The HADÎQATU' L-HAQÎQAT (The enclosed garden of the truth)
IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE.
O Thou who nurturest the mind, who adornest the body, O Thou who givest wisdom, who showest mercy on the foolish, Creator and Sustainer of earth and time, Guardian and Defender of
dweller and dwelling; dwelling and dweller, all is of Thy creation; time and earth, all is under Thy command; fire and wind, water and the firm ground, all are under the control of Thy omnipotence, O Thou the Ineffable. From thy throne to earth, all is but a particle of what Thou hast created; the living intelligence is Thy swift messenger. Every tongue that moves within the mouth possesses life for the purpose of praising Thee; Thy great and sacred names are a proof of Thy bounty and beneficence and mercy. Each one of them is greater than heaven and earth and angel; they are a thousand and one, and they are ninety-nine; each one of them is related to one of man's needs, but those who are not in Thy secrets are excluded from them. O Lord, of thy grace and pity admit this heart and soul to a sight of Thy name!
Infidelity and faith, both travelling on Thy road, exclaim, He is alone, He has no partner. The Creator, the Bounteous, the Powerful is He; the One, the Omnipotent,--not like unto us is He, the
Living, the Eternal, the All-knowing, the Potent, the Feeder of creation, the Conqueror and the Pardoner. He causes movement, and causes rest; He it is who is alone, and ha; no partner; to
whatever thing thou ascribest fundamental existence, that thou assertest to be His partner; beware!
Our weakness is a demonstration of His perfection; His omnipotence is the deputy of His names. Both No and He returned from that mansion of felicity with pocket and purse empty. What is
there above imagination, and reason, and perception, and thought, except the mind of him who knows God? for to a knower of God, wherever he is, in whatever state, the throne of God is as acarpet under his shoe. The seeing soul knows praise is folly, if given to other than the Creator; He who from earth can create the body, and make the wind the register of speech, the Giver of reason, the Inspirer of hearts, who calls forth the soul, the Creator of causes;--generation and corruption, all is his work; He is the source of all creation, and the place to which it returns all comes from Him and all returns to Him; good and evil all proceeds to Him. He creates the freewill of the good and of the wicked; He is the Author of the soul, the Originator of wisdom; He from nothing created thee something; thou wert of no account, and He exalted thee.
No mind can reach a comprehension of His mode of being; the reason and soul know not His perfection. The mind of Intelligence is dazzled by His majesty, the soul's eye is blinded before His perfection. The Primal Intelligence is a product of His nature,--it He admitted to a knowledge of himself. Imagination lags before the glory of His essence; understanding moves confined before His nature's mode of being. His fire, which in haughtiness He made His carpet, burnt the wing of reason; the soul is a serving-man in His pageant, reason a novitiate in His school. What is reason in this guest-house? only a crooked writer of the script of God.
What of this intelligence, agitator of trifles? What of this changing inconstant nature?, When He shows to intelligence the road to Himself, then only can intelligence fitly praise Him. Since Intelligence was the first of created things, Intelligence is above all choicest things besides; yet Intelligence is but one word out of His record, the Soul one of the foot-soldiers at His door. Love
He perfected through a reciprocal love; but intelligence He tethered even by intelligence. Intelligence, like us, is bewildered on the road to His nature, like us confounded. He is intelligence of intelligence, and soul of soul; and what is above that, that He is. How through the promptings of reason and soul and senses can one come to know God? But that God showed him the way, how could man ever have become acquainted with Divinity?
On the knowledge of god
Of himself no one can know Him; His nature can only be known through Himself. Reason sought His truth,--it ran not well; impotence hastened on His road, and knew Him. His mercy
said, Know me; otherwise who, by reason and sense, could know Him? How is it possible by the guidance of the senses? How can a nut rest firmly on the summit of a dome? Reason will guide thee, but only to the door; His grace must carry thee to Himself. Thou canst not journey there by reason's guidance; perverse like others, commit not thou this folly. His grace leads us on the road; His works are guide and witness to Him. O thou, who art incompetent to know thine own nature, how wilt thou ever know God? Since thou art incapable of knowing thyself, how wilt thou become a knower of the Omnipotent? Since thou art unacquainted with the first steps towards a knowledge of Him, how thinkest thou to conceive of Him as He is?
In describing Him in argument, speech is a comparison, and silence a dereliction of duty. Reason's highest attainment on His road is amazement; the people's riches is their zeal for Him. Imagination falls short of His attributes; understanding vainly boasts her powers; the prophets are confounded at these sayings, the saints stupefied at these attributes. He is the desired and lord of reason and soul, the goal of disciple and devotee. Reason is as a guide to His existence; all other existences are under the foot of His existence. His acts are not bounded by 'inside' and 'outside'; His essence is superior to 'how' and 'why.' Intelligence has not reached the comprehension of His essence; the soul and heart of reason are dust upon this road; reason, without the collyrium of friendship with Him, has no knowledge of His divinity. Why dost thou
instigate imagination to discuss Him? How shall a raw youth speak of the Eternal?
By reason and thought and sense no living thing can come to know God. When the glory of His nature manifests itself to reason, it sweeps away both reason and soul. Let reason be invested
with dignity in the rank where stands the faithful Gabriel; yet before all His majesty a Gabriel becomes less than a sparrow through awe; reason arriving there bows down her head, the soul
flying there folds her wing. The raw youth discusses the Eternal only in the light of his shallow sense and wicked soul; shall thy nature, journeying towards the majesty and glory of His essence, attain to a knowledge of Him?
On the assertion of the unity
He is One, and number has no place in Him; He is Absolute, and dependence is far removed from Him; not that One which reason and understanding can know, not that Absolute which sense and imagination can recognise. He is not multitude, nor paucity; one multiplied by one remains one. In duality is only evil and error; in singleness is never any fault.
While multitude and confusion remain in thy heart, say thou 'One' or 'Two,'--what matter, for both are the same. Thou, the devil's pasture, know for certain what, and how much, and why, and
how! Have a care! His greatness comes not from multitude; His essence is above number and quality; the weak searcher may not ask 'Is it' or 'Who' concerning Him. No one has uttered the attributes of the Creator, HE,--quantity, quality, why, or what, who, and where. His hand is power, His face eternity; 'to come' is His wisdom, 'the descent' His gift; His two feet are the majesty of vengeance and dignity, His two fingers are the effective power of His command and will. All existences are subject to His omnipotence; all are present to Him, all seek Him; the motion of light is towards light-how can light be separated from the sun?
In comparison with His existence eternity began but the day before yesterday; it came at dawn, but yet came late. How can His working be bounded by eternity? Eternity without beginning is a
houseborn slave of his; and think not nor imagine that eternity without end (is more), for eternity without end is like to eternity without beginning.
How shall He have a place, in size greater or smaller? for place itself has no place. How shall there be a place for the Creator of place, a heaven for the Maker of heaven himself? Place cannot
attain to Him, nor time; narration can give no information of Him, nor observation. Not through columns is His state durable; His nature's being has its place in no habitation.
O thou, who art in bondage to form and delineation, bound by 'He sat upon the throne'; form exists not apart from contingencies, and accords not with the majesty of the Eternal. Inasmuch as He was sculptor, He was not image; 'He sat' was, not throne, nor earth. Continue calling 'He sat' from thy inmost soul, but think not His essence is bound by dimensions; for 'He sat' is a verse of
the Qur'ân, and to say 'He has no place' is an article of faith. The throne is like a ring outside a door; it knows not the attributes of Godhead. The word 'speech' is written in the Book; but shape
and voice and form are far from Him; 'God descends' is written in tradition, but believe not thou that He comes and goes; the throne is mentioned in order to exalt it, the reference to the Ka`ba is
to glorify it. To say 'He has no place' is the gist of religion; shake thy head, for it is a fitting opportunity for praise. They pursue Husain with enmity because 'Alî spoke the word 'He has no
He made an earth for His creation in this form; behold how He has made a nest for thee!
Yesterday the sky was not, to-day it is; again to-morrow it will not be,--yet He remains. He will fold up the veil of smoke in front of Him;--'On a day we will fold up the heavens;' (Qur. 21:103) breathe thou forth a groan. When the knowers of God live in Him, the Eternal, they cleave 'behold' and 'He' in two through the middle.
On god as first cause
The course of time is not the mould whence issues His eternal duration, nor temperament the cause of His beneficence; without His word, time and temperament exist not, as apart from His
favour the soul enters not the body. This and that both are wanting and worthless; that and this both are foolish and impotent. 'Old' and 'new' are words inapplicable to His essence; He is, for He consists not of any existences except Himself. His kingdom cannot be known to its limits, His nature cannot be described even to its beginning; His acts and His nature are beyond instrument and direction, for His Being is above 'Be' and 'He'.
Before thou wert in existence a greater than thou for thy sake brought together the causes that went to form thee; in one place under the heavens by the command and act of God were the four
temperaments prepared; I their gathering together is a proof of His power; His power is the draughtsman of His wisdom. He who laid down the plan of thee without pen can also complete it
without colours; within thee, not in yellow and white and red and black, God has pourtrayed His work; and without thee He has designed the spheres; of what?--of wind and water and fire and
earth. The heavens will not for ever leave to thee thy colours,--yellow and black and red and white; the spheres take back again their gifts, but the print of God remains for ever; He who
without colours drew thy outlines will never take back from thee thy soul. By His creative power He brought thee under an obligation, for His grace has made thee an instrument I of expression of Himself; He said, 'I was a hidden treasure; creation was created that thou mightest know me; the eye like to a precious pearl through kâf and nûn He made a mouth filled with Yâ în.
Sew no purse and tear not thy veil; lick no plate and buy not blandishment. All things are contraries, but by the command of God all travel together on the same road; in the house of nonexistence the plan of all is laid down for all eternity by the command of the Eternal; four essences, through the exertion of the seven stars, become the means of bodying forth the plan.
Say, The world of evil and of good proceeds not except from Him and to Him, nay, is Himself. All objects receive their outline and forms from Him, their material basis as well as their final shape. Element and material substance, the form and colours clothing the four elements,--all things know as limited and finite, as but a ladder for thy ascent to God.
On purity of heart
Then, since the object of desire exists not in anyplace, how canst thou purpose to journey
towards Him on foot? The highroad by which thy spirit and prayers can travel towards God lies in the polishing of the mirror of the heart. The mirror of the heart becomes not free from the rust
of infidelity and hypocrisy by opposition and hostility; the burnisher of the mirror is your steadfast faith; again, what is it? It is the unsullied purity of your religion. To him in whose heart is no confusion the mirror and the form imaged will not appear as the same thing; although in form thou art in the mirror, that which is in the mirror is not thou,--thou art one, as the mirror is another. The mirror knows nothing of thy form; it and thy form are very different things; the mirror receives the image by means of light, and light is not to be separated from the sun;--the fault, then, is in the mirror and the eye.
