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(Masnavi Book 3: 54) The Amir and the Slave who took delight in the ritual Prayer

Story of the Amír and his slave who was very fond of the ritual prayer and had a great joy in the ritual prayer and in communing with God.

3055. At dawn the Amír wanted (to go to) the hot bath: he shouted, Ho Sunqur, rouse yourself!
Get from Aln the basin and the napkin and the clay, that we may go to the hot bath, O
indispensable one.”
Sunqur at that (very) moment took up the basin and a fine napkin and set out with him—the two together.
There was a mosque on the road, and the call to prayer came publicly into Sunqur's ear.
Sunqur was very fond of the ritual prayer: he said, O my Amír, O kind master,

3060. Stay patiently for a while on this bench, that I may perform the obligatory prayers and may recite (the Súra beginning with the words) lam yakun.”
When the Imám and the people had come forth and finished the prayers and litanies,
Sunqur remained there till near the forenoon: the Amír awaited him for some time;
(Then) he said,O Sunqur, why don't you come out? He replied, This artful One will not let me
Have patience! Behold, I come, O light (of my eyes)! I am not heedless, for you art in my ear.

3065. Seven times in succession did he show patience and (then) shout—till at last the man was reduced to despair by his (Sunqur's) trifling.
His (Sunqur's) reply was (always) this“He will not let me come out yet, O revered (master).”
He (the master) said, Why, there is no one left in the mosque. Who is detaining you there? Who has made you sit (fast)?”
He (Sunqur) said, He who has chained you outside (of the mosque) has chained me too inside
(of it).
He who will not let you come in will not let me come out.

3070. He who will not let you set foot in this direction has chained the foot of this slave (so that it cannot move) in this (opposite) direction.”
The sea does not let the fish out; the sea does not let the creatures of earth in.
Water is the original home of the fish, and the (gross) animal is of the earth: here device and contrivance are of no avail.
Strong is the lock (of Divine destiny), and the (only) opener is God: cling to resignation and
acquiescence (in God's will).
Though the atoms, one by one, should become keys, (yet) this opening is not (effected) save by the Divine Majesty.

3075. When you forget your own contrivance, you will gain that young (happy) fortune from your spiritual Guide.
When you are forgetful of self, you are remembered (by God): (when) you have become a slave
(to Him), then you are set free.

How the prophets lost hope of being accepted and approved by the unbelievers, as
God has said: Until, when the (Divine) Messengers despaired…”

The prophets said to their hearts (to themselves), “How long shall we continue giving exhortation and counsel to this one and that one?
How long shall we misguidedly beat a piece of cold iron? Hark, till when (how long shall we continue) to breathe into a cage?”
The motion (action) of created beings is (caused) by Divine destiny and appointment: the
sharpness of the teeth is (caused) by the burning (hunger pangs) of the stomach.

3080. The First Soul pushed (produced an effect) upon the second soul: a fish stinks from the head, not from the tail.
But, whilst recognising (this), still speed on like an arrow: since God has said, Deliver (the
Divine message), there is no escape (from doing so).
You do not know which of these two you are: strive (then) so long (as is necessary) that you may discern what you are.
When you put a cargo on board a ship, you are making that venture on trust,
(For) you do not know which of the two you are—whether you are (destined to be) drowned on the voyage or saved (from death).

3085. If you say, “Until I know which I am, I will not hasten on to (embark on) the ship and the ocean;
On this voyage I am (to be) saved or drowned: reveal (to me) to which party I belong. I will not start upon this voyage with doubt and in idle hope, like the others”—
(Then) no traffic will be done by you, because the secret of these two aspects (possibilities) is in
the Unseen.
The merchant of timid disposition and frail spirit neither gains nor loses in his quest;

3090. Nay, he suffers loss, for he is deprived (of fortune) and despicable: (only) he that is an eater of flames (ardent in search) will find the light.
Inasmuch as all affairs turn upon hope, the affair of religion is most worthy (to inspire hope), for by this means you may win salvation.
Here it is not permitted to knock at the door (with importunity); naught but hope (is permissible): God best knoweth the right course.

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