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Recognized as perhaps the greatest mystical poet of Islam, Jalal
al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) communicated something through his
writing that has attracted spiritual seekers from almost every
religion in the world, for hundreds of years. Even in his day, Rumi
was soughtout by merchants and kings, devout worshippers and
rebellious seekers, famousscholars and common peasants, men and
women. At his funeral, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Arabs, Persians,
Turks and Romans honored him. Listen to his call for seekers of

Come, come, whoever you are.

Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a hundred times.
Come, yet again, come, come.

Rumi’s love and honor for all religious traditions was not always
popular in his day, and often provoked criticism from the more
dogmatic. A story is told that one such public challenge came from
a Muslim dignitary, Qonavi, who confronted Rumi before an
audience. “You claim to be at one with 72 religious sects,” said
Qonavi, “but the Jews cannot agree with the Christians, and the
Christians cannot agree with Muslims. If they cannot agree with
each other, how could you agree with them all?” To this Rumi
“Yes, you are right, I agree with you too.”
Although kings were his followers, Rumi’s critics could never
understand why Rumi’s greatest love and dedication went to what
they called, “the tailors, the cloth-sellers, and the petty shopkeepers
- uncouth and uncultured ruffians.” Yet even amongst these, his
dearest companions, Rumi allowed no vanity. The story is told that
one day, while Rumi was in deep contemplation, surrounded by his
disciples, a drunkard walked in shouting and stumbling. The man
staggered toward Rumi, and then fell on him. To Rumi’s followers
such a disgrace of their teacher was intolerable, and they rose as
one to rush the ignorant fool. Rumi stopped them with his raised
hand, saying, “I thought this intruder was the one who was
intoxicated, but now I see it is not he, but my own students who are
There are thousands who believe that Rumi’s presence (baraka)
still exists today, and still teaches. If this is true, it is certainly largely
due to the remarkable vitality that can be found in his writings and
poetry, and a relevancy they contain that reaches to our inner core.
Rumi’s poetry has captured the hearts of spiritual seekers around
the world because of its depth and beauty. His verses sketch out the
whole panorama of life, from human sorrow and devotion, to the
universal breadth of God’s hidden plan. His poetry seems fathomless
and endless.
Rumi has also left to us another manuscript that is not so well
known - the collection of discourses given at the gatherings with his
students. It Is What It Is (Fihi ma Fihi) is a record of these spiritual
discussions that often followed music and dance, the reciting of
sacred poems and phrases, and the now famous Whirling Dervish
exercise that Rumi originated to enliven and bring spiritual opening
to the rather somber people of Konya, Turkey, in his day.
This present book is edited and rewritten from
A. J. Arberry’s original English translation, published in 1961 as
Discourses of Rumi. Arberry himself admitted that his scholastic,
literal, work “is not an easy book to read…and the original is by no
means easy always to understand.” According to more recent
studies of the original manuscript (Chittick and Shah, for example,)
Arberry’s translation also has some technical errors, and better
understandings of Rumi’s subtle spiritual teachings have come to
light. I hope this edition will help illuminate and clarify such
passages, and to build on Professor Arberry’s contribution. If you
were to compare the original manuscript of Rumi’s discourses with
this present book, the first change you might notice would be the
dropping of phrases like, “may Allah bless him and give him peace,”
after every reference to a saint or prophet, which was the proper
and respectful way of speaking in Rumi’s day, and still istoday in
some parts of the world. Also, Rumi makes numerable references to
the Koran and quotes from it frequently. Since Rumi’s listeners knew
the Koran well, such quotes were familiar and personal brush
strokes. However, to many readers of this book this will not be so.
Therefore, I have removed a few quotes that could prove confusing
to those who do not know the Koran, or might disturb the direction
of Rumi’s message.
Rumi’s reference to God is always deeply personal. Whether he
uses the masculine term “Allah,” or refers to God as “The Beloved,”
it is nearness and closeness to God that Rumi is expressing.
Unfortunately, the English language has no personal, neutral
pronoun for God. To always use “He” in referring to God, to mankind,
or to any general person, was common practice when Arberry
released his edition, but seems too masculine today. In Rumi’s
Persian language, “God” has no gender, and Rumi’s symbolic
portrayal of God uses images of the Lover, and the Ocean, as often
as the King. Therefore, I have used “It” to refer to God in places, to
help rise above gender, but have also used “He” and “Beloved” to
give the personal closeness of Rumi’s message.
The flow, rhythm and impact of Rumi’s images are what I have
tried to preserve, over everything else. These inner subtleties are,
paradoxically, more important than the apparent point he is making.
For example, in discourse Twenty-Six Rumi says, “Beware! Do not
say, ‘I have understood.’ The more you understand and grasp these
words, the farther you will be from understanding them. Their
meaning comes in not understanding.” Such insights can not be
explained, we must catch them inwardly, with only the subtle clues
that Rumi leaves to guide us.
Follow Rumi closely in this way, and you will see a string that
holds one pearl to the next on this necklace. Each story, each image,
is a new moment in Rumi’s discourse, yet rarely is it broken from the
last moment. Step by step, Rumi is dancing. We must be limber and
flexible to follow without losing that thread. Yet, hidden in the
rhythm and pattern of Rumi’s dance is his true intention.
Even today, Rumi challenges many of our basic cultural
assumptions, and often in ways we may not notice if we aren’t
careful. It is easy to make the mistake of rejecting an idea on the
grounds that it is out of date, or that it sounds merely like a
traditional, orthodox opinion. I would caution about ever jumping to
this conclusion with Rumi, since you will more likely find that he has
caught you making the very same error.
For example, in discourse Twelve, Rumi asks the question, “If a
saint, who carries God’s secret jewel [spiritual grace], strikes
someone and breaks their nose and jaw, who is the wronged party?”
Rumi claims it is the saint who has been wronged. “Since the saint is
consumed in God, their actions are God’s actions. God is not called a
At first glance, this smacks of religious zealotry. The same sort
that brought about the killings and murders of the Inquisition. No
different than any other self-justified excuse. Anyone can blame God
for their own choices, we say. But read Rumi’s words closely; he is
not talking about justifying violence. He is asking what makes an act
right or wrong, good or bad. He is asking us to look beneath our
cultural ideas of right and wrong to see the true cause: God’s will.
But the problem doesn’t stop here, since we have not yet caught
Rumi’s vision. Our culture rejects ideas of Absolute Right or Wrong.
We have learned that each person must decide for themselves what
is true, and no outside authority has the right to force their
perspective. And so, after centuries of petty religious battles and
church-state slaughters, we have solved the problem socially by
placing relative truth above Absolute Truth. In other words, we still
don’t believe the saint has the right to strike out.
Rumi knows all this, and is way ahead. He goes on to say, “A
westerner lives in the West. Anoriental comes to visit. The westerner
is a stranger to the oriental, but who is the real stranger? Is not the
oriental a stranger to all the West?” In other words, sure the idea of
a Holy War, or a true saint using violence sounds strange and wrong
to us, but does that mean it is wrong? Who is the real stranger to
Rumi continues, “This whole world is but a house, no more.
Whether we go from this room to that room, or from this corner to
that corner, still are we not in the same house? But the saints who
possess God’s jewel have left this house, they have gone beyond.
Mohammed said, ‘Islam began a stranger and will return a stranger
as it began.’
In this way, Rumi’s words come right through time and ask us
today, “Can you accept that a true Lover of God could carry God’s
authority? Can you see, because of what they carry, they will always
be a stranger to this world?” So who is out of date? Certainly anyone
bound by the culture of their time, anyone who is not moved by
something greater.
If you see what is happening here, you will see that Rumi is using
our own unexamined aversions and dislikes to teach us. Some of
Rumi’s most profound poetry is ignored because of such thorns,
prompting him to say, in discourse Thirty-Five: “How wonderfully
gracious God is! It sets a seal on those who listen and do not
understand, argue and yet learn nothing. God is gracious. Its wrath
is gracious, and even Its lock is gracious.
But Its lock is nothing next to Its unlocking, for the grace of that
is indescribable. If I shatter into pieces, it is through the infinite
grace of God’s unlocking.”
This raises an interesting observation. Rumi was never general in
his discussions, he always spoke to specific situations. He addressed
the particular beliefs and conflicts of those around him, and he was
a witness and spokesman for The Way as it was manifesting in his
day. And still his words can teach us now.
If a traveler tripped over a rock in their path 700 years ago, and
from this event altered the course of their life, we might conclude
the rock was only incidental. But if that same rock trips thousands,
through the centuries, each walking away with a different message
and a different lesson, then can we call this incidental? When foolish
people trip, they get up and walk away as if nothing happened. They
learn nothing. A wise person will find a greater meaning for their fall.
But a rock that trips travelers in every age, each time imparting a
different meaning, that is not just a rock. That is God.
Many of the terms Rumi uses have a very different meaning in
their Islamic context than they do in their Christian sense. For
example, the word “faith” amongst many Sufis is much closer to
what we might call “knowingness.” This is not the same as “belief,”
which refers to how a person chooses to see things. The Quakers
had a term known as “convincement” that expresses some of this,
but still betrays too much of man’s choice in the matter. As Rumi
uses the word “faith,” he is talking more about the effect of having
experienced something that changes how we see life, than he is
talking about having been sold on some doctrine.
Likewise, when Rumi refers to Islam, he is talking about The Way.
He is not talking about the preconceived notions that people have
about Islam today, or even in his day, but the spiritual path itself
and the religious tradition. It is not always easy to understand this as
Rumi meant it, just as Rumi’s use of Mohammed as the Prophet and
Voice of God is easily interpreted as traditional belief, which is only
the outward cloak of what Rumi is really saying. It is just this sort of
blindness that Rumi is speaking to when he says, in discourse
Seventy: “Wherever men or women put a big lock, that is a sign of
something precious and valuable. Just like the snake that guards a
treasure, do not regard what repels you, but look instead at the
preciousness of the treasure.”
The title of Rumi’s discourses, Fihi ma Fihi, was translated by
Arberry to In It What Is In It, but I believe It Is What It Is comes closer
to Rumi’s intent. In any case, this title is filled with multiple
meanings, just as all of Rumi’s works are. This may be a foreign
idea, that someone could be communicating many things, at many
levels, at the same time, but let us look closely at this title for a
First, it is making a very specific, physical reference. “It,”
meaning this manuscript, is the same as what is in “It,” meaning
Rumi’s most famous work, his six volume poem, the Masnavi. In
other words, the Fihi ma Fihi provides explanations and keys to
unlock the meaning of the Masnavi. The two works were written
parallel to each other, and contain many references and stories that
are continued from one to the other. This being true, it is quite
surprising that Rumi’s discourses have not gained more attention.
But this is only one of the title’s meanings, and by no means the
most important.
At another level, It Is What It Is asks us not to put into this
manuscript more or less than what it is. It is not clothed in the high
cloth of religious sanctity, nor does it speak as some authority. Rumi
wants us simply to see it for what it is. He wants us to be
emotionally honest and not to get carried away with the form. In
other words, don’t become attached to the beauty of this vase, it is
merely a holder of The Rose.
At the same time, “It” refers to God. Therefore God is what God
is. This is the same as the Muslim saying, “There is no God but God.”
In other words, Rumi asks, “What more is there to say?” All the
words here, all the stories and explanations are saying nothing more
than this. There is no more to reality than reality. God is. Reality is. It
is what it is. Explanations cannot explain it. Words cannot reveal it.
And so, “It,” meaning the manuscript, is what “It,” meaning God
or reality, is. Therefore, the Fihi ma Fihi is cut from the same cloth as
reality, it is the same substance as God.

Description of Love
A true lover is proved such by his pain of heart; no sickness is there
like sickness of heart. The lover's ailment is different from all ailments;
love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries. A lover may hanker after this
love or that love, but at the last he is drawn to the king of love.
However much we describe and explain love, when we fall in love we
are ashamed of our words. Explanation by the tongue makes most
things clear, but love unexplained is clearer.
When pen hastened to write, on reaching the subject of love it split in
twain. When the discourse touched on the matter of love, pen was
broken and paper torn. In explaining it Reason sticks fast, as an ass in
mire; naught but love itself can explain love and lovers! None but the
sun can display the sun, if you would see it displayed, turn not away
from it. Shadows, indeed, may indicate the sun's presence, but only
the sun displays the light of life. Shadows induce slumber, like evening
talks, but when the sun arises the "moon is split asunder." [3] In the
world there is naught so wondrous as the sun, but the Sun of the soul
sets not and has no yesterday. Though the material sun is unique and
single, we can conceive similar suns like to it.
But the sun of the soul, beyond this firmament, no like thereof is
seen in concrete or abstract. [4] Where is there room in conception for
His essence, So that similitudes of Him should be conceivable?
Shamsu-'d-Din of Tabriz importunes Jalalu-'d-Din to compose the
The sun (Shams) of Tabriz is a perfect light, a sun, yes, one of the
beams of God! When the praise was heard of the "sun of Tabriz," The
sun of the fourth heaven bowed its head. Now that I have mentioned
his name, it is but right to set forth some indications of his
That precious soul caught my skirt, smelling the perfume of the
garment of Yusuf; and said, "For the sake of our ancient friendship, tell
forth a hint of those sweet states of ecstasy, that earth and heaven
may be rejoiced, and also reason and spirit, a hundredfold."
I said, "O thou who art far from 'the friend,' like a sick man who has
strayed from his physician, importune me not, for I am beside myself;
my understanding is gone, I cannot sing praises. Whatsoever one says,
whose reason is thus astray, let him not boast; his efforts are useless.
Whatever he says is not to the point, and is clearly inept and wide of
the mark. What can I say when not a nerve of mine is sensible? Can I
explain 'the friend' to one to whom He is no friend? Verily my singing
His praise were dispraise, for it would prove me existent, and existence
is error. [5] Can I describe my separation and my bleeding heart?
Nay, put off this matter till another season." He said, " Feed me, for I
am an hungered, and at once, for 'the time is a sharp sword.' O
comrade, the Sufi is 'the son of time present.' [6] It is not the rule of his
canon to say, 'To-morrow.' Can it be that thou art not a true Sufi? Ready
money is lost by giving credit." I said, "'Tis best to veil the secrets of
'The Friend.' So give good heed to the morals of these stories. That is
better than that the secrets of 'The Friend' Should be noised abroad in
the talk of strangers." He said, "Without veil or covering or deception,
speak out, and vex me not, O man of many words! Strip off the veil
and speak out, for do not I enter under the same coverlet as the
Beloved?" I said, "If the Beloved were exposed to outward view, neither
wouldst thou endure, nor embrace, nor form. Press thy suit, yet with
moderation; a blade of grass cannot, pierce a mountain. If the sun that
illumines the world were to draw near, the world would be consumed.
[7] Close thy mouth and shut the eyes of this matter, that, the world's
life be not made a bleeding heart. No longer seek this peril, this
bloodshed; hereafter impose silence on the 'sun of Tabriz.'" He said,
"Thy words are endless. Now tell forth all thy story from its beginning."

Written By
Prof.Dr.Emine Yeniterzi
Konya Selcuk Unv.

