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(Masnavi Book 3: 19) How Pharaoh threatened Moses, on whom be peace.












How Pharaoh threatened Moses, on whom be peace.

Pharaoh said to him, “Why didst thou, O Kalím, kill the people and cause fear to fall (on them)? The people were put to flight and rout by thee; in the rout the folk were killed through slipping (and being crushed to death).
Necessarily, the folk have come to regard you as their enemy; (both) men and women have conceived hatred of you in their breasts.

1070. You wert calling the people to (follow) you, (but) it has turned out contrariwise: the folk cannot but resist you.
I too, though I am creeping (shrinking) back from your malice, am concocting a plan to requite
thee.
Put away from yours heart the thought that you wilt deceive me or that you wilt get any follower but your shadow.
Be not deluded by that which you have contrived: you have (only) cast terror into the hearts of the people.
You mayst bring (forward) a hundred such (devices), and you wilt be exposed in the same
way; you wilt become despicable and the laughing-stock of the mob.

1075. Many have been impostors like you, (but) in our Egypt they have been brought to disgrace in the end.”

The answer of Moses to Pharaoh concerning the threats which he made against him.

He (Moses) said, I admit nothing as co-partner with the command of God: if His command shall shed my blood, there is no fear (on my part).
I am content, I am thankful, O adversary: here (I am) disgraced, but with God (I am) honoured. In the sight of the people (I am) contemptible and wretched and a laughingstock: in God's sight
(I am) loved and sought and approved.
I say this (merely as a matter) of words; otherwise (in fact), to-morrow (on the Day of
Judgement) God will make you one of the black-faced.

1080. Glory belongs to Him and to His servants (alone): recite (from the Qur’án) the sign thereof (made manifest) through Adam and Iblís.


The explanation of (the attributes of) God, like God (Himself), has no limit. Take heed, close your mouth and turn over a (new) leaf.

The reply of Pharaoh to Moses, on whom be peace.

Pharaoh said to him, The leaf is under my authority; the book and register of authority is mine at this moment.
The people of the world have chosen me: art you wiser than all, O fellow?
O Moses, you have vaunted yourself. Hark, begone! Have less regard for yourself, be not self- deluded.

1085. I will assemble the magicians of the world, that I may exhibit your foolishness to the city.
(But) this will not be done in a day or two: give me time (and wait) till the forty days (which end in the month) of Tamúz.

The answer of Moses, on whom be peace, to Pharaoh.

Moses said, This is not permitted to me: I am the slave (of God): the giving of time to you is not commanded.
If you art powerful and I in sooth have no ally, (yet) I am subject to His command: I have nothing to do with that.
I will combat you with all my might so long as I live; what have I to do with helping (God)? I am
a slave.

1090. I will fight till the decision of God comes to pass: He (alone) separates every adversary from an adversary.”
The reply of Pharaoh to Moses, and the coming of a Divine revelation to Moses, on whom be peace.
He (Pharaoh) said, Nay, nay, you must appoint a certain respite: do not give cajoleries, do not
talk vain things.”
At once the high God made a revelation to him, saying, “Give him an ample respite: be not afraid of that.
Willingly give him these forty days, that he may bethink him of divers plots.
Let him endeavour, for I am not asleep; bid him advance quickly, (for) I have barred the way in front (of him).

1095. I will confound all their devices, and I will reduce to little that which they increase.
Let them fetch water, and I will make (it) fire; let them get honey and sweets and I will make (it)
bitter.
Let them join in a bond of love, and I will destroy it; I will do that which they conceive not.
Have you no fear, and give him a lengthy respite; bid him bring together his host and prepare a hundred devices.

How Moses, on whom be peace, gave Pharaoh a respite, that he might assemble the magicians from the cities.

He (Moses) said, The (Divine) command has come. Go, the respite is (granted) to you. I
depart to my dwelling-place: you art delivered from me.”

1100. He was going (on his way), and at his heels (went) the dragon wise and loving, like the hunter's dog.
Like the hunter's dog, wagging its tail: it made the stones (crumble as) sand beneath its hoof.


With its breath it drew in stone and iron (to its jaws) and visibly chewed the iron into small fragments.
In the air it was making itself (rise) above the zodiac, so that Greeks and Georgians would flee from it in panic.
From its palate it cast out foam, like a camel: whomsoever a drop hit, he was smitten with tubercular leprosy.

1105. The gnashing of its teeth would break the heart; the souls of black lions would be distraught (with terror).
When that chosen one (Moses) reached his kinsfolk, he took hold of the corner of its mouth, and it became again a staff.
He leaned upon it, saying, O wonder! to me (it is clear as) the sun, to my enemy (it is dark as)
night.
O wonder! How doth this host not see a whole world filled with the sun at morning tide? Eyes open, and ears open, and this sun! I am amazed at God's eye-bandaging.

