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(Masnavi Book 4: 09) The Jew who tempted Ali






How the Jew said to Alí, may God honour his person, “If you have confidence in God's protection, cast yourself down from the top of this kiosk; and how the Prince of the Faithful answered him.

One day a contumacious man, who was ignorant of the reverence due to God, said to Murtazá
(Alí),
On the top of an exceedingly high terrace or pavilion, “Art you conscious of God's protection, O
intelligent man?

355. “Yes, he replied; He is the Protector and the Self-sufficient for (preserving) my existence from (the time of) infancy and conception.”
He (the Jew) said, Come, cast yourself down from the roof, put an entire confidence in the
protection of God,
So that your sure faith and your goodly proven conviction may become evident to me.”
Then the Prince said to him, “Be silent, go, lest for this boldness your soul be pawned (given over to perdition).”
How is it right for a servant (of God) to venture on an experiment with God by making trial (of
Him)?

360. How should a servant (of God) have the stomach vaingloriously to put Him to the test, O
mad fool?
To God (alone) belongs that (right), who brings forward a test for His servants at every moment, In order that He may show us plainly to ourselves (and reveal) what beliefs we hold in secret.
Did Adam ever say to God, I made trial of you in (committing) this sin and trespass,
That I might see the utmost limit of Thy clemency, O King? Ah, who would be capable of
(seeing) this, who?

365. Forasmuch as your understanding is confused, your excuse is worse than your crime. How can you make trial of Him who raised aloft the vault of heaven?
O you that have not known good and evil, (first) make trial of yourself, and then of others. When you have made trial of yourself, O such-and-such, you will be unconcerned with making trial of others.
When you have come to know that you are a grain of sugar, then you will know that you belong
to the sugar-house.

370. Know, then, without making any trial, that (if) you are sugar, God will not send you to the wrong place.
Without making trial, know this of the King's (God's) knowledge: when you are a (spiritual) chief, He will not send you (down) to the vestibule.

Does any intelligent man let a precious pearl fall into the midst of a privy full of ordure? Inasmuch as a sagacious and attentive man will nowise send wheat to a straw-barn,
If a novice has made trial of the Shaykh who is the (spiritual) leader and guide, he is an ass.

375. If you make trial of him in the way of religion, you will be tried (by tribulation), O man without faith.
Your audacity and ignorance will become naked and exposed to view: how should he be made naked by that scrutiny?
If the mote come and weigh the mountain, its scales will be shattered by the mountain, O youth;
For he (the novice) applies the scales of his own judgement and puts the man of God in the scales;
(But) since he (the Shaykh) is not contained by the scales of intellect, consequently he shatters
the scales of intellect.

380. Know that to make trial (of him) is like exercising authority over him: do not seek to exercise authority over such a (spiritual) king.
What authority should the pictures (phenomenal forms) desire to exercise over such an Artist for the purpose of testing Him?
If it (the picture) has known and experienced any trial, is it not the case that the Artist brought
that (trial) upon it?
Indeed, this form that He fashioned—what is it worth in comparison with the forms which are in
His knowledge?
When the temptation to make this trial has come to you, know that ill fortune has come and smitten your neck.

385. When you feel such a temptation, at once, at once turn unto God and begin the prostration (in prayer).
Make the place of prostration wet with flowing tears and say, O God, do You deliver me from this doubt!”
At the time when it is your object to make trial (of God), the mosque, namely, your religion,
becomes filled with kharrúb (carob).

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