Sunday, February 12, 2006

When poverty is complete...

Shams Tabrizi:

"Now concerning the meaning of idha iktamala l-faqr, huwAllah[1], people have spoken a thousand inanities. It means that when poverty is complete, God is seen plainly. You find and you see- not that you become God. When poverty is complete, you find God. Otherwise, it's unbelief.

Someone said, "Maybe it doesn't mean that."

Shams said, "Then, what is the difference between you and the Christian? After all, Jesus was subtler than Hallaj, Abu Yazid, or the others.[2] So why do you blame the Christian for saying that Jesus is God? You say the same thing. No, the meaning is When poverty is complete, you find God."

In other words: When someone's soul dies, and when his satan dies, when he is purified of blameworthy character traits, he arrives at God. God forbid! Rather, he arrives at the path of God. Otherwise, he has strayed from the path of God and the soul is still alive, the satan is still alive. If he does not distinguish between the light of God's path and the light of God, he is in darkness and blindness. "Surely God has seven hundred veils of light," or "seven hundred thousand veils of light. Were one of the veils removed, this world and everything in it would be incinerated." Little by little, you pass beyond these veils until you arrive at the light of the Essence, at a light that grows up from the Essence."

- Shams Tabrizi. Me & Rumi Pg 129-130 [3]

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1. This is understood by most ppl as "When poverty is complete, he is God", meaning when someone becomes a complete faqir empty of all attributes, he arrives at God. Shams Tabrizi is correcting the belief, saying it should be understood as (and therefore translated as), "When poverty is complete, 'It is God!' ", meaning when someone becomes a complete faqir, he finds God so that he says, "huwAllah!. And if anyone thinks otherwise then he has been tricked by his ego and his satan, who are not really destroyed.

2. i.e. the sayings of Jesus according to the Christians, where he might attribute a share of divinity to himself. He doesn't mean the actual Jesus as Muslims know he was.

3. Not an exact copy from the book, I changed a few things to make it clearer.

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