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Discourses of Rumi

Discourses of Rumi


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Published by: Gautami S on Mar 19, 2008
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Mawlânâ deeply attached himself to the articles of belief and the
principles of islam. Hence, the subject of worship is dealt with clearly

and in detail in his works. His views concerning the subject of
worship depends shortly on three fundamentals: Necessity of
worship, performing worship sincerely, and compensation of
First of all, as indicated in the following Qur'anic verse, "I have
not created the invisîble beings and men to any end other than that
they may [know and] worship Me" (The Qur'an, 51/56), Mawlânâ 100
stated that the main reason in man's creation was his worshipping
God alone, although he had a very gifted nature to do everything. In
short, man was created for worshipping God (Mathnawî. II1/3006-10;
Fîhi Mâfih, 24-25). Secondly, he emphasized that worshipping could
not be realized through thoughts and words; and he was of the
opinion that prayers bore witness to man's feelings of love of God
and belief in Him:
"If love were (only spiritual) thought and reality, the form of your
fasting and prayer would be non-existent.
The gifts of lovers to one another are, in respect of love, naught
but forms;
(But the purpose is) that the gift may have bore testimony to
feelings of love which are concealed in testimony.
Because outward acts of kindness bear witness to feelings of
love in the heart, O dear friend." (Mathnawî, 1/2725-28)
"This (ritual prayer and fasting and pilgrimage and holy war are
the attestation of the (inward) belief.
Fasting says (implicitly), 'He has abstained from what is lawful;
know (therefore) that life has no connection with what is unlawful’;
And his alms-giving said (implicitly), 'He gives his own property;
how then should he slcal from the religious?'
If he acts as a cutpurse (from self-İnterest) then the two
witnesses are invalidated in the court of Divine justice." (Mathnawî,
By saying that "If seeds are sown without husks then they will
not grow. So, it is necessary to sow them with husks" Mawlânâ
compared the Shariah side of the religion of İslam, which consists of
religious rules and ritual prayers to a husk; so he emphasized the
importance of the husk. However, the main thing which renders
green the young plant is the essence in the husk. Similarly, the main
thing that renders the ritual prayers precious is their essence, not
their form and the movements of the body. This essence is the joy
enjoyed from the prayers. "The way of our Prophet is the way of
love; we were born of love." By so saying, Mawlânâ advised us to
perform the orders and prohibitions of the religion, and he advised
us to leave aside the formal side of the prayers, and to be an
investigator, not to be a blind imitator while worshipping. A man

must be sincere and in complete submission while performing his
ritual prayers; so real devoutness must take its place in the heart.
The following story is quoted about the subject of blind imitation:
A sufi, after journeying, arrived at a monastery for the night. He
fastened his mount in the stable and gave it a little water and some
fodder. The other sufis in the monastery were destitute and poor.
They secretly sold the little ass and bought some food. They ate the
viands in the evening and began the sama (musical dance). In the
early hours of the morning their joy increased and they commenced
to sing, 'The ass is gone, and the ass is gone." By way of imitation
that sufi (the owner of the ass) began to sing in tones of
impassioned feeling this same phrase, "The ass is gone." When the
pleasure and excitement and music and dancing were over, they left
the monastery in the dawn. In order to take his ass, the sufi went
into the stable but did not find the ass. He asked the servant
whereabouts of his ass, and the servant told him everything. "Why
did not come and tell me what happened last night?" asked the sufi.
The servant replied: "I came several times to inform you of these
doings, but you were always saying merrily, "The ass is gone." So I
was always going back thinking, what a wise man he is; he knows
everything, so there is no necessity for me to tell him about what
happened." (Mathnawi, H/520-71)
This above story is about the uselessness of blind imitation.
Again in the Mathnawî, another story is quoted about the importance
of one's being sincere and faithful: The Prophet Moses saw a
shepherd on his way. The shepherd was praying to God:
“O God where are You that I may become Your servant and sew
your shoes and comb Your head?
That I may wash Your clothes and kill Your lice and bring milk to
You. O worshipful One;
That I may kiss Your little hand and rub Your little foot, (and
when) bedtime comes I may sweep Your little room.
O You to whom all my goats be sacrifice, O You in remembrance
of whom are my cries of ay and ah!"
The shepherd was speaking foolîsh words in this wisdom. Moses
said, "Man, to whom is this (addressed)?"
He answered, "To that one who created us; by whom this earth
and sky where brought to sight."
"Hark!" said Moses, "You have become very backsliding
(depraved); indeed you have not become a Muslim, you have
become an infidel.
What babble is this? What blasphemy has made the (whole)
world stink; your blasphemy has turned the silk robe of religion into