Wheresoever I lay my head, it is only He (God) who is to be
It is only He who is to be worshipped whether be in or out six
Vineyards, gardens, roses, nightingales, whirling dances (sama);
these are all beautiful...
These are nothing but a pretext only; the real goal is always
Him... (Rubais, 34)
Hidden things, then, are manifested by means of their opposite;
since God has no opposite, like Greeks and Ethiopians.
For the sight fell (first) on the light, then on the colour: opposite is
made manifest by opposite, like Greeks and Ethiopians.
Therefore you knew light by its opposite: opposite reveals
opposite in (the process of) coming forth.
The light of God has no opposite in (all) existence, that by means
of that opposite it should be possible to make him manifest.
Necessarily (therefore) our eyes do not perceive Him, though He
perceives (us): see this (fact) from (the case of) Moses and the
mountain (Sinai).
(Mathnawi, I/II83-87)
A man of trust heard a sound of footsteps (in his house) during
the night: he took up the fire-lighter to strike a flame.
At the (same) moment the chief came and sat down beside him,
and whenever the tinder caught (fire) he put it out.
Laying the tip of his finger on the place, in order that the fiery star
(spark) might vanish.
The Khwaja thought it was dying of itself: he did not see that the
thief was extinguishing it.
The Khwaja said, "This tinder was moist: on account of its wetness
the star (spark) is dying at once."
As there was great murk and darkness in front (of him), he did
not see a fire-extinguisher beside him.
(So) the infidel's eye, because of (its) dimness, does not see a
similar fire-extinguisher in his heart.
How is the heart of any knowing person ignorant (that) with the
moving (object) there is (necessarily) a mover?
Why don't you say (to yourself), "How should day and night come
and go of themselves without a Lord?"
You are conversant with intelligible; (but) see what a lack of
intelligence is shown by you (in this matter), O despicable man!
Is this house more intelligible with a builder or without a builder?
Answer, O man of little knowledge!
Is writing more intelligible with a writer or without a writer? Think,
O son!
Is the bright (lighted) candle without one who lights it or with a
skilful lighter?
Is it more reasonable to expect good craftsmanship from the hand
of one who is palsied and blind or from one who lights it or with a
skilful lighter?
(Mathnawi, VI/362-76)
He is the Originator, He follows no master; He is the support of all
things, He has no support,
(While) the rest, (engaged) in handicrafts and talk, follow a
master and have need of a pattern.
(Mathnawi, I/1695-96)
Before Omnipotence all the people of the (Divine) court of
audience (the world) are as helpless as the (embroider's) fabric
before the needle. (Mathnawi, I/638)
You have two hands, two feet, two eyes, and they are sound; this
is true,
But, it is wrong if there are two hearts and two beloveds...
In fact, the beloved is a cover, the Beloved One is God.
He who thinks Him as two is an unbeliever. (Rubais, 38)

God forbid! It was only because you appeared to my eyes with the
most perfect qualities, surpassing (mortal) loveliness.
And, there is no difficult job other than seeing your face.
You are my only lover and friend in both worlds;
Wherever there is a lovely face, it is your light, indeed. (Rubais,

If only I could have become sweet with you; life, in fact, is bitter,
Let who will be wroth, save only You: there is no harm (in their
anger), when the noble of my kin are pleased with me.
If only you and I had been good friends.
If only every body had been my enemy, and the world had been
Wealth is not worth so much when You loved me, for it is too
threadbare to be prized.
In fact, whatever there is on Earth, all of them are nothing but
soil. (Majalis-i Sab'a, 50-51)
Although I am weak, unprotected and helpless, I heard a voice,
saying: "We have honored the sons of Adam...” (The Qur'an, 17/70).
Now, I am neither weak nor unprotected nor helpless, and I have lots
and lots of means and solutions. If I fill up my quiver with your
arrows, I may even break the Mythic Mountain's back. (Majalis-i
Sab'a, 12)
Sometimes, even the angels envy our purity.
Sometimes, Satan witnesses our fearlessness and runs away.
This body of Earth of ours had undertaken God's trust.
God save our nimbleness; may God preserve our power and
performance. (Rubais, 19)

You are neither water nor soil, you are something else.
You are away from the world of clay, you are on a journey.
The form (body) is a water-way, and the soul is an elixir flowing in
that water-way;
But, as long as you follow your ego, you will be unaware of either.
(Rubais, 205)

The purpose of creating the world was man,

And, the purpose of creating man was that breath (the Prophet
Muhammad). (Majalis-i Sab'a, 45)

Moses said, "O lord of the Reckoning, You do create the form: how
do you destroy it again?
You have made the form, male and female, that gives unto the
spirit increase (of joy), and then you do ruin: why?"
God said, "I know that this question of yours is not from disbelief
and heedlessness and idle fancy;
Then God spoke unto him, saying, "O you who possess the most
excellent (understanding), since you have asked (the question),
come, hear the answer.
O Moses, sow some seed in the earth, that you yourself may
render justice to this (question)."
When Moses had sown, seed-corn was complete (in growth) and
its ears had gained beauty and symmetry,
He took the sickle and was cutting that (crop); then a voice from
the Unseen reached his ear,
Crying, "Why do you sow and tend some seed-corn and (now) are
cutting it when it has attained to perfection?"
He replied, "O Lord, I destroy and lay it low because straw is here
and (also) grain.
The grain is not suitable (to be stored) in the straw-barn; the
straw likewise is bad (for putting) in the corn-barn.
It is not wisdom to mix these twains: it (wisdom) makes
necessary the separation (of them) in winnowing."
He (God) said, "From whom did you gain this knowledge, so that
by means of the knowledge you did construct a threshing-floor?"
He replied, "You, O God, gave me discernment." He (God) said,
"Then how should I not have discernment?"
Amongst the created beings are pure spirits; there are (also)
spirits dark and muddy.
These shells are not in one grade: in one (of them) is the pearl
and in another the (worthless) bead.
It is necessary to make manifest (the difference between) this
good and evil, just as (it is necessary) to make manifest (distinguish)
the wheat from the straw. (Mathnawi, IV/ 3023-49)
God said in the Qur'an, "We honored the sons of Adam" (17/70)
instead of saying, "We honored the earth and heavens". Since the
earth and heavens were unable to do any work, and only man was
able to do it, man is very bad and illiterate indeed. If you say, "I can
only do this and cannot do that", your work is worthless. For, man is
not created for other things. This is similar to this: For example, if you
use a very precious Hindu sword, which is only to be found in the
treasury of a Sultan and which is made of steel, in cutting rotten meat
up instead of using a chopping knife, or if you cook turnip in a golden
stew pan, part of which is worth a hundred pans, or if you use a knife
ornamented with jewels to hang a broken pumpkin on the wall instead
of using a nail, would these actions not be ridiculed, deplored by
others? In fact, that broken pumpkin can be hung on a worthless
wooden or iron nail. Is it wise to use a worthy and expensive knife for
such simple thing? God attached upon you very great value. (Fihi
Mafih, 24-25)
You have a (precious) soul in your life, seek after that soul...
There is a jewel in the mountain of your body; seek for the mine
of that jewel...
O Sufi who is walking, if you have enough power seek for that
But, seek for it in yourself not outside... (Rubais, 22)

You are a mine so long as you seek for the jewel in the mine,
You are bread as long as you desire for a morsel (of bread)...
If you understand this secret meaning, then you understand every
You will be what ever you are looking for... (Rubais, 205)

A woman came to Ali and said, "A child belonging to me has gone
up on to the water-spout.
If I call him, he will not come to my hands; and if I leave him, I
am afraid he will fall to the ground.
He is not intelligent, that he should apprehend, like us, if I say,
'Come to me (and escape) from the danger!
Moreover, he doesn't understand signs made by the hand; or if he
should understand, he will not hearken: this too is bad (useless).
Quickly apply the remedy, for my heart is trembling lest I be torn
painfully from the fruit of my heart.
He (Ali) said, "Take another child up to the roof, in order that the
boy may see his own kind."
And the child came nimbly from the water-spout to his own kind:
those of the same kind love from the heart.
The woman did so, and when her child saw his congener: he
turned his face towards him with delight.
And came from the ridge of the water-spout to the roof: know that
congener attracts every congener.
The child came crawling along to the (other) child: it was saved
from falling to (the ground) below.
The prophets are of humankind for this reason, that they
(humankind), through the homogeneity (of the prophets with them),
may be saved from the water-spout.
Therefore he (the Prophet) called himself a man like you that you
might come to your own kind and might not become lost.
(Mathnawi, IV/2678-91)


"Everybody wants to be close to God by taking refuge in some act
of devotion. Now, you must be present in the sessions of wise and
righteous men, so that you may be more closer to God than anybody
(A Prophetic Saying)

O Ali, above all devotional acts in the Way (of God) do you choose
the shadow (protection) of the servant of God.
Every one look refuge in some act of devotion and discovered for
themselves some means of deliverance.
Go you, take refuge in the shadow of the Sage, that you may
escape from the Enemy that opposes (you) in secret.
Of all acts of devotion this is the best for you: (thereby) you will
gain precedence over every one that has outstripped (the rest)."
When the Pir has accepted you, take heed, surrender yourself (to
him): go, like Moses, under the authority of Khizr. (Mathnawi, I/3069-
Companionship with (holy) man makes you one of the (holy) men.
Though you be rock or marble, you will become a jewel when you
reach the man of heart (the saint).
Plant the love of the holy ones within your spirit; do not give your
heart (to aught) save to the love of them whose hearts are glad.
The heart leads you into the neighborhood of the men of heart
(the saints); the body leads you into the prison of water and earth.
Oh, give your heart food from (conversation with) one who is in
accord with it; go, seek (spiritual) advancement from one who is
advanced. (Mathnawi, I/749-55)
Go; seek at once the friend of God: when you have done so, God
is your friend. (Mathnawi, II/23)
"Whoever wishes to sit with God let him sit in the presence of the
(A Prophetic Saying)
Hence the fortunate (disciple) who has devoted himself to a
blessed (saint) has become the companion of God. (Mathnawi,
Whoever wishes to sit with God let him sit in the presence of the
Whomsoever the Devil cuts off from the noble (saints), he finds
him without any one (to help him), and he devours his head.
To go for one moment a single span apart from the community (of
saints) is (a result of) the Devil's guile. Hearken, and know (it) well.
(Mathnawi, II/2183-86)
O you! Sit in the presence of the saints, not any where else.
It is proper for a mirror to be beside the burnisher...
O my Lord! If a soul sits beside another soul, it neither finds
pleasure nor enjoys;
(In such a situation) it (that soul) turns into a kind of a precious
stone placed beside the fractured vase...
(Rubais, 137)

The mystery and wisdom of the Divine commandments in the
Qur'an is this: God prescribed belief (iman) for His servants in order
for them to be protected from polytheism (shirk). He ordered them to
perform the daily prayers (salat) to clean themselves up from
haughtiness. God ordained alms (zakat) to cause sustenance (rizq).
He commanded His servants to fast in order to test their sincerity
(ikhlas). Pilgrimage (hajj) was ordained by God to strengthen the
religion of Islam. Holy war (jihad) was ordained by Him to exalt the
religion and to prohibit unlawful things and to prevent debauched
people from evil doings. He aimed to increase the number of relatives
by commanding us to take care of our relatives. He prescribed
retaliation (qisas) to prevent bloodshed. He also ordained other
punishments to make prohibited things become disgusting in people's
eyes. The prohibition of drinking wine is ordained by God to protect
the intellect (aql) from every kind of evil thoughts. Theft was
prohibited to honor chastity. Unlawful intercourse (zina) was
prohibited to keep one's descent (nasab) definite and clean. And
finally, the recitation of the basic formula of Islamic faith ( There is no
God but Allah, and the Prophet Muhammad is His Messenger) was
made obligatory for the believers to stand up especially to those who
reject God and His Prophet. (Ariflerin Menkibeleri [Legends of the
Sages], II/37-38)
One day, a certain man, who recited the Qur'an in seven different
ways and read it (the Qur'an) from the beginning to the end every
night and thus never slept, was mentioned in the presence of
Mawlana. He said: "Yes, he counts the walnuts very well, but does not
taste their essence. God's Book is established over four fundamentals:
the text, signs, jokes and truths. The text is for the common people.
The signs are for the special people. The jokes are for the saints, and
finally, the truths are for the prophets. Therefore, that man is busying
himself with repairing the text only, but nevertheless is deprived of its
mysteries." (Legends of the Sages /Ariflerin Menkibeleri, 1/441)
A certain Qur'an reciter came to the presence of Mawlana.
Mawlana showed him respect and stood up and said to him: "How it is
important to keep the Book dear and to put it high places, so it is
important to show respect to the Qur'an reciters and to place them on
our heads, too. It is not suitable for a heart which has the light of the
Qur'an to be burnt in the Hell. If people find a piece of paper on which
there is a Qur'anic text, they do not throw it into the fire, but show
great respect to that piece of paper and say 'there is Qur'an written
on it'. Then, how is it possible to throw a heart which keeps the whole
Qur'an into the Hell?" (Legends of the Sages /Ariflerin Menkibeleri,

In wedlock both the partners must be equal, otherwise it will
pinch, and their happiness will not endure.
(Mathnawi, IV/200)
You are my wife: the wife must be of the same quality (as the
husband) in order that things may go rightly.
The married pair must match one another: look at a pair of shoes
or boots.
If one of the shoes is too tight for the foot, the pair of them is of
no use to you.
Have you ever seen one leaf of a (folding) door small and the
other large, or a wolf mated with the lion of the jungle?
A pair of sacks on a camel does not balance properly when one is
small and the other of full size.
(Mathnawi, I/2410-14)

And there was continually coming to him (the Khwaja) from every
nobleman a wooer to ask for the girl (in marriage).
The Khwaja said (to himself), "Wealth has no permanence: it
comes in the morning, and at night it goes in all directions (is
scattered to the winds).
Physical beauty too has no importance, for a (rosy) face is made
yellow (pale) by a single thorn-scratch.
Noble birth also is of small account, for he (such a one) is
befooled by money and horses."
Oh, there is many a nobleman's son who in riot and mischief has
disgraced his father by his wicked deeds.
Do not court a man full of talent either, (even) if he be exquisite
(in that respect), and taken warning from (the example of) Iblis.
The (only) thing that matters is fear of God and religion and piety,
of which the result is happiness in both worlds.
He (the Khwaja) chose a pious son-in-law who was the pride of
the whole clan and stock
Then the woman said, "He has no riches, he has neither nobility
nor beauty nor independence."
He replied, "Those things are secondary to asceticism and religion:
he (the pious man), (though) without gold is a treasure on the face of
the earth."
(Mathnawi, VI/256-69)

"The most hateful thing to God is divorcing a woman."

(A Prophetic Saying)
So far as you can, do not seek foot in separation: of (all) things
the most hateful to Me is divorce. (Mathnawi, II/1769)
The Prophet said that woman prevails exceedingly over the wise
and intelligent,
(While), on the other hand, ignorant man prevail over woman, for
in them the fierceness of the animal is imprisoned.
They lack tenderness, kindness, and affection, because animality
predominates over their (human) nature.
Love and tenderness are human qualities; anger and lust are
animal qualities.
She (woman) is a ray of God, she is not that (earthly) beloved:
she is creative, you must say she is not created. (Mathnawi, I/2531-

Inasmuch as He created her (the woman) that he (Adam) might

take comfort in her, how can Adam be parted from Eve?
Though he (the husband) be Rustam son of Zal and greater than
Hamza (in valour), as regards authority he is his old woman's (his
wife's) captive.
He (the Prophet), to Whose words the (whole) world was enslaved
(obedient), used to cry, "Speak to me, O Humayra!"
The water prevailed over (extinguished) the fire by its dread
onset, (but) the fire makes it seethe when it (the water) is screened
(hidden in the cauldron).
When a cauldron comes between (them), O king, it (the fire)
annihilates the water and converts it into air.
If outwardly you are dominating your wife, like the (fire-
quenching) water, (yet) inwardly you are dominated and are seeking
(the love of) your wife.
This is characteristic of Man (alone): to the (other) animals love is
wanting, and that (want of love) arises from (their) inferiority (to
(Mathnawi, I/2524-30)

A certain man asked: "What can be better than ritual prayer?"
Mawlana replied:
"1- The spirit of ritual prayer is better than the recitation of the
prayer itself.
2-Belief is better than ritual prayer. For, ritual prayer is obligatory
only five times a day, whereas belief is always obligatory. If ritual
prayer becomes spoiled by a pretext then it fails to be obligatory. In
such case, it is possible to perform it later. Another superior aspect of
belief is that no pretext can spoil it; hence it is impossible to perform
it in a later period. Belief without ritual prayer might be useful,
however, ritual prayer without belief is useless. Just as the prayers of
a hypocrit (munafiq).
Ritual prayer might differ in every religion, but belief never
(Fihi Mafih, 49)


