Part 29 - How the disciples raised objections against the vizier's secluding himself

    595   They all said: “O vizier, it is not disbelief: our words are not as the words of strangers. 596   The tears of our eyes are running because of our separation from thee; sigh...


Part 29 - How the disciples raised objections against the vizier's secluding himself

 

 

595

 

They all said: “O vizier, it is not disbelief: our words are not as the words of strangers.

596

 

The tears of our eyes are running because of our separation from thee; sigh after sigh is going (up) from the midst of our souls.

597

 

A babe does not contend with its nurse, but it weeps, although it knows neither evil nor good.

598

 

We are as the harp and thou art striking (it with) the plectrum (playing on it): the lamentation is not from us, it is thou that art making lamentation.

599

 

We are as the flute, and the music in us is from thee; we are as the mountain, and the echo in us is from thee.

600

 

We are as pieces of chess (engaged) in victory and defeat: our victory and defeat is from thee, O thou whose qualities are comely!

601

 

Who are we, O thou soul of our souls, that we should remain in being beside thee?

602

 

We and our existences are (really) non-existences: thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable (causes phenomena to appear).

603

 

We all are lions, but lions on a banner: because of the wind they are rushing onward from moment to moment.

604

 

Their onward rush is visible, and the wind is unseen: may that which is unseen never fail!

605

 

Our wind (that whereby we are moved) and our being are of thy gift; our whole existence is from thy bringing (us) into being.

606

 

Thou didst show the delightfulness of Being unto not-being, (after) thou hadst caused not-being to fall in love with thee.

607

 

Take not away the delightfulness of thy bounty; take not away thy dessert and wine and wine-cup!

608

 

And if thou take it away, who will make inquiry of thee? How should the picture strive with the painter?

609

 

Do not look on us, do not fix thy gaze on us: look on thine own kindness and generosity.

610

 

We were not, and there was no demand on our part, (yet) thy grace was hearkening to our unspoken prayer (and calling us into existence).”

611

 

Before the painter and the brush the picture is helpless and bound like a child in the womb.

612

 

Before Omnipotence all the people of the (Divine) court of audience (the world) are as helpless as the (embroiderer's) fabric before the needle.

613

 

Now He makes the picture thereon (one of) the Devil, now (of) Adam; now He makes the picture thereon (one of) joy, now (one of) grief.

614

 

There is no power (to any one) that he should move a hand in defence; no (right of) speech, that he should utter a word concerning injury or benefit.

615

 

Recite from the Qur’án the interpretation of (i.e. a text which interprets) the (preceding) verse: God said, Thou didst not throw when thou threwest.

616

 

If we let fly an arrow, that (action) is not from us: we are (only) the bow, and the shooter of the arrow is God.

617

 

This is not jabr (compulsion); it is the meaning of jabbárí (almightiness): the mention of almightiness is for the sake of (inspiring us with) humility.

618

 

Our humility is evidence of necessity, (but) our sense of guilt is evidence of free-will.

619

 

If there were not free-will, what is this shame? And what is this sorrow and guilty confusion and abashment?

620

 

Why is there chiding between pupils and masters? Why is the mind changing (so as to depart) from plans (already formed)?

621

 

And if you say that he (the assertor of free-will) takes no heed of the (Divine) compulsion, (and that) God's moon (majesty) hides its face (from him) in the cloud (of his own blindness),

622

 

There is a good answer to this; if you hearken, you will relinquish unbelief and incline towards the (true) religion.

623

 

Remorse and humility occur at the time of illness: the time of illness is wholly wakefulness (of conscience).

624

 

At the time when you are becoming ill, you pray God to forgive your trespass;

625

 

The foulness of your sin is shown to you, you resolve to come back to the (right) way;

626

 

You make promises and vows that henceforth your chosen course (of action) will be nothing but obedience (to God):

627

 

Therefore it has become certain that illness gives to you conscience and wakefulness.

628

 

Note, then, this principle, O thou that seekest the principle; every one who suffers pain has caught the scent (thereof):

629

 

The more wakeful any one is, the more full of suffering he is; the more aware (of God) he is, the paler he is in countenance.

630

 

If you are aware of His jabr (compulsion), where is your humility? Where is your feeling of (being loaded with) the chain of His jabbárí (almightiness)?

631

 

How should one make merry who is bound in chains? When does the captive in prison behave like the man who is free?

632

 

And if you consider that your foot is shackled (and that) the king's officers are sitting (as custodians) over you,

633

 

Then do not act like an officer (tyrannously) towards the helpless, inasmuch as that is not the nature and habit of a helpless man.

634

 

Since you do not feel His compulsion, do not say (that you are compelled); and if you feel it, where is the sign of your feeling?

635

 

In every act for which you have inclination, you are clearly conscious of your power (to perform it),

636

 

(But) in the act for which you have no inclination and desire, you make yourself a necessitarian, saying, “This is from God.”

637

 

The prophets are necessitarians in regard to the works of this world, (while) the infidels are necessitarians in regard to the works of the next world.

638

 

To the prophets the works of the next world are (a matter of) free-will; to the foolish the works of this world are (a matter of) free-will,

639

 

Because every bird flies to its own congener: it (follows) behind, and its spirit (goes) before, (leading it on).

640

 

Inasmuch as the infidels were congeners of Sijjn (Hell), they were well-disposed to the prison (sijn) of this world.

641

 

Inasmuch as the prophets were congeners of ‘Illiyyín (Heaven), they went towards the ‘Illiyyín of spirit and heart.

642

 

This discourse hath no end, but let us (now) relate the story to its completion.

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