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(Masnavi Book 4: 43) The Prophet’s ﷺ appointment of a Young Man of Hudhayl to command the army














How the Prophet, on whom be peace, appointed a youth of Hudhayl to be commander of an expeditionary force in which there were elders and veteran warriors.

The Prophet was sending a force to fight against the unbelievers and repel insolence.
He chose a youth of Hudhayl and appointed him commander of the army and leader of the cavalry.

The foundation of an army is unquestionably the chief in command: a people without a chief are a body without a head.

1995. That you are (spiritually) dead and decrepit—all this is because you have abandoned the chief.
On account of laziness and avarice and egoism you are drawing your head back (behaving in a
headstrong manner) and making yourself the head.
(You are) like the beast that flees from the burden: it takes its head (goes its own way) into the mountains.
Its master is running after it, crying, O giddy-headed one, on every side there is a wolf in quest of an ass.
If you disappear now from mine eye, the mighty wolf will approach you from every direction.

2000. He will chew your bones like sugar, so that you wilt never see life again.
(Or) do not suppose that (immediate destruction); at any rate you wilt be left without fodder:
fire is (finally) extinguished by lack of faggots.
Beware! Do not flee from my control and from the heaviness of the burden, for I am thy
(rational) soul.
You also are a beast (of burden), for your carnal soul predominates: the predominant (quality)
determines (a thing's nature), O worshipper of self.
The Almighty did not call you an ass, He called you a horse: the Arabs say to the Arab horse
ta‘ál (“come).

2005. Mustafá (Mohammed) was God's stable-overseer for the beasts, (which are) the iniquitous carnal soul.
Moved by lovingkindness, He (God) said, Say, ‘ta‘álaw (come ye), to the end that I may train
you: I am the trainer.’”
(The Prophet said), “Since I have trained the carnal souls, I have suffered many kicks from these beasts.
Wherever there is one fond of training, he has no means of avoiding kicks.
Of necessity the most affliction falls on the prophets, for it is an affliction to give training to the raw (ignorant).

2010. Ye are stumbling along: at my word (in obedience to my command) go at a jog-trot, that ye may become gentle and be suitable for the king to ride.
The Lord said, Say, Come ye, say, Come ye, O beasts that have shied away from discipline.
If they come not, O Prophet, be not grieved: be not full of hatred on account of those twain without steadfastness.’”
The ears of some are deaf to these (cries of) ta‘álaw: every beast has a different stable. Some are put to flight by this call: the stall of every horse is separate.

2015. Some are chagrined by this story, for every bird has a separate cage.
Even the angels too were not peers: for this reason they formed diverse ranks in Heaven. Children, though they are at one (the same) school, surpass each other in (their) lessons.
Sense-perceptions are possessed by Easterner and Westerner, (but) the function of sight belongs
to the ocular sense (alone).
Though a hundred thousand ears be arrayed in rank, they all are in need of the clear eye.

2020. Again, the ranks of ears have a (special) function in respect of hearing the (words of the) Spirit and the Traditions (of the Prophet) and the Revelation.
A hundred thousand eyes do not possess that avenue (faculty): no eye is acquainted with hearing.

Similarly, enumerate each sense, one by one: each one is removed from (incapable of doing) the work of another.
The five external and the five internal senses are (arrayed) in ten ranks in the standing posture of the (angels) ranked (for worship of God).
Any one who (disobediently) draws back from the rank of (the true) religion will go into the rank that is behind.

2025. Do not make little of the (Divine) Word ta‘álaw (come ye): this Word is an exceedingly great elixir.
If a copper (a base person) turn away in repugnance from your saying (this Word), by no means withhold the elixir from him.
If his magician-like soul has bound (cast a spell upon) him at the present time, (yet) your saying
will profit him in his latter end.
O slave (of God), say, Come ye, say, Come ye: take heed, for verily God inviteth unto the (Abode of) Peace.
Then come back, sire, from egoism and headship: seek a leader, do not desire leadership.

