In these confrontational days of intolerance against religion in itself, against others’ religion, and against Islam in particular, I find it opportune to bring up here this fragment of a poem – meditation by Sufi Master Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam – a concept that scholars define as the inner dimension of this religion. Sufi Masters have always sustained that Sufism is purely based on the teachings of Islam, the way that Prophet Mohamad and his cousin, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib has meant it to be understood. It is not a negligible fact that religion, be it Christian or Islam, has had a long history of being used for ideological, political and military purposes.
“Why think O, pious men that I have returned to sobriety. I am neither a Moslem, nor a Hindu; I’m not a Christian, a Zoroastrian, nor a Jew. I am neither from the East, nor from the West; neither from land, nor from the sea. I come neither out of nature’s workshops, nor of the revolving heavens. I am neither from the earth, the water, nor from the air or the fire. I am neither from the divine city, nor from the (material) dust, neither from the being, nor from the essence […] I’m not of this world, but of the other one neither, not of the paradise, neither of the hell. I am neither of Adam nor of Eve, nor of the Eden or Eden’s angels. My place is the no-place, my trail is of that which leaves no trail; it’s neither the body, nor the soul, since I belong to The Beloved’s soul. I have abdicated from duality; I have seen that the two worlds are one. It’s One that I seek, One that I contemplate, One that I call in. It is the first, it is the last, the most exterior and the most interior. I know nothing outside “Oh, You”, or “Oh, You that Are” I am drunk from drinking the cup of love, the worlds have disappeared from my eyes. I have no other business than the banquet of the spirit and the wild drunkenness. If only one instant of my life have I spent without you, from this hour and this moment I want to be sorry for my life. If I can gain in this life just an instant with you, I will trample under my feet the two worlds, dancing in triumph for the eternity.”
Rumi, Diwan – my translation after Jack Brosse’s original translation – Le Livre des Sagesses, p 1584