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(Masnavi Book 5: 16) The value of Works

Commentary on the saying of Mustafá (Mohammed), on whom be peace, You must needs have a familiar who is buried with you, he being alive, and with whom you art buried when you art dead; if he be generous, he will treat you generously, and if he be base, he will forsake you. That familiar is your works, so make them right as far as you art able.” The Messenger of Allah spake the truth.

Therefore the Prophet said, “For the purpose of (traversing) this Way there is no comrade more faithful than works.
If they be good they will be your friends for ever, and if they be evil they will be (as) a snake in your tomb.” How, O father, can one do this work and earning in the Way of righteousness without a master?
The meanest earning that goes on in the world, is it ever (practised) without the guidance of a master?

1055. Its beginning is knowledge; then (follows) action, that it may yield fruit after a time or after death. Seek help in (acquiring) crafts, O possessor of intelligence, from a generous and righteous craftsman.
Seek the pearl in the oyster-shell, my brother, and seek technical skill from the craftsmen.
If ye see sincere (spiritual) advisers, deal fairly (with them) and be eager to learn: do not show disdain.
If the man (engaged) in tanning wore a threadbare garment, that did not diminish the master's mastery (of his trade);

1060. If the ironsmith wore a patched frock when blowing the bellows, his reputation was not impaired in the eyes of the people.
Therefore strip the raiment of pride from your body: in learning, put on the garment of humility.
If you wouldst learn (theoretical) knowledge, the way of (acquiring) it is oral; if you wouldst learn a craft, the way of (acquiring) it is practical (by practice).
If you desire (spiritual) poverty, that depends on companionship (with a Shaykh): neither your tongue nor your hand avails.
Soul receives from soul the knowledge thereof, not by way of book nor from tongue.

1065. If those mysteries (of spiritual poverty) are in the traveller's heart, knowledge of the mystery is not yet possessed by the traveller.
(Let him wait) until the expansion (illumination) of his heart shall make it (full of) the Light: then God saith, Did not We expand …?
For We have given you the expansion (illumination) within your breast, We have put the expansion into your breast.”
You art still seeking it from outside; you art a source of milk: how art you a milker of others? There is an illimitable fountain of milk within you: why art you seeking milk from the pail?

1070. O lake, you have a channel to the Sea: be ashamed to seek water from the pool;
For did not We expand…? Again, have not you the expansion? How art you become a seeker of the expansion and a mendicant?
Contemplate the expansion of the heart within (you), lest there come the reproach, Do not ye see?

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