How an objector objected to the Prophet's—on whom be peace— appointing the man of Hudhayl to be commander.

2030. When the Prophet appointed a leader from (the tribe of) Hudhayl for the army whose troops were Divinely aided,
An insolent fellow, through envy, could not endure (to keep silence): he raised objection and
opposition.
Behold humankind, how dark (unenlightened) they are, and how they are perishing in (desire for) a perishable piece of goods.
On account of pride they all are in separation (from God), dead to the spirit, living in deception.
It is wonderful that the spirit is in prison, and then (all that time) the key of the prison is in its hand!

2035. That youth (the spirit) is plunged in dung from head to foot, (whilst) the flowing river is
(almost) touching his skirt!
(He is) always moving restlessly from side to side beside the place of repose and the couch where he might recline!
The (Divine) light is hidden, and search is the evidence (of its existence), for the heart (spirit)
does not seek shelter in vain.
If this world's prison had no refuge, neither would there be any feeling of aversion nor would the heart seek release.
Thy aversion is dragging you along, like a custodian, saying, O man astray, seek the path of righteousness.”

2040. The path is there, but it is hidden in a secret place: its discovery is in pawn to
(involves) seeking in vain (before it can be found).
Separation is secretly in quest of union: in this seeker do you discern the face of the sought.
The dead (trees and plants) of the orchard spring up from the root, saying, “Perceive the Giver of life!
How should the eyes of these prisoners (of the world) be always (fixed) on (what lies) beyond, if
there were no bringer of the good news (of deliverance)?
How should there be a hundred thousand befouled ones seeking water, if there were no water in the river?

2045. (If) there is no rest for your side upon the earth, (yet) know that there is a coverlet and mattress at home.

Without (there being) a resting-place there would not be the restless (seeker); without (there being) that which takes away the headache of intoxication, there would not be this headache.
He (the objector) said, “Nay, nay, O Messenger of God, do not appoint any but an old Shaykh to be chief of the army.
O Messenger of God, (even) if the youth is lion-born (heroic), may none but an old man be head of the army!
You too have said, and your word is (a true) witness, The leader must be old, must be old.

2050. O Messenger of God, look on this army, (in which) there are so many elders and
(persons) superior to him.
Do not regard the yellow leaves of this tree, (but) pick its ripe apples.
How, in sooth, are its yellow leaves void (of worth)? This is the sign of maturity and perfection. The yellow leaf of the (elder's) beard and his white hair bring tidings of joy on account of his
mature intelligence.
The newly-arrived green-coloured leaves signify that this fruit is unripe.

2055. The provision of leaflessness (spiritual poverty) is the sign of being a gnostic; the yellowness of gold is the (cause of the) money-changer's ruddiness of face (cheerful countenance).
If he that (still) is rosy-cheeked has fresh down (on his face), (yet) he has just begun to learn writing in the school of knowledge.
The letters of his handwriting are very crooked (misshapen): he is a cripple in respect of intelligence, though his body moves with agility.
Although an old man's feet are deprived of rapid movement, his intelligence has gotten two wings and has sped to the zenith.
If you wish for an example (of this), look at Ja‘far: God gave him wings instead of hands and
feet.

2060. Cease from (speaking of) gold (pallor), for this topic is recondite: this heart of mine has become agitated like quicksilver.
From within me a hundred sweet-breathing silent ones put their hands on their lips, signifying, It is enough.
Silence is the sea, and speech is like the river. The sea is seeking you: do not seek the river.
Do not turn your head away from the indications given by the sea: conclude (the subject)—and
God best knoweth the right course.
That irreverent (objector) made no pause in the words (which he poured forth) in this fashion from those cold (insipid) lips (of his) in the presence of the Prophet.

