Death comes as the key of the house of the Secret; without death the door of true religion opens not. While this world stays, that is not; while thou existest, God is not thine. Know, thy soul is
a sealed casket; the love-pearl within is the light of thy faith. The Past sealed the writing, and delivered it for thee to the Future; as long as thou shalt depend for thy life upon the revolutions of Time, thou shalt not know what is inside. Only the hand of death shall unloose the binding of the book, of God the Exalted, the Glorious. So long as the breath of man flies not from thee, the morning of thy true faith will not dawn in thy soul's East.
Thou wilt not reach the door or the King's pavilion without experiencing the heat and cold of the world: at present thou knowest naught of the invisible world, canst not distinguish faults from virtues; the things of that world are not those of sense, are not like the other things of wont. The soul reaches His presence, and is at rest; and what is crooked then is seen to be straight.
When thou arrivest in the presence of the decree the soul sets forth, and like a bird leaves its cage for the garden; the horse of religion becomes familiar with the verdant meadow. Whilst thou livest true religion appears not; the night of thy death brings forth its day. On this subject a man of wisdom, whose words are as a mufti's decision, said, "Through desire and transgression men have gone to sleep; when death shows his face, they awake." All the people of this world are asleep, all are living in a vicious world the desire that goes beyond this is use and custom, and not religion
for the religion which is only of this life is not religion, but empty trifling.
To knock at the door of non-existence is religion and fortune knocking little comes of being little. He who esteems of small account the substance of this world, say to him, "Look thou on Mustafâ and Adam"; and he who seeks for increase, say to him, "Look thou on `Âd and on Qârûn; the foot of the one clave to his stirrup, the other lived pierced through with terror; the Eternal destroyed the foot of the one; remorse turned the hand of the other into a reed; the dire blast falls on `Âd, the dust of execration is the abode of Qârûn.
What harm is it, if from fear of misfortune thou sacrifice thyself like wild rue for the sake of virtue? Inflame not thy cheek before the men of the Path; burn thyself, like wild rue; thou hast the wisdom and religion of a fool if thou pretendest to eminence before God. Let not man weave a net about himself; rather the lion will break his cage.
O thou, who art sated with thyself,--that is hunger; and thou, who bendest double in penitence,--that is prayer. When thou art freed from thine own body and soul, then thou findest isolation and eminence. Display not at all thy city-inflaming countenance; when thou hast done so, go, burn wild rue. What is that beauty of thine? it is thy lust; and what is thy wild rue? it is thine own being. When thy lip touches the threshold of true religion, Jesus, son of Mary, becomes thy sleeve. In this quest do thou melt thyself; adventure thy life and soul in the path of fidelity; strive thou, that so through non-existence thou mayest pass to existence; that thou mayest be drunk with the wine of God. The ball and stick of the universe are in the hand of him whom true religion makes to live;
when thy soul becomes drunk with this draught, thou hast reached the summit; from being naught thou comest into existence.
Every freed man of that place is a slave, bound by the foot, with a ring in his ear; but those bonds are better than the steed of fortune; but that ring is better than the striped garments of Arabia and a throne. The bonds that He imposes, account a crown; and if He gives thee sackcloth, reckon it brocade; for He bestows benefits, and He gives beauty; He is kind, and He is bounteous.
Seeing that thou art needy, what dost thou with Gladness, and what with Cleverness, both bought with a price? Be glad in Him, and clever in His religion, that thou mayest find acceptance and honour with Him. That man is wise whom He lifts up; joyful is he whom He abandons not; and fortunate, who is His slave, approved by Him in all his works. When thou hast cast these branches, and hast grappled with death, thou wilt no longer turn away from death, and shalt come to know the world of Life. When thy hand reaches the branch of death, thy foot treads the palace of power; the foot which is far from the dome of right guidance is not a foot.--it is a drunken brain.