Hearing something over and over from many people carries the same authority as seeing for yourself. For example, you’ve been told that you were born to your father and mother. You never saw this with your own eyes, but after hearing it many times from different people, you accept it as the truth. If you were told that they were not your parents, you wouldn’t listen. Similarly, you have heard repeatedly from trusted people that Baghdad and Mecca exist. If all those people were now to swear an oath that those cities do not exist, you would not believe them. Therefore, when the ear has heard the same thing repeatedly from many different sources, it carries the same authority as the eye.
In the same way, if someone makes a statement that is a well-known saying handed down generation after generation, then that is not a single statement but a hundred thousand. What is so surprising in this? A king exercises the authority of a hundred thousand, though he is only one – if a hundred thousand should speak nothing would happen, but when he speaks it happens immediately.
While this is the way of the external world, it is even truer of the spiritual world.
You may have seen this whole world, but since you have not seen it with God in mind, then you must make the trip again. “That journey was not on My account, it was for the sake of garlic and onions. Since you did not go about for My sake, but for another purpose, then that other purpose became a veil to you, not allowing you to see Me.”
It is the same as searching earnestly for a person in the bazaar – you see nobody else, or if you see them they are only shadows. Or when you are hunting for the solution to a problem in a book, your ears and eyes and mind are full of that one problem. You turn the pages, yet you see nothing else. Since you had an intention and object in mind, wherever you went you were full of that goal.
In the time of Umar, there was a certain man who had grown so old that his daughter would feed him milk and look after him like a child. Umar said to that daughter, “There is no child alive today to compare with you in your dutifulness to your father.” She replied, “What you say is true, but there is a difference between what I give and what my father gave me. I may not fall short in service to my father, but when my father raised and served me he used to tremble for my safety and concern, while I serve my father and pray night and day asking God that he may die, so the trouble he causes me may end. If I serve my father, where can I get that same trembling he has for me?” Umar said, “This woman is wiser than Umar.” He meant, “I have judged by externals, while she speaks of the core.”
Those who are truly wise penetrate into the core of a thing and diagnose the truth of it. God forbid that Umar was not apprised of the truth and secrets of things, but such was the way of the Companions, that they criticized themselves and commended others.
There are many who lack the strength for “presence.” They find “absence” more agreeable. In the same way, brightness comes from the sun and illuminates the world, but if people stare at the sun’s orb all day it does them no good and their eyes become dazzled. It would be better for them to become involved in some other task and leave the presence of the sun’s orb. Similarly, to mention tasty dishes in the presence of sick people encourages them to gain strength and appetite, but the actual consumption of those dishes can do them harm.
Therefore, trembling and passionate love are necessary in the quest for God. Whoever does not tremble must wait upon the tremblers. No fruit ever grows on the trunk of a tree, for trunks do not tremble. The tips of the branches tremble, and the trunk supports the tips of the branches and the fruit securely, even against the blow of an axe. Since the trembling of the tree trunk would end in ruin, it is better for the trunk not to tremble. It suits the trunk to be quiet to better serve the tremblers.
Since the Amir’s name is Mu’in al-Din, he is not ‘Ain al-Din (“Essence of the Faith”) because of the “M” added to the ‘Ain. “Any addition to perfection is a diminution.” The addition of that “M” is a diminution. In the same way, though a sixth finger is an addition, still it is a diminution. Ahad (“One”) is perfection, and Ahmad is not yet in the state of perfection. When that “M” is removed it becomes complete perfection. In other words, God comprehends all – whatever you add to God is a diminution. The number one is contained in all numbers, and without it no number could exist.
Sayed Burhan al-Din was teaching, when a fool interrupted him to say, “We need some words without comparisons or likenesses.” The Sayed answered, “Whoever has no likeness, come and listen to words without likeness!”
After all, you are a likeness of yourself. You are not this body. The existence here is but a shadow of you. If someone dies, people say, “So-and-so has departed.” If they were only that body, then where have they gone? So, your outer form is an analogy of your internal being, and from your external form others can judge your inner reality. Everything is visible because of density. Thus, the breath in hot weather cannot be seen, but when it is cold it becomes visible due to density.
It was the duty of the Prophet to manifest the power of God and by preaching to awaken others. It was not his job, however, to bring people to the stage of being ready to receive God’s truth – that is God’s work. God has two attributes: wrath and loving-kindness. The prophets are theaters for both. To believers they are a theater of God’s love, and to unbelievers they become a theater for God’s wrath.
Those who acknowledge truth see themselves in the Prophet, hear their own voice proceeding from him, and smell their own scent in his presence. No one denies the reality of their own self. Therefore the prophets say to the community, “We are you, and you are we, there is no strangeness between us.” Someone says, “This is my hand.” Nobody asks them for proof, since their hand is a part of them. But if they say, “So-and-so is my son,” then proof is demanded, for that is something separate from themselves.