Someone said, “The astronomers say: You claim there is something beyond the heavens and this terrestrial ball. We believe, apart from what we see, nothing exists. If something exists, then show us where it is!”
Rumi answered: Your demand is invalid from the very start. You say, “Show me where it is,” but that Thing has no place. Come then, tell me, where is your objection? Is it on your tongue, in your mouth, or within your breast? Search through all of these – divide them piece by piece, atom by atom, and you will still not find your objection, nor any thought. From this we realize that thought has no place. Since you do not know the place of your own thought, how could you know the place of the Creator of thought?
Thousands of emotions and moods come over you without your choice, for they are completely outside your power and control. If you only knew where these emotions came from, you would be able to augment them. All these emotions pass over you, and yet you are wholly unaware where they come from, where they are going, and what they will do. Since you are incapable of penetrating your own moods, how do you expect to penetrate your Creator?
Those whore sons say, “God is not in the heavens.” You cur, how do you know God is not? Yes, you have measured heaven span by span. You have gone through all of it, and you pronounce, “God is not in the heavens.” Why, you do not know the whore you have in your own home, then how could you know the heavens? Oh yes, you have heard of heaven, and the names of stars and the spheres. You think that is something. If you really penetrated the depths of the heavens, or even mounted one single step, you would never utter such nonsense.
When we say that God is not in the heavens, we do not mean that God is not in the heavens. We mean that heaven cannot contain God, while God contains all. God has an ineffable link with the heavens, just as He has established an ineffable link with you. All things are in the hand of God’s omnipotence, within His creation and under His control. Therefore God is not outside the heavens and the universe, neither is He wholly in them. In other words, these things do not comprehend God, and yet God comprehends all.
Someone said: “Before earth, heaven and the Throne existed, where did God exist?” One of Rumi’s students answered, “This question is invalid from the start, for God is One who has no place.”
Rumi said: You ask, “Where was God before all this” Have you discovered the place of all these things in you, that you are searching for His place? Since your moods and thoughts have no place, how can a place for God be conceivable? Surely, the Creator of thought is subtler than thought. For instance, those who build a house are subtler than that house, because they are able to make and plan a hundred other buildings, each different from the last. Therefore they are subtler and more majestic than any fabric, but this subtlety can only be seen when they build a house and their work enters the visible world.
Your breath is visible in winter, but in summer is invisible. This doesn’t mean that your breath is cut off in summer, but in summer your breath is subtler and can not be seen. In the same way your attributes and essential elements are too subtle to be seen until you perform some act. For instance, your clemency exists, but it cannot be seen until you forgive an offender. Then your clemency becomes visible. Similarly, your vengefulness cannot be seen, but when you take revenge upon criminals and beat them, then your vengefulness is seen.
Because of God’s extreme subtlety He cannot be seen. So He created heaven and earth, that His omnipotence and His handiwork would be visible.
These words I am given to share are not in my complete control, and therefore I am pained, because I would like to counsel my friends but the words do not come as I want them to. This brings pain. But since these words are higher than I, and I am subject to them, I am happy. For the words that God speaks bring life wherever they reach, and leave a deep impression.
“And when you threw, it was not
you who threw, but God.”
The arrow that leaps from the bow of God, no shield or breastplate can stop. Therefore I am happy.
If we knew all that there was to know, and all ignorance was eliminated, we would be consumed and cease to be. Therefore ignorance is a good thing, since through it this world continues to exist. Knowledge is also desirable, for it leads to the awareness of God. Thus, each is a partner with the other, and all opposites are joined. Night is the opposite of day, yet they are partners and both do the same work. If night lasted forever, our eyes would become dazzled and our brains would go insane. Therefore we rest and sleep at night, and the brain, thought, hand and foot, hearing and sight, all gather strength. By day they expend these powers.
So all things appear in opposition, but to the wise they all work together and are not opposed. Show me an evil in this world without good, or a good thing without evil. For instance, a man intent on murder becomes preoccupied with the man’s wife, and as a result he sheds no blood. There is no doubt that taking the man’s wife is evil, but since this saves her husband’s life she also sees this as good. Therefore evil and good are one thing and inseparable.
This is our main quarrel with the Magians. They say there are two Gods: the creator of good and the creator of evil. Show me good without evil – then I will admit there is a God of evil and a God of good! This is impossible, for good can not exist without evil. Since there is no separation between them, how can there be two creators?
Are we not arguing in opposition to you? By all means, we most definitely are. But we will not push this point too far, because you might wonder if the Magians are correct. Granted, you are not sure what I have said is wrong, yet how can you be sure that it is not right? Wretched infidel, Mohammed said, “Haven’t you realized the threats which we have made might come true, and punishment will be visited upon the unbelievers as you have never imagined? Then why do you not take precautions and seek after Us?”