Whoso remains for ever behind a veil, his likeness is as the owl and the sun.. If the owl is incapacitated by the sun, it is because of its own weakness, not because of the sun, the light of the sun is spread throughout the world, the misfortune comes from the weakness of the bat's eye.
Thou seest not except by fancy and sense, for thou dost not even know the line, the surface and the point; thou stumblest on this road of knowledge, and for months and years remainest tarrying
in discussion; but in this matter he utters only folly who does not know the manifestation of God through his incarnation in man. If thou wishest that the mirror should reflect the face, hold it not
crooked and keep it bright; for the sun, though not niggardly of his light, seen in a mist looks only like glass, and a Yûsuf more beautiful than an angel seems in a dagger to have a devil's
face. Thy dagger will not distinguish truth from falsehood; it will not serve thee as a mirror. Thou canst better see thy image in the mirror of thy heart than in thy clay; break loose from the chain thou hast fettered thyself with,--for thou wilt be free when thou hast got clear from thy clay; since clay is dark and heart is bright, thy clay is a dustbin and thy heart a rose-garden.
Whatever increases the brightness of thy heart brings nearer God's manifestation of Himself to thee; because Abû Bakr's purity of heart was greater than others', he was favoured by a special
On the blind men and the affair of the elephant
There was a great city in the country of Ghûr, in which all the people were blind. A certain king passed by that place, bringing his army and pitching his camp on the plain. He had a large and magnificent elephant to minister to his pomp and excite awe, and to attack in battle. A desire arose among the people to see this monstrous elephant, and a number of the blind, like fools, visited it, every one running in his haste to find out its shape and form. They came, and being without the sight of their eyes groped about it with their hands; each of them by touching one member obtained a notion of some one part; each one got a conception of an impossible object, and fully believed his fancy true. When they returned to the people of the city, the others gathered round them, all expectant, so misguided and deluded were they. They asked about the appearance and shape of the elephant, and what they told all listened to. One asked him whose hand had come upon its ear about the elephant; he said, It is a huge and formidable object, broad and rough and spreading, like a carpet. And he whose hand had come upon its trunk said, I have found out about it; it is straight and hollow in the middle like a pipe, a terrible thing and an instrument of destruction. And he who had felt the thick hard legs of the elephant said, As I have it in mind, its form is straight like a planed pillar. Everyone had seen some one of its parts, and all had seen it wrongly. No mind knew the whole,--knowledge is never the companion of the blind all, like fools deceived, fancied absurdities.
Men know not the Divine essence; into this subject the philosophers may not enter.
On the above allegory
One talks of 'the foot', the other of 'the hand', pushing beyond all limits their foolish words; that other speaks of 'fingers' and 'change of place' and 'descending', and of His coming as an incarnation. Another considers in his science His 'settling himself' and 'throne' and 'couch', and in his folly speaks of 'He sat' and 'He reclined', making of his foolish fancy a bell to tie round his neck. 'His face' says one; 'His feet' another; and no one says to him, 'Where is thy object?' From all this talk there comes altercation, and there results what happened in the case of the blind men and the elephant.
Exalted be the name of Him who is exempt from 'what' and 'how'! the livers of the prophets have become blood. Reason hamstringed by this saying; the sciences of the learned are folded up. All have come to acknowledge their weakness; woe to him who persists in his folly! Say, It is allegorical; depend not on it, and fly from foolish conceptions. The text of the Qur'ân--we believe it all; and the traditions--we admit the whole of them.
Of those who heed not
A discerning man questioned one of the indifferent, whom he saw to be very foolish and thoughtless, saying, Hast thou ever seen saffron, or hast thou only heard the name? He said, I have it by me, and have eaten a good deal of it, not once only, but a hundred times and more. Said the wise and discerning man to him, Bravo, wretch! Well done, my friend! Thou knowest not that there is a bulb as well! How long wilt thou wag thy beard in thy folly?
He who knows not his own soul, how shall he know the soul of another? and he who only knows hand and foot, how shall he know the Godhead? The prophets are unequal to understanding this matter; why dost thou foolishly claim to do so? When thou hast brought forward a demonstration of this subject, then thou wilt know the pure essence of the faith; otherwise what have faith and thou in common? thou hadst best be silent, and speak not folly. The learned talk nonsense all; for true religion is not woven about the feet of everyone.
On the steps of ascent
Make not thy soul's nest in hell, nor thy mind's lodging in deception; wander not in the neighbourhood of foolishness and absurdities, nor by the door of the house of vain imagining. Abandon vain conceits, that thou mayest find admission to that court; for that mansion of eternity is for thee, and this abode of mortality is not thy place; for thee is that mansion of eternity
prepared,--abandon to-day, and give up thy life for to-morrow's sake. This world's evil and good, its deceit and truth, are only for the ignoble among the sons of Adam.
To a high roof the steps are many,--why art thou contented with one step? The first step towards it is serenity, according to the attestation of the lord of knowledge; and after it thou comest to the second step,--the wisdom of life, of form and matter.
Know thou the truth,--that there is not in the world for the offspring of Adam a better staircase to mount the eternal heaven by, than wisdom and work. The wisdom of life makes strong the mind for both the upper and the lower abode; strive thou in this path, and although thou do not so in that, yet thou shalt not do amiss. Whoso sows the seed of sloth, sloth will bring him impiety for fruit; whoso took unto himself folly and sloth, his legs lost their power and his work failed I know nothing worse than sloth; it turns Rustams into cowards. Thou wert created for work, and a robe of honour is ready cut for thee; why are thou content with tatters? Why wilt thou not desire those striped garments of Arabia? Whence wilt thou get fortune and kingdom when thou art idle
sixty days a month? Idleness in the day, and ease at night,--thou wilt hardly reach the throne of the Sasanians. Know that handle of club and hilt of sword are crown and throne to kings who know not the moisture of weeping eyes; but he who wanders about after money and a meal cringes ignoble and vile before a clenched fist.
Possessing knowledge, possess also serenity like the mountain; be not distressed at the disasters of fortune. Knowledge without serenity is an unlighted candle, both together are like the bee's
honey; honey without wax typifies the noble, wax without honey is only for burning.
Abandon this abode of generation and corruption; leave the pit, and make for thy destined home; for on this dry heap of dust is a mirage, and fire appears as water. The man of pure heart unites the two worlds in one; the lover makes but one out of all three abodes.
On the protection and guardianship of god
Whoso is fenced around by divine aid, a spider spreads its web before him; a lizard utters his praise, a serpent seeks to please him. His shoe treads the summit of the throne; his ruby lip is the world's fitting ornament; in his mouth poison becomes sugar; in his hand a stone becomes a jewel. Whoso lays his head on this threshold places his foot on the head of things temporal; wise reason is powerless to explain these things, for all are powerless who come not to this door. I fear that through thy ignorance and folly thou wilt one day be left helpless on Sirât; thy ignorance will deliver thee to the fire; see how it is administering the soporific lettuce and poppies to thee. Thou hast seen how in the middle of a morsel of food that one eats there will appear a grain of wheat, which has survived the attack of locust, and bird, and beast, has seen the heat of heaven and the glow of the oven, and remained unchanged under thy millstone. Who preserved it? God, God. He is a sufficient protector for thee,--for possessions and life and breath; thou art of His creation, that is enough. If thou procurest dog and chain thou canst overcome the antelope of the desert, and in thy trust and sincere belief in this thou art free from anxiety as regards a
maintenance and livelihood: I say to thee,--and with reason and judgment, so that thou mayst not shut the door of thine ear against my words,--Thy trust in dog and chain I see is greater than in the All-hearing and All-seeing; the light of thy faith, if standing on this foundation, is given over to destruction by a dog and a thing of iron.
The parable of those who give alms
A certain wise and liberal man gave away so many bags of gold before his son's eyes that when he saw his father's munificence he broke forth into censure and remonstrance, saying, Father, where is my share of this? He said, O son, in the treasury of God; I have given to God thy portion, leaving no executor and none to divide it with thee, and He will give it thee again. He is Himself our Provider and our Master; shall He not suffice us, both for faith and worldly
goods? He is no other than the disposer of our lives; He will not oppress thee,--He is not of those. To everyone He gives back seventy-fold; and if He closes one door against thee, He opens
On the cause of our maintenance
Seest thou not that before the beginning of thy existence God the All-wise, the Ineffable, when He had created thee in the womb gave thee of blood thy sustenance for nine months? Thy mother
nourished thee in her womb, then after nine months brought thee forth; that door of support He quickly closed on thee, and bestowed on thee two better doors, for He then acquainted thee with the breast,--two fountains running for thee day and night; He said, Drink of these both; eat and welcome, for it is not forbidden thee. When after two years she weaned thee, all became changed
for thee; He gave thee thy sustenance by means of thy two hands and feet,--'Take it by means of these, and by those go where thou wilt! ' If He closed the two doors against thee, it is but Light,
for instead of two, four doors have appeared,--'Take by means of these, by those go on to victory; go seek thy daily bread throughout the world!'
When suddenly there comes on thee thy appointed time, and the things of the world all pass away, and the two hands and feet fail in their office, to thee in thy helpless state He gives an exchange for these four. Hands and feet are shut up in the tomb, and eight heavens become thy fortune; eight doors are opened to thee, the virgins and youths of Paradise come before thee, that going joyfully to any door thou wilt thou mayest lose remembrance of this world.
O youth, hear this saying, and despair not of God's bounty. If God has given thee knowledge of Himself and put belief within thy heart, the robe of honour which is to thee like thy weddinggarment
He will not take from thee on the day of resurrection. If thou hast neither learning nor gold, yet hast this, thou wilt not be destitute. He will bring thee to glory,--thou shalt not be disgraced; He will set thee in honour,--thou shalt not be despised. Thy possessions,--give not thy soul to their keeping; what He has given thee, hold thou fast to that. Thou layest up treasure,-- thou shalt not see it again; if thou gavest it to Him, He would give it thee again. Thou puttest gold in the fire,--it burns up the dross, so He burns thy pure gold; when He has burnt out the bad, the good He gives to thee; fortune bends down her head to thee from the skies. The more enduring the benefit afforded by the fire, the kinder on that account is He who kindles the fire; thou knowest not what is good nor what bad; He is a better treasurer for thee than thou for thyself. A friend is a serpent; why seekest thou his door? the serpent is thy friend; why fliest thou from it in terror?
O seeker of the shell of the pearl of 'Unless', lay down clothing and life on the shore of 'Not'; God's existence inclines only towards him who has ceased to exist; non-existence is the necessary provision for the journey. Till in annihilation thou lay aside thy cap thou wilt not set thy face on the road to eternal life; when thou becomest nothing, thou runnest towards God; the path of mendicancy leads up to Him. If fortune crushes thee down, the most excellent of Creators will restore thee. Rise, and have done with false fables; forsake thy ignoble passions, and come hither.
