Discourse 19

Discourse 19

Rumi said: Someone said to Taj al-Din Quba’i, “These doctors of divinity live amongst us and deprive the people of their religious beliefs.” Taj al-Din Quba’i answered, “They do not live amongst us and take away our beliefs. God forbid they could ever be one of us. If you put a golden collar on a dog, do you call it a hunting dog because of that collar? The quality of being a hunting dog is something specific in the animal, whether it wears a collar of gold or wool.”

No one becomes a scholar by virtue of robe and turban. Scholarship is a virtue in its very essence, and whether that virtue is clothed in tunic or overcoat, it makes no difference.

Thus, in Mohammed’s time, the hypocrites used to put on prayer-robes to lure Muslims away from the Faith. How could they lead astray Muslims until they dressed up as Muslims, themselves? If a Christian or a Jew criticized Islam, who would listen to them?

“Woe to those that pray

Yet do not listen to their own prayers,

Or to those who make big displays

But for others have no care.”

But these are merely words. You have caught that Light but still have not found humanity. Seek humanity: that is your true purpose. The rest is mere long-windedness. When words are elaborately decorated, their purpose is forgotten.

A certain greengrocer was in love with a woman, and he sent messages by the lady’s maid.

“I am like this, I am like that. I am in love, I am on fire. I find no peace. I am cruelly treated. I was like this yesterday. Last night such and such happened to me.” And he recited long, long stories.

The maid came into the lady’s presence and addressed her as follows:

“The greengrocer sends you greetings and says, ‘Come, so that I may do this and that to you.’”

“So coldly?” the lady asked.

“He spoke at great length,” answered the maid. “But that was his purpose.”

The purpose is the root of the matter; the rest is merely a headache.