1110. I am amazed at them, and they too at me: (we are) from one springtime, (but) they are thorns and I am jasmine.
I bore to them many a cup of pure wine: its juice turned to stone before this company.
I twined a handful of roses and carried it to them: every rose became as a thorn, and the honey turned to poison.
That (pure wine) is the portion allotted to the selfless: since they are with themselves (not freed from self), how should it be shown (to them)?
With us, one must needs be a waking sleeper, that in the state of wakefulness he may dream dreams.”

1115. Thought of created things is an enemy to this sweet (waking) sleep: until his (any one's) thought is asleep, his throat is shut.
A (mystical) bewilderment is needed to sweep (such) thought away: bewilderment devours (all)
thought and recollection.
The more perfect he is in (worldly) science, the more backward he is in reality and the more forward in appearance.
He (God) has said, (Verily, to Him we are) returning; and the return is in the same wise as a
herd turns back and goes home.
When the herd has turned back from (after) going down to water, the goat that was the leader
(now) falls behind (becomes the hindmost),

1120. And the lame hindmost goat is now in front: the return caused the faces to laugh of them that were frowning (before).
How did this party (the prophets and saints) become lame and give up glory and purchase
ignominy in vain?
This party go on the pilgrimage (to Reality) with broken legs, (because) there is a secret way from straitness to ease.
This company washed their hearts (clean) of (the exoteric) kinds of knowledge, because this knowledge does not know this Way.
(In order to tread this Way) one needs a knowledge whereof the root is Yonder, inasmuch as every branch is a guide to its root.

1125. How should every wing fly across the breadth of the Sea? (Only) the esoteric knowledge will bear (you) to the Presence (of God).
Why, then, should you teach a man the knowledge of which it behoves him to purify his breast? Therefore do not seek to be in front: be lame on this side, and be the leader at the moment of return.


O clever one, be you (according to the Prophet's saying, We are) the hindmost and the foremost”: the fresh fruit is prior to the tree.
Although the fruit comes last into being, it is the first, because it was the object.

1130. Say, like the angels, We have no knowledge,to the end that You have taught us
may take your hand (come to your aid).
If in this school you do not know the alphabet, (yet) you art filled, like Ahmad (Mohammed), with the light of Reason.
If you art not famous in the world, (yet) you art not deficient: God knoweth best concerning
His servants.
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.”

1135. Here the mind may bring (suggest) many difficulties, but a good beast will break the tether.
His (God's) love is a fire that consumes difficulties: the daylight sweeps away every phantom. O you with whom He is pleased, seek the answer from the same quarter from which this question came to you.
The cornerless corner of the heart is a King's highway: the radiance that is neither of the east nor of the west is (derived) from a Moon.
Why on this side and on that, like a beggar, O mountain of Reality, art you seeking the echo?

1140. Seek (the answer) from the same quarter to which, in the hour of pain, you bendest low, crying repeatedly,O my Lord!”
In the hour of pain and death you turnest in that direction: how, when your pain is gone, art thou
ignorant?
At the time of tribulation you have called unto God, (but) when the tribulation is gone, you sayest, Where is the way?”
This is because (you do not know God): every one that knows God without uncertainty is
constantly engaged in that (commemoration of Him),
While he that is veiled in intellect and uncertainty is sometimes covered (inaccessible to spiritual emotion) and sometimes with his collar torn (in a state of rapture).

1145. The particular (discursive) intellect is sometimes dominant, sometimes overthrown; the
Universal Intellect is secure from the mischances of Time.
Sell intellect and talent and buy bewilderment (in God): betake yourself to lowliness, O son, not to
Bukhárá!
Why have I steeped myself in the discourse, so that from story-telling I have become a story? I become naught and (unsubstantial as) a fable in making moan (to God), in order that I may
gain influence over (the hearts of) them that prostrate themselves in prayer.
This (story of Moses and Pharaoh) is not a story in the eyes of the man of experience: it is a description of an actual (spiritual) state, and it is (equivalent to) the presence of the Friend of the
Cave.

1150. That (phrase) stories of the ancients, which the disobedient (infidels) applied to the words of the Qur’án, was a mark of (their) hypocrisy.
The man transcending space, in whom is the Light of God whence (what concern of his) is the past, the future, or the present?
His being past or future is (only) in relation to you: both are one thing, and you thinkest they
are two.
One individual is to him father and to us son: the roof is below Zayd and above Amr.


The relation of “below and “above arises from those two persons: as regards itself, the roof is one thing only.

1155. These expressions are not (exactly) similar to that (doctrine of spiritual timelessness):
they are a comparison: the old words fall short of the new meaning.
Since there is no river-marge, close your lips, O waterskin: this Sea of candy has (ever) been without marge or shore.

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