Of the right guidance
Every indication of the road thou receivest, O darwîsh, count it a gift of God, not thine own doing; He is the cause of the bestowal of benefits, He it is to whom the soul is guided, and He its guide. Recognise that it is God's favour guides thee on the path of duty and religion and His ordinance, not thine own strength. He is the giver of the light of truth and instruction, both Guardian of the world and its Observer too. He is kinder than mother and father; He it is who shall guide thee to Paradise.
Because of the unbelief of the people He made us our religion; He made us see clearly in the darkness. See the favour of God the Guider! for out of all creation He made man His chosen. His majesty needs not saint nor prophet for the enlightening of male or female; for the guidance of the six princes He made a cat a prophet, a dog a saint. Whose comes to Him and lends his ear,
comes not of himself, but His grace leads him; His grace will guide thee to the end, and then the heavens will be thy slave. Know that it is He who makes the soul prostrate itself, as even through the sun the clouds give bounteous rain.
[On the surrender of the self]
Dost thou desire thy collar of lace to be washed, then first give thy coat to the fuller. Strip off thy coat, for on the road to the King's gate there are many to tear it. At the first step that Adam took,
the wolf of affliction tore his coat: when Cain became athirst to oppress, did not Abel give up his coat and die? Was it not when Idrîs threw off his coat that he saw the door of Paradise open to
him? When the Friend of God remorselessly tore their garments from star and moon and sun, his night became bright as day, and the fire of Nimrod became a garden and a rose-bower. Look at
Solomon, who in his justice gave the coat of his hope to the fuller; jinn and men, birds and ants and locusts, in the depth of the: waters of the Red Sea, on the tips of the branches, all raised their
face to him, all became subservient to his command; when the lustre of his nature had been burnt in the fire of his soul, the heavens laid his body on the back of the wind.
When the venerable Moses, reared in sorrow, turned his face in grief and pain towards Midian, in bodily labour he tore off the coat from his anguished heart. For ten years he served Shu`aib, till
the door of the invisible was opened to his soul. His hand became bright as his piercing eye; he became the crown on the head of the men of Sinai.
When the Spirit, drawing breath from the spiritual ocean, had received the grace of the Lord, he sent his coat to the cleanser of hearts at the first stage of his journey. He gave brightness to his
soul, He gave him kingship, even in childhood. By the Eternal Power, through encouragement in secret and grace made manifest, he lost the self; the leprous body became dark again through him as the shadow on the earth, the blind eye became bright as the steps of the throne. Whoso like him seeks neither name nor reputation, can produce ten kinds (of food) from one jar. A stone with him became fragrant as musk; the dead rose to living action and spoke. By his grace life broke forth in the dead earth of the heart; by his power he animated the heart of the mire.
When predestined fate had closed the shops, and the hand of God's decree lay in the hollow of non-existence, the world was full of evil passions, the market full of ruffians and patrols. Then
He sent a vicegerent into this world to abolish oppression; when he appeared from mid-heaven, fervid in soul and pure in body, he wore no coat on the religious path; then what could he give to
the fullers of the land? When he passed from this mortal state to eternal life he became the ornament and glory of this perishable world.
In his magnification
When He shows His Nature to His creation, into what mirror shall He enter? The burden of proclaiming the Unity not everyone bears; the desire of proclaiming the Unity not everyone tastes. In every dwelling is God adored; but the Adored cannot be circumscribed by any dwelling. The earthly man, accompanied by unbelief and anthropomorphism, wanders from the road; on the road of truth thou must abandon thy passions;-rise., and forsake this vile sensual
nature; when thou hast come forth from Abode and Life, then, through God, thou wilt see God.
How shall this sluggish body worship Him, or how can Life and Soul know Him? A ruby of the mine is but a pebble there; the soul's wisdom talks but folly there. Speechlessness is praise,--
enough of thy speech; babbling will be but sorrow and harm to thee,--have done!
His Nature, to one who knows Him and is truly learned, is above 'How' and 'What' and 'Is it not' and 'Why.' His creative power is manifest, the justice of His wisdom; His wrath is secret, the artifice of His majesty. A form of water and earth is dazzled by His love, the eye and heart are blinded by His Nature. Reason in her uncleanness, wishing to see Him, says, like Moses, 'Show me'; when the messenger comes forth from that glory, she says in its ear, 'I turn repentant unto thee.' (Qur. 7:138 sq.) Discover then the nature of His Being through thy understanding! recite his thousand and one pure names. It is not fitting that His Nature should be covered by our knowledge; whatever thou hast heard, that is not He. 'Point' and 'line' and 'surface' in relation to His Nature are as if one should talk of His 'substance' and 'distance' and 'six surfaces'; the Author
of those three is beyond place the Creator of these three is not contained in time. No philosopher knows of imperfection in Him, while He knows the secrets of the invisible world; He is acquainted with the recesses of the mind, and the secrets of which as yet there has been formed no sketch upon thy heart.
Kâf and nûn are only letters that we write, but what is kun? the hurrying of the agent of the divine decree. If He delays, or acts quickly, it depends not on His weakness; whether He is angry
or placable depends not on His hate. His causation is known to neither infidelity nor faith, and neither is acquainted with His Nature. He is pure of those attributes the foolish speak of, purer
than the wise can tell.
Reason is made up of confusion and conjecture, both limping over the earth's face. Conjecture and cogitation are no good guides; wherever conjecture and cogitation are, He is not. Conjecture
and cogitation are of His creation; man and reason are His newly ripening plants. Since any affirmation about His Nature is beyond man's province, it is like a statement about his mother by a blind man; the blind man knows he has a mother, but what she is like he cannot imagine; his imagination is without any conception of what things are like, of ugliness and beauty, of inside and outside.
In a world of double aspect such as this, it would be wrong that thou shouldst be He, and He thou. If thou assert Him not, it is not well; if thou assert Him, it is thyself thou assertest, not He. If thou know not (that He is) thou art without religion, and if thou assert Him thou art of those who liken Him. Since He is beyond 'where' and 'when', how can He become a corner of thy thought? When the wayfarers travel towards Him, they vainly exclaim, 'Behold, Behold!' Men of hawk-like boldness are as ringdoves in the street, a collar on their necks, uttering 'Where, Where?'
If thou wilt, take hope, or if thou wilt, then fear; the All-wise has created nothing in vain. He knows all that has been done or will be done: thou knowest not,--yet know that He will assuage thy pain. In the knowledge of Him is naught better than submission, that so thou mayest learn His wisdom and His clemency. Of His wisdom He has given resources to His creatures, the greater to him who has the greater need; to all He has given fitting resources, for acquiring profit and warding off injury. What has gone, what comes, and what exists in the world, in such wise it was necessary; bring not folly into thy conversation; look thou with acceptance on His decrees.
On the earnest striving
When thou hast passed from Self to being naught, gird up the loins of thy soul and set forth on the road, when thou standest up with loins girt thou hast placed a crown on thy soul's head. Set
then the crown of the advance on the head of thy soul; let the foot that would retreat be the companion of the mire; though the thoughtless man laughs at this act, yet the wise chooses no other course.
Whoso turns not his face towards God, all his knowledge and possessions deem thou an idol. Who turns away his face from God's presence, in truth I call not him a man; a dog is better than a
worthless man who turns away his face, for a dog finds not its prey without a search. A dog that lives in ease, though it gets fat, is not therefore more useful than a greyhound.
He will not take hypocrisy and deceit and lying, but looks to a man's belief in the Unity and his sincerity. The eye that is fixed on wisdom chooses the Truth; the pleasure-regarding eye sees not
the Truth. False is what delights the eye; the Truth enters not among earthy thoughts. Infidelity and faith both have their origin in thy hypocritical heart; the path is long because thy foot delays:
were it not so, the road to Him is but one step,--be a slave, and thou becomest a king with Him. Know that the different names of the colours are illusory, that thy sustenance is to be sought in
the river of the Absolute. Leave off thy talk, and come to the pavilion; loose thy heavy bonds from off thyself. Perhaps thou hast not tasted the true faith, hast not seen the face of truth and sincerity; so that thou thoughtest the mystery was plain to be seen, and things thou sawest plainly have been mysteries to thee. I see in thee no rightness of belief; if there were I would be the true
dawn of religion to thee;--I would have made the path of the true faith plain to thee hadst thou not been a fool and a madman.
[Of the traveler of the path]
A man should be like Abraham, that, through God, his shadow may become a shady place; in fear of him and by his teaching the universe dares to breathe; Pharaoh is destroyed by the mighty
aid of a Moses whom God assists.
To the wayfarer towards God on the path of love His cheek is the dawn of morning; (who but He can tear away the veil by day, or hang the veil by night?) His mind is snatched away from bonds
of earth; the spiritual rule of the world is made manifest to him. He treads the Throne under his feet like a carpet; he is an owl, but boars with him a phoenix. He becomes lord of this abode and
that, the loyal slave of God; the pure Intelligence reveals its face to man, and beautifies his body with its own light. The bounty of God throws its shade over his heart; then he says, 'How He prolongs the shadow.' (Qur. 25:47) When his soul feels the touch of God, 'We make the sun' reveals its face to him (Qur. 25:48). The dumb all find tongues when they receive the perfume of life from his soul.
In His path the lovers recite to their souls the verse 'Every creature on the earth is subject to decay;' (Qur. 55:26) the heavens, and the natural world and its varied colours seem vile to his perception. Whoso is turned away from this wine, for him all its fragrance and colour is destroyed; so that when with new ear thou shalt hear the shouts of 'He is One, He has no partner,' thou shalt no longer in madness desire the varied colours, even though thy Jesus be the
dyer. Thou shalt take what thou wilt of the colours, put them into one jar, and bring them out again;-listen truly, and not in folly: this saying is not for fools;-all these deceitful colours the jar of the Unity makes one colour. Then being now of one colour, all has become Him; the rope becomes slender when reduced to a single strand.
[On being silent]
The path of religion is neither in works nor words; there are no buildings thereon, but only desolation. Whoso becomes silent to pursue the path, his speech is life and sweetness; if he speaks, it will not be out of ignorance, and if he is silent, it will not be from sloth; when silent, he is not devising frivolity; when speaking, he scatters abroad no trifling talk.
Those fools, the thieves and pickpockets, keep their knowledge to use in highway robbery. Thou seest, O Master, thou of many words, that thou hadst better have light in thy heart than words;
when thou becomest silent, thou art most eloquent, but if thou speakest, thou art like a captain of war. 'Kun,' consists of two letters, both voiceless; 'Hû' consists of two letters, both silent. Doubt not concerning these words of mine; open thine eyes, pay heed for a little.
There exists the dog, and the stone; the stove of the bath, and the slave; but thou art excellent, like a jewel inside a casket. The king uses his silver for his daily needs, but his ruby be keeps for his treasure-house; silver is evil in its own ill-starred nature, the ruby is joyous because it is full of blood within.
