Ya Nafsu in Lam Tadhfarī (يا نفس إن لم تظفري) is a qasida written by the saint and scholar Ḥabīb ‘Alī al-Ḥabshī (1843–1915) of Haḍramawt, Yemen. In it, the author reprimands his self (nafs), rousing it from heedlessness and calling it to patience and contentment. The poem has been expertly translated into English, retaining the metre and rhyme, by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.
Yaa nafsu in lam tadhfaree laa tajza‘ee
Wa ilaa mawaa’idi joodi Mawlaakihra‘ee
Wa idhaa ta’akh-khara maṭlabun falarubbamaa
Fee dhaalikat ta’kheeri kullul maṭma‘ee
Wasta’nisee bil man‘i war‘ee ḥaqqahoo
Innar riḍaa waṣful muneebil alma‘ee
Wa idhaa badaa min naaṭiqil wijdaani maa
Yad‘ooki lil ya’sidh dhameemil ashna‘ee
Fasṭayqidhee min nawmatil ghafalaati wal-
-yakunir rajaa laki marta‘an feehirta‘ee
Innal ‘ataa imdaaduhu mutanawwi‘un
Yaa ḥusna haadhaakal ‘atal mutanawwi‘ee
Waradoo ilaa nahril ḥayaati wa kulluhum
Shariboo wa kam fir rakbi min mutaḍalli‘ee
Ḥaashal Kareemu yarudduhum ‘aṭshan wa qad
Waradoo wa aṣlul joodi min dhal manba‘ee
Ya Rabbi lee dhannun jameelun waafirun
Qaddamtuhu amshee bihi yas‘aa ma‘ee
Kullul ladhee yarjoona faḍlaka umṭiroo
Ḥaashaaka an yabqaa hasheemam marba‘ee
Thummaṣ ṣalaatu ‘alal ḥabeebi Muḥammadin
Sababil qawiyyi ilal maqaamil arfa‘ee
Huwa ‘iṣmatee huwa ‘urwatee fastamsikee
Yaa nafsu bil majdil ‘adheemil amna‘ee
Translated by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad
Should you not gain your wants, my soul, then be not grieved;
but hasten to that banquet which your Lord’s bequeathed.
And when a thing for which you ask is slow to come,
Then know that often through delay are gifts received.
Find solace in privation and respect its due,
For only by contentment is the heart relieved.
And know that when the trials of life have rendered you
Despairing of all hope, and of all joy bereaved,
Then shake yourself and rouse yourself from heedlessness,
And make pure hope a meadow that you never leave.
Your Maker’s gifts take subtle and uncounted forms.
How fine the fabric of the world His hands have weaved.
The journey done, they came to the water of life,
And all the caravan drank deep, their thirst alleved.
Far be it from the host to leave them thirsty there,
His spring pours forth all generosity received.
My Lord, my trust in all Your purposes is strong,
That trust is now my shield; I’m safe, and undeceived.
All those who hope for grace from You will feel Your rain;
Too generous are You to leave my branch unleaved.
May blessings rest upon the loved one, Muhammad,
Who’s been my means to high degrees since I believed.
He is my fortress and my handhold, so my soul,
Hold fast, and travel to a joy still unconceived.