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(Masnavi Book 1: 32) The Prodigal for whom the angels pray




Commentary on the prayer of the two angels who daily make proclamation in every market, saying, “O God, bestow on every prodigal some boon in exchange! O God, bestow on every niggard some bane (in return)”; and an explanation that the prodigal is he that strives earnestly in the Way of God, not he that squanders his wealth in the way of sensuality.

The Prophet said, “For admonishment's sake two angels are always making goodly proclamation,
Saying, ‘O God, keep the prodigals fully satisfied, give hundred-thousandfold recompense for every dirhem that they spend.

2225. O God, do not give the niggards in this world anything but loss upon loss!’”
Oh, (there is) many an act of niggardliness that is better than prodigality: do not bestow what belongs to God except by the command of God,
That thou mayst gain infinite treasure in return, and that thou mayst not be numbered among the infidels
Who were offering camels in sacrifice in order that their swords might prevail against Mustafá.
Endeavour to find out the command of God from one who is united (with God): not every heart understands the command of God,

2230. As (for example) the slave, the enemy (of God), who did justice (in his own opinion, and) bestowed what belonged to the King upon those who rebelled against Him—
In the Qur’án there is warning to the heedless that all their spendings are a (cause of) bitter grief to them—
What increase does the equity and justice of this enemy produce in the sight of the King? Banishment and a black countenance (disgrace).
The chiefs of Mecca (when) at war with the Prophet offered sacrifice in hope of (Divine) favour.
On this account the true believer is saying in his prayer, from fear, “Lead (us) in the right path!”

2235. It beseems the generous man thus to give money, (but) verily the generosity of the lover is the surrender of his soul (life).
If you give bread for God's sake, you will be given bread (in return); if you give your life for God's sake, you will be given life (in return).
If the leaves of this plane-tree drop off, the Creator will bestow on it the provision of leaflessness (spiritual poverty).
If because of your liberality no wealth remains in your hand, how should the bounty of God let you be down-trodden?
When any one sows, his barn becomes empty (of seed), but there is goodliness in his cornfield;

2240. And, if he leaves it (the seed) in the barn and saves it up, weevils and mice and calamities (of time and decay) devour it.
This world is negation (of reality): seek (reality) in affirmation (of God). Your form (body) is void (of reality): seek in your essence.
Bring the briny bitter (animal) soul to the sword: buy the (heavenly) soul that is like a great sweet river.
And if you cannot become (one of the frequenters) of this threshold (sublime court), at least hear from me the following tale.

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