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(Masnavi Book 4: 12) The unspoken Sermon of the Caliph Uthman

Story of the beginning of the Caliphate of Uthmán, may God be well-pleased with him, and his sermon expounding that the doer who exhorts by deeds is better than the speaker who exhorts by words.

The story (told) of Uthmán is that he mounted the pulpit: when he obtained the Caliphate, he made hot haste (to mount it).
(’Twas) the pulpit of the Chief (Mohammed), which had three steps: Abú Bakr went and seated himself on the second step.
Umar, in his reign, (sat) on the third step in order to show reverence for Islam and the (true) Religion.

490. (When) the reign of Uthmán arrived, he, that man of praised (blessed) fortune, went up on to the top of the throne (pulpit) and seated himself.
Then a person given to idle meddling questioned him, saying, “Those two did not sit in the
Prophet's place:
How, then, have you sought to be higher than they, when you art inferior to them in rank?
He replied, “If I tread on the third step, it will be imagined that I resemble ‘Umar;
(And if) I seek a seat on the second step, you wilt say, ‘It is (the seat of) Abú Bakr, and
(therefore) this one too is like him.’

495. This top (of the pulpit) is the place of Mustafá (Mohammed): no one will imagine that I
am like that (spiritual) King.

Afterwards, (seated) in the preaching-place, that loving man kept silence till near the (time of the) afternoon-prayer.
None dared to say “Come now, preach! or to go forth from the mosque during that time.
An awe had settled (descended) on high and low (alike): the court and roof (of the mosque) had become filled with the Light of God.
Whoever possessed vision was beholding His Light; the blind man too was being heated by that

500. Hence, by reason of the heat, the blind man's eye was perceiving that there had arisen a
Sun whose strength faileth not.
But this heat (unlike the heat of the terrestrial sun) opens the (inward) eye, that it may see the very substance of everything heard.
Its heat has (as effect) a grievous agitation and emotion, (but) from that glow there comes to the heart a joyous (sense of) freedom, an expansion.
When the blind man is heated by the Light of Eternity, from gladness he says,I have become seeing.”
You art mightily well drunken, but, O Bu ’l-Hasan, there is a bit of way (to be traversed ere you attain) to seeing.

505. This is the blind man's portion from the Sun, (and) a hundred such (portions); and God best knoweth what is right.
And he that has vision of that Light—how should the explanation of him (his state) be a task
(within the capacity) of Bú Síná?
(Even) if it be hundredfold, who (what) is this tongue that it should move with its hand the veil of
(mystical) clairvoyance?
Woe to it if it touch the veil! The Divine sword severs its hand.
What of the hand? It (the sword) rends off even its (the tongue's) head—the head that from ignorance puts forth many a head (of pride and self-conceit).

510. I have said this to you, speaking hypothetically; otherwise, indeed, how far is its hand from being able to do that!
Materterae si testiculi essent, ea avunculus esset: this is hypothetical—if there were.”
(If) I say that between the tongue and the eye that is free from doubt there is a hundred thousand years' (journey), it is little (in comparison with the reality).
Now come, do not despair! When God wills, light arrives from heaven in a single moment.
At every instant His power causes a hundred influences from the stars to reach the
(subterranean) mines.

515. The star (planet) of heaven deletes the darkness; the star of God is fixed in His
O you that seekest help, the celestial sphere, (at a distance) of five hundred years' journey, is in effect nigh unto the earth.
It is (a journey of) three thousand five hundred years to Saturn; (yet) his special property acts
incessantly (upon the earth).
He (God) rolls it up like a shadow at the return (of the sun): in the sun's presence what is (what avails) the length of the shadow?
And from the pure star like souls replenishment is ever coming to the stars of heaven.

520. The outward (aspect) of those stars is our ruler, (but) our inward (essence) has become the ruler of the sky.

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