A certain Christian priest asked Mawlana: "God said in the Qur'an,
'And certainly We know best those who are most worthy of being
burned in Hell'. Since all sinners will suffer the torments in ignominy,
then what is the superiority of the religion of Islam in comparison with
our religion, and how will this superiority be realized?"
Mawlana said nothing. He gave an indication to the priest and set
out for the town. The priest followed him too. Mawlana entered a
bakery situated at the outskirts of the town. The bakers had made the
oven very hot. Mawlana took the priest's black mantle, and wrapped it
in his own mantle, and threw them into the oven. Then he waited for
a while. A big cloud of smoke came out from the oven. Everybody
kept silent. Afterwards, the baker took the mantle out from the oven,
and put it on Mawlana. The mantle had become very clean. As for the
mantle of the priest, it was reduced to ashes. Mawlana said: "We
enter in this way, and you enter in that manner." (Ariflerin
Menkibeleri, I/610)
Someone asked, "What is love?" I answered, "You will know when
you became (lost in) me." (Mathnawi, II/Introduction)
The Way of our Prophet is love;
we are the sons of love, our mother is love.
O our mother! O our mother who hides herself in our souls.
O our mother who hid herself because of our infidel nature.
(Rubais, 18)
O son, break your chains and be free! How long will you be a
bondsman to silver and gold?
If you pour the sea into a pitcher, how much will it hold? One
day's store.
He (alone) whose garment is rent by a (mighty) love is purged of
covetousness and all defect.
Through love the earthly body soared to the skies: the mountain
began to dance and became nimble. (Mount Sinai)
When love has no care for him, he is left as a bird without wings.
Alas for him then!
Do you know why the mirror (of your soul) reflects nothing?
Because the rust is not cleared from its face.
O my friends, hearken to this tale: in truth it is the very marrow of
our inward state. (Mathnawi, 1/19-35)
Luck becomes your friend if it accepts to be helpful;
Love helps you in your works.
Never count a life without love as (real) life;
Because, it has no value. (Majalis-i Sab'a, 43)
Those loves which are for the sake of a colour (outward beauty)
are not love: in the end they are a disgrace. (Mathnawi, I/214)
Those loves which depend upon a purpose and interest are
temporary; they resemble to a rotten rope. But, real love is the love
of God, it is without any purpose or interest and never breaks.
"Whoever rejects Tagut [anything worshipped beside Allah] and
believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that
never brakes." (The Qur'an, 2/256)
Because love of the dead is not enduring, because the dead one
never comes (back) to us;
(But) love of the Living is every moment fresher than a bud in the
spirit and in the sight.
Choose the love of that Living One who is everlasting who gives
you to drink of the wine that increases life.
Choose the love of Him from whose love all the prophets gained
power and glory.
Do not say, "We have no admission to that King." Dealings with
the generous are not difficult. (Mathnawi, 1/226-30)
You have learned a trade to earn a livelihood for the body: (now)
set your hand to a religious (spiritual) trade.
In this world you have become clothed and rich: when you come
forth from here, how will you do?
Learn such a trade that hereafter the earning of God's forgiveness
may come in as revenue (to you).
The earnings of religion are love and inward rapture -capacity to
receive the Light of God, O you obstinate one! (Mathnawi, II/2618-
There is something different in the gathering of lovers,
This wine of love has a different taste.
The knowledge you obtained at school is different;
Love, on the other hand, is totally different... (Rubais, 38)
Be fair, because love is a very beautiful thing;
The manner of the nature is bad, that is why bad things happen.
You have named your lust as love,
However, there is much way to go from lust to love... (Rubais, 29)

Even if thousands of souls, thousands of hearts may be sacrificed

for the sake of love, this is not enough,
What is soul? What is it worth? It is worthless, indeed.
Only he who spends hundreds of lives in every step can proceed
in the way of love,
But, he never looks behind... (Rubais, 109)

Since you do not fall in love, go and weave wool;

You have hundreds of works to do, you are colored by hundreds
of colors; you have hundreds of colors and speckles...
Since there is no wine of love in your skull,
Go and lick the plates in the kitchen of rich people... (Rubais, 126)

O, he who is alive with the power of this world, shame on you!

Why are you so alive?
Be not without love, that you may not die,
Die with love, that you may stay alive... (Rubais, 181)

It (love) is honey for the adult and milk for children: for every
boat it is (like) the last bale (which causes the boat to founder).
(Mathnawi, VI/4032)

"In fact, God does not regard your outward form and wealth, but
does regard your heart and good deeds."
(A Prophetic Saying)

He (the Prophet) said, "He (God) does not regard your (outward)
form: therefore in your devising seek you the owner of the heart."
(God says), "I regard you through the owner of the Heart, not
because of the (external) marks of prostration (in prayer) and the
giving away of gold (in charities)."
Since you have deemed your heart to be the Heart, you have
abandoned the search after those who possess the Heart.
The heart into which if seven hundred (heavens) like these Seven
Heavens should enter, they would be lost and hidden (from view).
Do not call such fragments of heart as these "the Heart"...
(Mathnawi, V/874-78)
Fools venerate the mosque and endeavor to destroy them that
have the heart (in which God dwells).
That (mosque) is phenomenal, this (heart) is real, O asses! The
(true) mosque is naught but he hearts of the (spiritual) captains.
The mosque that is the inward (consciousness) of the saints is the
place of worship for all: God is there. (Mathnawi, II/3139-41)
(But) when the mukhlis [the mukhlis is who worships devotedly]
has become mukhlas, he is delivered: he has reached the place of
safety and has won the victory. (Mathnawi, II/1329)
The heart leads you into the neighborhood of the men of heart
(the saints); the body leads you into the prison of water and earth.
(Mathnawi, I/753)
Do you know why the mirror (of your soul) reflects nothing;
because the rust is not cleared from its face. (Mathnawi, 1/35)
Which heart does not contain your love,
It is an infidel, it cannot be a Muslim.
If a city does not have the grandeur of the king,
If it is yet to demolish, you consider that heart as demolished...
(Rubais, 96)


"And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls, -they
are the ones that achieve prosperity."
(The Qur'an, 59/9)
Hearken to this good counsel in the Traditions (of the Prophet)
-"Your worst enemy is between your two sides."
Do not listen to the pompous talk of this enemy, (but) flee, for she
is like Iblis in obstinately wrangling and quarrelling.
For the sake of this world and for contention's sake she has made
the everlasting torment (seem) easy (of small account) to you.
What wonder, if she makes death (seem) easy? By her magic she
does a hundred times as much (as this). (Mathnawi, III/4094-97)
You are like Pharaoh, who had left Moses (alone) and was cutting
off the heads of the people's babes:
The enemy (Moses) was in the house of that blind-hearted man,
(while) he (outside) was cutting the necks of the children.
You are also bad (malign) to others outside, while you have
become complaisant to the covetous self (carnal soul) within.
It is your enemy indeed, (yet) you are giving it candy, while
outside you are accusing every one.
You are like Pharaoh, blind and blind-hearted: complaisant to your
enemy and treating the guiltless with ignominy. (Mathnawi, IV/1937-
Even as the sensual man who pampers his body and suspects
some one else of a bitter hatred (against him),
Saying, (This one is a foe, and that one is envious and an enemy,"
(though) in truth his envier and enemy is that body (of his).
His fleshly soul (is) luxuriating in the house, which is his body,
(while) he gnaws his hand in rancour against some one else.
(Mathnawi, II/779-82)
When you become hungry, you become a dog: you become fierce
and ill-tempered and ill-natured.
When you have eaten your fill, you have become a carcass: you
have become devoid of understanding and without feet (inert), like a
So at one time you are a carcass and at another time a dog: how
will you run well in the road of the lions (follow the saints)?
(Mathnawi, I/2976-78)
He says, "I bestowed counsel generously, that I might deliver you
from this sterile (unprofitable) bondage.
From vileness you acknowledged no obligation for that
(generosity): you made (it) a source of injury and insolence."
This is the nature of base villains: he (such a one) does evil to you
when you do good (to him).
As for the fleshly soul, bend it double (mortify it) by means of this
renunciation, for it is vile, and kindness suits it not.
If you show beneficence to a noble man, it is fitting: he will give
seven hundred (benefits) in exchange for every one (conferred upon
(But be merciless to the ignoble): when you treat a villain with
violence and cruelty, he becomes a very faithful servant to you.
The infidels in (their) prosperity sow (the seed of) cruelty; again
(afterwards) in Hell their cry is "O Lord, (deliver us)!"
For in (suffering) cruelty the vile are purified; when they receive
kindness, they themselves become cruel. (Mathnawi, III/2994-3001)
Since it does not endure (perceptibly), it endures imperceptibly:
recognize every opposite by means of its opposite.
When the effect of sugar endures (remains latent), after a while it
produces boils that call for the lancet.
Pharaoh was made (what he was) by abundance of praises: be
lowly of spirit through meekness, do not domineer. (Mathnawi,
You have been characterized by the attributes of an animal,
Satan, and of the Merciful (rahman).
Which of these you accept, you will belong to that category in the
Day of Judgment. (Majalis-i Sab'a, 73)
He asked: "Why did you kill your mother?” I replied, "Because, I
saw something that matches not to her." I said, "Very well, but it
would have been better, if you had killed that stranger!" He replied
again: "Should I kill someone every day?" Now, whatever you face up
to is because of your fleshly soul. Hence, keep your soul under
control, and train it, so that you may not need to fight against
anybody. (Fihi Mafih, 233)

Intellect, by its proper nature, is a seer of the end (consequence);
it is the fleshly soul that does not see the end. (Mathnawi, II/1564)
Excellently well said the complaisant Prophet, "A mote of
intelligence is better for you than fasting and performing the ritual
Because your intelligence is the substance, (whereas) these two
(things) are accidents: these two are made obligatory in (the case of
persons who possess) the full complement of it. (Mathnawi, V/456-
Intelligence is wings and feathers to a man: when he lacks
intelligence, (he must rely on) the intelligence of a guide. (Mathnawi,
The intelligent man is he who has the lamp: he is the guide and
leader of the caravan.
That leader is one who goes after his own light: that selfless
traveler is the follower of himself.
He is the one that puts faith in himself; and do you too put faith in
the light on which his soul has browsed.
The other, who is the half-intelligent, deems an (entirely)
intelligent person to be his eye.
And has clutched him as the blind man clutches the guide, so that
through him he has become seeing and active and illustrious.
But (as for) the ass who had not a single barley-corn's weight of
intelligence, who possessed no intelligence himself and forsook the
intelligent (guide).
(Who) knows neither much nor little of the way (and yet) disdains
to go behind the guide,
He is journeying in a long wilderness, now limping in despair and
now (advancing) at a run.
He has neither a candle, that he should make it his leader, nor half
a candle, that he should beg a light.
He has neither (perfect) intelligence, that he should breathe the
breath of the living, nor has he a half-intelligence, that he should
make himself dead.
He (the half-intelligent one) becomes wholly dead in (devotion to)
the man of (perfect) intelligence, that he may ascend from his own
place to the (lofty) roof.
(If you have no perfect intelligence, make yourself dead under the
protection of an intelligent man whose words are living.
He (the man devoid of intelligence) is not living, that he should
breathe in accord with (a) Jesus, nor is he dead, that he should
become a channel for the (life-giving) breath of (a) Jesus.
His blind spirit is stepping every direction: it will not escape in the
end, but it is leaping up. (Mathnawi, IV/2209-22)
To sharpen the intelligence and wits is not the (right) way: none
but the broken (in spirit) wins the favor of the King. (Mathnawi.
For instance, you buy raw cloth to sew a gown. Your intellect
naturally takes you to a tailor. It is useful until it takes you to the
tailor. But, you must leave your intellect and knowledge as soon as
you arrive in front of the tailor. Similarly, a patient's intellect is useful
until it takes him to a doctor, however, when he met with the doctor,
the role of the intellect comes to an end. Here, the patient must obey
the doctor's orders. (Fihi Mafih, 175)

By love bitter things become sweet; by love pieces of copper
become golden;
By love dregs become clear; by love pains become healing;
By love the dead made is living; by love the king is made a slave.
This love, moreover, is the result of knowledge: who (ever) sat in
foolishness on such a throne?
On what occasion did deficient knowledge give birth to this love?
Deficient (knowledge) gives birth to love, but (only love) for that
which is (really) lifeless.
Deficient knowledge cannot discriminate: of necessity it deems the
lightning to be the sun. (Mathnawi, II/1545-51)
Knowledge is the seal of the kingdom of Solomon: the whole world
is form, and knowledge is the spirit.
Because of this virtue, the creatures of the seas and those of
mountain and plain are helpless before man. (Mathnawi, I/1071-72)
There are two things: good deeds and knowledge. Some people
perform good deeds, but have no knowledge. Some other people have
knowledge, but lack of good deeds. If a man has these two virtues
together, then he will be complete and successful. This situation is
similar to this: a man is unconsciously walking along the road without
the knowledge that he is on the right way. Finally, he ends up in a
prosperous place, and hears a cock's crow. Another man is walking
consciously, and needs neither a sign nor a mark. In fact, he is the
skilful one. What a difference between them! So it is clear that
knowledge is better than anything else. (Fihi Mafih, 93-94)
"The likeness of those who were charged with the Taurat, then
they did not observe it, is as the likeness of the ass bearing books."
(The Qur'an, 62/5)
The sciences of the mystics bear them (aloft); the sciences of
sensual men are burdens to them.
When knowledge strikes on the heart (is acquired through
mystical experience), it becomes a helper; when knowledge strikes on
the body (is acquired through the senses), it becomes a burden.
God has said, "(Like an ass) laden with his books": burdensome is
the knowledge that is not from Himself.
The knowledge that is not immediately from Himself does not
endure, (it is) like the tired woman's paint.
But when you carry this burden well, the burden will be removed
and you will be given (spiritual) joy.
Beware! Do not carry this burden of knowledge for the sake of
selfish desire (but mortify yourself), so that you may ride on the
smooth-paced steed of knowledge. (Mathnawi, I/3552-57)
Oh, there is many a learned man that has no profit of (his)
knowledge: that person is one who commits knowledge to memory,
not one who loves (it).
From him the hearer (but not the learned man himself) perceives
the scent (of knowledge), though the hearer be of the common sort.
(Mathnawi, III/3060-61)
Unprejudicedness makes ignorance wise; prejudice makes
knowledge perverse and iniquitous. (Mathnawi, II/2781)
(Spiritual) life is naught but knowledge in (the time of) trial: the
more knowledge one has, the more (spiritual) life one has.
Our spirit is more than the spirit of animals. Wherefore? In respect
that it has more knowledge. (Mathnawi, II/3360-61)
"O my Lord! Guard me from useless knowledge, arrogant
heart, greedy soul, and unaccepted prayer."
(A Prophetic Tradition)
A certain Arab of the desert loaded a camel with two big sacks -
(there was) one full of grain.
He was seated on the top of both sacks. A glib philosopher
questioned him.
He asked him about his native land and led him to talk and said
many fine things in the course of (his) enquiry.
Afterwards he said to him, "What are those two sacks filled with?
Tell (me) the truth of the matter."
He replied, "In one sack I have wheat; in the other is some sand
-not food for men."
"Why," he asked, "did you load this sand?" "In order that the other
sack might not remain alone," he replied.
"For wisdom's sake," said he, "pour half the wheat of that pannier
into the other,
So that the sacks may be lightened, and the camel too." He (the
Arab) cried, "Bravo! O clever and noble sage!
Such subtle thought and excellent judgement! And you so naked,
(journeying) on foot and in fatigue!"
The good man took pity on the philosopher and resolved to mount
him on the camel.
He said to him again, "O fair-spoken sage, explain a little about
your own circumstances as well.
(With) such intelligence and talent as you have, are you a vizier or
a king? Tell the truth."
He answered, "I am not (ether of) these two: I am of the common
folk. Look at my appearance and dress."
He asked, "How many camels have you? How many oxen?" "I
have neither these nor those," he replied: do not dig at me."
He said, "At any rate, what goods have you in your shop?" He
answered, "Where have I a shop, and where a dwelling-place?"
"Then," said he, "I will ask about money. How much money (have
you)? -for you are a solitary wanderer and one whose counsel is
With you is the elixir which changes the copper of the world (into)
gold: your understanding and knowledge are inlaid with pearls."
"By God," he replied, "O chief of the Arabs, in my whole property
there is not the means of (buying) food for the night.
I run about with bare feet and naked body. If any one will give me
a loaf of bread -thither I go.
From this wisdom and learning and excellence (of mind) I have
nothing but phantasy and headache."
Then the Arab said to him, "Begone far from my side, so that your
ill-luck may not rain upon me.
Take far away from me that unlucky wisdom of yours: your speech
is unlucky for (all) the people of the time.
Either you go in that direction, and I will run in this direction; or if
your way be forwards, I will go back.
One sack of wheat and the other of sand is better for me than
these vain contrivings.
My foolishness is a very blessed foolishness, for my heart is well-
furnished (with spiritual graces) and my soul is devout."
If you desire that misery should vanish (from you), endeavor that
wisdom may vanish from you.
The wisdom which is born of (human) nature and phantasy, the
wisdom which lacks the overflowing grace of the Light of the Glorious
The wisdom of this world brings increase of supposition and
doubt; the wisdom of the Religion soars above the sky. (Mathnawi,

