بخش 45

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 45

بخش 45

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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Shams of Tabriz

KONYA, JUNE 12, 1245

Befuddled believer! If every Ramadan one fasts in the name of God and every Eid one sacrifices a sheep or a goat as an atonement for his sins, if all his life one strives to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and five times a day kneels on a prayer rug but at the same time has no room for love in his heart, what is the use of all this trouble? Faith is only a word if there is no love at its center, so flaccid and lifeless, vague and hollow—not anything you could truly feel.

Do they think God resides in Mecca or Medina? Or in some local mosque somewhere? How can they imagine that God could be confined to limited space when He openly says, Neither My heaven nor My earth embraces Me, but the heart of My believing servant does embrace Me.

Pity the fool who thinks the boundaries of his mortal mind are the boundaries of God the Almighty. Pity the ignorant who assume they can negotiate and settle debts with God. Do such people think God is a grocer who attempts to weigh our virtues and our wrongdoings on two separate scales? Is He a clerk meticulously writing down our sins in His accounting book so as to make us pay Him back someday? Is this their notion of Oneness?

Neither a grocer nor a clerk, my God is a magnificent God. A living God! Why would I want a dead God? Alive He is. His name is al-Hayy—the Ever-Living. Why would I wallow in endless fears and anxieties, always restricted by prohibitions and limitations? Infinitely compassionate He is. The name is al-Wadud. All-Praiseworthy He is. I praise Him with all my words and deeds, as naturally and effortlessly as I breathe. The name is al-Hamid. How can I ever spread gossip and slander if I know deep down in my heart that God hears and sees it all? His name is al-Başir. Beautiful beyond all dreams and hopes.

Al-Jamal, al-Kayyum, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Through famine and flood, dry and athirst, I will sing and dance for Him till my knees buckle, my body collapses, and my heart stops pounding. I will smash my ego to smithereens, until I am no more than a particle of nothingness, the wayfarer of pure emptiness, the dust of the dust in His great architecture. Gratefully, joyously, and relentlessly, I commend His splendor and generosity. I thank Him for all the things He has both given and denied me, for only He knows what is best for me.

Recalling another rule on my list, I felt a fresh wave of happiness and hope. The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it falls upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.

Instead of losing themselves in the Love of God and waging a war against their ego, religious zealots fight other people, generating wave after wave of fear. Looking at the whole universe with fear-tinted eyes, it is no wonder that they see a plethora of things to be afraid of. Wherever there is an earthquake, drought, or any other calamity, they take it as a sign of Divine Wrath—as if God does not openly say, My compassion outweighs My wrath. Always resentful of somebody for this or that, they seem to expect God the Almighty to step in on their behalf and take their pitiful revenges. Their life is a state of uninterrupted bitterness and hostility, a discontentment so vast it follows them wherever they go, like a black cloud, darkening both their past and their future.

There is such a thing in faith as not being able to see the forest for the trees. The totality of religion is far greater and deeper than the sum of its component parts. Individual rules need to be read in the light of the whole. And the whole is concealed in the essence.

Instead of searching for the essence of the Qur’an and embracing it as a whole, however, the bigots single out a specific verse or two, giving priority to the divine commands that they deem to be in tune with their fearful minds. They keep reminding everyone that on the Day of Judgment all human beings will be forced to walk the Bridge of Sirat, thinner than a hair, sharper than a razor. Unable to cross the bridge, the sinful will tumble into the pits of hell underneath, where they will suffer forever. Those who have led a virtuous life will make it to the other end of the bridge, where they will be rewarded with exotic fruits, sweet waters, and virgins. This, in a nutshell, is their notion of afterlife. So great is their obsession with horrors and rewards, flames and fruits, angels and demons, that in their itch to reach a future that will justify who they are today they forget about God! Don’t they know one of the forty rules? Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell. This is what Rule Number Twenty-five is about.

Is there a worse hell than the torment a man suffers when he knows deep down in his conscience that he has done something wrong, awfully wrong? Ask that man. He will tell you what hell is. Is there a better paradise than the bliss that descends upon a man at those rare moments in life when the bolts of the universe fly open and he feels in possession of all the secrets of eternity and fully united with God? Ask that man. He will tell you what heaven is.

Why worry so much about the aftermath, an imaginary future, when this very moment is the only time we can truly and fully experience both the presence and the absence of God in our lives? Motivated by neither the fear of punishment in hell nor the desire to be rewarded in heaven, Sufis love God simply because they love Him, pure and easy, untainted and nonnegotiable.

Love is the reason. Love is the goal.

And when you love God so much, when you love each and every one of His creations because of Him and thanks to Him, extraneous categories melt into thin air. From that point on, there can be no “I” anymore. All you amount to is a zero so big it covers your whole being.

The other day Rumi and I were contemplating these issues when all of a sudden he closed his eyes and uttered the following lines:

“Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi or zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not of the East, nor of the West.…

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.”

Rumi thinks he can never be a poet. But there is a poet in him. And a fabulous one! Now that poet is being revealed.

Yes, Rumi is right. He is neither of the East nor of the West. He belongs in the Kingdom of Love. He belongs to the Beloved.

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