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(Masnavi Book 2: 40) The thief who escaped because his accomplice gave a false alarm

How a thief escaped because some one gave the alarm to the master of the house, who had nearly overtaken and caught the thief.

This (behaviour of Iblís) is like that (which is told in the following story), how a certain man saw a thief in the house and ran after him.

He ran after him (the length of) two or three fields, till the fatigue threw him into a sweat.

2795. At the moment when, rushing on, he had come so near to him that he might spring upon him and seize him, The second thief cried out to him, “Come, that you may see these signs of calamity.
Be quick and turn back, O man of (prompt) action, that you may see (how) very pitiable (is) the state of things here.” He (the householder) said (to himself), “Maybe a thief is yonder: if I do not return at once, this (fate) will befall me.
He may lay hands upon my wife and child, (and in that case) how would it profit me to bind this thief (whom I am pursuing)?

2800. This Moslem is calling me in kindness: unless I return quickly, evil will come to me.”

In (confident) hope of the compassion of that well-disposed (friend), he left the thief and again set off (in another direction). O good friend,” said he, “what is the matter? By whose hand (violence) is this lamentation and outcry of yours (caused)?” Look here,” said (the other). “See the thief's footprints! The pimping thief has gone this way.
Look at the cuckold thief's footprints! Follow him by means of these marks and traces.”

2805. He answered, “O fool, what are you telling me? Why, I had (as good as) caught him, (But) at your cry I let the thief go. I deemed you, ass (as you are), a (reasonable) man.
What silly gabble and nonsense is this, O fellow? I (had) found the reality: what (use to me) is the clue?” He replied, I am giving you a clue to the real (thing). This is the clue; I am acquainted with the reality.
He (the householder) said, “You are an artful knave or else you are a fool; nay, you are a thief and cognisant of this affair.

2810. I was (on the point of) dragging my adversary along, (when) you let him escape, saying (to me), ‘Here are (his)

You speak of (external) relations, (but) I transcend (all) relations. In union (with God) where are signs or evidences?

The man that is debarred (from the Essence) sees the (Divine) action (as proceeding) from the Attributes: he that has lost the
Essence is in (confined to) the Attributes.
Inasmuch as those united (with God) are absorbed in the Essence, O son, how should they look upon His Attributes? When your head is at the bottom of the river, how will your eye fall on the colour of the water?

2815. And if you come back from the bottom to the colour of the water, then you have received a coarse woollen garment and given (fine) fur (in exchange).

The piety of the vulgar is sin in the elect; the unitive state of the vulgar is a veil in the elect. If the king make a vizier a police inspector, the king is his enemy, he is not his friend.
Also, that vizier will have committed some offence: necessarily change (for the worse) is not (does not occur) without cause.

He that has been a police inspector from the first—to him that (office) has been fortune and livelihood from the beginning;

2820. But he that was first the king's vizier—evil-doing is the cause of making him a police inspector.

When the King has called you from the threshold into His presence, and again has driven you back to the threshold, Know for sure that you have committed a sin and in folly have brought forward (pleaded) compulsion (as the cause), Saying, “This was my (predestined) portion and lot.” (But) then, why was that good luck in your hands yesterday? Through folly you yourself have cut off your lot. The worthy man augments his lot.

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