Wearing a gown (Jubbah) and a turban do make man a scholar.
Scholarship is a skill that exists only in man's essence. It is no matter
whether this skill is present either in a silky cloth or a woolen cloth.
(Fihi Mafih, 134)
It is reported that a certain king submitted his son to a skilled
people. And they taught him astrology, soothsaying and some other
things. Despite the fact that the child was exceedingly foolish, he has
learned all these sciences and become a scholar. One day, the king
concealed a ring in his hand, and called his son for an examination.
"Tell me what I have in my hand?" asked he. The son replied: "You
have something that is round, yellow, and hollow in your hand." "You
described its characteristics correctly, then tell me its exact name"
said the king. The son replied: "It must be a sieve." The king said:
"You have stated all these incomprehensible signs because of your
knowledge, but you did not comprehend that a sieve could not be hid
in the palm!"
Similarly, today's scholars are hair-splitting ones. They know very
well the things concerning themselves. They are in full control of
these things, but, in fact, they are unaware of the things which are
the most important and closer to themselves than anything else. (Fihi
Mafih, 28)

"The three things accompany the dead to the grave. Two of them
return and the other stays with him. They are; his family, his
property, and his deeds. His family and property leave him in the
grave and come back, his deeds only stay with him."
(A Prophetic Saying)
In the world you have three fellow-travelers: One is faithful and
these two (others) are treacherous.
One (of the latter) is friends and the other is goods and chattels;
and the third (fellow-traveler) is faithful, and that one is excellence in
(Your) wealth will no come with you out of your palaces; (your)
friend will come, but he will come (only) as far as your grave.
When your day of doom comes to meet you, your friend will say
(to himself) in the language appropriate to his sentiments,
"(I have come) as far as here: I accompany you no further, I will
stand a (little) while at your grave."
Your deeds (alone) are faithful: make of them your refuge, for
they will come with you into the depths of the tomb. (Mathnawi,
Are you now expecting goodness, as you were behaving badly?
Badness is recompense for badness.
God has mercy, and is merciful for every one.
However, if you sow barley, you can not reap wheat. (Rubais,

Do you think that you will collect roses when you sow horns in the
If you do not plant a rose, no tree will ever give you a rose.
The rivers are a kind of wheat, and this world is a kind of mill;
But if you take bricks to the mill, you will get nothing but only
soil. (Rubais, 222)

How long (this regard for) form? After all, O form-worshipper, has
your reality-lacking soul not (yet) escaped from form?
If a human being were a man in virtue of form, Ahmad
(Muhammad) and Abu Jahl would be just the same.
The painting on the wall is like Adam: see from the (pictured)
form what thing in it is wanting.
The spirit is wanting in that resplendent form: go, seek that jewel
rarely found! (Mathnawi. I/1059-62)

Go, strive after reality, O worshipper of form, in as much as reality

is the wing on form's body.
Consort with the followers of reality, that you may both win the
gift and be generous (in giving yourself up to God).
Beyond dispute, in this body the spirit devoid of reality is even as
a wooden sword in the sheath:
Whilst it remains in the sheath, it is (apparently) valuable, (but)
when it has come forth it is an implement (only fit) for burning.
(Mathnawi, 1/737-40)

This world is negation (of reality): seek (reality) in affirmation (of

God). Your form (body) is void (of reality): seek in your essence.
(Mathnawi, I/2337)

O you who is unaware of essence and is duped with appearance,

and is proud of it.
Act with proper prudence; you have a friend in your soul.
Sentiment is the core of the body; and the core of your sentiment
is soul...
But if you leave off your body, sentiment and soul; everything
becomes Him. (Rubais, 31)

If you look at appearance, you see the form of man,

and watch some people bewildered from the country of Greek,
and Khurasan.
"Turn to your Lord" said He; to turn means:
Loot at your inside, see not man but something else. (Rubais,

The disposition of kings settles (becomes implanted) in their
subjects: the green sky makes the earth verdant.
Regard the king as a reservoir with pipes in every direction, and
water running from all (the pipes) like hoppers (in a mill).
When the water in all (the pipes) is from a pure reservoir, every
single one gives sweet water, pleasant to taste;
But if the water in the reservoir is brackish and dirty, every pipe
brings the same to view,
Because every pipe is connected with the reservoir. Dive, dive into
(ponder deeply) the meaning of these words. (Mathnawi, I/2922-26)
The (right) thought is that which opens a way: the (right) way is
that on which a (spiritual) king advances.
The (true) king is he that is king in himself, and is not made king
by treasuries or armies;
So that his kingship remains unto everlasting, like the glory of the
empire of the Mohammadan Religion. (Mathnawi, II/3237-39)

If, on account of the darkness (of ignorance), you do not
recognize a person (so as to discern his real nature), look at him
whom he has made his imam (leader). (Mathnawi, IV/1641)

When two persons come into touch with each other, without any
doubt there is something in common between them.
How should a bird fly except with its own kind? The society of the
uncongenial is the grave and the tomb. (Mathnawi, II/2II9-20)
Because every kind is carried away (enraptured) by its own kind:
how should the ox turn its face towards the fierce lion? (Mathnawi,
When any one is no associated with the good, he inevitably
becomes a neighbor to the wicked. (Mathnawi, IV/1617)
"The enmity of the wise is better than the friendship of the fool"
(A Prophetic Tradition)
(Taken pom the story of the bear and of the fool who had put trust
in its good faith)
The man fell asleep, and the bear kept driving the flies away, but
in spite of him they soon came back again.
Several times he drove them from the youth's face, but soon they
came hurrying back once more.
The bear was enraged with the flies and went off.
He fetched the stone, and saw the flies again settled comfortably
on the face of the sleeper.
He took up that millstone and struck at the flies, in order that they
might retire.
The stone made powder of the sleeping man's face, and published
to the whole world this adage.
"The love of a fool is for sure the love of a bear: his hate is love
and his love is hate."
His promise is infirm and corrupt and feeble; his word stout and
his performance lean.
Do not believe him, even if he take an oath; the man whose
speech is false will break his oath.
Inasmuch as, without the oath, his word was a lie, do not be
entrapped by his deceit and oath.
His fleshly soul is in command, and his intellect captive; even
suppose that he has sworn on a hundred thousand Qur'ans.
(Mathnawi, II/2144-54)
Mawlana always used to pray to God for his friends as follows:
"May God protect you from an apparent accident." His friends asked
what he meant by such prayer. He replied: "The apparent accident is
to have conversation with fools. In fact, conversation is very precious
in itself. Hence, never have conversation except with your own kind."
(Ariflerin Menkibeleri [The Stories of the Saints], I/309-310)
If you become a friend with someone who is illiterate, then you
lose the true path.
And if you become a friend with the wise people, then you are
Be like the gold, and steady in the true path,
If you go astray, then you are in complete loss. (Rubais, 203)
(I swear) by the truth of the Holy Person of Allah, the Lord, that a
malign snake is better than a malign friend.
The malign snake takes a soul (life) from the man it has bitten;
the malign friend leads him into the everlasting Fire.
Your heart secretly steals its disposition from the disposition of
your companion, without speech and talk on his part
When he casts his shadow over you, that unprincipled one steals
away your principles from you. (Mathnawi, V/2643-46)
A wise man was riding along (at the moment when) a snake was
going into the mouth of a man asleep.
The rider saw that, and was hurrying to scare away the snake,
(but) he got no chance (of doing so).
Since he had an abundant supply of intelligence, he struck the
sleeper several powerful blows with a mace.
The strokes of the hard mace drove him in flight from him (the
rider) to beneath a tree.
There were many rotten apples which had dropped (from the
tree): he said, "Eat of these, O you in the grip of pain!"
He gave the man so many apples to eat that they were falling out
of his mouth again.
He was crying, "O Amir, pray, why have you set on me? What have
I done to you?
If you have an inveterate and mortal feud with me, strike with
your sword and shed my blood at once.
Ill-omened (was) the hour I came into your sight: oh, happy he
that never saw your face!
Without guilt, without sin, without (having done) anything great or
small - (even) the heretics hold not such oppression allowable.
Blood gushes from my mouth together with (my) words. O God, I
beseech You, give him the retribution (which he deserves)!"
Every instant he was uttering a new curse, (while) he (the rider)
kept beating him and saying, "Run in this plain."
Blows of the mace, and the rider (swift) as the wind! He
(therefore) went on running and (now and) again falling on his face.
He was full-fed and sleepy and fatigued: his feet and face became
(covered with) a hundred thousand wounds.
Till nightfall he (the rider) drove (him) to and fro, until vomiting
caused by bile overtook him.
All the things he had eaten, bad or good, came up from him: the
snake shot forth from him along with what he had eaten.
When he saw the snake outside of him, he fell on his knees before
that beneficent man.
As soon as he saw the horror of that black, ugly, big snake, those
grieve departed from him.
"Truly," said he, "you are the Gabriel of (Divine) mercy, or you are
God, for you are the lord of bounty.
Oh, blest (is) the hour that you saw me: I was dead; you have
given me new life.
You (were) seeking me like mothers (in search of their children); I
(was) fleeing from you like asses.
The ass flees from his master because of asininity; his owner
(runs) after (him) because of good-nature.
He seeks him, not on account of profit or loss, but in order that a
wolf or (other) wild beast may not tear him.
Oh, happy he that espies your face or suddenly lights upon your
O you whom the pure spirit has praised, how many foolish and
idle words have I spoken to you!
0 lord and emperor and amir, I spoke not, my folly spoke: do not
punish that (offence).
If I had known a little of this matter, how could I have spoken
foolish words?
I should have spoken much praise of you, O man of good
qualities, if you had given me a single hint as to the (actual) case;
But you, keeping silence, showed perturbation and silently
continued to beat me on the head.
My head became dizzy, the wits flew out of my head -especially as
this head has (but) little brain.
Pardon, O man of goodly countenance and goodly behavior: let
pass that which I said in frenzy."
He answered. "If I had uttered a hint of it, your gall would
instantly have turned to water.
Had I told you the qualities of the snake, terror would have made
you give up the ghost." (Mathnawi. II/1869-1928)

What harm do we get when you become a friend with an

You will be harmed.
Let's say that the whole world loves you;
Yes, you might be loved, but this is only for a short while. (Rubais,

Man's sole breath is worth a soul;

His sole hair is worth a mine.
However, there is another kind of man, that let alone to speak
with him;
Seeing not him is worth of the wealth of the world. (Rubais, 76)

The turpitude of befriending the Hypocrites made the true believer

wicked and rebellious like them. (Mathnawi, II/2921)

Wealth is seed, and do not lay it in every salty ground: do not put
a sword in the hand of every highwayman.
Distinguish the friends of the Religion (ahl-i Din) from the enemies
of God (ahl-i ki): seek the man that sits with God, and sit with him.
Every one shows favor to his own folk: the fool (who shows favor
to the foolish) thinks he has really done (good and religious) work.
(Mathnawi. I/3827-29)

You have already sat with someone to talk with, but you are yet
to relax and feel comfort,
And you are yet to escape from the trouble of the clay (from that
illiterate's harm).
Avoid of his conversation;
Otherwise, the saints' spirits will never forgive you. (Rubais, 33)

Leave the ignorant,

Hold on to the skirts of the prudent.
Never waste your breath for the ignorant,
when you throw the mirror into the water, it surely gets rusty.
(Rubais, 134)

O lover! Hold on to the skirts of the prudent.

Fruits become ripe in their own trees,
The Greek people reconcile with the Greek people.
Similarly, the Ethiopians agree with the Ethiopians; the grapes
become black in seeing one another. (Rubais, 135)


Generally the wolf seizes (his prey) at the moment when a year-
old sheep strays alone by itself from the flock.
He who has abandoned (the performance of) the Sunna with the
(Moslem) community, has not he drunk his own blood (exposed
himself to destruction) in such a haunt of wild beasts?
The Sunna is the (safe) road, and the communities are like (your)
companions (on the road): without the road and without comrades
you will fall into (sore) straits. (Mathnawi, VI/512-14)

O, those who leave their friends,

they hear the brigands' breathings.
Then, they try to go back as lime goats.
But, the wolves catch and eat them one by one. (Rubais, 68)

"Religion is counsel."
(A Prophetic Tradition)

The Prophet said, "The religion (of Islam) is (consists of) counsel
(nasihat)": that nasihat etymologically is the opposite of ghulul
This nasihat is 'to be true in friendship': in an act of ghulul you
are treacherous and currish. (Mathnawi, III/396'6-67)

When the road of admonition and counsel has become barred: act
according to the command, "Turn aside from them." (The Qur'an,
4/63) (Mathnawi, II/2085)

One day Amir Mu'in al-Din Parwana asked Mawlana to give him
some advice. Mawlana thought a while and raised his head and said:
"I heard that you had recited the Qur'an by heart." "Yes", said Mu'in
al-Din. Mawlana replied: "Furthermore, I heard that you had listened
to the book on the Prophetic traditions, called Jami' al-Usul, from
Sheikh Sard al-Din." "Yes" said he again. Upon this answer Mawlana
said: "Even though you have read and had enough knowledge about
the words of God and of His Prophet, but you have never taken advice
from those words, and done deeds of righteousness in accordance
with them, neither you will take my advice into consideration and
follow it" Parwana cried and went off. Afterwards he busied himself
with performing deeds of righteousness, doing justice and giving
donations. So he became a perfect model of goodness in the
world. (Ariflerin Menkibeleri [Legends of the Sages], I/77)
A certain man caught a bird by guile and trap: the bird said to
him, "0 noble sire,
You have eaten many oxen and sheep, you have sacrificed many
You have never in the world been sated by them, neither will you
be sated by my limbs.
Let me go, that I may bestow on you three counsels, that you
may perceive whether I am wise or foolish.
(I will give you) the first of those counsels on your hand, the
second of them on your plastered roof,
And the third counsel I will give you on a tree. (Let me go), for
you will become fortunate through these three counsels.
(As for) that saying which is (to be said) on your hand, it is this:
'do not believe an absurdity (when you heard it) from any one.'"
When it (the bird) had uttered the first grave counsel on his palm,
it became free and went (to perch) on the wall (of his house).
And said, "The second is, 'do not grieve over (what is) past: when
it has passed from you, do not feel regret for it.'"
After that, it said to him, "In my body is concealed a solitary
(large and precious) pearl, ten dirhems in weight.
By the soul's truth (as sure as you have lived), that jewel was
your fortune and the luck of your children.
You have missed the pearl, for it was not your appointed lot (to
gain it) -a pearl the like of which is not in existence."
Even as a woman big with child keeps wailing at the time of
parturition, so the Khwaja began to cry out clamorously.
The bird said to him, "Did not I admonish you, saying, 'Let there
be no grief in you for what passed yesterday?'
Since it is passed and gone, why are you grieving? Either you did
not understand my counsel or you are deaf.
And (as regards) the second counsel I gave you, (namely), 'Do
not from misguidedness put any belief in an absurd statement,'
O lion (gallant man), I myself do not weight ten dirhems: how
should the weight of ten dirhems be within me?"
The Khwaja came back to himself (recovered his wits) and said,
"Hark, disclose the third (piece of) excellent counsel."
"Yes," said the bird, "you have made good use of those (former
counsels), that I should tell (you) the third counsel in vain!"
To give counsel to a sleepy ignoramus is to scatter seed in nitrous
The rent of folly and ignorance does not admit of being patched
up: do not give the seed of wisdom to him (the fool), O counselor.
(Mathnawi, IV/2266-86)
Written By
Prof.Dr.Emine Yeniterzi
Konya Selcuk Unv.

Mawlana was a scholar, mystic and craftsman with a deep

knowledge of the essence of Islam. He was also cognisant of
Qur'anic Commentary (Tafsir). Tradition (Hadith), and Theology
(Kalam). and aware of the current schools of thoughts of Islam. In
short, he was a man whose guidance transcended over the ages.
One of the other peculiarities that made him to become of the
exceptional personalities of the history was his capacity for thought.
Mawlana had acquired his thoughts through religion, science,
philosophy and mysticism, and then melted them in the melting pot
of belief and love, and finally put forward a sound system of thought
that conformed with the belief of the People of the Book and
Tradition (Ahl al-Sunnah), and was never eroded by time and place.
In his precious works of wisdom and knowledge in thousands of
verses, he explained the theological and philosophical matters
which were most discussed among people, by giving easy
examples. By so doing, he offered certain solutions to the cases.
In this chapter, we will shortly mention his thoughts on
various subjects. However, we must indicate the fact that his
thoughts and their content should not be limited by the subject-
matters which we included here. To be precise, each of these
subjects require a separate researching. We can only convey very
little information from his vast sea of thought to these lines.