The family of Barmak became great through their liberality; they were, so to say, close companions of generosity. Though fate pronounced their destruction, their name endures, indestructible as the spirit. The people of this generation, though amiable, are impudent as flies and wanton; in word they are all sweet as sugar, but when it comes to generosity, they tear men's hearts and burn their souls.
When He had adorned thy soul within thee, He held up before thee the mirror of the light; till pride made thee quick to anger, and thou lookedst upon thyself with the evil eye. He has balanced day and night by the ruler of his justice, not by chance or at random. While Reason digs for the secret, thou hast reached thy goal on the plain of Love.
The heart and soul of the seeker after God are concealed, but his tongue proclaims in truth, 'I am God.'
The parable of those who heed not
A fool saw a camel grazing, and said, Why is thy form all crooked? Said the camel, In disputing thus thou censurest the sculptor; beware! Look not on my crookedness in disparagement, and
kindly take the straight road away from me. My form is thus because it is best so, as from a bow's being bent comes its excellence. Begone hence with thy impertinent interference, an ass's ear goes well with an ass's head.
The arch of the eyebrow, though it displease thee, is yet a fiting cupola over the eye; by reason of the eyebrow, the eye is able to look at the sun, and in virtue of the bloom of its strength becomes
an adornment to the face. Evil and good, in the estimation of the wise, are both exceeding good; from Him there comes no evil; whatever thou seest to come from Him, though evil, it were well
thou look on it all as good. To the body there comes its portion of ease and of pain; to the soul ease is as a treasure secured; but a twisted snake is over it, the hand and foot of Wisdom are at its
The parable of the eye of the squint-eyed
A squint-eyed son asked his father, O thou whose words are as a key to the things that are locked up, why saidst thou that a squinter sees double? I see no more things than there are; if a squinteyed person counted things crookedly, the two moons that are in the heavens would seem four.
But he who spoke thus spoke in error; for if a squinter looks at a dome, it is doubled. I fear that on the high-road of the faith thou art like the crooked-seeing squinter, or like the fool who senselessly quarrelled with the camel because of God's handiwork. His flawless creation is the qibla of our understanding; His changeless nature is the ka`ba of our desire. He has exalted
the soul in giving it wisdom; He has nourished His pardoning mercy on our faults. God well knows your turning to Him; His wisdom it is which prevents His answering your prayers.
Though the physician hears his patient when he begs, he does not give earth to an earth-eater; and though his soul desire it, how shall He give earth through all his life to him who digs the earth? How shall His act be without a reason, or His decrees in accordance with thy weak understanding?
There are exceeding many who have drunk the cup of pure poison and have not died of it; nay, it is life's food to him who from the violence of his disease is wasted to a reed. In His wisdom and
justice He has given to all more than all that is requisite; if the gnat bites the elephant's hide, tell him to flap his ears,--he has a gnat dispeller in them; if there is a louse, thou hast a finger-nail;
punish the flea, when it jumps on thee; though the mountains were full of snakes, fear not,--there are stones and an antidote on the mountain too; and if thou art apprehensive of the scorpion, thou
hast slipper and shoe for it. If pain abounds in the world, everyone has a thousand remedies. In accordance with his scheme He has suspended together the sphere of intense cold and the globe of fire. The motions of the body are rendered equable, the coolness of the brain and the warmth of the heart are both moderated; the liver and heart, by means of the stomach and arteries, send forth water and air to the body, that through breath and blood the heart by its movement, and the liver by its quiescence, may give the body life.
There is a spiritual kingdom in the universe, and also a temporal power; above the throne light, and below darkness; both these principles He bestowed at the creation, when He spread His
shadow over His handiwork. The temporal world He has given of His bounty to the body, the spiritual world as a glory to the soul; that so both inner and outer man may receive food, the body from the lord of this world, the soul from the Lord of the spirit-world; for through all His creation God keeps a benign grace for the benefit of the noble soul.
The acute thinker knows that what He does is well; it is thou who namest some things evil and some good, otherwise all that comes from Him is pure kindness. Evil comes not into existence from Him; how can evil subsist with Godhead? Only the foolish and ignorant do evil; the Doer of good Himself does no evil. If He gives poison, deem it sweet; if He shows wrath, deem it mercy. Good is the cupping-glass our mothers apply to us, and good too the dates they give.
Again the parable of those who heed not
Dost thou not see how the nurse in the earliest days of its childhood sometimes ties the little one in its cradle, and at times is ever laying it on her bosom; sometimes strikes it hard and sometimes soothes it; sometimes puts it away from her and repels it, sometimes kindly kisses its cheek and again caresses it and bears its grief? A stranger is angry with the nurse when he sees this, and sighs; he says to it, The nurse is not kind, the child is of little account with her. How shouldst thou know that the nurse is right? Such is always the condition of her work.
God too, according to his compact, performs his whole duty towards his slave; He gives the daily food that is required, sometimes disappointment, sometimes victory; sometimes He sets a jewelled crown upon his head, sometimes He leaves him needy with only a copper.
Be thou contented with God's ordinance; or if not, then cry aloud and complain before the Qâzî, that he may release thee from His decree! A fool is he who thinks thus! Whatever it is,--whether
misfortune or prosperity,--it is an unmixed blessing, and the evil only transitory. He who brings the world into being with 'Be, and it was,'--how, how shall He do evil to the creatures of the world? Good and evil exist not in the world of the Word; the names 'good' and 'evil' belong to thee and to me. When God created the regions of the earth He created no absolute evil; death is destruction for this one, but wealth for that; poison is food to this, and death to that.
If the face of the mirror were black like its back, no one would look at it; the usefulness belongs to the face of the mirror, even though its back be stuffed with jewels. The bright-faced sun is good, be its back black or white; if the peacock's foot were like its feathers, it would shine splendid both by night, and day.
In praise of his omnipotence
He is the Pourtrayer of the outward forms of our earthly bodies; He is the Discerner of the images of our inmost hearts. He is the Creator of existent and non-existent, the Maker of the hand and what it holds. He made a wheel of pure emerald, and on the wheel he bound silver jars; He caused a candle and candlestick to revolve in the heavens in the path of the ignoble. Before His creation was non-existence; eternal being belongs to His Essence alone. He made Intelligence proclaimer of His power; He made matter capable of receiving form. To Intelligence He gave the path of vigilance; what thinkest thou of Intelligence?
How can the artist of the pen picture forth in man the image of the Eternal? Fire and wind and water and earth and sky, and Reason and Spirit above the sky, and the angels in the middle place, wisdom and life and abstract form,--know, that all come into being by command, and the command is God's.
He is the origin and root of material things, the Creator of beneficence, and thanks, and the thankful man. In the high-road from this life to the next He has associated action and power with
this world of generation and corruption. In the world of the Word His Omnipotence made power pregnant with action, made its place for whatever comes into action, created its product for
whatever possesses power.
On the proverbs and admonitions ‘Poverty is blackness of the face’ (The recital of proverbs is the best of discourses) and the ‘The world is a house of departure and changing affairs and migration’
Keep thy blackness, thou canst not do without it; for blackness admits no change of colour. With blackness of face there goes happiness; a blushing face seldom causes joy. The scorched pursuer is black of face before the flame of his heart's desire; though in tribulation, the ugly Ethiopian finds gladness in his blackness of face; his gladness comes not from his beauty, his happiness comes from his sweet odour. Brighter than the splendour of the new moon is the display of the moon of Bilâl's shoe; if thou dost not wish thy heart's secret known, keep thy blackness of face in both worlds, since for him who seeks his desire, day tears the veil and night spreads it.
Withhold thy hand from these vain lusts; know, desire is poison, and the belly as a snake; the serpent of desire, if it bite thee, will soon despatch thee from the world. For in this path in evil there is good; the water of life is in the midst of darkness. What sorrow has the heart from blackness? For night is pregnant with day, and the men who are now imprisoned without food or drink in this old ruin throw aside all instruction when they march proudly in the garden of God. Everything except God, all that is of earth, is aside from the path of the true faith. Loss of self is the hidden goal of all; the refuge of the pure soul is with the Word.
O thou, who hast rolled up the carpet of time, who hast passed beyond the four and the nine, pass at one step beyond life and reason, that so thou mayst arrive at God's command. Thou canst not see, forasmuch as thou art blind at night; and in the day too hast but one eye, like the wisdom of fools. I do not speak to thee with wink and nod, but in God's way, with mystical significations
Till thou pass beyond the false, God is not there; the perfect truth belongs not to this half-display. Know, that as provision for the journey to the eternal world, lâ khair is your strength and lâ shai
your gold; lâ khair is the strength of the rich, as lâ shai is the wisdom of the wine-drinkers.
On the need of god, and independence of all beside him
He is wholly independent of me and thee in his plans; what matters infidelity or faith to His Independence? What matters that or this to His Perfection '? Know that God exists in real existence; in pursuance of His decree and just designs, the Independent seeks thy favours, the Guardian gives thee thanks.
The wolf and Yûsuf appear to thee to be small and great; but with Him, Yûsuf and wolf are the same. What, to His Mercy, matters opposition or help? What, to His Wrath, are Moses and Pharaoh?
Thy service or thy rebellion are an honour or a shame to thee, but with Him the colour of both is the same. What honour has He from Reason, or from the lightning, what greatness from the soul, or the sky? The soul and the heavens are His creatures. Happy the man who is chosen of Him. The heavens and He who causes them to revolve are as the millstone and the miller; the supreme Disposer and the obedient Reason are as the carver's self and the matter he shapes. The motion of the restless heavens and of the earth is as it were an ant in the mouth of a dragon; the dragon does not swallow the ant, and the revolution of the unconscious heavens sweeps on. He has imposed its task upon the mill-wheel of misfortune, itself unmindful and closed round by annihilation. Think of thy life as an atom in His time. His banquet as accompanied by His affliction.
Thou knowest that thy goblet has four feet for movement; yet though thou be persevering in His service thou wilt not reach His path but by His grace. When will the slave who wishes to attain to
God reach Him by means of reason, or by hand and foot? When will he attain to God, who in his own body attains (only to the recognition of) his hands and feet?
On self-abasement and humility
Lowliness befits thee, violence suits thee not; a, naked man frantic in a bee-house is out of place. Leave aside thy strength, betake thyself to lowliness, that so thou mayest trample the heights of
heaven beneath thy feet; for God knows that, rightly seen, thy strength is a lie, and thy lowliness truth. If thou layest claim to strength and wealth, thou hast a blind eye and a deaf ear. Thy face
and thy gold are red, thy coat is of many colours,--then look to find thy honour disgrace, thy peace strife. Come not to God's door in the dust of thy strength, for in this road it is through lowliness that thou becomest a hero. This comes not of discharging thy debt, but from bartering thy indigence. Look not on His Omnipotence with thy impotent eye O my master, commit not
such an outrage.
