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Hazrat Marouf AliSHah

Hazrat Ma‘rūf ‘Alī Shāh Shīrāzī


Mirza Abdolkarim (Hazrat Ma‘rūf ‘Alī Shāh Shīrāzī) was born in Shiraz. His father, Fathollah Shīrāzī, was a horse-dealer and always sought the company of the renowned mystics of Shiraz.


In his youth, Abdolkarim (Hazrat Ma‘rūf ‘Alī Shāh) took a great interest in mystical knowledge. He also wrote mystical poems under the pen name Mansūr {“He who is victorious with God’s help”}. When, as a young man, he heard the name Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh, he decided to walk all the way from Shiraz to meet him. Eventually, he met Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh in the Khāneghāh of Pamenar in Tehran. He was deeply impressed by the Pīr and straightaway became his murīd.


In order to help him reach maturity on the Path (sulūk), Hazrat Safī‘Alī Shāh immediately gave him several tasks. By order of the Pīr, he remained in one of the rooms of the Khāneghāh for four years. After four years of hard work, his efforts were rewarded and he was granted the title of Shaykh by Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh. From then on, he had the Pīr’s permission to guide other murīds on the Sufi Path. In fact, he is the only one to have been appointed in writing by Hazrat Safī ‘Alī Shāh as his successor.


After returning to Shiraz, he built a Khāneghāh in the district of Sardarak and named it “Safī‘Alī Shāh’s Khāneghāh in Shiraz”. Here, he began guiding and teaching murīds. He died at the age of 68 and was buried in the basement of the Khāneghāh.


Hazrat Ma‘rūf ‘Alī Shāh was an enlightened, open-minded Sufi Master. He respected everyone and never engaged in debate. Prior to his death, he had appointed Hazrat Nūr ‘Alī Shāh as his successor.


Hazrat Ma‘rūf ‘Alī Shāh also wrote mystical poems. The verses beneath are an example of his graceful taste in poetry:


Being In Love

A fire was set in my mad heart for Love

So that its flames burnt the house of Love


From which tavern did I receive this Wine,

The fire of which consumed the soul, the heart and the cup of Love


When the lovesick nightingale sees the beauty of the rose

It moans in the state of intoxication by Love


In the house of Love, nothing is manifested

But your beauty spot, your face and hair


In order to light a flame in my ruined heart

There is only the candle of your face

which enlightens this secret house of Love


In order to make the entire universe the nest of Love,

The bird of the soul made a way to reach the beauty of your hair.


Where is the person who is capable of giving his heart and belief away for your beauty spot,

Merely for having a glance at him in return, for the sake of Love


It is your kindness which has been bestowed on Mansūr

and is crowned by the glory of Love


To fully appreciate this poem, one should be acquainted with the rich and complex imagery and symbology of Persian Sufi poetry. But it would take us too far here to elaborate on this vast subject, which is a field of study in its own right.


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