1. MAN
In Mawlana's view, man is a very precious being. For man was
created to be God's vicegerent in this earth, and was donated with
the sciences that angels do not have knowledge of. Hence,
angelswere ordered to bow down to the Prophet Adam (The Qur'an,
2/30). God proclaimed man’s being distinct, honorable and superior
over other creatures with the following Qur'anic verse: "We have
honored the sons of Adam." (The Qur'an, 17/70). "Man was created
in the purest and best nature, 'ahsan-i taqwim " (The Qur'an. 95/4),
and was donated, spiritually and materially, with many virtues.
Mawlana", in his works, repeatedly emphasized man's
"The aim of the (creation of) universe is man."
(Majalis-i Sab'a/Seven Sessions, 45)98
"A single breath of man is worth that of a soul;
A hair that falls down from him (or her) is worth that of a mine."
(Rubais/Quatrains, 76)
"I am weak, thin and helpless, but I heard a voice, a voice that
has the trace of graces: 'We have honored the sons of Adam'. I am
now neither weak nor thin nor helpless. I can get lots of help. Once I
have filled up my quiver with Your arrows, I even pull up and bend
the back of the mythic mountain." (Majalis-i Sab'a, 12)
"Sometimes, even the angels envy our purity.
And sometimes, even Satan sees our fearlessness and runs
This soil is our soil which is charged with God's trust.
May God preserve our power and nimbleness from evil."
(Rubais, 19)
However, if a man conceives these values in himself and
discovers the substance in his own creation, then he carries the
characteristic of being man in himself.
"There is another soul in your soul, seek out for it.
There is a treasury in the Mount Body, seek out for that
O mystic who goes on! If you are really capable then seek.
Not outside, but seek what you are seeking for in yourself."
(Rubais, 22)
Man, who is the vicegerent of God on Earth, is a being in which
divine manifestations were embodied. When he was worthless mud
in the beginning, God blowed His own spirit into him, then he
became an assumed Compassionate by the medium of this Divine
"You are neither water nor soil, but something else.,.
You are away from the world of clay, you are on a journey.
Your mould (body) is an irrigation trench, and your soul is
eternal water (hat streams into it.
But, you will not be aware of either as long as you stay in
(Rubais, 205)
"If you look outside, you see the form of man.
You watch a group of people from the countries of Rum and
Turn to your Lord' said God; its meaning is such:
Look at your self, see someone other than man."
Man is not made of body only. The thing that gives him life is the
spirit which is the friend of God's light. Those who know this fact and
direct their spirit towards the Friend are real men, and they are
superior to angels.
In exposition of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad: "He
whose lust prevails over his reason is lower than the beasts",
Mawlana classifies the creatures of the world in three kinds. One
class (He made) are entirely reason, knowledge and munificence;
that is the angel: they know nothing but prostration in worship. The
second class is devoid of knowledge, like the animal which lives in
fatness from (eating) fodder. It sees nothing but its stable and
fodder. It has no responsibility in worship. The third class is Adam's
descendant and Man: half of him is of the angel and half of him is
animal. The animal-half, inclines to that which is low; the angel-half
inclines to that which is rational. One party have become submerged
absolutely and, like prophets, have attained unto the nature of the
angel. In other words, prophets become higher in degree than
angels because of their knowledge and intellect (Fihi Mafih, 122-123;
Mathnawi, IV/1518-40).
"There is an attribute of animal. Satan and Mercy in you.
Which of it you belong to you join in the Day of Judgement."
(Majalis-i Sab'a, 73)
"You are a king in the virtue of (the Qur'anic text). We have
ennobled the sons of Adam: you set foot both on the dry land and on
die sea.
For in spirit you are (what is signified by the text), We have
conveyed them on the sea: push forward (then) from (the state
implied in the words). We have conveyed them on the land.
"The angels have no access to the land; the animal kind, again,
are ignorant of the sea.
You in (your) body are an animal, and in (your) spirit you are of
the angels, so that you may walk on the earth and in the sky.
So that the seer with heart divinely inspired may be, in
appearance, a man like yourselves.
His body of dust (is here), fallen upon the earth: (but) his spirit is
circling in yonder highest sphere (of Heaven). (Mathnawi, II/3775-78)
Man's spirit must incline towards God. For, man has come to this
world for a short period, wearing the cloth of body. Hence, man's
spirit was compared to a falcon among crows, a nightingale among
ravens, and a gazelle in the barn of donkeys, by Mawlana himself.
But, as for man, if has the love of God his value is higher than the
skies regardless of his outward looks and state:
"If a falcon be white and beyond compare, (yet) it becomes
despicable when it hunts a mouse.
And if there be an owl that has desire for the king, it is (noble as)
the falcon's head: do not regard the hood.
Man, no bigger than a kneading-trough (scooped in a log), has
surpassed (in glory) the heavens and the aether (the empyrean)
Did this heaven ever hear (the words) We have honored (XVII/72)
which this sorrowful man heard (from God)?" (Mathnawi, VI/136/139)
Nevertheless, man has to give up his four characteristics in order
to reach this exalted position that has been granted to him by God.
These four characteristics which are impediments for man belong to
four birds: to be arrogant like a peacock; to be greedy like a goose;
to be lewd like a cock; and to dream impossible things and to desire
a long life like a crow (Mathnawi, V/ 31 52). In fact, these animal-like
attributes do not suit man, who was created in the form that the
Compassionate, namely. God (surat-i Rahman). As in the words of
Mawlana, these characteristics, which are the cruciform of reason,
inhibit man from being conscious of himself.
As for the another important point which Mawlana stressed upon,
the reason for man's being superior in terms of creation and skills is
his being responsible for worshipping God alone. This subject matter
was explained in detail in the subject of "Worshipping".
As a result, we must mention that the value which Mawlana
attached to man is higher than those of other mystics who lived
before him. Mawlana investigated the human conscience under the
light of Quranic verses, and expressed the virtue of being human in
a very clear way.

Mawlana, who considered every kind of perfection in love only,
wrote all his works on love. For, love is the basis and essence of life.
The reason for the creation of the universe is love. Furthermore,
God's saying. "If you were not, if you were not, I would not have
created those skies" indicates that the sole purpose of creating the
universe is God's love for the Prophet Muhammad. Since the origin
of the creation is love. Love of God, which is the highest point of life,
is the most precious thing. Starting from this point, Mawlana
pronounced this divine love in thousands of verses. It is possible to
classify his thoughts on love under four headings; comparison
between intellect and love; ascendancy and value of love; invalidity
of love which is for mortal beings; and finally, the pitiable situation
of those who have not a share in love.
In Sufi thought, intellect and science are incompetent in
comprehending metaphysical realities. They may lead a man to a
certain point, but not to the target. However, if a man has wings of
love, he becomes lofty in a way that he can never imagine. Just as
was the case in the night journey (Mi'raj ) in which the Prophet
Muhammad is related to have ascended from Jerusalem to Heaven,
after having been conveyed to the former from Mecca upon the best
named at-buraq)... In that holy night, while the Prophet and Gabriel
were ascending through the levels of the sky, Gabriel stopped
suddenly when they arrived in Sidrat al-Munteha (the lote-tree in the
Seventh Heaven, beyond which neither angel nor prophet passes,
and which shades the water and Paradise) and said, " I will burn up if
I go a step further". But the Prophet Muhammad passed the Sidrah
and came closer to God; now he was at a point of "aw adna" (The
Qur'an, 53/9), which is the last point of being closer to God. Sidrat
al-Munteha is the last point where angels and prophets could go. In
another words, it is the place where everything ends except the
Divine Order (Amr-i Ilahi). So, Sufis consider Gabriel as the symbol of
human conception, science and intellect, and the Prophet
Muhammad as the pattern of heart and love that transcends the
restricted limits of science and intellect.
He points this as follows;
"When a man's understanding has been his teacher, after this
the understanding becomes his pupil.
The understanding says, like Gabriel, 'O Ahmad (Muhammad), if I
take one (more) step, it will burn me;
Leave me, henceforth advance (alone): this is my limit, O Sultan
of the soul!" (Mathnawi, 1/II12-14)
Hence, Mawlana considered love as a state of which every Sufi
must have experience. He is of the opinion that the heart that is
drowned in God, the Beloved One, with love is precious and
preferable. (Mathnawi, 1/1853). Man, like Gabriel, cannot reach God
with his intellect, and stops on the half way. If we consider the
distance between God and man as a sea, then intellect is a swimmer
in that sea, and love is a ship. Swimming is a pleasant thing, but not
enough for a voyage. The swimmer might get tired and be drowned
at the end, but he who boards the ship reaches his goal (Mathnawi.
On the other hand, it is a very tiring work to reach God with the
renunciation of the world (zuhd) and devoutness (taqwa) only.
Perhaps, one man in many may achieve this. Thus, this is stated in
the following prophetic saying: "Abu Bakr (the second caliph after
the Prophet Muhammad) was not considered as superior over the
other people because of his fasting and voluntary contribution of his
almsgiving only. On the contrary, he was honored by his strong
belief (iman) in his heart." As was stated in this Prophetic saying,
Abu Bakr is superior to others not only for his prayers and fastings,
but his being lost in love of God. Daily prayers, fastings and
almsgivings are being put in the scale in the Day of Judgement. But
when the Divine love is being put in the scale, it does not fit into it.
Hence the essential thing is love. (Fihi Mafih, 325-326).
As a matter of fact, the nature of this love cannot be explained
by words, and squeezed between lines. Those who taste it can only
appreciate its value:
Someone asked, "What is love?". I answered, "you will know
when you become (lost in) me!" (Majalis-i Sab'a, 82).
Mawlana's saying "You will know when you become (lost in) me!"
states that the final stage of reaching God, that is, to know, find,
become (God)' is only realized by love. Science and intellect may
lead to the stage of knowing only. Again Mathnawi says:
"Whatever I say in exposition and explanation of Love, when I
come to Love (itself) I am ashamed of that (explanation).
Whilst the pen was making haste in writing, it split upon itself as
soon as it came to Love.
In expounding it (Love), the intellect lay down (helplessly) like an
ass in the mud; it was Love (alone) that uttered the explanation of
love and lover hood.
The proof of the sun is the sun (himself); if you require the proof,
do not avert your face from him."
(Mathnawi, 1/II2-II6)
In the above lines, it is understood that love cannot be described
by words, and it is stressed once again that intellect is helpless.
Mawlana stated in Mathnawi that he whose garment was rent by
a mighty love was purged of covetousness and all defect; and love
was the physician of all our ills and the remedy of our pride and
vainglory; an also the earthly body soared the skies through love. By
so saying, he clearly indicates that man was cleared off pride,
worldly desire, envy, grudge, and many other evil habits through
Divine Love only. If those who knew the spiritual world were in the
majority in a society, all worldly worries and defects would be
removed. On the other hand, Mawlana advised that just as a man
learned a trade to earn a livelihood for the body, we should learn
trade to earn the Hereafter, that is, God's forgiveness, again, the
earnings of religion were love. (Mathnawi, II/2592-2603).
As Yunus Emre said, "The sect of love is a religion to me,"
Mawlana", too, said:
"Our Prophet's way is Love,
We are the sons of Love; our mother is Love."
So Mawlana indicates that the essence of the four orthodox sects
(namely. The Hanafism, Shafism, Hanbalism, Malikism) is love. What
we understood from this is that those who follow the rituals of the
religion only are the ones who are not aware of its essence, and
busy with the husk. In fact, man must include love in his prayers,
and worship God with great sincerity and intimacy.
Mawlana calls the love of God as a real love only:
"Those loves which are for the sake of a colour (outward beauty)
are not love: in the end they are a disgrace." (Mathnawi, 1/214)
"Because the love of the dead is not enduring, because the dead
one never comes (back) to us.
(But) love of the living is every moment fresher than a bud in the
spirit and in the sight of eternal Divine Love..
Choose the love of the Living One who is everlasting, who gives
you to drink of the wine that increases life.
Choose the love of Him from whose love all the prophets gained
power and glory.
Do not say. "We have no admission to that King." Dealings with
the generous are not difficult." (Mathnawi, 1/226-230)
"The lovers of the whole are not those who love the part: he that
longed for the part failed to attain unto the whole" (Mathnawi.
1/2903). With the latter verse, Mawlana indicates that the lovers of
God do not appreciate anything but God only, and that those who
direct their love to the worldly things are deprived of God's love.
However, sometimes there might be exceptions of this. If a man is
decisive, sincere and faithful in his love for the mortal, then this
metaphorical love might lead him to the true love, that is, the Divine
"If the lover of that (false) conception be sincere, that metaphor
(unreal judgement) will lead him to the reality." (Mathnawi, 1/2861)
There is similar example of this in the Islamic literatures. Majnun
set out for his love of Laila. but he finally reached the love of God.
But if a man has no share of love, whether it is metaphorical or
true. Mawlana reprimands him severely:
"Since you do not fall in love, go and weave...
You have a lot to do. and your body and face have hundreds of
different colours.
Since there is no wine of love in your skull.
Go, and lick the dishes of rich people in the kitchen... "
(Rubais. 26)
"When love has no care for him. he is left as a bird without
wings. Alas for him then!" (Mathnawi, 1/31)
Mawlana who found out that the essence of creation and man's
exaltation of his worldly body was in love alone, never considered a
loveless life as a real life:
"Luck becomes your sweetheart, if it becomes helpful.
Love helps you in your daily routines.
Consider not the loveless life as life.
For, it will be out of consideration."
(Majalis-i Sab'a. 43)

Heart is one of the common subjects both in folk literature and
old Turkish lyric literary school. Heart, like the Ka'ba is a holy place
where God looks, and divine manifestations become clear. However,
just as (he dusty mirror does not reflect images, so the heart, too,
does not reflect the image of God when it becomes dirty with worldly
desires. Therefore, the heart must be pure, and be full of with love
and sincerity; and ambition, grudge, hypocrisy, and the like must
never be allowed to creep into it. The Divine Eye is deserving of such
hearts of high quality. The Prophet Muhammad said: "God does not
regard your outward form or wealth, but only your heart and deeds."
In accordance with this prophetic tradition. man must go to the
presence of his Creator with a pure and gleaming heart.
A related story is narrated in the Fihi Mafih: A friend of Joseph
returned from a journey. Joseph asked: "What have you brought for
me?" His friend replied: "What else may you need? Since you are the
most handsome person I have ever seen, I have brought you a
mirror in order you may look at your face." So God has everything,
and needs nothing. Man must take a mirror, that is a pure heart, to
his Creator in order that God may see Himself in that heart. (Fihi
Mafih. 285)
The same subject is dealt with by Mawlana in the Mathnawi too:
"He (The Prophet) said, 'He (God) does not regard your (outward)
form: therefore in your devising, seek the owner of the heart.
Since you have deemed your heart to be the heart, you have
abandoned the search after those who possess the heart.
The heart into which if seven hundred (heavens) like these
Seven Heavens should enter, they would be lost and hidden (from
Do not call such fragments of heart as these 'the heart1.
O rich man, (if) you bring a hundred sacks of gold, God will say,
'Bring the heart, O you that are prostrated (in devotion)." (Mathnawi,
"(But) when the mukhtis (sincere worshipper) has become
mukhlis, he is delivered: He has reached the place of safety and has
won the victory." (Mathnawi, II/1329)
Mawlana considered the heart that does not take shelter in God
as unbeliever. That heart is like a war-tom ruined city (Rubais, 96).
However, a heart that is full of the love of God, reflects the light of
God's sun, and is prosperous (Mathnawi, 1/53)
Thus the prosperous hearts are the house of God: "The purpose
of the Ka'ba is the hearts of saints and prophets, and this is the
place of the Word of God. The Ka'ba is a part of this. If there is no
heart, then what use can the Ka'ba be?" (Fihi Mafih, 254).
Disrespect can not be paid to such a holy structure. People
should beware of breaking hearts and hurting each other.
Heartbreaking unfortunates are without intellect: "Idiots, whilst
showing respect in the mosque (masjid), try to break the hearts of
those who prostrate." If that is real, o idiots; that is a metaphor and
this is reality. The true mosque is the home of the wise. The place
where saints and the pure-hearted prostrate." (Mathnawi, II/31, 39-

