When the pious reader has set the book with reverence upon his lap, and has recited 'Let no one touch it' (Qur. 56:78) over both his hands, for a
single copper he gives forth a lusty cry, like a turtledove for a grain of corn. Hear God's word from God Himself, for the labour of the reader is only a veil. The Knower hears the word from the Truth; the force of his desire denies him sleep. The feelings may be captive to the professional reciter, but Love has its songster in the heart itself. Set a mole in thy inmost heart, and not upon thy cheek; for it is thy thoughts are the true index of thy state. The Qur'ân tells its secret to the discerning thought; turn and twist and pause are only matters of the voice, and whatso are matters of voice and written character and sound, reside outside the gate.
If there were any meaning in its song, a nightingale would not be sold for two coppers; seek for the essence of the matter in the meaning, not in the written words,--thou wilt find no scent in a picture of ambergris. The time of waiting in this transitory world deem but colour to the eye, and sound to the ear; but the session of the Soul is a place where hearing is not, and song is silence there. How shall Love deem worthy notice a sweet that can be tasted? Make not thy soul glad with song, for song brings no memories but of heaviness.
The friend who becomes thy friend at the bridge, take him not away from the water with thee; either drown him in thy hatred, or put him under ground, and then rest happy; but in Love, to bear the burden of its commands, whether good or whether evil, is wisdom. Give to the flames the gifts of the material world,--in thy smiling
heart place instead of smiles a cry of lamentation; and when one of smiling heart gives forth a plaint, seize him by the foot and drag him off to Hell.
Knowest thou not, thou monster, that all those devils of thy lower nature, by using a hundred tricks and frauds and deceits, will break forth within thee, till thy reason and sense desert thee? O thou, who in this desert of injustice readest 'prosperity' for 'a whirlpool shame on thee! The path of religion consists not in works and words, not in syntax and accidence and metaphor; these kinds of things are far from God's word,--the contents of the Qur'ân are like scattered pearls. O Musalmâns, it may be the Qur'ân will one day depart again skywards; for though now its name is with us, its laws and commands are obeyed among us no longer.
The wise man listens to the Qur'ân with his soul, and abandons the letter and the outward elegance; his soul takes its delight in it, and sets to work afresh on all its duties. Know that to the eager disciple music and beating time are like poverty to a lover; the state of ecstasy that comes of skill and fraud is like the drowning cry of Pharaoh, his cry was useless to him as he drowned,--the fire of his reconciliation gave forth no smoke.
On the path, the condition of pursuing which is the devotion of one's life. foolish shouting is asinine and shameless whoso gives forth three shouts in the assembly, know that he does it in his anxiety for two coppers; but the sigh of the disciple who has gained Love is like a serpent sleeping upon a treasure; if the serpent raises himself upon
the treasure, the pearl in his mouth darts forth fire. What is the darwish's laughter?--folly; and what the crackling of a lamp?--water. When water is mixed with the oil, the light, depending on the purity of the oil, is affected; when the oil begins to burn, the foreign moisture announces itself. Thy sighing is mere self-adornment, thy proper path is to observe God's law;--thy path is a polished mirror, but thy sighs veil it over.