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(Masnavi Book 3: 21) Comparison of the Qur’án to the rod of Moses








Comparison of the sublime Qur’án to the rod of Moses, and the death of Mustafá (Mohammed), on whom be peace, to the sleep of Moses, and those who seek to alter the Qur’án to the two young magicians who attempted to carry off the rod of Moses when they found him asleep.

The lovingkindnesses of God made a promise to Mustafá (Mohammed), saying, “If you shalt die, (yet) this Lesson (the Qur’án) shall not die.
I am exalting your Book and Miracle, I am defending the Qur’án from those who would make it
more or less.
I am exalting you in both worlds, I am driving away the scoffers from your Tidings.

1200. None shall be able to make additions or omissions therein. Do not you seek another protector better than Me.
Day by day I will increase your splendour, I will strike your name on gold and on silver.
For your sake I will prepare pulpit and prayer-niche: in (My) love (for thee) your vengeance has become My vengeance.
They (thy followers), from fear, are uttering your name covertly and hiding when they perform
their prayers;
From terror and dread of the accursed infidels your Religion is being hidden underground;

1205. (But) I will fill the world, from end to end, with minarets; I will make blind the eyes of the recalcitrant.
Thy servants will occupy cities and (seize) power: your Religion will extend from the Fish to the
Moon.
We shall keep it living until the Resurrection: be not you afraid of the annulment of the Religion, O Mustafá.
O My Messenger, you art not a sorcerer: you art truthful, you wearest the mantle of Moses. To you the Qurán is even as the rod (of Moses): it swallows up (all) infidelities, like a dragon.

1210. If you sleepest beneath a sod, (yet) deem as his rod that which you have spoken (My
Word).
Assailants have no power over his rod. Do you (then) sleep, O King, a blessed sleep! (Whilst) your body is asleep (in the tomb), your Light in Heaven has strung a bow for your war
(against the infidels).
The philosopher and that which his mouth doeth—the bow of your Light is piercing him (and it)
with arrows.”
Thus He did, and (even) more than He said: he (the Prophet) slept (the sleep of death), but his fortune and prosperity slumbered not.

1215. O soul of your father, when a magician goes to sleep, his work becomes tarnished and dim.”
Both (the magician's sons) kissed his grave and went away to Egypt for the purpose of this mighty struggle.
When they came to Egypt for the sake of that enterprise, they sought after Moses and his house. It chanced that on the day of their arrival Moses was asleep under a palm-tree,
So the folk gave them a clue to him, saying, Go, seek yonder in the direction of the palm-
grove.

1220. When he (the magician's son) came (thither), he espied amongst the date trees a sleeper who was the wake fullest man in the world.
For pleasure's sake he had shut the two eyes of his head, (but) all Heaven and Earth were under his gaze.
Oh, (there is) many a one whose eye is awake and whose heart is asleep: what, in truth, should
be seen by the eyes of creatures of water and clay?
(But) he that keeps his heart awake—though the eye of his head may sleep, it (his heart) will open a hundred eyes.
If you are not one of (illumined) heart, be awake (keep vigil), be a seeker of the (illumined)
heart, and be (always) in strife (with your fleshly soul);

1225. But if your heart has been awakened, sleep sound: your (spiritual) eye is not absent from the seven (heavens) and the six (directions).
The Prophet said, Mine eye slumbers, but when doth my heart slumber in drowsiness?
The King is awake: suppose the guardsman is asleep, (what does it matter?). May (my) soul be sacrificed to the sleepers whose hearts are seeing!
The description of the heart's wakefulness, O spiritual man, would not be contained in thousands
of rhymed couplets.
When they (the magicians) saw that he was sleeping outstretched, they made preparations for stealing the rod.

1230. The magicians quickly approached the rod, saying, We must go behind him and then snatch it (from him).
When they prepared (to approach) a little nearer, the rod began to shake.

The rod quivered upon itself in such wise (that) both (magicians) on the spot became petrified by the shock (of terror).
After that, it turned into a dragon and made a rush (at them): both fled, and pale of countenance
Began to fall on their faces from affright, tumbling panic-stricken down every slope.

1235. Then to them it became certain that he (Moses) was from Heaven, since they were seeing the limit of (the power of) magicians.
Afterwards diarrhoea and fever appeared in them, and their case reached the last gasp and the death-agony.
Then at once they sent a man to Moses to excuse that (which they had done),
Saying, We have put (you) to the test, and how should (the thought of) testing you occur to us unless there be envy (as a motive)?
We are sinners against the King (God): do you crave pardon for us, O you that art the elect of the elect of the Court of God.”

1240. He pardoned (them), and at once they became well; they were striking their heads upon the earth (prostrating themselves) in the presence of Moses.
Moses said, I pardon (you), O nobles: your bodies and souls have become unlawful to (immune from) Hell.
Verily (it is as though) I did not see you; O (my) two friends, make yourselves strangers to
(refrain from) exculpation.
Come, even as ye are, alien in appearance (but) familiar (in reality), to combat for the King
(God).”
Then they kissed the earth and departed: they were waiting in expectation of the time and opportunity.

How the magicians from the cities assembled before Pharaoh and received robes of honour and laid their hands upon their breasts, (pledging themselves) to subdue his enemy (Moses), and saying, Write this down against us.”

1245. Those magicians came unto Pharaoh, and he gave them robes of honour exceedingly precious.
He made promises to them, and also gave them in advance slaves and horses and money and
goods and provisions.
After that, he was saying, “Hark, O ye that are foremost (in your art), if ye prove superior in the trial,
I will scatter over you so many gifts that the veil of bounty and munificence will be rent.” Then they said to him, “Through your fortune, O King, we shall prevail, and his cause shall be ruined.

1250. We are heroes and champions in this art: no one in the world can resist us.”
The mention of Moses has become a chain (obstruction) to the thoughts (of my readers), (for they think) that these are stories (of that) which happened long ago.
The mention of Moses serves for a mask, but the Light of Moses is your actual concern, O good man.
Moses and Pharaoh are in your being: you must seek these two adversaries in yourself.
The (process of) generation from Moses is (continuing) till the Resurrection: the Light is not different, (though) the lamp has become different.

1255. This earthenware lamp and this wick are different, but its light is not different: it is from
Yonder.
If you keep looking at the glass (lantern), you wilt be lost, because from the glass arise the numbers of (the plurality inherent in) dualism;

But if you keep your gaze (fixed) upon the Light, you wilt be delivered from dualism and the numbers (plurality) of the finite body.
From the place (object) of view, O (you who art the) kernel of Existence, there arises the difference between the true believer and the Zoroastrian and the Jew.

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