As it was already mentioned in the subject of love. Mawlana"
favored love in comparison to intellect. In addition to this, it is seen
that on one hand while he praises intellect, on the other hand, he
criticizes it. Like all Sufis, Mawlana does not oppose the natural
intellect, which is related with the sentimental and material world,
but to the theoretical and metaphysical intellect that it claims to
give judgements about the metaphysical world, and to comprehend
the Divine truth." Most of his objections in this matter were directed
towards some intellectuals and philosophers who accepted intellect
as the fundamental and considered it as the sole source of
information for knowledge.100
Intellect, generally speaking, is divided into two categories: the
part intellect and the whole intellect. The former is the thought of as
the human being, that is to say the personal intellect. The latter,
which is also called "Hakikat-i Muhammediye" (he truth of the
Prophet Muhammad), is used for Gods being seen active
everywhere. The whole intellect is the thing which does, finds and
creates everything. The part intellect needs to learn everything, and
the whole intellect is its teacher. The prophets are the whole
intellects. The prophets and the friends of God (wait, pi. awleya')
bind the part intellect to the whole intellect (Fihi Mafih. 220).
Everyting on earth is the shadow of the whole intellect. Mawlana
appreciated the part intellect, "since it was a part of the whole
intellect, and thus has taken its whole strength from it."101 On the
other hand, intellect is of the kind of an angel, and is ethereal like a
"For as much as the Angel is one in origin with intelligence, (and)
they have (only) become two (different) forms for the sake of
(Divine) Wisdom.
The Angel assumed wings and pinions like a bird, while this
intelligence left wings (behind) and assumed (immaterial) splendor.
Necessarily both became co-adjusters: both the beauteous ones
became a support to one another.
The Angel, as well as the intelligence is a finder of God: each of
the twain is a helper and worshipper of Adam.
The flesh (nafs) and the Devil have (also) been (essentially) one
from the first, and have been an enemy and envier of Adam."
(Mathnawi. [II/3215-19)
As was mentioned here, one of the reasons of intellect's being
precious is its being the opposite of the soul/flesh (nafs):
"Intellect, by its proper nature, is a seer of the end
(consequence); It is the fleshly soul that does not see the end."
(Mathnawi, II/1564)
"Because (in Jesus) intellect was ruling, and the ass (was) weak
-the ass was made lean by a strong rider." (Mathnawi, II/1877)
In addition;
"Excellently well said the complaisant Prophet, *A mote of
intelligence is better for you than fasting and performing the ritual
Because your intelligence is the substance, (whereas) these two
(things) are accidents: these two are made obligatory in (the case of
persons who possess) the full complement of it." (Mathnawi, V/456-
On the other hand, Mawlana indicates that intellect alone is
insufficient: "intellect cannot be a guide in the way to reach God."
(Mathnawi, 1/557). What he meant here by the word 'intellect' is the
part intellect:
"The part (discursive) intellect is like lightening thunder. Its light
cannot be a guide in the way.
Lightening cannot be a guide, but it perhaps orders the clouds to
Know that the lightening of intellect, too, is for crying; so that
wealth might cry for being.
A child teams something with his intellect at school, otherwise
he cannot learn by himself.
A sick man goes to the doctor with the help of his intellect but it
(the intellect) is of no use in his treatment." (Mathnawi, II1/342-46)
"The function of this simple intellect lasts until the grave,
whereas the function of the intellect of the friend of God lasts until
the world to come." (Mathnawi, HI/3334)
"Intelligence is (like) swimming in the sea: he (the swimmer) is
not saved: he is drowned at the end.
Leave off swimming, let pride and enmity go: this is not a Jayhun
(Oxus) or a (lesser) river, it is an ocean;
And moreover, (it is) the deep ocean without refuge: it sweeps
away the seven seas like straw.
Love is a ship for the elite: seldom is calamity (the result); for the
most part it is deliverance.
Sell intelligence and buy bewilderment: intelligence is opinion,
while bewilderment is (immediate) vision.
Sacrifice your understanding in the presence of Mustafa
(Muhammad) say, "God is sufficient for me (hasbiyallah),"
(Mathnawi, IV/1424-29)
By so saying, Mawlana states that love is necessary in the way
to reach God, and therefore, the part intellect is insufficient in
making a man closer to God. As a matter of fact, the degree of
intellect varies in every person:
"There is the same difference in human intellect as (there is)
amongst loved ones in (their outward) forms." (Mathnawi, II1/1542)
"Some intellects are like the Sun. Some are similar to the planet
Venus, and some are similar to the shooting stars.
Some intellects are like a lightless candle, whereas some others
glitter like stars." (Mathnawi, V/762-63)
When many intellects are united, they become superior to one
"These illuminated intellects are like an oil-lamp. Surely, twenty
of them give more light than the one." (Mathnawi, V1/2638)
Hence, man must unite his intellect with an illuminated intellect.
For, only those who are clever by nature may develop this faculty by
"(And who maintains that) experience and teaching makes them
more or less, so that it makes one person more knowing than the
This is false, because it is the counsel of a boy who has not
experience in any course of action.
From that small child sprang up a thought (which) the old man
with hundred experiences did not smell out (detect and apprehend)
at all.
Truly, the superiority that is from (any one's) nature is even
better than the superiority that is the result of endeavor and
reflection." (Mathnawi, II1/1546-49)
Since intellect is a relative concept which is different in every
human being, and many intellects gain superiority when they come
together, then in such case:
"Intelligence is wings and feathers to a man: when he lacks
intelligence, (he must rely on) the intelligence of a guide."
(Mathnawi, VI/4109)
"Mind gains strength from another mind: the sugar-cane is made
perfect by the sugar cane." (Mathnawi, II/2300)
To conclude, in Mawlana's opinion, intelligence is limited.
However some intellects are superior, and these belong to prophets
and God's friends. They only can lead man's "part intellect" to the
universal intellect, that is. The truth of Muhammad, the secret of
creation. The Prophets and the friends of God constitute the way
between the part intellect and the universal intellect, and their way
is love. Hence, man must never rely on the guidance of his limited
intellect; he must leave aside the small steps of his intellect, but
take the wings of love in order to proceed.

The theologians of Islam (al-Mutakallimun), who lived in
Mawlana's age, accepted that intellect was very precious and
unlimited, and thus only relied on philosophical arguments and
logical syllogisms in proving the authenticity of religious subjects.
These scholars were of the opinion that man could reach the
ultimate truth through his intellect- On the other hand, the
materialist thinkers rejected inner senses and metaphysical truths,
and accepted only the things perceived through the five senses. This
situation leads inevitably to a decrease in men's belief, and the loss
of their confidence in the necessity of divine religions and esoteric
truths. Islamic theology had become a very dull and limited science
that depended only upon the outer senses and logical syllogisms,
leading men to rejection of things which they never saw.102
As this was the situation. Mawlana brought a fresh approach
Islamic theology (Kalam). He criticized all philosophical thoughts. In
his opinion, intellect alone was insufficient in grasping the
metaphysical truths. The best way to reach the divine truths was
love. Those who believe things which they only experienced through
their outer senses were wrong:
'The unbeliever's argument is just this, that he says, 'I see no
place of abode except this external (world).'
He never reflects that, wherever there is anything external, that
(object) gives information of hidden wise purposes.
The usefulness of every external object is, indeed, internal. It is
latent, like the beneficial quality in medicines." (Mathnawi, (V/2878-
Man can never get true knowledge with his part intellect and
personal thoughts. Everybody has different perspectives. In order to
explain this, Mawlana narrates this story: Some Hindus brought an
elephant for exhibition from India, and put it in a dark house. In
order to see it, many people went to that dark place. As seeing it
with the eye was impossible, each one felt it in the dark with the
palm of his hand. They whose hands fell on its trunk defined it as a
water-pipe. To another, who touched its ear, it appeared to be like a
fan; and again, to some other people, who handled its leg, thought
the elephant's shape to be like a pillar. Similarly, whenever any one
gave the description of the elephant, he understood it only in
respect of the part that he had touched. To summarize, everyone
reached a judgement according to the part of the elephant they had
touched. But, if there had been a candle in each one's hand, they
could have seen the elephant as a whole, and thus, would not have
been mistaken, and the difference would have gone out of their
words. So everybody would have had the correct knowledge of it
(Mathnawi, III/ 1264-73). Having cited this example, Mawlana
criticized the philosophers' crediting only their limited thoughts.
Since every human being had his or her personal view, and looked
at reality from different angles, they were not free of false
judgements and results by reason of being unable to sec the truth as
a whole.
Again, Mawlana criticized the ways of finding intellectual and
sensible arguments and syllogisms, while stating the weak points of
philosophy. He was of the opinion that the first one to have made a
mistake was Satan himself. In fact, he was a great angel before.
However, when the angels were ordered to prostrate themselves
before the Prophet Adam, Satan (Iblis) refused and gloried in his
arrogance and despised Adam, saying, "My origin is fire, and Adam
was created from soil. I have a luminous cloth, and he has a dark
one", and thus finally became condemned by God. (Mathnawi,
The insufficiency of reasoning with such barren intellect leads
also a man to mistakes. Mawlana", in his Mathnawi, tells us a few
stories concerning this subject-matter. One of these stories is related
to a deaf man's visiting his sick neighbor:
"One possessed of much wealth said to deaf man, "A neighbors
of yours has fallen ill."
The deaf man said to himself, "Being hard of hearing what shall I
understand of (he words spoken by that youth?
When I see his lips moving, I will form a conjecture as to that
(movement) from myself.
When I say, 'How are you, O my suffering (friend)?' he will reply
"Thanks to God, I am fine."
I will say. 'Thanks (to God)! What have you had to drink?' He will
reply, 'Some sherbet' and 'lentil soup.'
(Then) I will say, 'May you enjoy health! Who is the doctor
attending you?" He will answer, 'So-and-so.'
'He is one who brings great luck with him.' I will remark, 'Since
he has come, things will go well for you.
His feet are blessed: wherever he goes, the desired is attained.'
The good man made ready these conjectural answers, and went
to see the invalid.
'How are you?' he asked. 'I am at the point of death,' said he.
'Thanks (to God)!' cried the deaf man. At this, the patient became
resentful and indignant.
Saying (to himself). 'What (cause for) thanksgiving is this? He
has been my enemy.' - The deaf made a conjecture, and (as now
appears) it turned out to be wrong.
After that, he asked him what he had drunk: 'Poison.' said he.
'May it do you good and give you health!' said the deaf man. His (the
invalid's) wrath increased.
Then he inquired, 'Which of the doctors is it that is coming to
attend you?'
He replied. 'Azrael (Ihe Angel of Dealh) is coming. Be you göne!'
'His foot (arrival)' said ıhe deaf man, "is very blessed: be glad!"
The deaf man went forth. He said gaily, 'Thanks (to God) for
that! Now I will take leave.*
The invalid said. *This is my mortal foe: I did not know he was
(such) a mine of iniquily.'
Inasmuch as visiting the sick is for the purpose of (giving them)
lranquillity, this was not a visit to the sick: it was the satisfaction of
an encmy's wixh.
By the analogical re&soning which the deaf man adopted, a ten
ycar's friendship w as made vain." (Mathnawî, 1/3466-99)
Another story about the insufficiency of reasoning is related to a
parrot that spilt rose-oil from a bottlc. He was struck by his owner,
which causcd him to lose his feathers, the parrot said when he saw a
bald man: "O baldpaie? Did you, then spill oil from the bottle?" By so
saying, the parrot compares his own baldness to that of man's
(Mathnawî, 1/256-73). Again, the comical situation of a fly alighted
on a blade of straw in a pool of ass's urine is described as follows:
"Look! Here is this sea and this ship, and I am the pilot and skilled
(in navigation) and judicious." (Mathnawî, 1/II29-40)
With all these and similar examples, Mawlânâ stated that man's
logical syllogisms are nothing but pure imagination only, since he
reasoned ihrough his limited intellect, and thus philosophy could not
reach the truth either, since it gave its decisions in the same way. In
fact, knowledge, in Mawlânâ's view, is not the ultimate goal but an
instrument with which man can be useful both for himself and others
in this world. Therefore, knowledge, that depends on mere personal
observations and deductions. and philosophy, which relies on such
knowledge, are unaware of the secrets of creation, since both are
devoid of the divine love.
Mawlânâ, who himself was a great scholar, believed in the value
of religion. He was of the view that knowledge was like the seal of
the Prophet Suleiman; so man, with the help of knowledge governs
the whole world. That is to say, the world is an appearance, and
knowledge its essence, humanity gains its honour through
knowledge (Mathnawî, 1/1071-72). The love of God can be obtained
by knowledge only. People, who do not have their share of
knowledge and imprudent ones are far from such love (Mathnawî.
II/1545-49). Knowledge is a guide for men. So men, with their
knowledge, became superior to other creatures (Mathnawî, II/336İ).
However, the knowledge, which has these qualifıcations, is inner
knowledge ('Um al-bâtin), not external knowledge (Hm al-iâhh) in
Mawlânâ's opinion, knowledge/sciences that depend on logical
syllogisms and arguments are barren. Precious knowledge is the
knowledge of the Divine Providence (ilm-u ladunn) which helps men
to perceive his secrecy of own creation, and which is gained by the
Divine love, and which is written on the pages of the heart. By
saying, "I was raw (immature), I was cooked, I was burnt up..."
Mawlânâ described his being master in the external sciences as the
state of being raw. He shares the same view with Yunus Emre (The
Turkish mystic, d. 1320 A.D.) and other mystics in the following
"Knowledge should mean a full grasp of knowledge.
Knowledge means to know Yourself, heart and soul.
If you have failed to understand yourself,
Then all of your reading has missed its call.

What is the purpose of reading those books?

So that man can know the All-Powerful.
If you have read, but failed to understand,
Then your efforts are just a barren soul."

