Search Poetry

(Masnavi Book 2: 41) The Hypocrites and the Mosque of Opposition

The story of the Hypocrites and their building the Mosque of Opposition.

2825. It is fit if you will hearken to another parable concerning perversity (taken) from the narrative in the Qur’án.

The Hypocrites played against the Prophet (just) such a crooked game at odd and even (as was played by Iblís against

Saying, Let us build a mosque for the glory of the Mohammedan religion”; and that was (really) apostasy (on their part). Such a crooked game were they playing: they built a mosque other than his mosque.
They constructed (well) its floor and roof and dome, but they desired to disunite the (Moslem) community.

2830. They came to the Prophet with (guileful) entreaty: they knelt as camels before him,

Saying, “O Messenger of God, wilt you for kindness' sake give yourself the trouble (to walk) to that mosque, To the end that it may be made blessed by your approach— may your days flourish until the Resurrection!
It is a mosque for muddy and cloudy days, a mosque for days of sore distress in times of poverty,

That a (poor) stranger may get charity and room (to shelter) there, and that this house of service may be frequented,

2835. So that the rites of the Religion may be multiplied and abound; because a bitter plight is sweetened (by being shared)
with friends.

Honour that place (by your presence) for a short while: declare us to be sincere, and give a good account of us. Show favour to the mosque and its founders. you art the moon, we are the night: comply with us for a moment, In order that by your beauty night may be made like day, O you whose beauty is a night-illumining sun.”
Alas! would that those words had been from the heart, so that the desire of those folk might have been accomplished!

2840. Courtesy that comes to the tongue without (sincerity of) heart and soul is like herbs on the ash-heap, O friends. Look at them from afar and pass on: they are not fit for eating or smelling, O son.
Do not, indeed, go (incline) towards the courtesy of the faithless, for it is a ruined bridge: heed well (my warning). If a fool set foot on it, the bridge will break, and will shatter that foot of his.
Wherever an army is routed, it is because of two or three effeminate weaklings.

2845. He (the poltroon) comes armed into the battle-line, like a man: they (the soldiers) put their trust in him, saying, “Here's the Comrade of the Cave.”

He turns his face (in flight) when he sees wounds: his going breaks your back.

This (topic) is long and is expanding, and that which is aimed at is becoming hidden (from sight).

How the Hypocrites cajoled the Prophet—God bless and save him!that they might take him to the Mosque of Opposition.

They chanted spells over (spoke deceitful words to) the Messenger of God: they were driving (hard) the steed of cunning and craft.

The kind and compassionate Messenger proffered (in reply) nothing but smiles, nothing but “Yes.”

2850. He expressed (his) thanks to that company (deputation): he gladdened the envoys in (by) assent. Their deceit was apparent to him, point by point, in the same way as hairs in milk.
That courteous one feigned not to see the hairs: that polite one said “Bravo!” to the milk. Myriad hairs of deceit and fraud (he beheld), and at that time he closed his eyes to it all.
That ocean of bounty spoke truly (when he said), “I am kinder unto you than you (yourselves are).

2855. I am seated at the edge of a fire with an exceedingly unpleasant blaze and flame;

Ye are hasening towards it like moths, (while) both my hands have become moth-flaps (to beat you off).”

When the Prophet had resolved to set out (to the Mosque), the jealousy of God cried, “Do not hearken to the ghoul! For these wicked men have used deceit and cunning: what they have put forward is entirely the reverse (of the truth).
Their intent was nothing but (to bring) black shame (upon you): when have Christians or Jews sought the welfare of the (true) Religion?

2860. They (the Hypocrites) have built a mosque upon Hell's bridge: they have played the game of trickery with God.

Their aim is to cause disunion amongst the Companions of the Prophet: how should any vain fool understand the grace of

(They have built the Mosque) in order that they may fetch hither a Jew from Syria, with whose preaching the Jews are intoxicated.”

The Prophet said (to the Hypocrites), “Yes (I will do as ye wish), but (just now) we are intending to march and starting on a campaign.

As soon as I return from this expedition, I will then set out to that Mosque at once.”

2865. He (thus) put them off and hurried to the field of war: he played a game of trickery with the tricksters. When he came back from the campaign, they returned and sought (the fulfilment of) that past promise.
God said to him, “O Prophet, proclaim the treachery (with which they have acted), and if war be (the consequence), say, ‘Let it be!’”

He (the Prophet) said, “O false people, be silent! Hush, lest I tell your secret thoughts.”