Shoes and socks are fitting for you, (but) how are such things
right for (one who is) a son?
If you do not stop your throat from (uttering) these words, a fire
will come and burn up the people.
Hand and foot are (terms of) praise in relation to us; in relation
to the holiness of God they are pollution.
He (the shepherd) said: "O Moses, you have closed my mouth
and you have burned my soul with repentance."
He rent his garment and heaved a sigh, and hastily turned his
head towards the desert and went (his way).
A revelation came to Moses from God. "You have parted My
servant from Me.
Did you come (as a prophet) to unite, or did you come to sever.
So far as you can't, do not set foot in separation: of (all) things the
most hateful to Me is divorce.
I have bestowed on every one a (special) way of eating. I have
given to every one a (peculiar) form of expression.
In regard to him it is (worthy of) praise, and in regard to you it is
(worthy of) blame. In regard to him honey and in regard to you
I am independent of all purity and impurity, of all slothfulness
and alacrity (in worshipping Me).
For the Hindus the idiom of Hind (India) are praiseworthy; for the
Sindians the
Idiom of Sind is praiseworthy.
I am not sanctified by their glorification (of Me); it is they that
become sanctified and pearl-scattering (pure and radiant).
I look not at the tongue and the speech; I look at the inward
(spirit) and the state (of feeling).
I gaze into the heart (to see) whether it be lowly, though the
words uttered be not lowly.
To lovers there is a burning (which consumes them) at every
moment: tax and tithe are not (imposed) on a ruined village.
If he (the lover) speaks faulty, do not call him faulty: and if he be
bathed in blood, do not wash (those who are) martyrs."
When Moses heard these reproaches from God, he ran into the
desert in quest of the shepherd. (Mathnawî, H/t737-95)
With the above story Mawlânâ makes us remember the following
Prophetic saying: "Make things (for people) easy, not difficult.
Announce them good tidings, do not cause them hate; and assist
them in everything." With thc above story, he also tries to draw our
attention to the necessity of conforming with religious principles. He
emphasizes the fact that we must never leave aside the

understanding of love, hope and tolerance while we are calling
others' attention to the religious principles. In his opinion, what
matters in worshipping is not form or words but deep conviction and
sincerity. He likens the blind imitators in worshipping to "the ass
which carries the Qur'an for the sake of (being fed with) straw", and
their being professional mourner to "the cart that moans (crcaks)."
(Mathnawî, II/501-06)
He again likens those who perform high acts and deeds of
devotion (in form), but whose spirits never prostrate, to walnuts
without kernels:
"His devotions are good (in form) but, the spirit is not good: the
walnuts are plenty but there is no kernel within.
Spiritual savour is required, in order that devotions may yield
fruit, a kernel is required, in order that the berry may produce a
tree." (Mathnawî. II/3432)
So, one of the characteristics of worshipping is its being a
touchstone that separates the true believer (mu'min) from the
hypocrite (munâfiq):
"Observe both believer and hypocrite in their prayer. This one
(the holy man) acts by the command (of God), and he (the apish
imilator) for the sake of quarrelling (rivalry).
In prayer and fasting and pilgrimage and alms-giving the true
believers are (engaged) with the hypocrite in (what brings) victory
and defeat.
Victory in the end into the true believers; upon the hypocrite
(falls) defeat in the state hereafter." (Mathnawî, 1/296-98)
"The hypocrite puts musk on his body and puts his spirit at the
bottom of the ash-pit.
In relation to him praising God is (like) the herbage of the ashpit:
it is roses and lilies (growing) upon a dunghill." (Mathnawî, II/269-
Although Mawlânâ stressed upon the fact that all prayers should
be performed, the daily prayer was the most important one which he
stressed upon. The daily prayer, which is the Ascension (Mi'râj) of
the true believer is the first stage in the way to reach God:
"For him that gives thanks increase is promised, just as
closeness (unto God) is the reward for prostration (in the ritual
Our God has said, 'And prostrate yourself and come nigh (unto
Me)' (The Qur'an: 96/19): the prostration of our bodies is the
closeness of the spirit (unto God)." (Mathnawî, IV/II-12)
"The Prophet has said that axis of genuflexion and prostration (in
the ritual prayer) are (equivalant to) knocking the door-bell of
(mystical) attainment on the Divine Portal.

When any one continues to knock that door-bell, felicity peeps
out for his sake." (Mathnawî, V/2056-57).
The most precious reward of worshippings is to gain God's
forsake, and to get closer to Him. However, God's grace and
benevolence are very great. He recompenses those who worship.
"When a man has sown a prostration (in prayer) or a
genuflexion, in yonder world his prostration becomes Paradise.
When altruism and almsgiving have grown up (proceeded) from
your hand, (the act of) this (generous) hand becomes on yonder side
(in the world hereafter) date-palms and (fresh) herbage.
Your patience is a river in Paradise; love is like a fountain of milk
Delight in devotion is a river of honey; behold your (spiritual)
intoxication and longing as a river of wine." (Mathnawî, II1/3749-84)
Just as the world itself, every worldly affair in this world is
temporary, but the recompenses of good deeds are everlasting:
"A sowing of pure seeds in God's earth, and then no income!
(That is impossible.)
If the (spiritual) cars of corn grow not from the gardens of Hû
(God), then tell (me). how should God's earth be "spacious"?
Since this earth of mortality is not wîthout produce, how should
God's earth be (without it)? That (earth of God) is a spacious place.
Verily, the produce of this earth (of God) is infinite; even the
least (produce) for a single seed is seven-hundredfold." (Mathnawî.
IV/l 780-83)
Mawlânâ likened man's life span to a purse of gold, and the day
and night to the money-changer (who counts the gold coins). He
urged us by saying that a purse of gold is emptied one day, but
worshippings will only replace the missing ones:
"Therefore, for every breath (that you give out), put an
equivalent in its place, so that by (acting in accordance wİth the
text) and fail to worship and draw nigh that you may gain your
Do not strive so much to complete (your worldly) affairs: do not
strive in any affair that is not religion." (Mathnawî, III/I27-28)
"Keep busy yourself with Divine worship. And never give up
worshipping until the last breath of your life.
For, God's grace will reach you and make your last breath a
different breath." (Mathnawî, 1/1890-01)

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