Horror Infested Path of Love
Burning desire for the King (dominion) of this world shall not be eased [1] 
Unless good and evil of this world become one in your presence
No ocean shall sail the vessel of your inner thoughts afloat [2]
Unless your two eyes from the ache of heart, storm a typhoon
Merely being a spectator you shall not find the path of love [3]
Unless the toils trample your savanna into a barren desert thereof
O! Sanaa-ee you shall not clutch at the intimacy’s curtain [4]
Unless the sword of trials sacrifice your life for certain
Most improbable for weaklings seeking the reunion’s hearth [5]
Not everyone shall find life along the path of truth’s dearth
Who, his heart stretched like an arrow at the trysting thumb of rendezvous [6]
To his eyes sleep shall not come except on the tip of an arrow cruel
If you did not build form clemency a shield against the populace
Your heart shall not sprout an orchard under the light of cognizance [7] 
Why would you yearn for the pleasures of strangers and lowbred
Forsake them! Unless your heart becomes an investment for rebels [8] 
Un-devout and lowly the one, whom on the path of love
Did not forsake the ghoul of selfishness and desires of this life
Brave be the one who steps firmly on this path’s progress
Insulating himself packaged warding off every distress
Passion of the love shall reach such intensity, when if
Drowned in an ocean the excitement not diminished a bit [9]
The drunken on that path, even if his bosom made
Prepared into food for hell, no regrets whatsoever felt
If from the battlefield of destiny the arrow of trials thrown [10] 
Bravely makes the life a shield not hiding away a coward
Once the cavalry of ‘sacrificing-life’ marches upon the army of desire
He, mounting upon the designated steed, shall enter the battlefield with honor [11]
O! Lord whose gates in the bazaar of lovers stands
Price of life not so cheap, except at the grasp of Your hands [12]
Give away greed it shall never enrich you for certain
The pagan, by Allah I swear, shall not be a Muslim [13]
Mind wrote a wise letter for Heart to impress
Heart shall not accept unless Your name titles the page [14]
I recite praises, which wise man out there unimpressed [15]
Seeing this benevolence and dignity, refuse reading the praises
This is a heavenly endowment for chosen few bestowed [16]
Otherwise not every aimless worthless entering the court
Pagans desire much seeking this dominion but after all [17]
Chants of hallucination shall not become the Koran
Seven planets in celestial motions away floating
Moon in distance and orbit shall not be like galaxies
Every person reads the same knowledge except one
The rest shall not be enlightened oceans, the beaut of the wise
Cloak of protection needed against the sins for the innocent
As long as Sana-ee is pious, towards rebellion shall not head

I fell in love with the first verse of this poem. Where the poet said something, which I have come to believe for a while but never, dared to place in words. The day my love for Allah cuts all chords with suffering and turmoil, is that serene day when good and evil becomes one in my eyes.
The poet observes, “What we call good and what we call evil both are from the Creator. Nothing ventured except by the permission of Allah and full knowledge and planning of Almighty. Then if you come to love Allah truly, then both good and evil are Its own handicraft and you will see them as one in the sense of their singular source. The more you see this, the more you come to love the Beloved. The less you see that, the more you believe that evil doings of people are not under the control of Allah, the less you love Allah”.
I was just stunned when thumbing through the pages of his Divan (poem book) and really felt being a loving believer in Allah once I read this verse. I amazed to have such experience where I had a terrific concept in the depth of my heart, only to find words for it from a man dead for over one thousand years.
The same more or less can be said by what Max Planck formulated. Something most physicist had in their mind but he put it in obviously acceptable language and equations for all to experiment with.
[1] The Arabic/Farsi word ‘Molki’ (dominion) or ‘Maleki’ (King) was used in the first verse. Either use seems fair and correct in the context of the poem.
[2] When Allah makes you cry for loss or lack of someone or something, the foolish thinks that the Creator does not hear the invocations and they are ignored. Sanaa-ee teaches us the reverse, no way our wishes and prayers and thoughts shall become a ship floating on any sea i.e. come to life, unless we cry a monsoon i.e. much trials and toils coming our way. Or exactly in reverse, if your eyes are brimful with tears, that is an edict from the Creator that your prayers and wishes granted.  
[3] You cannot be a soccer player, demanding the glory, recognition and rewards of such an athlete, by merely watching games on a TV screen. In the same way, you are not and will not be in love with Beloved if you just sit back and look at It and It’s love and day dream. You must travel this road with such vehemence as though a savanna trampled into a wasteland. If you want to love Allah, then you must be polite and first and foremost seek the permission of Almighty to be infused with such feeling and second accept full heartedly, what adventures of trials and tribulations lying ahead of you.
[4] The Arabic/Koranic word ‘Qorb’ was translated into ‘intimacy’. Words like ‘Qarib’ or ‘Qorbaan’ come from the same Arabic root. I think intimacy is a great word since it is originally used for lovers. So drawing closer for us the lovers towards the Beloved.
[5] The Arabic word ‘Wesaal’ from the root ‘Wasl’ was translated into reunion. Which in concept means reunion with the Creator after the death. This word is a fundamental word in Sufi concepts and literature. I do not seem to find this word in this usage in Koran and I think it is a very Farsi use.