2065. Words were assisting (did not fail) him, (but) he was ignorant that hearsay (traditional knowledge) is mere babble in the presence of sight (immediate vision).
Indeed, these matters of hearsay are (only) a substitute for sight: they are not for him who is present, (but) for him who is absent.
Whoever has been caused to attain unto sight, before him these matters of hearsay are idle.
When you have sat down beside your beloved, after this banish the dallálas (the old women who act as go-betweens).
When any one has passed beyond childhood and has become a man, the letter and the dallála
become irksome to him.

2070. He reads letters, (but only) for the purpose of teaching (others); he utters words, (but only) for the purpose of making (others) understand.
It is wrong to speak by hearsay in the presence of those who see (who are endowed with vision), for it is a proof of our heedlessness and deficiency.

In the presence of the seer silence is to your advantage: on this account came (from God) the allocution, Be ye silent.
If he (the seer) bid you speak, speak gladly, but say little and do not draw out (your words) to length;
And if he bid you draw them out to length, speak with the same modesty (as before) and comply with his command,

2075. Even as I (am complying) now, in this goodly enchantment (this enchanting poem), with (the command of) Ziyá’u ’l-Haqq (the Radiance of God) Husámu’ddín.
When I am cutting short (my discourse) concerning (the Way of) righteousness, he draws me on to speak by a hundred kinds (of contrivance).
O Husámuddín, Radiance of the Almighty, inasmuch as you art seeing, why do you seek
speech (from me)?
Perchance this demand (on your part) may arise from (your) love for the Desired One, (as the poet said), “Give me wine to drink and tell me that it is (wine).”
At this moment His cup is at your mouth, (but thy) ear says, Where is the ear's portion?”

2080. (O ear), your portion is the heat (of love): lo, you art heated and intoxicated. It replied, “My greed is greater than this.”

How Mustafá, on whom be peace, answered the objector.

When that Arab carried disputation beyond bounds in the presence of sweettempered Mustafá, That king of Wa ’l-Najm and that sultan of Abas bit his lip (in anger) and said to the silly prater, Enough!
He was putting his hand on his (the objector's) mouth to prevent him, (as though to say), How long wilt you speak in the presence of one who knows the occult?”
You have brought dry ordure to one endowed with vision, saying, “Buy this instead of a musk-
bag.

2085. O you of stinking brain and stinking marrow, you placest camel's dung beneath your nose and sayest, Oh, delicious!”
O squinting crazy fool, you have exclaimed in delight,Oh, oh, that your bad wares may find a
ready sale,
And that you mayst deceive that pure organ of (spiritual) smell, that which pastures in the celestial rose-garden.
Though his (the saint's) forbearance has feigned to be stupid, one must know one's self a little. If to-night the mouth of the cooking-pot is left open, yet the cat must have discretion.

2090. If that glorious one (the saint) has feigned to be asleep, he is (really) very much awake: do not carry off his turban.
How long, O contumacious man devoid of (spiritual) excellence, wilt you utter these Devil's enchantments in the presence of God's elect one?
This company (of the elect) have a hundred thousand forbearances, every one of which is
(immovable) as a hundred mountains.
Their forbearance makes a fool of the wary and causes the keen-witted man with a hundred eyes to lose his way.
Their forbearance, like fine choice wine, mounts by nice degrees up to the brain.

2095. Behold the man drunken with that marvellous (earthly) wine: the drunken man has begun to move crookedly like the queen (in chess).
From (the effect of) that quickly-catching wine the (vigorous) youth is falling in the middle of the road, like an aged man.

Especially (consider the effect of) this (spiritual) wine which is from the jar of Balánot the wine whereof the intoxication lasts (only) one night;
(But) that (wine) from which, (by drinking it) at dessert and in migration (from place to place), the Men of the Cave (the Seven Sleepers) lost their reason for three hundred and nine years. The women of Egypt drank one cup of that (wine) and cut their hands to pieces.

2100. The magicians (of Pharaoh) too had the intoxication of Moses: they deemed the gallows to be their beloved.
Ja‘far-i Tayyár was drunken with that wine: therefore, being beside himself, he was pawning
(sacrificing) his feet and hands (for God's sake).

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