Masnavi I, 2880-2901:
Whatsoever the man in love (with God) speaks, the scent of
Love is springing from his mouth into the abode of Love.
If he speaks (formal) theology, it all turns to (spiritual) poverty:
the scent of poverty comes from that man of sweet and beguiling
And if he speak infidelity, it has the scent of (the true) religion,
and if he speak doubtfully, his doubt turns to certainty.
The perverse froth that has risen from a sea of sincerity-
that turbid (froth) has been set out by the pure source.
Know that its froth is pure and worthy: know that it is like
revilement from the lips of the beloved,
Whoso unsought reproaches have become sweet (to the lover)
for the sake of her cheek which he desires.
If he (the lover of God) speak falsehood, it seems (like) the
truth. O (fine) falsehood that would adorn (even) the truth!
If you cook (a confection) of sugar in the form of a loaf of
bread, it will taste of candy, not of bread, while you are
If a true believer find a golden idol, how should he leave it
(there) for the sake of a worshipper?
Nay, he will take it and cast it into the fire: he will break
(destroy) its borrowed (unreal) form,
In order that the idol-shape may not remain on the gold,
because Form hinders and waylays (those who seek Reality).
The essence of its gold is the essence of Lordship (Divinity):
the idol-stamp on the sterling gold is borrowed (unreal).
Do not burn a blanket on account of a flea, and do not let
the day go (to waste) on account of every gnat’s headache.
You are an idol worshipper when you remain in (bondage
to) forms: leave its (the idol’s) form and look at the reality.
If you are a man (bound) for the Pilgrimage, seek a pilgrim
(as your) companion, whether he be a Hindoo or a Turcoman
or an Arab.
Do not look at his figure and colour, look at his purpose and
If he is black, (yet) he is in accord with you: call him white,
for (spiritually) his complexion is the same as yours.
This story has been told up and down (confusedly), like the
doings of lovers, without foot (end) or head (beginning).
It hath no head, inasmuch as it existed before eternity; it
hath no foot: it has (always) been akin to everlastingness.
Nay, it is like water: every drop thereof is both head and foot,
and at the same time without both.
This is not a story, mark you! God forbid! This is the ready
money (presentation, here and now) of my state and yours;
consider (it) well.
Because the Sufi is grand and glorious (in his spiritual vision):
Whatever is past is not remembered (does not enter his mind).
“The Mathnawi of Jalalu’ddin Rumi”
Edited and translated by Reynold A. Nicholson
Volume I, verses 2880-2901
Published by “E.J.W.Gibb Memorial”,
First published 1926, Reprinted 1990.
* I.e. “every trivia vexation.”
UPDATE: Here’s a bonus Sufi essay, just for kicks….