There are five extant poems by the famous Turkish Sufi mystic, Hajji Bayram (1352–1430), who was also the founder of the Bayrami Sufi order. Recently I translated these poems into English, and am posting them below. I have added copious notes, since many terms and concepts may be unfamiliar to the average reader. The poems are now also posted on the Oxford University website (here) with emendations by Stephen Hirtenstein.



If you wish to know yourself1
Look for the Soul within your soul2
Abandon your soul and find Him3
Know yourself, just know yourself.

Whoever knows His Actions
also knows His Attributes
There he perceives His Essence4
Know yourself, just know yourself.

What is seen is your Attribute
The one who sees it is your Essence
What else do you need to know?
Know yourself, just know yourself.

Who arrives at bewilderment
Is plunged into divine light
And finds Unity of the Essence
Know yourself, just know yourself.

Bayram knew his own Essence
There he found the Knower
The finder became himself5
Know yourself, just know yourself.



My Lord created a city
between the two worlds.
If you look, you'll see His Face
At the outskirts of that town.6

Of a sudden I went to that town
and saw it being built.
I too was built together with it,
Between stone and clay.7

Arrows are shot from that city
They come and pierce my breast.
The words of the wise are sold
in that town's marketplace.8

Its disciples carve stones
and present them to the master.
They invoke the Lord's name
At every chip of that stone.9

What they call “city” is the Heart
’Tis not ignorant, nor does it know.
The blood of lovers flows freely
On the outskirts of that city.10

The wise understand these words;
The ignorant don’t know and chide.11
Hajji Bayram himself sounds
the prayer call from that town's minaret.12



What has happened to this heart of mine?
It is filled with Your worry and sadness.13
My heart has burned, my heart has burned
And has found its cure in that burning.14

It burned for the Truth, it burned for the Truth
Was all painted in the color of love;15
It found in itself, it found in itself16
How nicely my Heart has found its desire.

“My poverty is my pride”17
Did not the Pride of the Universe say?18
Know your poverty, know your poverty,
My Heart found what it found in Extinction.19

The greatest love, the greatest love20
The Greatest Heaven has [happened] to me
House of the Beloved, House of the Beloved
Is it strange that my Heart has become?21

O Bayram, O Bayram, now is the time;
Now is the time to feast with the Friend.
Thanks and praises, thanks and praises
My heart has celebrated with the Beloved.22



My aim is not of this world
except only “none but He”23
There is no cure for my suffering
except only “none but He”

Neither houris nor servants,
not heavenly palace nor Ridwan24
These things are not the king of my heart
except only “none but He”

Of the weave of His imagination
This world is but a particle
Looking from that mote, we see
Nothing, only “none but He”25

Bayram, if you understand
the reality in this world
this secret’s secret none can grasp
except only “none but He”



Nobody can draw it
The bowstring of fortune is tough26
Don’t be enamored of its trouble
Some day it’ll end in “Alas!”27

It plays along and deceives
Due to its sleight of hand
How can so much mischief
Come together in one place?

Once it turns your face away
It doesn’t tarry an instant28
It makes feet of so many heads
Then turns around and makes heads of feet

It is transient and disloyal
Do not believe a word it says
Sometimes it makes the poor wealthy
Sometimes it makes the wealthy poor.

All scholars are enchanted
By the meaning of this,
Those who rule the world from end to end
Don’t fathom this mystery

He is One in Unity
Where the distinction of Diversity?
Khidr did not attain this secret
Nor did he inform Moses of it.29

Hajji Bayram, poor in spirit,
Don’t be enamored of this world
It is a great workhouse
Don’t take on its infatuation.30



1. “He who knows his self knows his Lord”—The Prophet.

2. Trk. can: ruh, spirit/life. “Bir ben vardır bende, benden içeri” (There is an I inside me, inner than myself) — Yunus Emre.

3. “He who loses his life/soul (psychen, more accurately “self”) shall find it.” Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24.

4. Tawhid al-Af’al/Sifat/Dhat: Unification of Actions/Attributes/Essence.

5. Duality was removed, Unity was achieved.

6. This city is the (spiritual) Heart (see below). The Heart is the seat of God, God can be seen at its remotest parts.

7. To build the city is to repair the Heart, so we are able to perceive its true nature again. Clay or earth is the substance of a human being. Stone, namely the Base Self, is its content.

8. Here the city is a dervish convent. The painful arrows of fortune pierce the lungs and heart, a necessary part of spiritual maturation. Dervishes learn and exchange words of wisdom with each other.

9. The stone is the Base Self. Carving stone is training and purifying the Base Self. An important part in this is the Invocation (dhikr) of God’s name. The master supervises the progress of the disciples.

10. The Heart is not the seat of knowledge, but of faith and Gnosis (marifa). Many lovers have sacrificed themselves for the sake of finding God.

11. “[Only] he who tastes, knows.” Other people can understand neither the journey of the Sufi, nor the terms used to describe its details.

12. He has attained his goal and has himself become a shaykh.

13. The love of God fills one with longing and the sadness of being separate.

14. Has become purified.

15. Hajji Bayram becomes love from head to toe.

16. He found God not outside, but within himself.

17. What is meant is spiritual poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”—Jesus (Matt. 5:3).

18. The Prophet Mohammed.

19. Annihilation in God (fana fillah).

20. The love of God.

21. His Heart has become the Abode of God.

22. He has attained Union.

23. “None but He” (illa Hu) is a part of La ilahe illa Hu: “There is no god but He,” an Invocation (dhikr) used to reach God.

24. Ridwan: The Gatekeeper of Paradise.

25. There is nothing in existence other than God.

26. The troubles of this world are formidable.

27. Don’t be seduced by the tinsel of this world, it is sure to end in regret.

28. It is like a kaleidoscope that keeps on changing.

29. Unity in Unity versus Unity in Diversity is a mystery few can understand. Neither was Khidr able to understand it or teach it to Moses.

30. “The world” is whatever that prevents us from attaining our goal, namely God. So we should not fall under its spell.