So long as thou art thy own support, clothe thyself, and eat; but if thou art upheld by Him, thou shalt neither sew nor tear. All that exists, O friend, exists through Him; thine own existence is as
a pretence,--speak not folly. If thou lose thyself, thy dust becomes a mosque; if thou hold to thyself, a fire-temple: if thou hold to thyself, thy heart is hell; if thou lose thyself, heaven. If thou lose thyself, all things are accomplished, thy selffulness is an untrained colt. Thou art thou,-- hence spring love and hate; thou art thou,--hence spring infidelity and faith. Remain a slave, without lot or portion; for an angel is neither hungry nor full. Fear and hope have driven away fortune from thee; when thy self has gone, hope and fear are no more.
The owl that frequents the palace of the king is a bird of ill-omen, ill-fated and guilty, when it is contented in its solitude, its feathers are finer than the splendour of the phoenix. Musk is spoilt by water and by fire; but to the musk-bladder what matters wet or dry? What matters, at His door, a Muslim or a fire-worshipper? What, before him, a fire-temple or a monk's cell? Fire-worshipper and Christian, virtuous and guilty, all are seekers, and He the sought.
God's essence is independent of cause; why seekest thou now a place for cause? The sun of religion comes not forth by instruction; the moon goes down when the light of the truth shines out. If the holy man is good, it is well for him; if the king is bad, what is that to us? To be saved, do thou thyself persevere in good; why contendest thou with God's decree and predestination? In this halt of but a week, to be is not to be, to come is to go.
Recite the word 'hastening on'; (Qur. 57:12) for in the resurrection the believer calls "Make way!" Mustafâ exclaimed 'How excellent!'; through this the hand of Moses became a moon, the Friend of God grew pitiful; (Qur. 9:116) the wâw of awwah gave him the sincerity of his faith, the majesty and beauty of his belief,--then when the wâw goes out of awwah there remains but âh, a sigh,--how wonderful! Âh remains, a memorial of Him; His religion remains as a manifestation of Him.
Before the trumpet sounds kill thou thyself with the sword of indigence; if they accept it, thou art at rest; if not, think of what has happened as if it had not been. If thou come small or great to the
door of the Absolute, or if thou come not at all, what is that to Him? Shall the day subsist for the sake of the cock? it will appear at its own time. What is thy existence, what thy non-existence to
Him? Many like thee come to His door.
When the fountain of light starts forth, it has no need of any to scourge it on; yet all this magnificence is but water and earth,--the pure life and soul are there. What can the 'Make way!' of a handful of straw effect? His own light alone cries 'Make way!' That lamp of thine is thy trust in thyself; the sun comes forth of himself in brightness, and this flame the cold wind cannot extinguish, while half a sneeze wrests from that its life.
So then your road lies not in this street; if there be a road, it is the road of your sighs. You are all far from the road of devotion, you are like asses straying for months and years deluded with vain
hopes. Since thou art sometimes virtuous, sometimes wicked, thou fearest for thyself, hast hope in thyself; but when thy face of wisdom and of shame grows white,--go, know thou that fear and
hope are one.
On the justice of the prince and the security of his subject
`Umar one day saw a group of boys on a certain road all engaged in play and everyone boasting of himself; everyone was in haste to wrestle, having duly bared his head in Arab fashion. When `Umar looked towards the boys, fear of him tore the curtain of their gladness; they all fled from him in haste, except `Abdu'l-lâh b. Zubair. `Umar said to him, "Why didst thou not fly from before me?" He said, "Why should I fly from before thee, O beneficent one? Thou art not a tyrant, nor I guilty."
If a prince is pious and just, his people, are glad in his justice but if his inclination is towards tyranny, he plunges his country in ruin. When thou hast provisioned thyself with justice, thy steed has passed beyond both halting-places.
What matters acceptance or rejection, good or evil, to him who knows his own virtue? Be virtuous,--thou wilt escape an aching head; if thou be bad, thou breakest the whole compact. So stand in wonder at His justice that thou losest memory of all else but of Him.
On celebrating the praise of god
To call on the name of friends, and the unhappy ones of this world, how thinkest thou of it? It is like calling on old women. Oppression, if He ordain it, is all justice; a life without thought of Him is all wind. He laughs who is brought to tears through Him; but that heart is an anvil that thinks not on Him. Thou art secure when thou pronouncest His name,--thou keepest a firm footing on thy path; make thou thy tongue moist, like earth, with remembrance of Him, that He may fill thy mouth, like the rose, with gold. He fills with life the soul of the wise man; the heart of the lover of self He leaves thirsty. That thy purpose and judgment may be true, have not His
door at all; to pay heed to those about us is the act of a thoughtless fool.
Concerning the pious disciple and the great master
Thaurî, by way of obsequiousness and in anxiety to acquire a good reputation, asked an excellent question of Bâyazîd Bistâmi; weeping, he said, "O Master, tell me, who is unjust?" His master,
giving him a draught out of the law, answered him and said, "Unjust is that ill-fated one who for one! moment of the day and night in negligence forgets Him: he is nest His submissive slave." If
thou forget Him for one breath, there is none so shamelessly unjust as thou; but if thou be present and commemorate His name, thy being is lost in the fulfilment of His commands. So think upon Him that in thy heart and soul. thou lapse not into forgetfulness even for an instant. Keep in mind this saying of that ever-watchful traveller on this road, the impetuous lion. 'And worship thou the Lord in prayer as if thou sawest Him;' and if thou do not thus, thou wilt be forced to cry 'Help, help!' So worship Him in both worlds, as if thou sawest Him with thine outward eye; though thine eye sees Him not, thy Creator sees thee.
The commemoration of God exists only in the path of conflict it exists not in the assembly of the contemplation: though remembrance of Him be thy guide at first, in the end remembrance is naught.
Inasmuch as the diver seeks pearls in the seas, it is the water too that kills his cry; in absence the dove calls 'where?'--if present, why recite 'He'? Those in His presence are rich in His majesty; weep thou, if absence is thy portion.
Listen to the ringdove's plaint of yearning,--two grains of barley changes it into joy; but he who seeks the only true contentment, seeks the light of the Unity in the grave. To him the tomb is the
garden of Paradise; heaven is unlovely in his eyes. Then wilt thou be present, when in the abode of peace thou art present in soul, not in body; whilst thou art in this land of fruitless search, thou
art either all back or all front; but when the soul of the seeker has gone forward a few paces out of this land, love seizes the bridle. Unbelief is death, religion life,--this is the pith of all that men
Whoso for one moment takes delight in himself, he is imprisoned in hell and anguish for years. Who then shall have this honour and high dignity conferred upon him? Only he who possesses the principle of Islâm; in loving, and in striving towards that world, one must not talk about one's life; those who travel on this road know nothing of grief for life and sorrow of soul. When thou hast passed out of this world of fruitless search, then seek thou in that the fountain of life.
Concerning the house of deception
Death comes as the key of the house of the Secret; without death the door of true religion opens not. While this world stays, that is not; while thou existest, God is not thine. Know, thy soul is a
sealed casket; the love-pearl within is the light of thy faith. The Past sealed the writing, and delivered it for thee to the Future; as long as thou shalt depend for thy life upon the revolution of Time, thou shalt not know what is inside. Only the hand of death shall unloose the binding of the book, of God the Exalted, the Glorious. So long as the breath of man flies not from thee, the morning of thy true faith will not dawn in thy soul's East.
Thou wilt not reach the door or the King's pavilion without experiencing the heat and cold of the world: at present thou knowest naught of the invisible world, canst not distinguish faults from virtues; the things of that world are not those of sense, are not like the other things of wont. The soul reaches His presence, and is at rest; and what is crooked then is seen to be straight.
When thou arrivest in the presence of the decree the soul sets forth, and like a bird leaves its cage for the garden; the horse of religion becomes familiar with the verdant meadow. Whilst thou
livest true religion appears not; the night of thy death brings forth its day. On this subject a man of wisdom, whose words are as a mufti's decision, said, "Through desire and transgression men
have gone to sleep; when death shows his face, they awake." All the people of this world are asleep, all are living in a vicious world the desire that goes beyond this is use and custom, and not religion for the religion which is only of this life is not religion, but empty trifling.
To knock at the door of non-existence is religion and fortune knocking little comes of being little. He who esteems of small account the substance of this world, say to him, "Look thou on
Mustafâ and Adam"; and he who seeks for increase, say to him, "Look thou on `Âd and on Qârûn; the foot of the one clave to his stirrup, the other lived pierced through with terror; the Eternal destroyed the foot of the one; remorse turned the hand of the other into a reed; the dire blast falls on `Âd, the dust of execration is the abode of Qârûn.
What harm is it, if from fear of misfortune thou sacrifice thyself like wild rue for the sake of virtue? Inflame not thy cheek before the men of the Path; burn thyself, like wild rue; thou hast the wisdom and religion of a fool if thou pretendest to eminence before God. Let not man weave a net about himself; rather the lion will break his cage.
O thou, who art sated with thyself,--that is hunger; and thou, who bendest double in penitence,-- that is prayer. When thou art freed from thine own body and soul, then thou findest isolation and
eminence. Display not at all thy city-inflaming countenance; when thou hast done so, go, burn wild rue. What is that beauty of thine? it is thy lust; and what is thy wild rue? it is thine own being. When thy lip touches the threshold of true religion, Jesus, son of Mary, becomes thy sleeve. In this quest do thou melt thyself; adventure thy life and soul in the path of fidelity; strive thou, that so through non-existence thou mayest pass to existence; that thou mayest be drunk with the wine of God. The ball and stick of the universe are in the hand of him whom true religion makes to live; when thy soul becomes drunk with this draught, thou hast reached the summit; from being naught thou comest into existence.
Every freed man of that place is a slave, bound by the foot, with a ring in his ear; but those bonds are better than the steed of fortune; but that ring is better than the striped garments of Arabia and a throne. The bonds that He imposes, account a crown; and if He gives thee sackcloth, reckon it brocade; for He bestows benefits, and He gives beauty; He is kind, and He is bounteous.
Seeing that thou art needy, what dost thou with Gladness, and what with Cleverness, both bought with a price? Be glad in Him, and clever in His religion, that thou mayest find acceptance and
honour with Him. That man is wise whom He lifts up; joyful is he whom He abandons not; and fortunate, who is His slave, approved by Him in all his works. When thou hast cast these branches, and hast grappled with death, thou wilt no longer turn away from death, and shalt come to know the world of Life. When thy hand reaches the branch of death, thy foot treads the palace of power; the foot which is far from the dome of right guidance is not a foot.--it is a drunken brain.
