How the guest answered them and adduced the parable of the guardian of the cornfield who, by making a noise with the tomtom, sought to drive away from the cornfield a camel on whose back they were beating the big kettle-drum of (Sultan) Mahmúd.
He said, “O friends, I am not one of the devils, that (the strength of) my sinews should fail at a single lá hawl.
A boy, who was the guardian of a cornfield, used to beat a tomtom in order to keep off the birds,
4090. So that the birds, at (the sound of) the tomtom, were scared away from the field, and the field became safe from evil birds.
When the Sultan, the noble King Mahmúd, pitched a great tent in that neighbourhood as he passed on the way
With an army like the stars of heaven (in number), numerous and victorious, one that pierces the ranks (of the enemy) and takes possession of empire—
There was a camel that carried the kettle-drum: it was a Bactrian (camel), going in front (of the
army) like a cock:
Day and night he (the driver) used loudly to beat the big kettle-drum and the (ordinary) drum on its back in returning (from an expedition) and in setting out.
4095. That camel entered the cornfield, and the boy beat his tom--tom to protect the corn. An intelligent man said to him, ‘Don't beat the tomtom, for he (the camel) is well-seasoned by the drum; he is accustomed to it.
What is your little tomtom, child, to him, since he carries the Sultan's drum twenty times the size?’ I am a lover, one who has been sacrificed to Naught: my soul is the band-stand for the drum of tribulation.
Verily, these threats (of yours) are (as) a little tomtom beside that which these eyes (of mine)
4100. O comrades, I am not one of those (without experience), that because of idle fancies I
should halt on the Way.
I am unafraid (of death), like the Ismá‘ílís; nay, like Ismá‘íl (Ishmael) I am free from (care for my) head.
I am done with pomp and ostentation. ‘Say, come ye’: He (the Beloved) said to my soul, ‘Come.’”
The Prophet has said that one who feels sure of the recompense will give generously beforehand. Whoever sees a hundred compensations for the gift will at once give away the gift with this
object (in view).
4105. All have become tied (to their business) in the bazaar (this world), to the end that when
(the chance of) gain occurs they may give their money.
With gold in their money-bags, they are seated expectantly (in the hope) that the gain may come and that he who persists (in waiting) may begin to squander (his gold).
When he sees a piece of merchandise exceeding (his own) in profit, his fondness for his own goods becomes chilled;
(For hitherto) he has remained enamoured of those, because he perceived no profit and advantage superior to his own goods.
Similarly, (in the case of) knowledge and accomplishments and trades: (a man is engrossed with
them) since he has not seen (anything) superior to them in excellence.
4110. Whilst nothing is better than life, life is precious; when a better appears, the name of life becomes a slippery (futile) thing.
The lifeless doll is as (dear as) life to the child until he has grown up to manhood.
This imagination and fancy are (like) the doll: so long as you are (spiritually) a child, you have need of them;
(But) when the spirit has escaped from childishness, it is in union (with God): it is done with sense-perception and imagination and fancy.
There is no confidant (familiar with this mystery), that I should speak without insincerity
(reserve). I will keep silence, and God best knoweth the (true) accord.
4115. The goods (of this world) and the body are snow melting away to naught; (yet) God is their purchaser, for God has purchased.
The snows seem to you better than the price, because you are in doubt: you have no certainty
(no sure faith),
And in you, O contemptible man, there is this marvellous opinion that does not fly to the garden of certainty.
O son, every opinion is thirsting for certainty and emulously flapping its wings (in quest thereof). When it attains to knowledge, then the wing becomes a foot, and its knowledge begins to scent certainty,
4120. For in the tested Way knowledge is inferior to certainty, but above opinion.
Know that knowledge is a seeker of certainty, and certainty is a seeker of vision and intuition. Seek this (difference between knowledge and intuitive certainty) now, in (the Súra which begins with) Alhákum, after (the word) kallá and after (the words) lau ta‘lamún.
Knowledge leads to vision, O knowing one: if it (knowledge) became (intuitive) certainty, they would see Hell.
Vision is immediately born of certainty, just as fancy is born of opinion.
4125. See in Alhákum the explanation of this, (namely), that the knowledge of certainty becomes the intuition of certainty.
“I am higher than opinion and certainty, and my head is not to be turned aside by blame. Since my mouth ate of His sweetmeat, I have become clear-eyed and a seer of Him.
I step boldly when I go (to my spiritual) home: I do not let my feet tremble, I do not walk like the blind.
That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh (in full-blown beauty), He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more (beautiful).
4130. (He bestowed on my heart) that which touched the cypress and made its stature straight, and that of which the narcissus and wild-rose partook;
That which made sweet the soul and heart of the sugar-cane, and that from which the creature of earth gained the form of Chigil;
That which made the eyebrow so ravishing and made the face rose-coloured and (like) the
(That which) gave a hundred enchantments to the tongue, and that which gave the (pure) gold of Ja‘far to the mine.
When the door of the Armoury was opened, the amorous glances became archers,
4135. And shot arrows at my heart and frenzied me and made me in love with thanksgiving and sugar-chewing.
I am the lover of that One to whom every ‘that’ belongs: of (even) a single pearl of His the bodyguard is Intellect and Spirit.
I do not boast, or if I boast, (it is only in appearance, for) like water, I have no trouble in quenching fire.
How should I steal when He is the keeper of the treasury? How should not I be hard-faced (bold and resolute)? He is my support.
Every one whose back is warmed by the Sun will be hard-faced: he will have neither dread nor
4140. His face has become foe-burning and veil-rending, like the face of the peerless Sun.
Every prophet was hard-faced in this world, and beat single-handed against the army of the kings,
And did not avert his face from any fear or pain, (but) single and alone dashed against a (whole)
The rock is hard-faced and bold-eyed: it is not afraid of the world that is full of brickbats;
For those brickbats were made solid by the brick-maker, (while) the rock was hardened by Divine art.
4145. If the sheep are beyond count, (yet) how should the butcher be afraid of their numerousness?
‘Each of you is a shepherd’: the prophet is as the shepherd. The people are like the flock; he is the overseer.
The shepherd is not afraid of the sheep in (his) contention (with them), but is their protector from hot and cold (from all calamities).
If he cry out in wrath against the flock, know it is from the love which he has for them all.
(My) new Fortune says (whispers) into my ear every moment, ‘I will make you sorrowful, (but)
be not sorrowful (on that account).
4150. I will make you sorrowful and weeping, to the end that I may hide you from the eyes of the wicked.
I will cause your temper to be soured with sorrows, in order that the evil eye may be averted from your face.
You art not (really) a hunter and seeker of Me; (nay), you art My slave and prostrate before My
You art thinking of devices whereby you mayst attain unto Me: (both) in quitting and in seeking Me you art helpless.
Thy anguish is seeking a means for (attaining unto) Me: I was hearkening yestereve to your heavy sighs.
4155. I am even able, without this waiting, to give (you) access and show unto you the way of passage,
That you mayst be delivered from this whirlpool of Time and mayst set your foot upon the treasure of union with Me;
But the sweetness and delights of the resting-place are in proportion to the pain of the journey. (Only) then wilt you enjoy your (native) town and your kinsfolk when you sufferest pains and tribulations from exile.’”