— Selections from the Maqalat of Shams-i Tabriz, Translated and edited by Refik Algan and Camille Helminski
Intensifying One’s Search
One’s longing, one’s search for the beneficence of God, must be so strong and intense that like the longing of Moses it allows no obstacle to stand in the way. When the Prophet Moses asked: “Who is more knowledgeable in the universe than I am?” his friend Joshua answered: “There is one person more knowledgeable than you are.” Moses didn’t get angry, he didn’t get offended; he didn’t say, “What kind of a thing to say is that!” But instead, “Oh, what was it you said?” he asked for information, because he was searching. Joshua was also a prophet, but he didn’t have worldly authority; in that era, the authority to judge belonged to the Prophet Moses.
The Blessed Prophet (may the greetings and peace of God be upon him) said, “For forty mornings, if a person serves God with all his soul and heart, springs of wisdom begin to flow from his heart to his tongue.”
While our Prophet was explaining these words among his companions, one of the friends went and occupied himself with prayers for forty days in solitude. Then he complained to the Blessed Prophet: “O Messenger of God!” he said, “Such a state has come to such and such friend that his eye, word, and hue have changed, and, while you were declaring that state, you mentioned the hadith [of “forty mornings”]. I went and made as great an effort as I could for forty days. And, as it has been said in the Qur’an: “God offers a burden in proportion to one’s capacity” [ 2:286]. There can’t be any lies in your words, God forbid.
The Blessed Prophet responded: “I said, ‘If he serves with all his/her heart and his/her soul.’ To really serve with all one’s heart and soul, is to do it only for God’s sake. Otherwise, it’s not real service or worship if it’s for the sake of other wishes or desires.”
O Human Beings! Beware of this Home of Phenomena!
O Human Beings! Beware of this home of phenomena!:
These are not just words, but a warning. Talking about such things is an ‘invitation’, a call to the other universe.
He said: “There is another universe, run there.” If you get busy with salat, salat leads you there; if you occupy yourself with perseverance, perseverance leads there.
Within the Heart of My Faithful Servant
See everything within yourself: Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Noah, Adam, Eve, Asiya (Pharoah’s wife), Khidr, Elias, Pharaoh and Nimrod, are all within you.
You are an infinite universe; what are the earth and the skies in comparison? Didn’t God say: “My heavens and my earth cannot contain Me, but I can be contained within the heart of a faithful servant of mine.”? You will not find Me in the heavens; you will not find Me on the Throne!
A True Heart
O heart! Go and be on
e of those who contemplate the end!
In the universe of strangerhood,
Be one of those of certainty!
If you want to ride on the morning wind,
Be the dust stirred by the saddlebeasts of the dervishes!
The Dance of the People of God
The dance of the people of God is subtle and light. They walk like a leaf on water. On the inside, they are like a mountain, they are weighty like a hundred thousand mountains, but on the outside they are as light as straw.
Patience and Practice
There was a rope dancer who would walk on the rope with eyes blindfolded, with wooden clogs on his feet, a water jug on his head and holding four things in his hands. He would walk forward on the rope making creaking sounds with his feet, and return again, then suddenly he would throw himself down, hold the rope with his feet and under his armpits, then hang himself by a single finger, and then jump back onto the rope again. Meanwhile, his overweight friend kept falling. He would keep shouting at him while he was on the rope, “I’ve brought you here in the name of . . . such and such a teacher,” and begin to weep. Then quickly people would gather the balancing rods and offer advice. They practiced tightrope walking at the seashore, so if they fell off the rope they would fall into the water. In this way, after long practice, people become master tightrope walkers, then they practice on land. Gradually they raise their rope higher and learn about the best ways to stand and walk on it. Just as patience is needed for the crescent moon to become full, for the rain on the rocks to turn them to rubies, and for the drops that rain onto the sea to turn into pearls, they also would become expert tightrope walkers through patience and practice. With time, unripe grapes can become halvah.
Read full on Amaana org
See also earlier post on PBSJ Blog