Lowliness befits thee, violence suits thee not; a, naked man frantic in a bee-house is out of place. Leave aside thy strength, betake thyself to lowliness, that so thou mayest trample the heights of heaven beneath thy feet; for God knows that, rightly seen, thy strength is a lie, and thy lowliness truth. If thou layest claim to strength and wealth, thou hast a blind eye and a deaf ear. Thy face and thy gold are red, thy coat is of many colours,--then look to find thy honour disgrace, thy peace strife. Come not to God's door in the dust of thy strength, for in this road it is through lowliness that thou becomest a hero. This comes not of discharging thy debt, but from bartering thy indigence. Look not on His Omnipotence
with thy impotent eye O my master, commit not such an outrage.
So long as thou art thy own support, clothe thyself, and eat; but if thou art upheld by Him, thou shalt neither sew nor tear. All that exists, O friend, exists through Him; thine own existence is as a pretence,--speak not folly. If thou lose thyself, thy dust becomes a mosque; if thou hold to thyself, a fire-temple: if thou hold to thyself, thy heart is hell; if thou lose thyself, heaven. If thou lose thyself, all things are accomplished, thy selffulness is an untrained colt. Thou art thou,--hence spring love and hate; thou art thou,--hence spring infidelity and faith. Remain a slave, without lot or portion; for an angel is neither hungry nor full. Fear and hope have driven away fortune from thee; when thy self has gone, hope and fear are no more.
The owl that frequents the palace of the king is a bird of ill-omen, ill-fated and guilty, when it is contented in its solitude, its
feathers are finer than the splendour of the phnix. Musk is spoilt by water and by fire; but to the musk-bladder what matters wet or dry? What matters, at His door, a Muslim or a fire-worshipper? What, before him, a fire-temple or a monk's cell? Fire-worshipper and Christian, virtuous and guilty, all are seekers, and He the sought.
God's essence is independent of cause; why seekest thou now a place for cause? The sun of religion comes not forth by instruction; the moon goes down when the light of the truth shines out. If the holy man is good, it is well for him; if the king is bad, what is that to us? To be saved, do thou thyself persevere in good; why contendest thou with God's decree and predestination? In this halt of but a week, to be is not to be, to come is to go.
Recite the word 'hastening on'; (Qur. 57:12) for in the resurrection the believer calls "Make way!" Mustafâ exclaimed 'How excellent!'; through this the hand of Moses became a moon, the Friend of God grew pitiful; (Qur. 9:116) the wâw of awwah gave him the sincerity of his faith, the
majesty and beauty of his belief,--then when the wâw goes out of awwah there remains but âh, a sigh,--how wonderful! Âh remains, a memorial of Him; His religion remains as a manifestation of Him.
Before the trumpet sounds kill thou thyself with the sword of indigence; if they accept it, thou art at rest; if not, think of what has happened as if it had not been. If thou come small or great to the door of the Absolute, or if thou come not at all, what is that to Him? Shall the day subsist for the sake of the cock? it will appear at its own time. What is thy existence, what thy non-existence to Him? Many like thee come to His door.
When the fountain of light starts forth, it has no need of any to scourge it on; yet all this magnificence is but water and earth,--the pure life and soul are there. What can the 'Make way!' of a
handful of straw effect? His own light alone cries 'Make way!' That lamp of thine is thy trust in thyself; the sun comes forth of himself in brightness, and this flame the cold wind cannot extinguish, while half a sneeze wrests from that its life.
So then your road lies not in this street; if there be a road, it is the road of your sighs. You are all far from the road of devotion, you are like asses straying for months and years deluded with vain hopes. Since thou art sometimes virtuous, sometimes wicked, thou fearest for thyself, hast hope in thyself; but when thy face of wisdom and of shame grows white,--go, know thou that fear and hope are one.