بخش 15کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 15
- زمان مطالعه 11 دقیقه
- سطح سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
BAGHDAD, DECEMBER 18, 1243
Beyond dangling icicles and snow-covered roads, a messenger appeared in the distance. He said he came from Kayseri, and caused a stir among the dervishes, who knew visitors to be scarcer than sweet summer grapes at this time of the year. A messenger with a message urgent enough to be carried through snowstorms could only mean one of two things: Either something terrible had happened or something important was about to happen.
The arrival of the messenger set tongues wagging in the dervish lodge, as everyone was curious about the content of the letter handed to the master. But, shrouded in a cloak of mystery, he gave no hints whatsoever. Stolid and ruminant, and zealously guarded, for days he bore the expression of a man struggling with his conscience, finding it hard to reach the right decision.
During that time it wasn’t sheer curiosity that prompted me to closely observe Baba Zaman. Deep inside, I sensed that the letter concerned me personally, although in what way I could not tell. I spent many evenings in the praying room reciting the ninety-nine names of God for guidance. Each time one name stood out: al-Jabbar—the One in whose dominion nothing happens except that which He has willed.
In the following days, while everyone in the lodge was making wild speculations, I spent my time alone in the garden, observing Mother Nature now cuddled under a heavy blanket of snow. Finally one day we heard the copper bell in the kitchen ring repeatedly, calling us all for an urgent meeting. Upon entering the main room in the khaneqah, I found everyone present there, novices and senior dervishes alike, sitting in a wide circle. And in the middle of the circle was the master, his lips neatly pursed, his eyes hazy.
After clearing his throat, he said, “Bismillah, you must be wondering why I summoned you here today. It is about this letter I received. It doesn’t matter where it came from. Suffice it to say that it drew my attention to a subject of great consequence.” Baba Zaman paused briefly and stared out the window. He looked fatigued, thin, and pale, as if he had aged considerably during these past days. But when he continued to speak, an unexpected determination filled his voice.
“There lives an erudite scholar in a city not far away. He is good with words, but not so with metaphors, for he is no poet. He is loved, respected, and admired by thousands, but he himself is not a lover. Because of reasons far beyond me and you, someone from our lodge might have to go to meet him and be his comrade.” My heart tightened in my chest. I exhaled slowly, very slowly. I couldn’t help remembering one of the rules. Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
The master continued. “I am here to ask if any one of you would like to volunteer for this spiritual journey. I could just as well have appointed someone, but this is not a task that could be performed out of duty. For it can be done only out of love and in the name of love.” A young dervish asked permission to speak. “Who is this scholar, Master?”
“I can reveal his name only to the one who is willing to go.”
Upon hearing this, several dervishes raised their hands, excited and impatient. There were nine candidates. I joined them, becoming the tenth. Baba Zaman waved his hand, gesturing at us to wait for him to finish. “There is something else you should know before you make up your mind.” With that, the master told us the journey was beset with great danger and unprecedented hardships, and there was no guarantee of coming back. Instantly all the hands went down. Except mine.
Baba Zaman looked me straight in the eye for the first time in a long while, and as soon as his gaze met mine, I understood he knew right from the start that I would be the only one to volunteer.
“Shams of Tabriz,” the master said slowly and dourly, as if my name left a heavy taste in his mouth. “I respect your determination, but you are not fully a member of this order. You are our guest.”
“I don’t see how that could be a problem,” I said.
The master was silent for a long, reflective moment. Then, unexpectedly, he came to his feet and concluded, “Let’s drop this subject for the time being. When spring comes, we will talk again.”
My heart rebelled. Though he knew that this mission was the sole reason I had come to Baghdad in the first place, Baba Zaman was robbing me of the chance to fulfill my destiny.
“Why, Master? Why wait when I am ready to go this very moment? Just tell me the name of the city and the scholar and I will be on my way!” I exclaimed.
But the master retorted in a cold, stern voice I wasn’t used to hearing from him, “There is nothing to discuss. The meeting is over.”
It was a long, harsh winter. The garden was frozen stiff, and so were my lips. For the next three months, I didn’t speak a word to anyone. Every day I took long walks in the countryside, hoping to see a tree in blossom. But after snow came more snow. Spring wasn’t anywhere on the horizon. Still, as low-spirited as I was outside, I remained grateful and hopeful inside, keeping in mind yet another rule. There was a rule that suited my mood: Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.
Then finally one morning, I caught sight of a dazzling color, as delightful as a sweet song, sticking out from under the piles of snow. It was a bush clover covered with tiny lavender flowers. My heart filled with joy. As I walked back to the lodge, I ran into the ginger-haired novice and saluted him merrily. He was so used to seeing me fixed in a grumpy silence that his jaw dropped.
“Smile, boy!” I yelled. “Don’t you see spring is in the air?”
From that day on, the landscape changed with remarkable speed. The last snow melted, the trees budded, sparrows and wrens returned, and before long a faint spicy smell filled the air.
One morning we heard the copper bell ring again. I was the first to reach the main room this time. Once again we sat in a wide circle around the master and listened to him talk about this prominent scholar of Islam who knew everything, except the pits of love. Again no one else volunteered.
“I see that Shams is the only one to volunteer,” Baba Zaman announced, his voice rising in pitch and thinning out like the howl of the wind. “But I’ll wait for autumn before reaching a decision.”
I was stunned. I could not believe that this was happening. Here I was, ready to leave after three long months of postponement, and the master was telling me to put my journey off for another six months. With a plunging heart, I protested and complained and begged the master to tell me the name of the city and the scholar, but once again he refused.
This time, however, I knew it was going to be easier to wait, for there could be no further delays. Having endured from winter to spring, I could hold my fire from spring to autumn. Baba Zaman’s rejection had not disheartened me. If anything, it had raised my spirits, deepening my determination. Another rule said, Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be so shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
When in autumn the copper bell rang for the third time, I walked in unhurriedly and confidently, trusting that now things would finally be settled. The master looked paler and weaker than ever, as if he had no more energy left in him. Nevertheless, when he saw me raise my hand again, he neither looked away nor dropped the subject. Instead he gave me a determined nod.
“All right, Shams, there is no question you are the one who should embark on this journey. Tomorrow morning you’ll be on your way, inshallah.”
I kissed the master’s hand. At long last I was going to meet my companion.
Baba Zaman smiled at me warmly and thoughtfully, the way a father smiles at his only son before sending him to the battlefield. He then took out a sealed letter from inside his long khaki robe and, after handing it to me, silently left the room. Everyone else followed suit. Alone in the room, I broke the wax seal. Inside, there were two pieces of information written in graceful handwriting. The name of the city and the scholar. Apparently I was going to Konya to meet a certain Rumi.
My heart skipped a beat. I had never heard his name before. He could be a famous scholar for all I knew, but to me he was a complete mystery. One by one, I said the letters of his name: the powerful, lucid R; the velvety U; the intrepid and self-confident M; and the mysterious I, yet to be solved.
Bringing the letters together, I repeated his name over and over again until the word melted on my tongue with the sweetness of candy and became as familiar as “water,” “bread,” or “milk.”
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