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(Masnavi Book 1: 00) Preface (in prose)


In the Name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Reynold A. Nicholson
December 1925

This is the Book of the Mathnawí, which is the roots of the roots of the roots of the (Mohammedan) Religion in respect of (its) unveiling the mysteries of attainment (to the Truth) and of certainty; and which is the greatest science of God and the clearest (religious) way of God and the most manifest evidence of God.

The likeness of the light thereof is as a niche in which is a candle shining with a radiance brighter than the dawn. It is the heart's Paradise, having fountains and boughs, one of them a fountain called Salsabíl amongst the travellers on this Path; and in the view of the possessors of (mystical) stations and (Divine) graces, it (the Mathnawí) is best as a station and most excellent as a (spiritual) resting-place. Therein the righteous eat and drink, and thereby the (spiritually) free are gladdened and rejoiced; and like the Nile of Egypt it is a (pleasant) drink to them that endure patiently, but a grief to the people of Pharaoh and the unbelievers, even as God hath said, He lets many be misled thereby and He lets many be guided thereby. It is the cure for (sick) breasts, and the purge of sorrows, and the expounder of the Qur’án, and the (source of) abundance of (Divine) gifts, and the (means of) cleansing (sordid) dispositions; (written) by the hands of noble righteous scribes who forbid (with the words) None shall touch it except the purified. Falsehood doth not approach it either from before or behind, since God observes it and watches over it, and He is the best guardian and He is the most merciful of them that show mercy. And it hath other titles of honour which God hath bestowed upon it.

We have confined ourselves to this little (that has been mentioned), for the little is an index to the much, and a mouthful (of water) is an index to the (quality of the) pool, and a handful (of wheat) is an index to (serves as a sample of the contents of) a great threshing-floor (granary).

Saith the feeble slave who hath need of the mercy of God most High, Muhammad son of Muhammad son of al-Husayn of (the city of) Balkh—may God accept (this offering) from him: “I have exerted myself to give length to the Poem in Rhymed Couplets, which comprises strange tales and rare sayings and excellent discourses and precious indications, and the (religious) path of the ascetics and the (spiritual) garden of the devotees— (all this being) brief in expression but manifold in meaning— at the request of my master and stay and support, (who holds) the place of the spirit in my body, and (who is) the treasure of my to-day and my to-morrow, namely, the Shaykh, the exemplar for them that know God and the leader of them that possess right guidance and certainty, the helper of humankind, the trusted keeper of (their) hearts and consciences, the charge deposited by God amongst His creatures, and His choice amongst His creation, and (the object of) His injunctions to His Prophet and (of) His secrets (imparted) to His chosen one, the key of the treasuries
of the empyrean, the trustee of the riches stored in the earth, the father of virtues, the Sword (Husám) of the Truth and Religion, Hasan son of Muhammad son of al-Hasan, generally known as Ibn Akhí Turk, the Abú Yazíd of the time, the Junayd of the age, the entirely veracious son of an entirely veracious sire and grandsire—may God be well-pleased with him and with them!—a native of Urmiya, tracing his descent to the Shaykh who is honoured for having said, ‘In the evening I was a Kurd, and in the morning I was an Arab.’ May God sanctify his soul and the souls of his successors! How goodly is the ancestor and how goodly the successor!

His is a lineage upon which the sun hath cast its mantle, and a renown of ancestry before which the stars have dimmed their beams. Their (his family's) courtyard hath ever been Fortune's cynosure (qibla), whither turn the sons of the (spiritual) rulers, and Hope's Ka‘ba which is circumambulated by deputations of the suitors for bounty; and may it never cease to be thus, so long as a star rises and an orient sun appears above the horizon, to the end that it may be a fastness for the godly, spiritual, heavenly, super-celestial, illuminated ones who possess (mystical) insight, the silent ones who behold, the absent ones who are present, the kings beneath threadbare garments, the nobles of the nations, the owners of excellences, the luminaries who display the (Divine) evidences. Amen, O Lord of all created beings! And this is a prayer that will not be rejected, for it is a prayer that includes (in its benefits) all classes of the creation. Glory be to God, the Lord of all created beings, and God bless the best of His creatures, Mohammed, and his kin, the noble, the pure!”


saqi_pak said...

Assalam o Alikum,
There is an excellent commentary of Masnavi by Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, it is called "Kaleed e Masnavi" inclusion of which in this blog shall make it perfect.
Very nice effort though.

Rumi Urdu Blog said...

Wa Aliekumu Assalam !

Brother so far I don't have Sharah of Masnavi. In future if I get commentary books, I will try to add InshaAllah.

Anonymous said...

there is a commentary by Hakim Akhtar Sahab here!

Johan Tristan Aslim said...

As a kind addition, a link of an interesting interview on 'The secret of the Masnavi' with one of its translators:

Anonymous said...

Aren't there urdu translations available anywhere of these poems? If so please tell.

Anonymous said...

Excelent explaination of masnavi sharif by Hazarat Pir Aalwodin Siddiquee Sajjada Nasheen Darbar e aalia nehrian sharif.
Do search google the purpose.

Unknown said...


I have recently gained interest in Maula Room's wonderful work. But unfortunately, my urdu and farsi are not up to par to completely understand him. I 'd love to read all translations in English as I'm very comfortable with it but in layman terms. You see, hypothetically, most of the translation (written above) is probably spot on to his work in terms of translation but I need it to be a lot simpler for me to understand it. In other words, please guide me to something that's literally broken down for someone as novice as me. Please help me. JazakaAllah and may Allah bless you with more to come. I'll look forward to your reply.

Unknown said...

I have a Masnavi Manvi which is divided into 6 parts (portions) which contains very nice lessons,stories and explanation of the QURANIC verses and HADITHS.Very nice work very beautiful and attractive.May ALLAH bless him(R.A)

Unknown said...

this is the meaningful life,,,

Anonymous said...

Can anyone Please say from where I can have Urdu Translation of Masnavi Shareef from Sunni Alim..Not from Deobandis or other Wahabis...Jo Nabi k ilm-E-Gaib ka Inkaar karte...Unse aise Kitabei Dekhna...LoLzz..Like...Bandar k haath mein Aina(Mirror)

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