All Honor Belongs to Him

Mathnawi III: 1080-81, 1114-27

1080 (All) honor belongs to Him and (therefore) belongs to His
servants (as well).1 Recite the (story in the Qur'an) about Adam
and Satan2 (about) the signs of that (DivinePower).

1081 The explanation of [the Glory of] God does not have any end,
like God (Himself). (So) hurry: close (your) mouth and turn over
the page (of your views).3


1114 For us, a "sleep" that is wakeful4 is needed, so that by means
of (spiritual) wakefulness (a person) may see dream (-like) images
[of higher realities].

1115 The enemy of this sweet (wakeful) "sleep" is thoughts about
the (material) world.5 As long as a person's thinking is not
"asleep," (his spiritual) "throat" is blocked.6

A (state of mystical) amazement7 is needed in order to sweep
(away) thoughts; (such a) bewilderment consumes (all) thoughts
and memories.

Whoever is more perfect in (worldly) knowledge,8 (the) more
ahead (he is) in appearance, (but the more) backward in reality.

(As is) said (in the Qur'an), "We are returning (to God)."9 And the
return is in the (same) manner as a herd turns around and goes
(back) home.10

When the herd has turned back after going down (to drink), the
goat who was the leader ends up last.

1120 The lame goat (that was) last ends up (as) the first.
(Therefore), the return has made the (formerly) frowning faces to

These people (who were the prophets and saints) never became
lame (nor) gave (up) dignity and bought disgrace because of
useless (talk).11

(Rather) these people travel in pilgrimage12 with broken legs
(because) there is a hidden path from (the state of) narrow
constriction to deliverance and relief.13

This group (of people) have washed (their) hearts of (worldly)
knowledge,14 because this (kind of) knowledge doesn't comprehend
the Way (to God).

A knowledge is needed the root of which is from that (Heavenly)
direction, since every branch is the guide to its Root.

1125 Not (just) any wings can fly over the wide expanse of the
ocean.15 (Only Divinely) inspired knowledge16 can carry (one) to
the (Divine) Presence.

Then why should you teach a (kind of) knowledge to a man which
he must (later) cleanse from his heart?

1127 Therefore, don't seek to be first: (instead), be "lame" on this
side (and) be the leader17 (of the flock at) the time of returning

--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)
Translated, 11/15/03

Notes on the text, with line number:

1(1080) (All) honor [`izzat] belongs to Him and (therefore) belongs
to His servants: This is a paraphrase in Persian of Qur'an 63:8,
"And (all) honor belongs to God [wa li-'llâhi 'l-`izzat] and
(therefore) belongs to His Prophet and to the (true) believers..."

2(1080) about Adam and Satan: "Recite (from the Qur'an) the
indications of His Power from (the story of) the Prophet Adam and
Iblîs. Iblîs said, 'I am better than him' [Qur'an 7:12], therefore he
became despised and worthless [7:13]. But Adam was obedient
and found honor and salvation and bliss." (from the Commentary
of Anqaravi, the 16th century Ottoman Turkish Mevlevi
commentator on the Masnavi, translated here from a Persian
translation of his work)

3(1081) turn over the page (of your views): "i.e. 'instead of
regarding the world of appearances and illusion, endeavour to see
things as they really are'." (Nicholson, Commentary)

4(1114) a "sleep" that is wakeful: "See I 388 sqq" [= translated by
Nicholson: "Every night Thou freest the spirits from the body's
snare, and dost erase (the impressions on) the tablets (of the mind).
The spirits are set free every night from this cage, (they are) done
with ordinance and talk and tale. At night prisoners are
unconscious of their prison, at night governors are unconscious of
their power. There is no sorrow, no thought of gain or loss, no
fancy of this person or that person. This is the state of the `árif
(gnostic), even without sleep: God said, '(Thou wouldst deem them
awake) whilst they slept.' [= Qur'an 18:18] Shy not at this. He is
asleep, day and night, to the affairs of the world, like a pen in the
hand of the Lord's control."

"Every Prophet and saint says, '(Just) one person wakeful
"sleeping" person is needed by us.' In other words, 'We need
someone who is "asleep" in regard to the world and to the realm of
(material) forms, but (who) is ''awake" and open-eyed in regard to
the Hereafter and the realm of spiritual Reality [`âlam-é Haqîqat].
Therefore, one such person is needed in our presence so that he
may see "dreams" in a state of "wakefulness.'" In other words, so
that he may witness the conditions of the World of Similitudes
[`âlam-é miSâl = a term used by the mystic, Ibnu 'l-`Arabi, died,
1240] and the actions at the level of the Interval [barzakh--between
death and the Resurrection] (while) in the state of wakefulness, and
be liberated from sleep and forgetfulness (of God), and be 'dead'
(to the world) prior to death. (This is) because of the verified
saying (of the Prophet), 'Mankind are sleeping and when they die
they will awaken.'" (Anqaravi, Commentary)

5(1115) thoughts about the (material) world: "Therefore, in the
contents of this speech, Mawlânâ is indicating the closing of the
eyes from (dwelling on) this world, the abandoning worldly
thoughts, and finding repose and (spiritual) Reality as a result."
(Anqaravi, Commentary)

6(1115) (his spiritual) "throat" is blocked: means that the
"nourishment" of profound spiritual meanings cannot be

7(1116) A (state of mystical) amazement [hayratê]: "Sometimes it
appears like this and sometimes the contrary of it;l the business of
religion is not (anything) except bewilderment. Not like that
bewilderment (by) which one's back is toward Him, but like this
bewildermentt: drowning,and drunkenness in the Beloved
[Hayrân-o gharq-o mast-é dôst]." Masnavi I: 312-12

8(1117) more perfect in (worldly) knowledge: "(It means) whoever
is more perfect in skills involving (material) forms and actions and
worldly knowledge..." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

9(1118) "We are returning[râji`ûn] (to God)": "Truly, we belong to
God and we are returning to God" [râji`ûn] (Qur'an 2: 156).