On giving thanks
Ingratitude's only seat is the door of sorrow; thankfulness arrives with certainty at the treasure. (Qur. 14:7) Utter thy thanks for the sake of increase, of the hidden world, and of the sight of God; then when thou hast become patient of His decree He will name thee 'giver of thanks'; whoso presses forwards towards God, speaks not without uttering his thanks to God. Who can tell the sweetness of giving thanks to Him? Who can pierce the pearl of the celebration of His name? He bestows, and He gives the reward; He speaks, and He imparts the answer. Whatsoever He took away from thee of kindness or show of love, the same or more than that He gives back to thee. (Qur. 2:100) If every hair became a tongue, and each an interpreter at thanksgiving's door to swell thereby His thanks, they could not utter due thanks for the divine grace of the power to give thanks.
Then let men seek to give thanks for His mercies; if they utter them, it is even through Him they do so,--body and soul drunk with His decree, the heart singing "O Lord, thanks!" And if not, then as far as regards the path of knowledge and prudence, woman and man, young and old, are blind of eye in the world of lust, are naked of body like ants and flies.
On his wrath and his kindness
The pious are those who give thanks for His kindness and mercy, the unbelievers those who complain of His wrath and jealousy. When God becomes angry, thou seest in the eyes what is rightly in the spring. His wrath and His kindness, appearing in the newly-formed world, are the cause of the error of the Guebre and the doubt of the Magian. His kindness and His wrath are imprinted on the pulpit and the gallows; the rendering of thanks to Him is the mansion of honour, and forgetfulness of Him, of disgrace. His kindness is comfort for men's lives, His wrath a fire for their souls; His kindness rejoices the slave; His wrath makes man its mock. When the lâm of His kindness shows itself, the dâl of fortune gains the victory; if the qâf of His wrath rushes forth, it melts Mount Qâf like silver. The whole world dreads His anger and His subtlety; the
virtuous and the ungodly are alike in their terror. When His kindness mixes the draught of exhilaration, the shoe of the Sûfî mounts to ecstasy; when His wrath comes forth again, ecstasy
draws in its head like a tortoise. His wrath melts even His beloved; His kindness cherishes the beggar. He it is who nourishes thy soul in unbelief or in the faith, He who gives thy soul the power of choice. Thy life's soul lives through His kindness; for by His kindness thy life endures. By His disposing wrath and kindness He brings to life the dead, to death the living; His wisdom cares for the slave, His favour accomplishes our undertakings. When His wrath came forth in conflict, it killed the country's king by means of an impotent gnat. Then when He saddled the horse of kindness, he caused the food of worms to gather locusts; through God he abode in wisdom and right counsel,--the worms were silver, the locusts gold; and as in the midst of God's favour he suffered a proving trial, when again in favour he laughed at his misfortunes. When His wrath spreads the snare, He turns the form of Bil'âm into a dog; (Qur. 7:174-5) when His kindness worked, He brought the dog of the Companions of the Cave into the cavern. The magicians through His kindness exclaimed "No harm"; (Qur. 26:49-50) His wrath caused 'Azâzîl to say, "I am better." (Qur. 38:77)
With God no good and no evil has power; with whom can it be said that there exists no one else in the world? No matter whether small or great, His wrath and His kindness reach everyone alike. Emperors humble themselves on His path, heroes bow down their heads at His door; kings are as dust before His door, Pharaohs fly in terror from before Him. By means of a Turkish demon, a slave just bought, He overthrew a hundred thousand standards of war; while yet he had no more than a couple of retainers, he folded up the carpet of a hungry band.
If He says to the dead, Come forth, the dead comes forth, dragging his winding-sheet behind him; and if He says to the living, Die, he dies on the spot, though he be a prince. The people are proud of heart through His kindness because of the respite He gives them they fear not at all; but whoso manifests presumption in His kingdom has broken away from the straight road. His poison shall be the sufficient food of the champions, His wrath an adequate bridle for the haughty; He has broken the necks of heroes by His wrath; to the weak He has given a double share of His kindness. The quickness of His forgiveness obliterates the marks of our pleading from the path of speech; He gives shelter to him who repents of his sin, and cleanses his pages of the crime; His forgiveness outruns the fault,--"My mercy outstrips" is a wonderful saying. He is the giver of the soul; not, as we are, a creature to whom a soul is given; He holds up the veil, He does not tear it as we do. He is thy shepherd, and thou choosest the wolf; He invites thee, and thou remainest in want; He is thy guardian, and thou thyself carest not; O well done, thou senseless sinning fool! He reforms our nature within us; kinder than ourselves is He to us;
mothers have not for their children such love as He bestows. The worthless He makes worthy by His kindness; from His servants He accepts thankfulness and patience as sufficient. His beneficence has shut the door of sense against the eye of wisdom and uprightness, and opened to it the path of the spirit.
Since His clemency has established thee thou art secure against the plunderers; the mountaindweller ever escapes in the plain the affliction of the north-east wind. Though invisible to us, He knows our faults; His pardon can wash them away. His knowledge has concealed our imperfection; the secret thou hast not yet spoken, He has heard. The sons of men, ever unjust and ignorant, talk in folly of God's kindness; He works good, and ye work evil: He knows the hidden things, and ye are full of fault. Behold, after thy so many doubts, this care of the Knower of the hidden for a wicked world; had it not been pure favour on His part, how could a handful of earth have come to wear a crown?
The alighting-place of His pardon is on the plain of sin, the army of His kindness comes out to meet our sighs; when the sigh of the knower of God raises the veil, hell seizes its shield from fear of Him. His forgiveness grants itself to our sins; His mercy descends to bestow benefits. Thou hast committed the iniquity, yet He keeps faith with thee; He is more true to thee than thou art to thyself. His bounty brought thee into activity; otherwise how could this market have been set up on earth? Whoso becomes nonexistent, to him is given existence; whoso slips receives a helping hand. He it is who takes the hand of the friendless, and chooses weeds like us. Forasmuch as He is pure, He desires the pure; the Knower of the hidden desires the dust.
On his, omniscience, and his knowledge of the minds of men
He knows the draught of each of His creatures; He has given it, and He can give its opposite. He is the Creator of thy wisdom; but His wisdom is untainted by the passage of thought. He knows
concerning thee what is in thy heart, for He is the Creator both of thy heart and of thy clay. Dost thou think that He knows as thou knowest? then is the ass of thy nature stuck fast in thy clay. He
sees what is best for His creatures before the desire is formed; He knows the mind before the secret thought exists. He knows what is in thy heart; before thou speakest He performs the work.
God brings joy and takes away sorrow; God knows our secrets, and He keeps them safe. Silence before Him is the gift of tongues; thy life's food thou receivest from a table bare of bread; man's desire cannot wish for such things as He has prepared for him. He knows the condition of His creatures; He sees it, and can give accordingly; He has prepared for thee thy place in Paradise, that to-morrow thou mayest enter into joy. It is enough that He speaks,--be thou dumb and speak not; it is enough that He seeks, remain thou a cripple, and run not to and fro. In presence of the power and omniscience of God, feebleness and ignorance are best:
feebleness makes thee wise, weakness confers eminence on thee.
Whoso can make existence non-existent, can also change nonexistence into existence. He in His mercy arrests the rhythmical forces in the wombs for the due constituting and establishing of the offspring; and forasmuch as His inscrutability pourtrayed thy form, knowest thou not that thou canst not remain hidden? He knows thy case better than thyself; why frequentest thou the
neighbourhood of folly and deceit? Speak not of thy heart's sorrow, for He is speaking; seek thou not for Him, for He is seeking.
He perceives the touch of an ant's foot, though in night and darkness the ant move on a rock, if a stone moves in the dark night in the depth of the water, His knowledge sees it; if there be a worm in the heart of a rock, whose body is smaller than an atom, God by His knowledge knows its cry of praise, and its hidden secret. To thee He has given guidance in the path; to the worm He has given its sustenance in the rock. No soul has ever rested in patience apart from Him no understanding deceived Him by its subtlety. He is ever aware of the minds of men,--ponder thou
this, and thy duty is fulfilled.
If thou turn thy face from evil usage, thy mind shall preserve the true religion of Islâm; but since thou choosest to hold false ideas of His clemency, thou shalt have no light, but hell-fire in thy heart; for since thou wilt not take account of His knowledge, O man, cherish no hope of clemency from Him. His omniscience kindles the lamp of the understanding; but His clemency teaches nature to sin; were not His clemency a perpetual refuge, how could a servant dare to sin? If then thou committest a sin, that sin falls under one of two cases; if thou thinkest that God knows not, I say to thee, Well done, O thorough-going infidel! and if thou thinkest that God
knows, and still thou committest it,--Bravo, impudent one, and vile! Myself I acknowledge that no man knows thy secrets; God knows,--God is not less than man; and I take it that if He hides this forgiveness from thee, is it not that His omniscience knows that it is thus with thee? Then turn from this vile conduct of thine; otherwise on the day of thy resurrection thou wilt forthwith see thyself drowning in the sea of thy shame.
Concerning his beneficence, --and verily he is the provider of provisions
When He lays the table of its food before the creature, He provides a fare more ample than the eater's needs; life and days and daily food come to all from Him; happiness and fortune are from Him. He supplies the daily bread of each, nor seals the door of the storehouse; infidel and true believer, wretched and prosperous, to all their daily food and life renewed. While the Hâ of necessity is still in their throat, the Jîm of His munificence has given His creatures their sustenance. Except by bread we cannot live, and appetite is our only relish; He shuns not His servants when they turn to Him,--He has given the relish, He will give the bread too.
Thy bread and life are in the treasury of God; thou dost not hold, according to His word, that it is He. If thy daily bread be in China, thy horse of acquisition is ready saddled to bear thee speedily to it, or to bring it to thee whilst thou art sleeping. Has He not said to thee, I am thy Sustainer, the Knower of what is hidden and the Knower of what is manifest; I gave life, I give the means of livelihood; whatsoever thou askest, I give forthwith? Know that, like the day, the matter of thy daily bread is well assured, for thy daily bread is a present which the day brings with it; forasmuch as the kindness of God is on thee, thou boldest thy life as a pledge for thy food. Take thought for thy life, and thou hast done the same for thy bread; loaf succeeds loaf as far as the edge of the grave. Hold firmly to this pledge, and eat thy bread; and when the pledge passes from thee, still shalt thou eat the food of Life. Life without bread God gave to none, for life endures through bread; and when life quits the body, know for a certainty that now indeed sustenance has reached thee.
The ignoble fear for their daily bread; the generous man does not eat his food warmed up a second time. The lion eats not his prey alone; when he is satisfied, he abandons the rest. It is for women to hoard up the old; to men new sustenance with the new day. Thy daily bread is a charge on the All-knowing and All-powerful,--be not angry against prince or minister; it comes from God's door, and not by teeth or throat or pipe.
The lordship of a house is a lordship with sorrow, especially for him who has no wealth or treasure; the lordship of a house is all sorrow and desire,--leave aside the house, and God is sufficient for thee. Let thy trust at all times be on God, rather than on mill and sack; for if the clouds give thee no water for a year, I foresee that thy affairs will be altogether ruined.
