Khwaja Abdullah al-Ansari al-Hanbali was a famous Sufi poet and saint who lived in the 11th century in Herat (then part of Khorasan, now known as Herat province, Afghanistan). He was well-known for his Arabic and Persian poetry, as well as commentaries on the Quran. (Learn more about him on this page).

Following is an English translation (by Nahid Agha) of one of his Persian poems.

Thou Art The Only Giver

Why remain a bondsman
of greed, or mere speculator
on the mysteries of life?
Devotion alone can fulfill
thy need.

Be not proud of wealth
it is but temporarily lent.
Treasure, more than aught else,
the gift of health.

O Allah! Fill me with Thy Grace
so that the passions of the body
assail my mind no more!

Help me, O Allah!
For none else can
bestow Thy Gifts;
Thou art the Only Giver.

I am aware
of my own unworthiness,
but I am certain
of Thy Boundless Grace.

Regard not thyself
with thine own eye
lest it may bring misfortune
by magnifying the self.

The evil eye of another
can be averted,
there is no escape
from the evil of one’s own.

Satan saw himself
with his own eye, created out of fire.
He looked down on Adam
created out of earth.

Satan who looked at himself,
with his own eye, was condemned for ever.
Adam, on whom he cast an evil eye,
craved forgiveness and was redeemed.

It is better to be
humble as the earth
rather than steeped
in overweening self-conceit.

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Photo by Stefano Corso