[6] The Arabic/Koranic word ‘Leqaa’ was translated into ‘rendezvous’ or ‘tryst’ which again like the word ‘intimacy’ is used for lovers in English. I avoided the word ‘meeting’ because it does not have the lovers’ connotation, which is very Sufi-like. The Farsi word ‘Shast’ which means ‘thumb’ was used by the poet, which also means a bony thumb-ring, made for pulling the string on a bow by ancient Iranian archers. So the verse means, the heart will be like an arrow fetched by the thumb-ring of ‘Leqaa’ or ‘rendezvous’ to hit the eyes of a lover in place of sleep i.e. restlessness due to anxiety of love. But a precise restlessness...
[7] The Arabic word ‘Ma-e-rifat’, which comes from the root ‘Orf’ meaning to ‘know someone’ or ‘perception’ or ‘cognition’. In Sufism it refers to a man that has come to know better himself and his Lord. I love to use the word ‘cognizance’ which is a prettier version of ‘cognition’ and rarely used these days. Again, to become ‘Aref’ you do not go to any school or read books or memorize stuff or wear certain fabrics, you must learn from the school of life and by yourself only through your Creator. That is accomplished in a fantastic observation by Sanaa-ee through being clement with people. Extreme of clemency means: make a shield out of it to ward off people’s evil and consequently their/your hatred. This lesson will be learnt when your close loved ones betray and hurt your heart which is very difficult to forbear. Examples would be a child that disobeys parents and runs away hurting them, or a woman you love and she betrays you and goes to another man. The magnitude of difficulty to forgive is crushing, once you forgive the child or forgive the woman you loved, the radiating sun of ‘Irfan’ or ‘Orf’ shall shine upon your heart, which would blossom like an orchard. 
I was wondering why he used the word shield in this verse. I suddenly remembered that Allah called Prophet Abraham ‘Halim’ (Koran [9:114]) which means clement, exactly the same Arabic/Koranic word used by the poet in this verse! And then I also remembered that when people threw Prophet Abraham into a bon-fire he was not burnt by the order of Allah i.e. shielded from the flames (Koran [21:69]). The exact words of the Koran is:
“We said, "O Fire! be thou cool, and (a means of) safety for Abraham!"
Wow! The very fire amassed to burn the Prophet Abraham was turned harmless and moreover turned into something of peace for him. That means what wrong people threw your way, if you are clement shall shield against as well as the same evil will be morphed into a source of peace for you! And at that moment you have become an Aref.
[8] Simply be selective who you love. Love is independent of you, and the source tracks to the Creator. Loving is a responsibility, abuse it and its gravity shall crush you under the treachery and loss. Give your love to few who deserve it and cherish it.
[9] The lover shall die a certain obligatory death decreed before the creation of the heavens and earth by the edict of the Creator. But the love in his heart shall endure the death, betrayal and treachery and finally even the destruction of the universe. Because all love is from Allah, though we know not. Look at this poem, the man died 1000 years ago and we still reap the benefits of his passionate words.
[10] If you love Allah, then rip your shirt and let any arrow of cruel destiny to hit your cheat. Escape not, because in the battlefield of Beloved there is no room for cowards.
[11] In the battlefield of love, be a lover-knight on the special designated horse to charge alone but carrying the emblem of love bravely against the enemies, most of which is your self.
[12] This verse is dang hard to translate. I suspect that the poet means, the life is inexpensive for Allah to produce, reproduce and manage. But the same is very expensive for us. I assume this verse is connected to the one following to encourage the reader to do away with greed.
[13] The Farsi word ‘Gabr’ to mean pagan was used. I noticed this word is used in the early works of the Sufis like Nezami and this poet but not in the later works. The reason perhaps is that in the earlier times around 1000 years ago Iran and central were not fully Islamized and there were substantial population of pagans in existence. As they converted more and more over the centuries then the concept of the pagan was lost amongst the Sufis because they could not see anyone anymore.
[14] ‘Your’ refers to Allah. I suspect the poet means that the mind can plan and plot and devise anything but the heart in love with Allah shall never accept any edict unless by the name of the Beloved.
[15] The poet is defending himself writing praises for the celebrities of his time. He is asking a simple question, “If I write something wonderful about a person, why should he not want to read it? Should I write something foul?”
[16] He considers this talent to write beautiful praises a heavenly, or shall I say angelic one. Since the angels are in constant praise and adorations of the Almighty (Koran [21:20]). Sanaa-ee sees that talent the endowment of a heavenly gift.
[17] The poet says that even the pagans want to be in the court of Beloved and in love. But just chanting man made words does not constitute a Koran. Note that Koran in Arabic means something to read/recite. In other words, the book sent to the heart of Prophet Mohammad PBUH is there for a purpose. People recite it to fall in love with the Beloved. Now go write anything else you like to chant and you fall in love with nobody. And in the next verse he compares this situation to moon and galaxies. Moon has similar motion like them but much closer and stays around us, like the chants of pagans, sounds like something religious but very close to us, the heavenly one the Koran is like the galaxies lofty and powerful in motion.

© 2003-2002,  Dara Shayda