ON THE PROVERBS AND ADMONITIONS ‘POVERTY IS BLACKNESS OF THE FACE’ (THE RECITAL OF PROVERBS IS THE BEST OF DISCOURSES) AND ‘THE WORLD IS A HOUSE OF DEPARTURE AND CHANGING AFFAIRS AND MIGRATION.’
Keep thy blackness, thou canst not do without it; for blackness admits no change of colour. With blackness of face there goes happiness; a blushing face seldom causes joy. The scorched
pursuer is black of face before the flame of his heart’s desire; though in tribulation, the ugly Ethiopian finds gladness in his blackness of face; his gladness comes not from his beauty, his happiness comes from his sweet odour. Brighter than the splendour of the new moon is the display of the moon of Bilâl’s shoe; if thou dost not wish thy heart’s secret known, keep thy blackness of face in both worlds, since for him who seeks his desire, day tears the veil and night spreads it.
Withhold thy hand from these vain lusts; know, desire is poison, and the belly as a snake; the serpent of desire, if it bite thee, will soon despatch thee from the world. For in this path in evil there is good; the water of life is in the midst of darkness. What sorrow has the heart from blackness? For night is pregnant with day, and the men who are now imprisoned without food or drink in this old ruin throw aside all instruction when they march proudly in the garden of God.
Everything except God, all that is of earth, is aside from the path of the true faith. Loss of self is the hidden goal of all; the refuge of the pure soul is with the Word.
O thou, who hast rolled up the carpet of time, who hast passed beyond the four and the nine, pass at one step beyond life and reason, that so thou mayst arrive at God’s command. Thou canst not see, forasmuch as thou art blind at night; and in the day too hast but one eye, like the wisdom of fools. I do not speak to thee with wink and nod, but in God’s way, with mystical significations and allegories.
Till thou pass beyond the false, God is not there; the perfect truth belongs not to this half-display. Know, that as provision for the journey to the eternal world, lâ khair is your strength and lâ shai your gold; lâ khair is the strength of the rich, as lâ shai is the wisdom of the wine-drinkers.