When he had declared (to them) a few indications of their inmost thoughts, they were in evil plight*.

2870. Thereupon the envoys turned back from him crying, “God forfend! God forfend!” Every Hypocrite, by way of fraud, brought a Qur’án under his arm to the Prophet,
In order to take oaths—for oaths are a shield; (this they did) because (taking) oaths is a custom followed by the wicked. Since the wicked man does not keep faith in (matters of) religion, he will break (his) oath at any time.
The righteous have no need of (taking) oath, because they have two clear (discerning) eyes.

2875. Breach of compacts and covenants is (the result) of stupidity; keeping of oaths and faithfulness (to one's word) is the practice of him that fears God.

Said the Prophet, “Shall I take your oaths as true, or the oath of God?”

Again those people, the Qur’án in their hands and the seal of fasting on their lips, swore another oath,

Saying, “By the truth of this holy and true Word (we swear) that the building of the Mosque is for God's sake.

In that place there is no contrivance of deceit: in that place there is (only) commemoration (of God) and sincerity and calling unto the Lord.”

2880. The Prophet answered, “The voice of God is coming into my ear like an echo. God has put a seal upon your ears, so that they make not hase to (hear) the voice of God.
Lo, the voice of God is coming to me distinctly: it is filtered clear for me, like the pure (liquor) from the dregs”— Even as Moses from the direction of the Bush heard the voice of God saying, “O you of blessed fortune!”
From the Bush he was hearing (the words), “Lo, I am Allah,” and together with the words there appeared (Divine) lights.

2885. Inasmuch as they (the Hypocrites) were left in the lurch by the light of (Divine) inspiration, they once more began to recite oaths anew.

Since God calls an oath a shield, how should the quarreller lay down the shield from his hand? Again the Prophet, giving (them) the lie direct, said to them in plain terms, “Ye have lied.”

How one of the Companions—may God be well-pleased with them!—thought (to himself) disapprovingly, “Why does not the Prophet—God bless and save him!—throw a veil (over their hypocrisy)?”

(Their request was ignominiously refused), so that one of the Prophet's Companions conceived in his heart dislike of that recoilment,

Thinking, “Grey-haired and venerable old men like these— this Prophet is putting them to shame.

2890. Where is generosity? Where cloaking (of sins)? Where modesty (respect for the feelings of others)? The prophets cover up hundreds of thousands of faults.”

Quickly, again, in his heart he asked pardon of God, lest he should be disgraced for objecting (to the Prophet's behaviour). The turpitude of befriending the Hypocrites made the true believer wicked and rebellious like them.
Again he was crying in supplication, “O you who knowest the inmost consciousness, do not leave me persisting in unbelief!

My heart is not in my control, as (my) eyesight (is); else I would at this moment burn my heart in anger.

2895. (Whilst he was) in this thought, slumber seized him. To him (dreaming), their mosque seemed full of dung: A corrupted place, its stones (steeped) in filth: from the stones floated up black smoke.
The smoke went into his throat and made it smart: terrified by the bitter smoke, he sprang from sleep. Forthwith he fell on his face and wept, saying, “O God, these things are the sign of (their) disbelief.
Wrath (against them) is better, O God, than such forbearance (as mine), which separates me from the light of Faith.”

2900. If you scrutinise the labour of them that follow falsehood, (you will se that) it is stinking, coat upon coat, like an onion

Every one (of their efforts) more pithless than another, (while), in the case of the sincere, (every effort) is more excellent than the other.

Those folk (the Hypocrites) tied a hundred belts on their mantles in order to destroy the Mosque of the people of Qubá— Even as the Lords of the Elephant (who abode) in Abyssinia made a Ka‘ba, (but) God set it afire;
(And then) they (the Abyssinians) made an attempt on the Ka‘ba in revenge: read from the Word (of God) how they fared!

2905. The reprobates of the Religion have indeed no equipment but cunning and deceit and contentiousness.

Every Companion saw plainly (in sleep) some vision of that Mosque, so that the secret (purpose) of it became to them certain knowledge.

If I should relate the visions, one by one, then the purity (of the Companions) would become certain to them that doubt; But I am afraid of revealing their mystery: they are the disdainful loved ones (of God), and disdain beseems them.
They have received the (religious) Law (directly from God) without mechanical imitation (of others): they have taken that
(unadulterated) coin without (applying) the touchstone.

2910. The Wisdom of the Qur’án is like the true believer's stray camel: every one has certain (intuitive) knowledge of his own stray.

No comments:

Post a comment