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(Masnavi Book 5: 19) The Devoted Lover








Story of the lover who was recounting to his beloved his acts of service and loyalty and the long nights (during which) their sides heave up from their beds and the long days of want and parching thirst; and he was saying, I know not any service besides these: if there is any other service (to be done), direct me, for I submit to whatever you mayst command, whether to enter the fire, like Khalíl (Abraham), on
whom be peace, or fall into the mouth of the leviathan of the sea, like Jonah, on whom be peace, or be killed seventy times, like Jirjís (St George), on whom be peace, or be made blind by weeping, like Shu‘ayb, on whom be peace; and the loyalty and self-sacrifice of the prophets cannot be reckoned”; and how the beloved answered him.

A certain lover in the presence of his beloved was recounting his services and works,
Saying, For your sake I did such and such, in this war I suffered (wounds from) arrows and spears.
Wealth is gone and strength is gone and fame is gone: on account of my love for you many a misfortune has befallen me.

1245. No dawn found me asleep or laughing; no eve found me with capital and means.” What he had tasted of bitters and dregs he was recounting to her in detail, point by point,
Not for the sake of reproach; nay, he was displaying a hundred testimonies of the trueness of his love.
For men of reason a single indication is enough, (but) how should the thirst (longing) of lovers be removed thereby?
He (the lover) repeats his tale unweariedly: how should a fish be satisfied with (mere) indication (so as to refrain) from the limpid water?

1250. He (the lover), from that ancient grief, was speaking a hundred words in complaint, saying, I
have not spoken a word.”
There was a fire in him: he did not know what it was, but on account of its heat he was weeping like a candle.
The beloved said, “You have done all this, yet open yours ear wide and apprehend well;

For you have not done what is the root of the root of love and fealty: this that you have done is (only) the branches.
The lover said to her, Tell me, what is that root? She said, “The root thereof is to die and be naught.

1255. you have done all (else), (but) you have not died, you art living. Hark, die, if you art a self- sacrificing friend!”
Instantly he laid himself at full length (on the ground) and gave up the ghost: like the rose, he played away his head (life), laughing and rejoicing.
That laughter remained with him as an endowment unto everlasting, like the untroubled spirit and reason of the gnostic.
How should the light of the moon ever become defiled, though its light strike on everything good and evil? Pure of all (defilements) it returns to the moon, even as the light of the spirit and reason (returns) unto God.

1260. The quality of purity is an endowment (settled) on the light of the moon, though its radiance is
(falling) on the defilements of the way.
Malignity does not accrue to the light of the moon from those defilements of the way or from pollution. The light of the sun heard (the call) Return! and came back in haste to its source.
No disgrace remained with it from the ashpits, no colour remained with it from the rose-gardens.
The light of the eye and the seer of the light returned (to their source): the desert and plain were left in passionate desire thereof.

A certain man asked a mystic theologian, “If any one weep loudly during the ritual prayer and moan and lament, is his prayer rendered void?” He replied, “The name of those (tears) is water of the eye’: consider what that weeper has seen: if he has seen (felt) longing for God or repentance for a sin and weeps, his prayer is not spoilt; nay, it attains perfection, for there is no prayer without presence of the heart; but if he has (inwardly) seen bodily sickness or the loss of a son, his prayer is spoilt, for the foundation of prayer is the abandonment of the body and the abandonment of sons, like Abraham, who was offering his son as a sacrifice in order to perfect his prayer and giving up his body to Nimrod's fire; and Mustafá (Mohammed), on whom be peace, was commanded (by God) to act after these manners: “follow the religion of Abraham.” Verily ye have had a good example in Abraham.”

1265. A certain man asked a mufti in private, If any one weep lamentably during the ritual prayer, I wonder, will his prayer be rendered void, or will his prayer be licit and perfect?”
He replied, “Wherefore is it named ‘the water of the eye’? You should consider what it (the eye) saw and
(then) wept.
Consider what the water of the eye saw in secret, so that on that account it began to flow from its spring. If the supplicant has seen yonder world, that prayer (of his) gains a lustre from (his) lamentation;

1270. But if that weeping was caused by bodily pain or by mourning (for the dead), the thread is snapped and the spindle too is broken.”

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