An old man put forth his head, and seeing his field dried up I spoke thus:--"O Lord of both new and old, our food is in Thy hands, do what thou wilt. The sustenance Thou givest to fair and foul depends not on tears of cloud nor smiles of field; I well know Thou art the Uncaused Sustainer; my life and my food, all comes from Thee. Thy one is better than thousands of thousands, for
Thy little is not a little."
A flame from Him, and a hundred thousand stars appear; a drop from Him, and a hundred thousand palm-trees spring up. He who is in fear about his daily food is not a man,--truly he is less than a woman.
Hast thou not heard how in a rainless time some birds received their food from a Magian's door? Many Muslims spoke to him, and among them one clever and eloquent--"Though the little birds
take your corn, yet this generosity of yours will not find acceptance." Said the Magian, "If He does not choose me, still He sees my toil; since He himself is kind and generous, He does not
think the same of niggardliness as of liberality."
Ja`far sacrificed his arm in His Path; instead of arms God gave him wings. None shall discover thy work but God; truly nothing can happen to thee from men. Pay no heed to the doing and bustling of men, fasten thy mind on Him, and thou hast escaped from sorrow and bondage. So far as thou canst, take thou no friend but Him; take men not into thy account at all. Your bread is laid up in God's eternity; His friendship He gives you,--it is your life; know that both of these are represented in the world of love and search by the Persian water and the Arabic father.
[On the desire for god]
So long as thou art a stranger to the light of Moses, thou art blind to the day, like the bird of Jesus; since thou hast no knowledge of the path of poverty, thou art in hiding, like the inside of an onion. First, for the sake of His comforting love, do thou make thy head thy foot, like the reed, and continue seeking Him; that by thy perfect search thou mayest reach that place, where thou knowest thou needest seek no more.
Did not an indolent one, when he heard murmurs of sloth on his heart's tongue, ask `Alî, "Say, O Prince, illuminer of the soul, is the dark night better, or the day?" Murtazâ said, "Hear, O questioner; yield not to this backsliding; for to the lovers in this soul-inflaming path the fire of the secret is better than the splendour of the day." He whose soul the path has fired stays not behind on foot at the halting-place; in that world where love tells the secret, thou no longer art, thy reason no longer endures.
On affection and isolation
The lovers are drunk in His Presence, their reason in their sleeve and their soul in their hand. Lo, when they urge the Burâq of their heart on towards Him, they cast all away under his feet; they
throw down life and heart in His path. and make themselves of His company. In the face of his belief in the Unity, there exists for him no old or new; all is naught, naught; He alone is. What worth have reason and life in his eyes? the heart and the true faith pursue the road together. The veil of the lovers is very transparent; the tracings on these veils are very delicate. Love's conqueror is he who is conquered by love; 'love' inverted will itself explain this to thee.
When the clouds fall away from the Sun, the world of love is filled with light. The cloud is dark and murky as a Magian, but water may be useful as well as harmful;--a little of it is man's life, but his life is destroyed by too much of it; so he who believes in the Unity is the beloved of His Presence, though affection, too, is a veil over His glory.
He is not in evil plight to whom He addresses His instruction. What then is evil?--to be the friend who toils. Look at the letters of mahabbat (friendship); the very word mihnat (labour) is shown
in its characters. O thou who lovest the Beauty of the Presence of the Invisible, till thou seek for the meeting with His face thou wilt never drink the draught of communion with Him, nor taste the sweetness of inward converse with Him. Since thou knowest the One, and assertest the One, why search after the two, and three, and four? Together with alif go be and te,--count be and te an idol, and alif God.
Continue to ply hand and foot in search; when thou reachest the sea, talk not of the rill. Since glory and shame have made of thee a slave, O youth, what hast thou to do with the Eternal? Thou art but newly come into existence,--talk not of the Eternal, thou who dost not know thy head from thy foot. There are a hundred thousand obstructions in thy path; thy courage fails, and falls short; thy talk is trickery still, still thou remainest in the snare. Betake thyself at once to the ocean of righteousness and true religion, thy body naked like wheat-grains, or like Adam; that so He may approve thy complete renunciation; then see that thou meddle not again with these useless encumbrances. Thou art as yet a follower of Satan; how canst thou become a man without repenting?
When He admits thee in His court, ask from Him no object of desire,--ask Himself; when thy Lord has chosen thee for friendship, thy unabashed eye has seen all there is to see. The world of love suffers not duality,--what talk is this of Me and Thee?
When thy Thee-ness leaves thee, fortune will uplift thy state and seat; in a compact of intimacy it is not well to claim to be a friend, and then-still Me and Thee! How shall he that is free become a
slave? How canst thou fill a vessel already full? Go thou, all of thee, to His door; for whoso in the world shall present himself there in part only, is wholly naught. When thou hast reached to the kiss and love-glance of the Friend, count poison honey from Him, and the thorn a flower. For the rust on the mirror of the free, No is the nail-parer,---with it cut off existence. Be not filled with thy incapacity time after time, as a boat is filled; dost thou not read in God's book that those who die are not dead but living? (Qur. 3:164)
Receive alike good and evil, fair and foul; whatever God sends thee, take it to thy soul. Did not `Azâzîl, receiving from God both His mercy and His curse, deem them both alike? Whatsoever
he obtained from God, good or evil, he held both equal. But the likeness of him who waits at the door of princes is as a sail in unskilled hands.
On renunciation and strenuous Endeavour
Whoso desires to be lord of his isolation and whoso seeks to guard his seclusion, must take no ease within, nor adorn himself without; that praise which is bestowed on outward seeming imports the abandonment of true praise and adornment. The beggar asks bread at the door of the king; so the lover begs food for his soul. On the path, naked and fearless, he has cast water and fire and earth to the winds. Standing on the plain of the signposts of time, what matter fools to him, what the philosopher of the age? O brother, hold thy liver as roast meat in the fire of renunciation, not a broth. The mean-spirited dog seeks a bone; the lion's whelp seeks the marrow of life. The lovers have sacrificed soul and heart, and day and night have made His memory their food.
The man of high resolves seeks not bondage; a dog is a dog, made happy by a bite. If revelation become a restraint on thee, make of it a shoe and beat thy head with it; talk fewer superfluities, and keep thy weakness before thee; leave the bone to the dogs. In virtue of thy essential nature thou hast obtained a high station; then why be mean in spirit like a dog? On the man of high endeavour both worlds are bestowed; but whoso is mean-spirited like a dog, like a dog runs about after a meal.
If thou desirest to possess thy soul free from the body, Lâ is as a gallows,--keep company with it. How can pure Divinity admit thee till thy humanity has been uplifted on the gallows?--for on the
path to divinity thy souls will suffer many crucifixions. Put an end to all imitation and speculation, that thy heart may become the house of God. As long as thy existence is with thee in thy soul, the ka`ba is a tavern, though thou serve Him; but if thy soul has parted from thy existence, through thee an idol temple becomes the Inhabited House.
O seeker of taverns, full of wretchedness, thou art but an ass's son, and asses are thy fathers! Thy understanding is muddied with thy Self and thy Existence; thy reason's sight is dark before that
other world. Thine own soul it is that distinguishes unbelief and true religion; of necessity it colours thy vision. Selflessness is happy, selffulness most unhappy; cast away the cat from under
thy arm. In the Eternal, unbeliefs and religions are not; such things exist not if the nature be pure.
On following the path of the hereafter
All this knowledge is but a trifling matter; the knowledge of the journey on God's road is otherwise, and belongs to the man of acuter vision. What, for the man of wisdom and true religion, whose bread and speech are alike of wheat, distinguishes that path and points it out? Inquire its mark from the Speaker and the Friend.
And if, O brother, thou also ask of me, I answer plainly and with no uncertainty, 'To turn thy face towards the world of life, to set thy foot upon outward prosperity, to put out of mind rank and
reputation, to bend one's back double in His service, to purify ourselves from evil, to strengthen the soul in wisdom.'
What is the provision for such a journey, O heedless one? By looking on the Truth to cut oneself off from the false; to leave the abode of those who strive with words, and to sit before the silent;
to journey from the works of God to His attributes, and from His attributes to the mansion of the knowledge of Him; then from knowledge to the world of the secret, then to reach the threshold of poverty; then when thou art become the friend of poverty, thy Soul destroys thy impure Self; I thy Self becomes Soul inside thee; it becomes ashamed of all its doings, and casting aside all its
possessions is melted on its path of trial; then when thy Self has been melted in thy body, thy Soul has step by step accomplished its work; then God takes away its, poverty from it,--when poverty is no more, God remains.
Not in folly nor ignorance spoke Bâyazîd, if he said 'Glory to me;' so too the tongue that spoke the supreme secret moved truly when it said, 'I am God.' When he proclaimed to the back the
secret he had learned from the face, it became his executioner and killed him; his secret's daytime became as night, but God's word was what he spoke; when in the midst of the rabble he suddenly disclosed, unauthorized, the secret, his outward form was given to tile gallows, his inward being was taken by the Friend; when his life's soul could speak no longer, his heart's blood divulged the secret.
He spoke well who said in his ecstacy, Leave thyself, O son, and come hither. From thee to the Friend is not long; thyself art the road, then set thy feet on it, that with the eye of Godhead thou
mayest see the handwriting of the Lord of power and the land of spirits.
When shall we be separated from our Selves,--I and thou departed and God remaining? the heart arrived at God's threshold, the Soul, saying, Here am I, enter thou. When by the doorway of renunciation heart and soul have reached the dome of a true belief in the Unity, the soul locks itself in the embrace of the Houris, the heart walks proudly in the sight of the Friend.
O thou who knowest not the life that comes of the juice of the grape, how long then wilt thou be drunk with the grape's outward form? Why boastest thou falsely that thou art drunk? So that they
say, 'The fellow has drunk butter-milk!' If thou drink wine, say naught; the drinker of butter-milk too will guard his secret. Why seekest thou? Deem it not like thy soul; drink it as thou dost thy
faith. Thou knowest not what mâs is in Persian; when thou hast eaten it, thou recognizest the taste. When in this ruined hall thou drinkest a cup of wine, I counsel thee put not thy foot outside
the house of thy drunkenness, lay down thy head where thou hast drunk the wine; till thou hast drunk it, hold it an unlawful thing, and when thou hast drunk it, rub a clod of earth on thy lips. When with a hundred pains thou hast twice drunk the dregs, I will say, Look at the man's courage!
More numerous than asses without head-stalls are all the carrion-hearted wine-drinkers; wine has eaten up and the grape has carried off both their understanding and their soul. In this company of youths, in their cowardice no longer men, if thou speak not, thou remainest true; but if thou speak, thou blasphemest.
