Omar Khayyam’s Wisdom


My father spent some time of his life in Uzbekistan, and growing up I was exposed to Omar Khayyam’s quotes and poetry. We had a book at home and I liked to read Omar Khayyam’s quatrains (Rubaiyat) which contain so much wisdom. Abdullah Dougan, a modern Naqshbandi Sufi, said: “Every line of the Rubaiyat has more meaning than almost anything you could read in Sufi literature”.

From Wikipedia:
“Omar Khayyám (Persian: ‏عمر خیام‎; 1048–1131) was a Persian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. Throughout his life Omar Khayyám was dedicated to his efforts and abilities, in the day he would teach Algebra and Geometry in the evening he would attend the Seljuk court as an adviser of Malik-Shah I and at night he would study Astronomy and complete the important aspects of the Jalali calendar.

Zamakhshari referred to him as “the philosopher of the world”. Many sources have testified that he taught for decades the philosophy of Ibn Sina in Nishapur where Khayyám was born and buried.”

Enjoy some of his pearls of wisdom:

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

“A book of verses underneath the bough
A flask of wine, a loaf of bread and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness
And wilderness is paradise now.”

“There was a Door to which I found no Key
There was a Veil past which I could not see
Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
There seemed–and then no more of THEE and ME.”

“Oh threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain – This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies –
The Flower that once has blown forever dies.”

“I brought the cup to my lips with greed
Begging for longevity, my temporal need
Cup brought its to mine, its secret did feed
Time never returns, drink, of this take heed.”

Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”

“I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And by and by my Soul return’d to me,
And answer’d: ‘I Myself am Heav’n and Hell.”

“Why ponder thus the future to foresee, and jade thy brain to vain perplexity? Cast off thy care, leave Allah’s plans to him – He formed them all without consulting thee.”

“Dead yesterdays and unborn tomorrows, why fret about it, if today be sweet.”

“Thou hast said that Thou wilt torment me, But I shall fear not such a warning. For where Thou art, there can be no torment, And where Thou art not, how can such a place exist?”

“When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.”

“If with wine you are drunk be happy, If seated with a moon-faced (beautiful), be happy, Since the end purpose of the universe is nothing-ness; Hence picture your nothing-ness, then while you are, be happy!”

“Those who have gone forth, thou cup-bearer, Have fallen upon the dust of pride, thou cup-bearer, Drink wine and hear from me the truth: (Hot) air is all that they have said, thou cup-bearer.”

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