The Mesnavi and The Acts of the Adepts, by Jelal-'d-din Rumi and Shemsu-'d-Din Ahmed, tr. by James W. Redhouse, , at sacred-texts.com
This is the book of the Rhymed Couplets (Mathnawī, Mesnevī). It contains the roots of the roots of the roots of the (one true) Religion (of Islām); and treats of the discovery of the mysteries of reunion and sure knowledge. It is the Grand Jurisprudence of God, the most glorious Law of the Deity, the most manifest Evidence of the Divine Being. The refulgence thereof "is like that of a lantern in which is a lamp" 1 that scatters beams more bright than the morn. It is the paradise of the heart, with springs and foliage. One of those springs is "the fount named Salsabīl" 2 by the brethren of this religious order (of mystical devotees known as the Mevlevī or Dancing Dervishes); but, by saints and the miraculously endowed, it is called "the Good Station" 3 and "the Best Resting-place." 4 The just shall eat and drink therein, and the righteous shall rejoice and be glad thereof. Like the Egyptian Nile, it is a beverage for the patient, but a delusion to the people of Pharaoh and to blasphemers; even as God, whose name be glorified, hath said: "He misleads therewith many, and He guides therewith many; but He misleads not therewith (any), save the wicked." 5
It is a comfort to men's breasts, an expeller of cares. It is an exposition of the Qur’ān, an amplification of spiritual aliments, and a dulcifier of the disposition; written "by the hands of honorable scribes," 1 who inscribe thereon the prohibition: "Let none touch it save the purified." 2 It is (a revelation) "sent down (from on high) by the Lord of (all) the worlds," 3 which vanity approacheth not from before, nor from behind," 4 which God watches over and observes, He being " the best as a Preserver," 5 and "the Most Compassionate of the merciful ones," 6 unto whom pertain (many) titles, His utmost title being God, whose name be exalted.
We have been brief in (stating) this little; for a little is an index to much, and a mouthful may point out a pond, as a handful may serve as a sample for a whole threshing-floor, however large.
Thus saith the feeble servant, in need of the mercy of God, whose name be extolled, Muhammed son of Muhammed son of Huseyn, of (the city of) Balkh, 7 of whom may God accept it: "I have exerted myself to enlarge this book of poetry in rhyming couplets, which contains strange and rare narratives, beautiful sayings, and recondite indications, a path for the devout, and a garden for the pious, short in its expressions, numerous in their applications. This have I done at the instance of my lord and master, my trust, and as the soul in my body, the moral store of my to-day and my morrow, the Sheykh Hasan son of Muhammed son of Hasan, commonly known by the appellation of Akhī-Turk (my brother Turk), a
chief of the knowing ones (Gnostics?), a leader of right direction and sure knowledge, a helper of the human race, a confidant of men's hearts and minds, a charge of God among His creatures, His pure one among His reasoning servants, (a compendium of) His commandments to His Prophet, of His mysteries with His chosen one, a key to the treasures of the throne, a custodian of the riches of the extended earth, a man of excellencies, a sharp sword for the severance of truth and religion (from falsehood and blasphemy), 1 the Bāyezīd 2 of the age, the Juneyd 3 of the period, the true friend son of a true friend son of a true friend, may God be pleased with him and with them, originally from the town of Urmiyya, 4 and related to the venerated Sheykh, 5 as he himself expressed it: 'I was a Kurd one evening, and was an Arabian in the morning.' 6 May God sanctify his spirit, and the spirits of his successors! Blessed is such a predecessor; blessed are such successors! He was descended from a line on which the sun had cast its
lustrous mantle, and personal nobility such that the stars shed their lights around it. May their courtyard ever be a centre to which the sons of saints will turn, and a temple of hopes about which embassies of spotless men will circulate. May it not cease to be thus while a constellation rises and a sparkling orb appears above the horizon in the east; so that it may be a thing held to by those who are possessed of insight, the godly, the spiritual, the heavenly, the celestial, the men of light, who keep silence and observe, who are absent though present, who are kings clothed in rags, the nobles of nations, endowed with virtues, the lights of guidances. Amen, O Lord of (all) the worlds. And this is a prayer not to be rejected; for it is a prayer joined in by all the good. And glory be to God in His unity. And may God pronounce blessings on our lord, Muhammed, and on his family and kin, the good, the clean!
mi:1 Qur’ān xxiv. 35.
mi:2 Qur’ān lxxvi. 18.
mi:3 Qur’ān xix. 94.
mi:4 Qur’ān xxv. 26.
mi:5 Qur’ān ii. 24.
mii:1 Qur’ān lxxx. 15.
mii:2 Qur’ān lvi. 78.
mii:3 Qur’ān lvi. 79.
mii:4 Qur’ān xli. 42.
mii:5 Qur’ān xii. 64.
mii:6 Qur’ān vii. 150
mii:7 Balkh, to the south of the west part of the Upper Oxus, is in latitude 36°, 48´ N., longitude 67°, 4´ E. from Greenwich. It represents the ancient Bactra, otherwise called Zariaspa.
miii:1 Husāmu-’l-Haqqi-wa-’d-Dīn, his full title of honour. (See Anecdotes, chap. vi.)
miii:2 Bāyezīd or Abū-Yazīd, of Bestām, in Khurāsān, Persia, latitude 36°, 25´ N., longitude 55°, 0´ E., a celebrated teacher and saint among the mystics of Islām, died a.h. 265, a.d. 874 (though a.h. 234, a.d. 848, has also been mentioned by some). His name was Tayfūr, son of ‘Isà, son of Ādam, son of Surūshān, a Zoroastrian who embraced Islām.
miii:3 Juneyd, surname of Abū-’l-Qāsim Sa‘īd son of ‘Ubayd, entitled Sultan of the Sūfī Community, a saint who died at Bagdad in a.h. 287 (a.d. 900).
miii:4 Urmiyya, on the lake of that name, south-west from Tebrīz, the capital city of Azerbāyjān, the northwest province of Persia.
miii:5 The expression of: "The venerated Sheykh," might, perhaps, at first, be thought to indicate the Caliph Abū-Bekr, the Sheykh par excellence, as he and his successor ‘Umer (Omar) were designated "the two Sheykhs," from each being a father-in-law to Muhammed, whereas the third and fourth caliphs, ‘Uthmān (Osmān) and ‘Alī, were his sons-in-law. If this supposition were correct, Jelāl and Husām would have been descended from the same remote ancestor. The commentators, however. I am informed, name a certain "Seyyid Abū-’l-Wefā, the Kurd," as being intended. Particulars as to his individuality and history have not, unfortunately, reached me.
miii:6 I have not met with an explanation of this expression, which is again introduced in Tale xiv., distich 40.