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(Masnavi Book 2: 39) The bitter grief of a man who missed the congregational prayers

The excellence of the remorse felt by one who was sincere (in his devotion) for having missed the congregational prayers.

A certain man was going into the mosque (when) the people were coming out of the mosque.

He began to ask (one of them), saying, “What ails the congregation that they are coming out of the mosque (so) soon?” That person said to him, “The Prophet has prayed with the congregation and finished (his) communion.
How art you going in, O foolish man, when the Prophet has given the blessing?”

2775. He cried, “Ah!” and smoke issued from that (burning) sigh: his sigh was giving forth the smell of blood from his heart.

One of the congregation said, “Give me this sigh, and my prayers are yours.”

He answered,I give the sigh and accept the prayers.” He (the other) took that sigh with a hundred yearnings (towards God).

At night, whilst (he was) asleep, a Voice said to him, “You have bought the Water of Life and salvation. In honour of this choice and this appropriation the prayers of all the people have been accepted.
Conclusion of the confession made by Iblís to Mu‘áwiya of his deceit.

2780. Then ‘Azázíl* said to him, “O noble Amír, I must lay my deceit before (you).

If you had missed the prayers, you would then from heartache have uttered sighs and lamentations,

And that regret and that lamentation and that (sorrowful) yearning would have exceeded (in value) two hundred litanies and prayers.

I awakened you in fear lest such a sigh might burn the veil (of formality),

In order that such a sigh should not be yours; in order that you should not have any way to it.

2785. I am envious: from envy I acted thus. I am the enemy: my (proper) work is deceit and malice.”

He (Mu‘áwiya) said, “Now you have told the truth, you are veracious. This (deceit) comes (naturally) from you: to this you are adapted.

You are a spider, you have flies as your prey; O cur, I am not a fly, (so) do not worry.

I am a white falcon: the King hunts me. How should a spider weave his web about me?

Go now, continue to catch flies as far as you can: invite the flies to (partake of) some buttermilk;

2790. And if you call (them) to honey, that too will certainly be lies and buttermilk (fraud).

You awakened me, (but) it (that awakenment) was (really) slumber: you showed (me) a ship, (but) that was (really) a whirlpool.

You were calling me to good for the purpose that you might drive me away from the better good.”

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