10(1118) as a herd turns around and goes (back) home: "A grazing
field (is) a metaphor for this world, and you may imagine that all
of humanity are (like) a herd that have been sent from the Home of
Reality [Haqîqat] to the desert of the world." (Anqaravi,

11(1121) useless (talk): "Rather, these (people) were speaking about
abandoning precedence in regard to material wealth, power, and
glory [`izzat], and (so) they remained last after everyone. In other
words, they didn't choose useless talk, lowliness, and being
despised, but in the return to God they are more advanced than
everyone (else). They chose to become abased, despised, poor and
humble for the sake of becoming (more) honored than others [in
the sight of God]." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

12(1122) pilgrimage [Hajj]: "As an idiom, it is making intention to
(attain to) any matter.... And the aim of the people of the spiritual
Path [ahl-é Tarîq] is for the sake of pilgrimage to the Ka`ba of
(Divine) Reality [ka`ba-yé Haqîqat] and this is their
circumambulation [tawâf]... And in this verse, 'Hajj' has a spiritual
meaning." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

13(1122) from (the state of) narrow constriction to deliverance and
relief: "anyone who has not experienced hardship [`usrat] will not
know relief[ yusrat]." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

14(1123) "The collective group of sufis, the people of purity and the
seekers of the path to God, have washed and cleansed their hearts
from customary knowledge. Because this outward knowledge is
unable to comprehend the path to (Divine) Reality." (Anqaravi.

15(1125) Not (just) any wings can fly over the wide expanse of the
ocean: "In other words, the wings of the intellect and the wings of
(common) knowledge of everyone are unable to fly across the
expanse of the ocean of (spiritual) Reality and by that means cross
and reach nearness to God [nazdîk-é Haqq]." (Anqaravi,

16(1125) (Divinely) inspired knowledge [`ilm-é ladunnî]: The
knowledge gained from nearness to the Divine Presence. This is a
reference to Qur'an 18:65. Nicholson explained: "i.e. the mystic's
knowledge of the Divine Essence and Attributes." (Commentary)

"Anyone who is a seeker of the unveiling of this knowledge must
be a seeker on the Prophetic path of religious law [shar`-é
nabawiy] and the Mevlevi way [Tarîq-é mawlawî]. And in the
Book of the Masnavî he may study the explanations of this
(spiritual) meaning." (Anqaravi, Commentary)

17(1127) be the leader: in the next verse, Mawlânâ quotes a saying of
the Prophet Muhammad: "We are the last and (yet) the first." This
refers to his being the final Prophet to be sent by God as well as
the pre-eminent Prophet. Nicholson explained: "i..e. the last in
appearance, the first in reality." (Commentary)


1080 `izzat ân-é ô-st-o ân-é bandag-ân'sh
z-âdam-o iblîs bar mê-khwân neshân'sh

1081 sharH-é Haq pâyân na-dâr-ad ham-chô Haq
hîn dahân bar-band-o bar-gardân waraq

1114 khofta-yé bêdâr bây-ad pêsh-é mâ
tâ ba-bêdârî be-bîn-ad khwâb-hâ

1115 doshman-é în khwâb-é khwosh shod fikr-é khalq
tâ na-khosp-ad fikrat-ash bast-ast Halq

Hayratê bây-ad ke rûb-ad fikr-râ
khwarda Hayrat fikr-râ-wo Zikr-râ

har ke kâmil-tar bow-ad ô dar honar
ô ba-ma`nà pas, ba-Sûrat pêsh-tar

râji`ûn goft-o rujû` în sân bow-ad
ke gala wâ-gard-ad-o khâna raw-ad

chûn-ke wâ-gardîd galla az wurûd
pas fot-ad ân boz ke pêsh-âhang bûd

1120 pêsh oft-ad ân boz-é lang-é pasîn
aZHaka 'r-ruj`à wujuwa 'l-`âbisîn

az gazâfa kay shod-and în qawm-é lang
fakhr-râ dâd-and-o be-kh'rîd-and nang

pâ shekasta mê-raw-and în qaqm Haj
az Haraj râhê-st penhân tâ faraj

del ze-dânesh-hâ be-shost-and în farîq
z-ân-ke în dân-esh na-dân-ad ân Tarîq

dânshê bây-ad ke aSl-ash z-ân sar-ast
z-ân-ke har far`ê ba-aSl-ash rah-bar-ast

1125 har parê bar `arZ-é daryâ kay par-ad
tâ ladun `ilm-é ladunnî mê-bar-ad

pas che-râ `elmê be-y-amûz-î ba-mard
ke-sh be-bây-ad sîna-râ z-ân pâk kard?

1127 pas ma-jô pêshî az-în sar lang bâsh
waqt-éwâ-gashtan tô pêsh-âhang bâsh

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)