Baba Kuhi of Shiraz

Only God I Saw

In the market, in the cloister – only God I saw.
In the valley and on the mountain – only God I saw.

Him I have seen beside me oft in tribulation;
In favor and in fortune – only God I saw.

In prayer and fasting, in praise and contemplation,
In the religion of the Prophet – only God I saw.

Neither soul nor body, accident nor substance,
Qualities nor causes – only God I saw.

I oped mine eyes and by the light of his face around me
In all the eye discovered – only God I saw.
Like a candle I was melting in his fire:
Amidst the flames outflashing – only God I saw.
Myself with mine own eyes I saw most clearly,
But when I looked with God's eyes – only God I saw.
I passed away into nothingness, I vanished,
And lo, I was the All-living – only God I saw.


From a Persian ode by the eleventh-century Sufi mystic Baba Kuhi of Shiraz. The translation is from Reynold A. Nicholson, The Mystics of Islam (London: Arkana, 1989), copyright 1914 by Reynold A. Nicholson.