The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, , at sacred-texts.com
The First Valley:
The steed upon which to journey through this valley is Patience.
In this journey the traveller will reach no destination without patience, nor will he attain to his aim. He must never be dejected.
Were he to endeavour for a hundred thousand years, and see not the beauty of the Friend, he must not be downhearted.
It is conditional upon these servants to purify their hearts which are the source of the Divine Treasury from every blemish, to turn away from blind imitation which is a trace of forefathers and ancestors; and to close the doors of friendship and enmity with all the peoples of the earth.
In this journey the seeker reaches such a station that he finds all the existing beings bewildered in search of the Friend.
Many a Jacob he sees wandering in quest of Joseph. A world of friends he beholds, who are running in search of the Desired One, and a universe of lovers he finds, who are journeying after the Beloved One.
At every moment he perceives a new matter, and at every hour he becomes informed of a mystery; for he has lifted his heart from both worlds and intended to attain the Ka'aba (the goal) of the Beloved.
At every step the assistance of the Invisible surrounds him, and the ardour of his search increases."
As illustrating the thoroughness of seeking requisite for attainment in the First Valley, a story is given, prefaced by the statement:
"Search should be measured by the deed of the Majnoon of love."
"Majnoon," our translator tells us, signifies "insane," and was the name by which a celebrated lover belonging to the old Arabian nomadic tribes was known. His object was Laila, the daughter of an Arab prince. The story is "symbolical of pure, human love in its highest degree, and has been the theme of many Persian poets. Nizami's poem on this love story is the masterpiece."
"It is related that one day Majnoon was seen sifting the dust and shedding tears. They said, 'What art thou doing?' He said, 'I am searching for Laila!' They said, 'Woe unto thee! Laila is from the pure spirit, and thou art seeking her in the earth!' He said, 'I exert myself in her search everywhere; perchance I may find her somewhere!'"
"Although seeking the Lord of Lords in the dust is contemptible to the wise, yet it is evidence of utmost endeavour and search. 'Whoso seeks with diligence shall surely find.'
A sincere seeker finds naught save union with the Desired One, and a lover has no aim but to attain to the beloved.
A seeker cannot obtain this (spirit of) search, except by the sacrifice of all that exists; that is, he must annihilate all that he has seen, heard, or understood, with "the negation 'no,' so that he may reach the city of the Spirit, which is the city of 'but.'"
Here our translator reminds us that "There is no God but God" is the formula of faith in the Divine Unity. "There is no God" is denial and negation, while "but God" is faith and affirmation.
"An effort is needed that we may exert ourselves in search for Him, and an endeavour that we may taste of the honey of union with Him. If we drink of this cup we shall forget the whole world.
In this journey the traveller sits on every soil and dwells in every land, and seeks the beauty of the Friend in every face.
He searches for the Beloved One in every country; he joins every multitude . . . perchance he may discover the mystery of the Beloved One
in some head, or behold the beauty of the Desired One in some visage.
If, through the assistance of God, he find, in this journey, a trace of the Traceless Friend . . . he will immediately step into the Valley of Love and become melted with the fire of love.