The Two Kinds of Lovers of God

Mathnawi III: 4595-4600

4595 Therefore, the (one who is a) lover of God for (the sake of)
hope and fear1 is reading the book of imitation2 for (the sake of)

But the (one who is a) lover of God for the sake of God is
nowhere (to be found), because he is separate from (personal) aims
and motives.

Even if he is like this or like that, since he is a (true) seeker,
the attraction of God4 is pulling him toward God.

(So) if he is the lover of God for (the sake of) other than Him, so
that he may forever obtain (favors) from His Goodness,5

Or (if) he is the lover of God for (the sake of) His Self,6 (since)
He has no equal, (and) being fearful of separation from Him7--

4600 The searching and seeking of both (kinds of lovers) are from
that (Divine) origin, (and) this captivity of the heart is from that

--From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R. A. Nicholson's 1930 British translation)
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (, 2/10/00

Notes on the text, with line number:

1. (4595) (the sake of) hope and fear: for hope of the rewards of
Paradise and from fear of the punishments of Hell.

2. (4595) the book of imitation: Nicholson translated, "...reads
studiously the book of blind conformity." Means following the
external requirements for gaining Paradise and avoiding Hell--
without having authentic devotion and yearning love of God within
the heart.

3. (4595) for (the sake of) study: means for the sake of studying the
external rules.

4. (4597) the attraction [jaZb] of God: the word "jaZba" is a technical
term in sufism. A dervish who is in a state of extreme attraction is
called a "majZûb," one who is so helplessly and ecstatically
"attracted" to God that he appears crazy and may hardly be able to
speak sensibly. Such a dervish is incapable of maintaining the role
of a spiritual teacher or guide.

5. (4598) (favors) from His Goodness: means the rewards and blissful
pleasures of Paradise.

6. (4599) (for the sake of) His Self: means for pure love of God's
Essential Self. This ideal of pure love of God was articulated
almost five centuries before Rumi's time by the famous woman
mystic, Râbi`ah al-Adawiya (died 801): "O God, if I worship You
because of fear of Hell, (then) burn me in Hell. And if I worship in
hope of Paradise, (then) make (it) forbidden to me. But if I worship
You for Your sake (alone) [barây-é tô tô-râ mê-parast-am], (then)
don't withhold Your Eternal Beauty from me!" (From `Attar's
"Remembrances of the Saints"-- also translated by Arberry in
"Muslim Saints and Mystics," 1966, p. 51.)

7. (4599) being fearful of separation from Him: the true lover does
not fear the punishments of Hell, but only fears separation from
God, the Only Beloved.

8. (4600) that Beloved: literally, "that heart-taker." An idiom for the
beloved who captures the lover's heart.


4595 pas muHibb-é Haq ba-ômêd-o ba-tars
daftar-é taqlîd mê-khwân-ad ba-dars

w-ân muHibb-é Haq ze-bahr-é Haq ko-jâ-st
ke ze-aghrâZ-o ze-`illat-hâ jodâ-st?

gar chon-în-o gar chon-ân chûn Tâlib-ast
jaZb-é Haq ô-râ sôy-é Haq jâZib-ast

gar muHibb-é Haq bow-ad li-ghayri-hi
kay yanâla dâ' im-an min khayri-hi

yâ muHibb-é Haq bow-ad la-`ayni-hi
lâ siwâ-hu khâyif-an min bayni-hi

4600 har dô-râ în jost-o jô-hâ z-ân sarê-st
în gereftârî-yé del z-ân del-barê-st

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)