For him, knowledge is not a goal but a means that takes man to
his Creator. Hence such knowledge, that does not fulfill this duty,
does not increase man's true knowledge but causes him to take a
false step. What raises a man to a higher position are the inner
'The wisdom of this world brings increase of supposition and
doubt; the wisdom of Religion soars above the sky." (Mathnawî,
The main thing -as indicated in the saying, "He who knows his
own soul, knows his God"- is to know where we are coming from,
where we are going to:
"He knows a hundred thousand superfluous matters connected
vvith the (various) sciences, (but) that unjust man does not know his
own soul.
He knows the special properties of every substance, (but) in
elucidating his own substance (essence) he is (as ignorant) as an
Saying, 'I know (what is) permissibie and unpermissible.' You
know not whether you yourself are permissibie or (unpermissible as)
an old woman.
You know this licit (thing) and that illicit (thing), but what are licit
or illicit? Consider well!
You know what is the value of every article or merchandise; (if)
you know not the value of yourself, this is folly.
You have become acquainted with the fortunate and inauspicious
stars; you do not look to see whether you are fortunate or unwashed
spiritually foul and ill-favoured.
This, this is the soul of all the sciences: that you should know
who you shall be on the Day of Judgement.
You are acquainted with the fundamentals (usûl) of the Religion
of Islam, but look upon your own fundamental (asi) and see whether
it is good.
Your own fundamentals are better for you than the two
fundamentals (of the Religion of islam), so that you may know your
own fundamental (essential nature), O great man." (Mathnawî,
Mawlânâ describes the knowledge that does not lead a man to
his God, and that does not teach him to obey his Creator, as burden
and tiredness (Ariflerin Menkıbeleri [The Stories of Mystics], II/83).
When knowledge strikes on the heart (is acquired through mystical
experience), it becomes a helper, when knowledge strikes on the
body (is acquired through the senses), it becomes a burden. God has
said ,(like an ass ) laden with his books' (The Qur'an,62/5).
burdensome İs the knowledge that is not from Himself (Mathnawî,
The Prophet Muhammad said: "O God, I seek protection by You
from useless knowledge, arrogant heart, insatiable soul and
unaccepted prayer." In accordance with this prophetic saying,
Mawlânâ believes in knowledge that is useful:
"The (right) thought is that whîch opens a way: the (right) way is
that on which ( a spiritual) king advances." (Mathnawî, II/3237)
A related story on this subject-matter is narrated in the
Mathnawî: A certain Arab of the desert loaded a camel with two big
sacks of grain, and he sat on the top of both sacks. He met with a
philosopher on the way. The philosopher questioned him -He asked
him about his native land and led him to talk and said many fine
things in the course of his enquiry. Afterwards he said to him:
"What are those two sacks filled with?" He replied: "in one sack I
have wheat: in (he other is some sand." "Why," the philosopher
asked, "Did you load this sand?" "in order that the other sack might
not remain alone," he replied. The philosopher said: "For wisdom's
sake. Pour half the wheat of that pannier into the other, so that the
sacks may be lightened, and the camel too." The Arab admired his
subtle thought and excellent judgement, and asked the philosopher:
"O fair-spoken sage, explain a little about your own circumstances as
well. With such intelligence and talent as you have, are you a vizier
or a king? How many camels and oxes have you? What is your job?"
The philosopher answered his all questions: "I am neither a vizier nor
a king. I have neither camels nor oxen. I have neither a shop nor a
dwelling place. I haven't got a penny, either. By God in my whole
property there is even no food for the night. I run about with bare
feet and naked body." The Arab got angry as soon as he heard the
philosopher's answers: "Be gone far from my side, so that your ill-
luck may not rain upon me. Take far away from me that unlucky
wisdom of yours. One sack of wheat and the other of sand is better
for me than these vain contrivings. My foolishness is very blessed
foolishness." (Mathnawi. II/3206-31)
There is a similar story is between a grammarian and a boatman:
"A certain grammarian embarked in a boat. That self-conceited
person turned to the boatman.
And said, 'Have you ever studied grammar?', 'No', he replied.
The other said half your life is gone to naught.'
The boatman became heart-broken with grief. But at the time he
refrained from answering.
The wind cast the boat into a whirlpool: the boatman spoke loud
(shouted) to the grammarian.
"Tell me, do you know how to swim?' 'No', said he, 'O fair-spoken
'O grammarian.' He said, ‘your whole life is naught, because the
boat is sinking in these whirlpools.'
Know that here mahw (self-effacement) is needed, not nahw
(grammar): If you are mahw dead to plunge yourself into the sea
without peril.
The water of the sea places the dead one on its head (causes
him to float on the surface); but if he be living, how shall he escape
from the sea?
In as much as you have died to the attributes of the flesh, the
sea of (Divine) consciousness will place you on the crown of its head
(will raise you to honor)." (Mathnawi, II7/2660-68)
There is no doubt that there are a lot of deterrent lessons in this
well-known story which everybody should take, such as: badness of
one's boasting about knowledge, and thus disapproval of being
boastful; and again disapproval of breaking someone's heart, and
looking for someone's mistakes and faults; and usefulness of
practical knowledge in comparison with a theoretical one; and
necessity of taking lessons from the mortal world no matter how
great a scholar we are; and finally the insufficiency of knowledge
that is related only with this mortal world, and so on. As to the kernel
of the above story, apart from God, necessarily, everything on earth
is mortal.
Another of Mawlânâ's advice about knowledge is that knowledge
makes its owner gain a high esteem when it is united with good
deeds. It is not sufficient to be knowledgeable (Fîhi Mâfih, 93). Those
who are knowledgeable but devoid of good deeds are not scholars
but only knowledge keepers (Mathnawî, II1/3060). What is
understood from this thought is that Mawlânâ favors that theoretical
knowledge should be applied to life. Knowledge should never be
kept in words and theory, but to be applied to life, to be lived with.

Mawlânâ, who is a heart educator, teaches also to be an
example of good man, while telling us about love and Divine love.
He thinks that if a society consists of people of good character and
of generous heart, it will be happy and peaceful. He is also of the
opinion that to become a pure person, and to gain sound character
and good conduct is possible only with education. Having quoted the
two Prophetic traditions, namely, "Religion is counselling" and "The
religion of Islam is a religion of good conduct", Mawlânâ put his
works, which are a gathering of good advice, at the service of
humanity. It is possible to deduce a moral from every story which he
narrated about different subjects in his Mathnawi. He frequently
mentions that with good conduct man gains a high esteem, and with
bad conduct man loses. However, it is conditional that moral beauty
(or adab, in his terminology) should be settled down in the heart
(Mathnawi II/3249-50).
Therefore, bad conducts such as ambition, envy, lying, hypocrisy
and backbiting should be abandoned forever.
For, ambition is a barrier for a man to gain pure eyes, sound
intellect, and ears; it also makes the heart blind (Mathnawî, II/575).
Envy is the worst habit, and is the kernel of all defects and faults
(Mathnawî, II/812-13).
Backbiting is likened to eating man's flesh, it is impossible to
keep secret the smell of backbiter's mouth from God
Pride caused Satan to be condemned and to be devoid of Divine
forgiveness forever, while, in fact, he was an angel before.
Indulging in wealth is likened to a straw in a man's throat. This
straw, which is stuck in the throats of those who have indulged in
worldly desires and wealth, is an obstacle to drink the elixir (eau de
vie) which is the source of eternal bliss (Mathnawî, II/132-33).
If bribery becomes widespread in a society, then the system of
justice becomes paralyzed, and the tyrant and tyrannised cannot be
distinguished. (Mathnawî, 1/1347).
Squandering is bad; and the worst type of squandering is
wasting time badly (Majâlis al-Sab'a , 23).
Man, first of all, tries to correct his own faults, and never tries to
find out others' faults. Those who find others' faults may most
probably find themselves in that bad or undesirable situation
(Mathnawî, II/3064).
The wicked and liars will break their oath, whereas the righteous
have no need of taking an oath (Mathnawî, II/2902-03) for lying
arouses suspicion in hearts, whereas truth causes heart's ease
(Mathnawî, II/2762).
The tyrant will bear the consequence of his tyranny. He who is
roasting the poor's heart in tyranny is, in fact, roasting his own flesh.
(Majâlis al-Sab'a. 23).
Mawlanâ praised good habits very strongly, such as humbleness,
generosity, patience, truthfulness, holding a secret, and so forth.
Humbleness is a virtue that extols man (Mathnawî, II1/457-66).
A tree full of fruits bends down, whereas a barren tree's branches
stretches out towards the sky. When the fruits on the branches
increase, those branches are propped up by posts to prevent them
from touching on the ground. The Prophet Muhammad who
collected in his personality the fruits of both worlds, namely this
world and the world-to-come, is a unique example as regards the
subject of humbleness (Fîhi Mâfıh, 164).
The generous, and especially those who help the needy, hold the
tree of Paradise and the wealth they spend on the needy returns to
themselves (on the Day of Judgement). (Mathnawî, [II/869-70.
Keeping one's promise is a considerable measure of his or her
faithfulness. Only the faithful deserve to be praised (Rubâîs, 69).
He who prevails over his anger at once when he became angry is
protected against the anger of God (Mathnawî. IV/II4)
Patience is one key to relief, and removes every kind of difficulty
(Mathnawî, II1/1848).
Mawlânâ expressed the importance of subjects such as actîng
prudently, and taking lessons from others' bad situations and not
being hasty, and eating less, and sleeping less, and talking less , in
order not to be remorseful. These virtues must be lived or practiced,
they must not remain in theories or words, because the words of
wisdom on the tongue of the unwise are as borrowed robes
(Mathnawî, M/676).
"Let us implore God to help us to gain self-control: one who lacks
self-control is deprived of the grace of the Lord.
The undisciplined man does not maltreat himself alone, but he
sets the whole worid on fire" (Mathnawî, 1/79-80).
As understood with these words, Mawlânâ clearly warned us
about this subject-m atter. Therefore, we must be very careful in
choosing our friends in order to protect ourselves from the wicked
actions of the ill-mannered or malign people:
"(I swear) by the truth of the Holy Person of Allah, the Lord, that
a malign snake is better than a malign friend.
The malign snake takes soul (life) from the man it has bitten; the
malign friend leads him into the everlasting Fire.
Your heart secretly steals its disposition from the disposition of
your companion, without speech and talk on his part.
When he casts his shadow over you, that unprincipled one steals
away your principles from you." (Mathnawî, V/2643-46)
In conclusion, while Mawlânâ, in order to have good manners,
advised us to have good and true friends, he always invited the
whole of humanity to goodness:

"Go, help others; time will appreciate your help.

İt never forgets your help...
Everybody left his or her wealth behind, so yours will be left, too.
Then, one's leaving goodness behind is better than his leaving
(Rubâîs, 88)

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)


In the religion of Islam, one of the articles of belief is related with
the belief in Divine Destiny. However, the position of human will vis-
â-vis Divine Destiny has been one of the most discussed subjects in
the science of Islamic theology. Some lslamic theologians argue that
since man's actions belonged to God, he or she cannot have the
freedom of choice, and therefore, cannot be kept responsible for his
or her actions. This idea was named as Jabr (compulsion), and those
who accepted it as Jabri. On the other hand, those who favoured the
freedom of choice (ikhtiyâr), which is in contrast to the idea of
compulsion, asserted that man has unlimited freedom of choice; and
with this assertion they had finally arrived at a point of rejecting the
Divine Destiny.101
When we look at Mawlânâ's thoughts about the freedom of will
and compulsion (jahr), we clearly see that he never supports two
extremities, but favours the moderation. By so doing, on the one
hand while he is accepting the freedom of choice for man, on the
other hand he accepts the existence of the Divine Destiny.
God who is the Owner of the attributes of Knowledge. Will and
Power, acts upon His creatures through His will and power. It is
impossible for man to overecome the Divine Destiny. Mawlânâ, in his
Fîhi Mâfih, tells us the story of Abraham Atham as an example of this
fact: One day the Sultan Abraham Atham went hunting. While he
was riding his horse behind a gazelle, he fell away from his retinue.
When the Sultan and the gazelle arrived in a desolate place, the
gazelle spoke to him: "You are not created for hunting. God has not
created you for this reason." When Abraham Atham heard these
words, he penitently perceived the mystery of his creation. He
quickly gave his robe, horse and arms to a shepherd, whom he saw
there; then he wore the shepherd's cloak, and walked in the way of
Sufism. So, he became game for God, while wishing to hunt a
gazelle. The same thing happened with Omar, the second Caliph of
islam. Before embracing Islam, Omar furiously went to kill the
Prophet Muhammad with a sword in his hand. However, when he
saw the Prophet his anger calmed down and he became a Muslim. 'I
had come here with the intention of killing you. As an expiation of
my sin, whoever says a bad word about you, I will cut off his head
with my sword" said Omar, and then left the mosque. He met with
his father outside the mosque. When his father rebuked him for his
becoming a Muslim Omar immediately cut his father's head off with
his sword. While the pagans of Quraish were waiting for the head of
the Prophet Muhammad from Omar they met with the head of
Omar's father (Fîhi Mâfıh, 248-51).
The subject of Divine Destiny is treated with in the story of
Pharaoh's dream of the coming of Moses in the Mathnawî. The
Pharaoh was shown in a dream that Moses would come and destroy
him and his kingdom. In order to protect his kingdom, he ordered all
the lsraefites might remain far away from meeting with their wives.
Nevertheless, his at strict measures were invalidated by the Divine
Power. At last, Moses w as born. When he learnt from the astrologers
that he was born, he killed hundreds of thousands of male children
who were born in that year. In order to protect her baby, the mother
of Moses cast Moses into the River Nile. The cradle of Moses was
dragged up by the river, and finally, arrived in the palace of the
Pharaoh. The Pharaoh's wife prevented this baby from death, and
took him under her protection. So, all the Pharaoh's measures
proved fruitless, and he brought up his mortal enemy, Moses, in his
own Palace without knowing (Mathnawî, III/843-980).
Mawlânâ expressed with similar examples that Almighty God is
the owner of attributes of will and power. The belief of Divine
Destiny, which is one of the articles of Belief, is also in this nature. In
fact, God gave man the relîgion and knowledge, sent books and
messengers to him to show the right path, and announced that all
men would be kept responsible for their actions in this world and
given reward or punishment in accordance with their doings. All
these things indicate that man has a part will and is responsible for
his actions before the Divine Will.
There are a lot of examples for the existence of the part will.
Mawlânâ's first example about this subject belongs to the Prophet
Adam. Adam had tasted the fruit of the forbidden tree in the Garden.
But then become conscious of his grave mistake and cried in
repentance: "O our Sustainer! We have sinned against ourselves."
(Mathnawî. I/1304-08)
"Nay," said the Sultan, "that which proceeds from one's self is
the product of (one's own) remissness and the income derived from
(one's own) labour.
Otherwise how should Adam have said unto God, 'O our Lord,
verily we have wronged ourselves*?
We are left vacillating between two (alternative) actions: how
should this vacillation be without (unaccompanied by) free-will?
How should he whose hands and fee are chained say, "Shall I do
this or shall I do that?" (Mathnawî, VI/408-I4)
Again, Mawlana said:
"Do not put the blame on Destiny, O youth: how can you lay
upon others (responsibility for) your own sin?
Vacillation, then, must have (in connection with it) a power to
Circle round yourself and perceive your sin.
When you have eaten (too much) honey, the fever (caused by it)
does not come to (does not attack) another; your day's wages do
not come at night fall to another.
What have you sown without the produce of the seed coming
(back to you)?
Your action that is born of your soul and body clings to your skirt,
like your own child.
Do not lay (responsibility for) your sin upon any one else: give
your mind and ear to this retribution.
Lay the sin upon yourself, for you yourself sowed (the seed).
(Mathnawi. Vl/418-25)
Mawlana. Here, stressed another fact that our humility against
any kind of work is evidence of the Divine Destiny, and our sense of
guilt is evidence of free will:
"Our humility is evidence of necessity, (but) our sense of guilt is
evidence of free will.
If there were not free will, what is this shame? And what is this
sorrow and guilty confusion and abashment?" (Mathnawi, 1/644-45)
Mawlana opposed to those who rejected the part will, laid the
guilt of their actions upon God, and by so doing, ran away from the
"In every act for which you have no inclination, you are clearly
conscious of your power (to perform it),
(But) in every act for which you have no inclination and desire, in
regard to that (act) you have become necessitarian, saying, 'This is
from God.'" (Mathnawi, 1/661-62)
"A certain man was climbing up a tree and vigorously scattering
the fruit in the manner of thieves.
The owner of the orchard came along and said (to him), 'O
rascal, where is your reverence for God? What you doing?"
He replied. 'If a servant of God eats from God's orchard the dates
which God has bestowed upon him as a gift.'
Then at once he bound him tightly to the tree and thrashed him
hard on the back and legs with a cudgel.
He (the thief) cried. 'Pray, have some reverence for God! Thou
art killing me miserably who is innocent.'
He answered, "With God's cudgel this servant of His is soundly
beating the back of another servant.
'This is God's cudgel, and the back and sides belong to Him: I am
(only) the slave and instrument of His command." (Mathnawi.
Mawlana cited another story concerning the same subject:
"A thief said to the magistrate.’O (my) king, that which I have
done was decreed by God.'
A magistrate replied, 'That which I am doing is also decreed by
God. O fight of my eyes."' (Mathnawi, V/3067-68)
These examples clearly show that Mawlana criticizes those who
does not accept the pan will and charge the Divine Will and fate
responsible for their actions: "Do you ever say to a stone.’Come
tomorrow; and if you don't come, I will give your bad behavior the
punishment it deserves'?" (Mathnawi. V/3035-40). In fact, the entire
Qur'an. Which was brought down to guide human beings to the right
path, consists of commands and prohibitions? If man did not have
free will, God Almighty would not send his commands.
As a result, we may sum up Mawlana's thoughts on the free will;
Man is a supreme being and has knowledge. He (or she) has been
created as having the right and power of choice. His part will is free
to choose whatever he likes. However, man, who has intellect and
knowledge, must work by using his part will and direct him to good
and useful things. Laziness and inactivity cannot be attributed to
fate. What direction the divine will goes cannot be known, but man
must work, take his measures, and surrender to the Divine Will, after
using his own part will.


