Wednesday, August 13, 2008

invitation to Islam?

From sunlight, a passage from the Masnavi that seems to invite the reader to Islam:
All selfish pleasures are false:
surrounding that flash of lightning is a wall of darkness.
The lightning gleams but a moment,
then surrounded by darkness, you'll find the way long.
By that light you can neither read a letter
nor ride to your destination.
But, because of your enchantment with the lightning,
the beams of sunrise withdraw from you.
Mile after mile through the night
the lightning's deception leads you,
without a guide, in a dark wilderness.

One moment you fall against a mountain, the next into a river;
now you wander in this direction, now in that.
O seeker of worldly position, you'll never find the guide;
and if you find him, you'll turn your face from him,
saying, "I've already traveled sixty miles on this road,
and now this guide tells me I've lost my way.
If I pay attention to his strange advice,
I'd have to begin my journey all over again under his orders.
I've devoted my life to this journey:
I'll pursue it come what may. Go away, O master!"

"Yes, you have journeyed far,
but only in opinion insubstantial as lightning:
come, make even a tenth of that journey
for the sake of the glorious sun of Divine inspiration.
You have read the verse, Opinion cannot serve instead of truth,
and yet by a lightning flash like that
you've been blinded to a rising sun.
Listen, climb into our boat, O wretched one,
or at least tie that boat of yours to this boat."

Mathnawi VI: 4094-4106
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski

A possible verse from the Koran as referred to in "You have read the verse" at the 5th line from the end:
6:116 Pickthall
If thou obeyedst most of those on earth they would mislead thee far from Allah's way. They follow naught but an opinion, and they do but guess.

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