by Kati Agócs
Text: Bibi Hayati;
19th-century female Sufi poet and mystic;
Sung in the original Farsi
Recorded for Volume 1, Voices of the Pearl
Please find notes, biography and bibliography below.
This cycle sets verses of a ghazal (roughly speaking, the Persian equivalent of highly structured sonnet) of Bibi Hayati, an early nineteenth-century noblewoman from Bam, in the Kerman province of Iran. Hayati was acquainted with both exoteric and esoteric sciences and adhered to the external principles of Islam, while also embracing the fundamentals of Sufi Gnosticism. These intensely sensuous lyrical and ecstatic poems are sung in the original Persian (Farsi).
While Hayati found a welcome for her ecstatic connection to God in Sufism, she waited until she had permission from her spiritual teacher to communicate her experience outside her immediate family in writing in these poems. She was initially reluctant because of her gender, Hayati’s spiritual master conferred on her the duty to write these ghazals that relate her mystical experience, because, according to him, she had attained the status of manhood through her devotion to the Sufi path: “In the realm of love, sincerity and Sufism, you too are a man. True manhood is courage.”
Original text: Ghazal No. 96 by Bibi Jan Hayati