As we have stated in the subject of the Divine Will and fate, God
Almighty has right of disposal over all creatures as being the owner
of the divine attributes of knowledge, power and will. "God does
whatever He wishes." Hence, man must be in state of complete
confidence for God Almighty's commands and wishes. This being in
state of complete confidence is called as submission to the will of
God (tawakkul). The necessity of tawakkul is emphasized by the
following Qur'anic verse: "And place your trust in God [alone]: for
none is as worthy of trust as God." (The Qur'an. 33/3) But tawakkul
or trust in God is not man's leaving working and becoming a fatalist.
Man, through his part will, must choose the right thing, work, and
obey the visible reasons, and having done all these, he must never
rely on himself and his doings only but must submit to the will of
God with complete sincerity. Just as a doctor's doing his best to heal
his patient, and then leaving the final result to God's will...
Mawlana treated his thoughts on working and trust in God or
tawakkul in such frame. These two subject-matters have been
treated as dialectics in the Mathnawi. The importance of both
subject have been emphasized, but the winner of the dialectics is
Firstly, Mawlana expressed that tawakkul was urgent necessity:
"When you put a cargo on board a ship, you are making that
venture on trust,
(For) you do not know which of the two you are -whether you are
(destined to be) drowned on the voyage or saved (from death).
If you say. 'Until I know which I am, I will not hasten to (embark)
the ship and the ocean;
On this voyage I am (to be) saved or drowned: reveal (to me) to
which party I belong.
I will not start upon this voyage with doubt and in idle hope, like
the others'
(Then) no traffic will be done by you, because the secret of these
two aspects (possibilities) is in the unseen." (Mathnawi, II1/3105-09)
With the above example Mawlana noticed the fact that tawakkul
is necessary for man's being saved from melancholia, worry of future
and anxiety of sustenance. The story of the cow, that is alone on a
great island full of with plants and sweet herbs, is narrated in the
Mathnawi, The cow feeds on all that vegetation till nightfall, and
when night comes she cannot sleep for anxiety and fear about what
she would eat tomorrow. So in consequence of this anxiety she
becomes thin like a toothpick. At daybreak she sees the whole field
is greener and richer than it was yesterday, and again she eats and
grows fat. Then again at nightfall the same anxiety seizes her. For
years she has been experiencing the like of this, and yet her
provender has never failed even for a day (Mathnawi, V/2864-74).
This example stressed another fact that tawakkul is not necessary
only for worry of future, but also for psychological health and peace
of mind of human being. Tawakkul helps man not only in removing
his anxieties, but also in solving the problems he faces in daily life.
Man, who has tawakkul, feels tranquil all the time for believing that
all good and bad things come from God, and that those things which
are thought to be bad in outlook might bring good results in the end:
"You did not let blood (by cupping), and therefore the
superfluous blood ran from your nose, to the end that your life might
be saved from fever." (Mathnawi, HI/3438)
However, the subject of tawakkul must not be misunderstood.
Having taken all necessary measures, man must rely on God's help.
The Prophet Muhammad had emphasized this, saying, "First bind the
knee of your camel, and then put your trust in God." This principle
must be considered as fundamental. Mawlana's understanding of
tawakkul too, settles down on this basis:
"Since he (the man of dull sight) does not know how to move (on
the way to God), he advances like the vulgar, stepping (forward) on
trust, like a blind man.
Consider what comes of acting on trust in warfare: (it is vain) like
the trust of dice-players." (Mathnawi, 1V/2921-22)
By so saying Mawlana tries to say that tawakkul is meaningless
without working. The following Prophetic sayings, "It is a kind of
worship for man to work for his livelihood.", and "Work for the world-
to-come, as if you will die tomorrow; and work for this world, as if
you will never die", and the following Qur'anic verses, "And seek you
of the bounty of God." (28/Qasas: 77). And "Man can have nothing
but what he is striving for." (53/Najm: 39), and "Every human being
will be held in pledge for whatever he has earned." 52/Tur: 21)
clearly prove that the religion of Islam always invites human beings
to working and striving:
"'Yes,' he said; '(but) if trust in God is the (true) guide, (yet use
of) the means too is the Prophet's rule (Sunna)'
The Prophet said with a loud voice, 'While trusting in God bind
the knee of your camel.'
Hearken to the significations of 'The earner (worker) is beloved
of God': through trusting in God do not become neglectful as to the
(ways and) means." (Mathnawi, 1/948-51)
"The Prophet has said, 'The door is shut against (the arrival of)
provision. O youth; and on the door there are locks.'
Our movement (exertion) and our going to and fro (in search)
and our acquisition is a key to that lock and barrier.
Without the key there is no way to open the door: bread without
endeavor is not (according to) God's law." (Mathnawi, V/2393-95)
"None that is laden supported another's load; none reaped until
he sowed something.
This is a raw (absurd) hope; eat not what is raw, O son: eating
raw brings illness to men.
(Do not say to yourself). 'So-and-so suddenly found a treasure: I
would like the same: neither work nor shop (for me)!'
That (discovery of treasure) is Fortune's doing (a piece of luck),
and moreover it is rare: one must earn a living so long as the body is
How does earning a livelihood prevent the (discovery of)
treasure? Do not retire from work: that (treasure), indeed, is
(following) behind (the work)." (Mathnawi, II/739-42)
Mawlana considered working as a sacred duty, refused beggary,
and likened the lawful morsel, which is gained through hard working
and great effort, to the seed of knowledge and wisdom (Mathnawi.
1/1707-13). If man works for the lawful morsel, he prospers.
Therefore, he must never submit easily to the difficulties, because
there are no easy blessings:
"A treasure of gold is (hidden), for safety's sake, in a desolate
spot that is not well-known.
How should they deposit the treasure in a well-known place? On
this account it is said, "Joy is (hidden) beneath sorrow." (Matnawi III/1
Man must work in order to get real happiness and peace of mind;
however, he must observe the balance between this world and the
world-to-come while working:
"The saying of (God's) servant, 'whatever God wills comes to
pass* does not signify 'be lazy (inactive) in that (matter);
Nay, it is an incitement to entire self-devotion and exertion,
meaning, "Make yourself exceedingly ready to perform that service.
If you are told, O sage that what you wish (will come to pass, and
that) you have full power to act according to your desire.
Then if you are neglectful (in serving God), this is permissible; for
what you wish and say will come to pass.
When (on the contrary) you are told that whatever God wills shall
come to pass, and that to Him belongs the authority absolute and
Why, then, should not you move round Him like a slave, with the
will of a hundred men to perform the devotions to Him?" (Mathnawi,
As is proved by Mawlana's statements that in his view of the
world and life, the essential thing is to work and struggle against the
difficulties energetically, and then to put his trust in God and seek
for tawakkul:
"If you put trust in God, put trust (in Him) as regards (your) work:
sow (the seed), then rely upon the Almighty." (Mathnawi,1/984)


The Qur'an says: "Know [O men] that the life of this world is but
a play and a passing delight, and a beautiful show, and [the cause
of] your boastful vying with one another and [of your] greed for
more and more riches and children. Its parable is that of [life-giving}
rain: the herbage which it causes to grow delights the tillers of the
soil; but then it withers, and you can see it turn yellow; and in the
end it crumbles into dust. But [the abiding truth of man's condition
will become fully apparent] in the life to come: [either] suffering
severe, or God's forgiveness and His goodly acceptance: for the life
of this world is nothing but an enjoyment of self-delusion." (57/al-
Hadid: 20) This Qur'anic verse likens the worldly life to a child's play.
The worldly life is not eternal, but transient. Surely, the world itself is
not bad, and its bounties which are offered for the use man are not
bad, either. The thing which is bad is man's leaving worshipping,
forgetting the Hereafter, becoming greedy, and finally, becoming
materialistic excessively.
Therefore, the world, in Mawlana's works, is a concept which
binds man tightly with the materialistic bonds, and prevents him
from comprehending the real reason in his creation. Both the world
itself and everything in it are temporary. They are only forms and
things which make man a prisoner of the material life. It is a grave
fault for man to be attached to material things, because such
attachment prevents his soul to ascend with love. In order to
discover the endless life with the help of Divine Love, man should
free himself from all material things which takes his soul from the
highest to the lowest level. Of course, one's freeing himself from the
worldly ties does not mean giving up working and striving; it means
giving up greed and carnal desires and feelings, and being not a
captive of wealth but ruling over it, even if he has enormous wealth;
being conscious of the fact that he is God's servant, even if he is a
ruler of the whole world.
Having put forward these common views of the Islamic religion
and Islamic mysticism in his works. Mawlana also stressed the fact
that this world is worthless, and therefore, attaching one's self to it
is a grave mistake:
"The world is the mortal enemy of man" (Rubais, 71).
"The world is a stinking hag, but in fact, displays herself like a
young bride.
He who falls in love with it, drinks sherbet which is mixed with
poison." (Mathnawi, VI/320-21)
"To take tight hold and to attach one's self strongly (to the world)
is (a sign of) unripeness, [the unripe (fruits) cling fast to the bough]"
(Mathnawi, III/ 1299-1302).
"He who worships the world is dead, even if he is the sultan of
the whole world." (Rubais, 196).
"He, who falls in love with the world, is tike a man who sells his
belief in exchange for a piece of bread." (Rubais, 16).
Those who are enslaved to the fleshly soul by passion and by
love of this vile world and those who are after delight and luxury are
enslaved to his fleshly soul." (Mathnawi, II/3091)
Those who fall in love with the world are like of those who fall in
love with the wall, seeing not that light comes unto it from the sun.
And those who deny the sun which is the source of that light and fall
in love with the wall are in endless ruin until when the light meets
with the sun (Mathnawi, I/III).
Or, he who is enslaved to the world is like a hunter who hunts
not the bird but its shadow. He is an ignorant and ruined man
(Mathnawi, l/s. II1, the title).
The world in which man is guest for a very short period is in fact
a gold chain which attaches man's soul to itself and a hell in the
appearance of heaven:
"The prosperity and wealth of this palace are a chain for the
restless soul.
However, the soul is deceived by that gold chain, and therefore,
could not pass over that desert (the world), and remained in that
That well-hole is a heaven in outlook, but it, in fact, is a hell.
It is rose-faced in appearance, but, is, in fact, a poisonous
O, immature fellows! Take care of that rose-faced one; for, that
rose-faced one is in hell, it is a hell in this age of conversation."
(Majalis-i Sab'a/Seven Sessions, 16)
Man should free himself from this gold chain by Divine Love. He
should not let himself to be enslaved to his fleshly soul:
"O son, burst, your chains and be free! How long will you be a
bondsman to silver and gold?
If you pour the sea into a pitcher, how much will it hold? One
day's store.
The pitcher, the eye of the covetous, never becomes full: the
oyster-shell is content because it is filled with pearls.
He (alone) whose garment is rent by a (mighty) love is purged of
covetousness and all defect." (Mathnawi, 1/19-22).

With the following words, Mawlana indicates that this world is

"This world is negation (of reality): seek (reality) in affirmation
(of God). Your form (body) is void (of reality): seek in your essence."
(Mathnawi, I/2337).
However, the existence in this world is not a meaningless
existence. And, with the following saying, Mawlana likens this world
to the world of probation, and the Hereafter to the world of
"This world is the world of probation; the second world is the
(world of) recompense for this and that." (Mathnawi,II/988).
Despite the fact that this world is temporary, the deeds which we
have done in it are permanent. Therefore, man should appreciate
well this period of probation, and should spend his life on good and
charitable purposes.
"The best among you (Muslims) are those who abandon not his
world for his hereafter, nor his hereafter for his world." In accordance
with this prophetic saying, man should arrange his life in this
balance. Surely, the orientation of this balance should not be
towards this world which is temporary but the next world which is
'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." (Mathnawi, I/664).
"Know that the next world, in respect of ownership, is (like) files
of camels: the present world is its corollary, like the (camels') hair
and dung.
(If) you choose the hair, the camel will not be yours, and if the
camel be yours, what value has the hair?" (Mathnawi, IV/3165-66).
With the above sayings, Mawlana advised us to make right
choices. What matters is to gain the next world while living in this
"You have learned a trade to earn a livelihood for the body: (now)
set your hand to a religious (spiritual) trade.
In this world you have become clothed and rich: when you come
forth from here, what will you do?
Learn such a trade that in the hereafter, the earnings of God's
forgiveness may come as revenue (to you).
Wonder world is a city full of trafficking and earning: think not
the earnings here (in this world) are a sufficiency,
Mighty God has said that beside those (the next world's)
earnings, these earnings in the (present) world are (but) children's
As a child that embraces another child ; (Or as) children at play
set up a shop, (but) it is no use (to them) except as a pastime.
Night falls, and he (the child who acted as shopkeeper) becomes
hungry: the (other) children are gone, and he is left alone.
This world is a playground, and death is the night: you returned
with an empty purse, tired out.
The earnings of religion are love and inward rapture-capacity to
receive the Light of God, O you obstinate one!
This vile fleshly soul desire you to earn that which passed away:
how long will you earn what is vile? Let it go! Enough!" (Mathnawi,
Those who make the right choice are wise men who foresee the
outcome of an action. For, it is inevitable that man should leave this
world one day:
"The wealth of this world gives man nothing but a headache
O you stupid! Do not suffer such headaches.
Even if you are crowned with the sun and the moon
You will lay your head on a (sun-dried) brick when your life
(Maktubat/The Letters of Rumi, 36)
The following Qur'anic passage indicates that death is
unavoidable for every creature: "Every human being is bound to
taste death, [and] in the end unto us shall all be brought back." (The
Qur'an, 29/57). And, again Qur'an said: "Verily, unto God do we
belong and verily, unto Him we shall return." (The Qur'an, 2/156)
This Qur'anic passage we have just cited, considers death not as
annihilation but as man's going back to his Creator, returning to his
origin, and thus obtaining real and eternal life. Thus, the Prophet of
Islam said in the same manner: "Believers (Muslims) never die, but
are transferred from a world which is temporary to a world which is
everlasting." As is the case with metaphorical description of the reed
flute (nay), which is narrated in opening verses of the Mathnawi,
man, too, is in exile while living in this world. Death makes man
reach his home town and lover.104
In the thought of Islamic mysticism, there are two types of
death: dying voluntarily (ihtiyari) and dying indispensably (daruri).
Man's dying indispensably is his spirit's leaving his body. Voluntarily
or optional dying is to reach the degree of fanafillah (this term in
Sufism designates extinction or passing away of individual limitation
in the state of Union with God) in accordance with the Prophetic
saying, "Die before you die!", and to kill one's fleshly soul by way of
ascetic discipline or spiritual exercise (riyadah) and to become
extinct in the existence of the Creator. Mawlana explains the
voluntarily dying in the Fihi Mafih as follows:
"There cannot be two I's in his presence. You say. 'I', and He
(God) says I. Either you die, or He dies, so there won't be two I's.
But, dying is impossible for Him. This is possible neither externally
nor mentally. For, He is the Living One who dies not! (The Qur'an,
He is so gracious that he might have died on behalf of you, if this
were possible. But, if His death is impossible, then you must die, so
that He might manifest (Himself) in you, and this duality might
If you tie up two living birds together, they cannot fly, although
they both have four wings. For, there is duality. The sun, on the other
hand, is so gracious that it kills itself for the benefit of the bat. But
this is not possible in the case of an owl, and thus the sun says to it,
'O, owl! My grace has reached everyone, so I would like to do a favor
for you, too. You must die. Because, this is possible. If you die you
receive your portion from the light of my highness. So you may be
freed from being an owl, and become the Phoenix of the Mythic
Mountain." (Fihi Mafih. 38-39)
"He has killed his self and become living through the Lord: hence
the mysteries of God are on his lips.
The death of the body in self-discipline is life: the sufferings of
this body are (the cause of) everlastingness to the spirit."
(Mathnawi, II1/3386-87).
Mawlana described the natural death as living this worldly life
reaching the eternal life, in which there is no more death. Man.
generally speaking, consists of two elements: Spirit and body. Spirit
is abstract. It is not bound with time and space. Therefore, it is
immortal. It has taken this quality from the Creator, Allah. God, who
is Living (Hayy) and Everlasting (Baqi), has breathed into men of His
spirit (The Qur'an, 15/29). Hence, through death, man's body
perishes, and thus the curtain between God and man is removed.
Thus, no creature, as a physical law, could be brought into existence
from out of nothing, nor the reverse process is possible; but they
pass from one state to another. So, when its body dies, spirit returns
to its origin.
Mawlana explains all these ideas as follows:
"Death is meeting (with God), neither is it tormenting nor
grudging." (Rubais, 38)
"If I die, never say 'he has died', because I was dead, then I was
resurrected; the true Friend (God) has taken me away." (Rubais,
In accordance with his above sayings, the night in which he left
this temporary world was called as the wedding night (shab-i arus).
This following ode or ghazal of Mawlana is the most concise
expression of his thoughts about the subject of death:
"When my coffin started to walk on my day of death, never think
that I am in deep sorrow for leaving this world; never think such a
Cry not for me, say not, 'What a pity!' If I am trapped in the trap
of Satan, then it is the time of saying that it is a pity.
Say not. 'This is separation, moving apart', when you saw my
Say not, 'Farewell! Good-by!' to me, when you left m

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