not his head on the ground,
He witnessed the mystery, for he was hiding furtively.
God the Almighty to him called: ‘Oh wandering spy,
You are in there for seeing the secret.
Now you have seen the treasure that I have hidden here,
I will kill you, lest you spread it about the world.
For is not, outside of the guards, hidden
Any place where the Padshah deposits a treasure?
Assuredly, anyone in whose sight he puts it away,
He should kill: draw a line through his life.
You are a man of treasure: you choose a corner to lurk in.
Your choice ought to be the cutting off your head,
And if I do not cut it off from your trunk this very moment,
You could be spreading this matter all over the world.’
Iblis answered: ‘Oh God, a reprieve grant this slave.
Make some remedy for this betrayer of duty.’
Almighty God answered: ‘Sparing you rests with Me.
The torque of accursedness I have rested round your neck.
Your name, that of The Deceiver do I register,
So that you till the Resurrection stay the accursed.’
After this, Iblis said: ‘That Holy Treasure
Since to me it has been revealed, how should a curse be feared?
The curse belongs to You. Forgiveness belongs to You.
The slave belongs to You. Destiny’s disposal belongs to You.
If the curse be my destiny, there is no fear:
Poison there has to bee too: not everything is the antidote.
Since I have seen the creature’s seeking execration,
I have with impropriety filched your curse already.’
This is how the seeking has to be, if a seeker you are.
You are no seeker in the sense of overcoming;
If you fail to find Him in all your nights and days,
That will not be His loss. The deficiency will lie in the seeking.”
Comment: So according to this nonsense Iblis has seen the secret Allah put in human being, and he is not scared of the curse of Allah because seeing this secret. What a clear opposition to the religion of Islam. Allah never put any kind of secret in Adam, this is pure invention and a shameless lie upon Allah. These people are like polytheists who attribute to Allah things Allah never revealed. And Allah described Iblis refusal to prostrate due to his pride, not because he wanted to see any kind of secret.
After seeing all of this, it is clear that Farid ud Din Al-‘Attar is a heretic Batini, and these people attribute their invented religion to Islam, else ignorant laymen will not follow them.
May send Salah and Salam on the Prophet (saw), his household, Companions and those who follow them!
Compiled by Ali Hassan Khan