Bibi Hayati was born in a province of Persia in what is now Iraq. She was brought up in a Sufi community and became a disciple and then wife of the Sufi Master Nur’ Ali Shah.
Her poetry reflects the Sufi belief of the universal transcendence of the Divine. She alludes to how the the Beloved shines in and through the many things of the world.
Poem by Bibi Hayati
Before there was a trace of this world of men,
I carried the memory of a lock of your hair,
A stray end gathered within me, though unknown.
Inside that invisible realm,
Your face like the sun longed to be seen,
Until each separate object was finally flung into light.
From the moment of Time’s first-drawn breath,
Love resides in us,
A treasure locked into the heart’s hidden vault;
Before the first seed broke open the rose bed of Being,
An inner lark soared through your meadows,
Heading toward Home.
What can I do but thank you, one hundred times?
Your face illumines the shrine of Hayati’s eyes,
Constantly present and lovely.
- Bibi Hayati
- From: Women in Praise of the Sacred by Jane Hirshfield