How canst thou go forward? there is no place for thee, and how then wilt thou leap? thou hast no foot; he feeds on sorrow for whom there is no place, and he is destitute who has no foot. Those
who, freed from being, stand at the door of the true Existence, did not today for the first time gird up their loins at His door; from Eternity the sons of the serving-men, giving up wealth and power, have stood before Love as numerous as ants.
Strive that when death shall come with speed he may find thy soul already in his street. Leave this house of vagabonds: if thou art at His door, remain there; if not, repair thither: for those who are His servants are contented in His Godhead, (Qur. 39:36) ever, their loins of servitude girt up, the lord of the seven heavens even as a slave.
Of the learned man and the fool
The shaikh of Jurjân said to his son, "Thou must have a house in this street for thy private pursuits; and it will be well if the lock be a cunning one." Contrive thy finery in the path of renunciation with its head of the Law, and its secret parts of the Unity; and enter this lodging of trouble and distress like a traveller, and quickly pass on from it. At the door of the garden of Except God strip off and make away with thy coat and cap; become naught, that He himself,
engaging thee to answer, may with justice call to thee, "To whom belongs the kingdom?"
The saint Shiblî said in private converse, after a period of inward communion with God, If, for that I am not far from Him, He give me leave to speak, and with just purpose ask, To whom belongs the kingdom? then in sincerity I will answer Him and say, To-day the kingdom belongs to him who from yesterday and the day before has administered it; to-day and to-morrow Thy kingdom, O Mighty over us, is for him whose yesterday and the day before it was. The sword of Thy wrath cuts off the head of the valiant, and then gives back to the head its life.
Know that traffic is good for gain, and the lance of the sun healthful for the sunflower. When I thou shalt be offended with all but God, Gabriel will appear to thee as naught. No one knows how long the way may be from the word Not to God for while thou holdest to thy Self thou wilt wander day and night, right and left, for thousands of years; then when after laying long toil upon thyself at last thou openest thine eyes, thou seest Self, because of its essential nature and its limitation to conjecture, wandering round about itself, like the ox in a mill. But if, freed from thyself, thou begin at all to labour, thou wilt find admission at this door within two minutes; the two hands of the understanding, holding but this distance, are empty; but what that distance is, God knows.
O Sikandar, on this path of troubles and in this darkness, do thou, like the prophet Khizr, bring under foot thy jewel of the mine, that so thou mayest obtain the water of life. God will not be thine whilst thou retainest soul and life; both can not be thine,--this and that. Bruise thy Self through months and years, then deem it dead and leave it where it lies; when thou hast finished with thy vile Self, thou hast reached eternal life and joy and Paradise.
Remain unmoved by hope and fear; why contendest thou with Mâlîk and Rizwân? To nonexistence, mosque and fire-temple are one; to a shadow, hell and heaven are the same; for him whose guide Love is, infidelity and faith are equally a veil before His door; his own being is the veil before the friend's eyes, hiding the court of God's essence.
On trust in god
Set not thy foot in His court with hypocrisy. The men of the Path walk in trust; if thou hast a constant trust in Him, why not also in His feeding thee? Bring then thy belongings to the street of trust in God; then fortune will come out to meet thee. Listen to a story concerning trust. in God, so that thou remain not a pledge in the hand of the devil; and learn the law of the Path from a woman besides whom a braggart man shows but contemptibly.
On the trust in god shown by old women
When Hâtim set out for the sanctuary,--he whom thou callest Asamm,--when he set out for the Hijâz and the Sacred House, making towards the tomb of the Prophet (on whom be peace!), there remained behind a colt of his household, with no supplies whatever and owning nothing; he left his wife alone in the house, with no means of support, and set forth on the road; alone and in
trouble he left her, her life or death the same to him. Her womanhood was a fellow-traveller with him towards trust in God, for she knew her Provider; she had a friend behind the curtain, being a sharer in God's secret.
The men of the quarter assembled, and all went cheerily to the woman; when they saw her alone and in trouble, they all began at once to ask her her affairs, and by way of advice and counsel, in
sympathy said, "When thy husband set out for `Arafât did he leave thee any means of support?" She said, "He did; I am quite contented,--my maintenance is what it was before." Again they
said, "How much is thy maintenance? for thy heart is contented and happy." She said, "However long my life lasts, He has given into my hands all the support I need." The other said, "Thou
knowest not aught thyself, and what does he know, about thy life?"
She said, "The Giver of my daily bread knows; while life lasts, He will not take away my sustenance." They answered, "He does not give it apart from means; He never gives dates from the willow-tree; thou hast no sort of earthly possessions, and He will not send thee a wallet from heaven." She said, O ye of clouded minds! How long will ye utter folly and perversity? He needs to use a wallet who owns no piece of land; but His are heaven and earth entirely; what He wills He does; His is the authority. He brings it to pass as He desires; sometimes He gives increase, sometimes He takes away."
How long wilt thou talk of trust in God? Thou hearest the name of a man, but art less than a woman. Since on thy journey thou comportest thyself not as men do, go learn how to journey from the women. Thou hast chosen sloth, O body of woman! Alas for the man who is less than a woman!
Look to thy soul, and abandon thy lower nature, for this is as a hawk, and that a heron; that in that place, where it conies to comprehend 'We' and 'Thou', when it has been wholly burnt, 'He'
and 'He' shall remain. Reason, that, living in this world, cannot like soul attain to aught, arrives but as far as itself and reaches not to Him.
The ears of the head are two, the ear of love one; this is for religion, those for doubt; though the ear of the head listens to innumerable things, the ear of love listens only to the story of the One. Those two ears are set on each side of thy head like waterspouts, why dost thou still cry and howl? Thou art but a child;--go, turn thine eyes away from the devil, lest he put ears on the sides of thy head.
[On the Kalima]
As the inhabited world is computed at twenty-four thousand leagues, so, if thou add the hours of night to those of day, there are twenty-four of those torturers of mankind also. Exchange them, if thou art dexterous and versed in transformations, for the twenty-four letters; the qâf of the affirmation of the two testimonies, if these be uttered without deceit or hypocrisy or disputation or contention, will take thee completely out of thy world, bringing thee, not to any instrument, but to kâf and nûn: on this road and in this street, beyond where wisdom is, this is thy sufficient task, to repeat, 'None is God but He.'
The confession of the faith when reckoned up gives twenty-four as the number of its letters, half of them twelve jewel-caskets from the ocean of life, the other half the twelve zodiacal constellations of the heavens of the faith; the caskets are full of the pearls of hope, the zodiac filled by the moon and sun:--not the pearls of any sea of this world, not the moon and sun of these heavens; but the pearls of the ocean of the world of Power, the moon and sun of the heaven of peace.
On the interpretation of the dream
In the phantoms of sleep He has ordained for men of understanding both fear and hope. When a man has laid down his head in sleep, his tent-ropes are severed. As long as men are in the world of causes, they are all in a boat, and all asleep; waiting for what their soul shall see in sleep, of what awaits them of reward and punishment.
A fierce fire means the heat of anger; a spring of water is a beloved child. To weep in a dream is a provision of happiness afterwards; slavery means immunity from disgrace. Playing at draughts or chess in sleep brings war and conquest and misery. Water in a dream, if it be pure and sweet and clean and wholesome, is daily bread lawfully earned; but if it be muddy, know that it means an unhappy life;--though it be water, deem it fire itself. Earth in a dream brings food; to the farmer it indicates prosperity. A wind, if it be either hot or cold, is equally a store of grief and pain., but if it be temperate to the skin it is grief to an enemy and joy to a friend.
To give anything to the dead in a dream is loss of wealth and property. Laughter is anxiety and dangers; silence is affection for one's wealth. To drink water and have one's thirst increased is
knowledge, for one is never satiated with it. And he who is naked in his dream falls into disgrace, like the drunken libertine. A drum in a dream,--the secret leaks out; a trumpet in a dream results in a quarrel. Bonds and fetters area repentance of Nasûh; to see a garden is food for the soul. Fruit in a dream is a stipend from the king, not at once, but at some future time; when the time comes for him to obtain it, the man who saw the dream will attain thereby to affluence. When a man sees his own hand outstretched, he will be of singular generosity and munificence; but if his hands be withdrawn, he will surround himself with an army by his stinginess. The hands are brother and sister, the left the girl, the right the boy; the fingers represent sons; the teeth refer to father and mother; daughters are represented by the breast and nipple. Hidden
wealth and riches are shown as the belly; in a dream, the liver and heart are a store of wealth. The leg and knee are weariness and trouble. The brain is hidden wealth; the side a woman, for veil the skin drawn round her body. The organ of generation is a son,--good or bad, ugly or fair, wretched or fortunate.
To wash the hands is despair in regard to the matter in hand: to dance is impudence and deceit. Bathing drawers and can and implements of bathing all point to servants; and he who in his
dream plays upon the lute will certainly marry in haste. To wrestle with another is to conquer and to harass; and he who takes medicine in his dream escapes from pain and sorrow and torment.
Perfume in a dream is of two kinds, one meaning pleasure, the other nothing but affliction; the kind that is rubbed on brings pleasure, that which they scatter about, trouble. Since by smoke is
meant an increase of trouble, such an one's comfort will be small compared with his distress. A sick man, and perfume, and a new coat, is bad, the bad that I represent to thee as good. To dance
in a boat in a dream means danger from drowning, and brings wretchedness; but for one who is in prison, to dance is of good omen.
Whoever sees blood running from his body will find that happiness is denied him; permitted him, however, if he does not see a wound; but otherwise, if a wound be there, his affairs will cause him heavy trouble; he will be captive in sorrow's hands. And if a woman dreams of menstruating, she will give birth to a dead child. If a sick man seeing meat in a dream, eats of it, hope not for his recovery. To dream of drunkenness and madness from drinking wine, if it be
Arabian wine, is bad; if Persian, deem it a livelihood, honour, and good-fortune. Milk in a dream is profit from one's possessions, an ample and lawful subsistence.
On dreams of vessels and garments
An old garment is grief and sorrow; a new garment is great wealth; best of all is a garment that is closely woven, so my master told me. For women, a garment of many colours is a cause of joy and happiness and honour. A red garment brings gladness and the unrestricted enjoyment of a lasting good-fortune. The garment of fear is black; if yellow, it is pain and trouble and sighing; blue clothes are grief, a sorrow heavier than a mountain on the heart. Mantle and cloak are beauty; purse and moneybag are a source of riches.
A ladder will result in a journey, but one full of danger for the man. A millstone is a trusty man, the chosen one of a house. A snare in a dream is a block in the business in hand. A mirror is a woman; be well on thy guard. Captivity is plainly shown thee by a lock; so by a key thou obtainest thy release.
On dreams of handicraftsmen
A cook means great riches, just as a butcher means that one's affairs are. ruined. A physician is pain and sickness, especially to one who is wretched and needy. The tailor is the man in virtue of
whom troubles and affliction are all changed to good-fortune. A bootmaker and shoemaker and cobbler are among the heritages of one who will possess a secret. A drap