The Enclosed Garden of the Truth
Hakim Abul-Majd Majdud ibn Adam Sana’i Ghaznavi
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Pages (PDF): 164
Publication Date: This translation by J. Stephenson, 1910
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For close to 900 years The Enclosed Garden of Truth, or, The Hadiqat al Haqiqa, has been consistently read as a classic and employed as a Sufi textbook. It was the first Persian mystical epic of Sufism. Dedicated to Bahram Shah, the work expresses the poet's ideas on God, love, philosophy and reason.
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Of himself no one can know Him; His nature can only be known through Himself. Reason sought His truth,--it ran not well; impotence hastened on His road, and knew Him. His mercy said, Know me; otherwise who, by reason and sense, could know Him? How is it possible by the guidance of the senses? How can a nut rest firmly on the summit of a dome? Reason will guide thee, but only to the door; His grace must carry thee to Himself. Thou canst not journey there by reason's guidance; perverse like others, commit not thou this folly. His grace leads us on the road; His works are guide and witness to Him. O thou, who art incompetent to know thine own nature, how wilt thou ever know God? Since thou art incapable of knowing thyself, how wilt thou become a knower of the Omnipotent? Since thou art unacquainted with the first steps towards a knowledge of Him, how thinkest thou to conceive of Him as He is?
In describing Him in argument, speech is a comparison, and silence a dereliction of duty. Reason's highest attainment on His road is amazement; the people's riches is their zeal for Him.
Imagination falls short of His attributes; understanding vainly boasts her powers; the prophets are confounded at these sayings, the saints stupefied at these attributes. He is the desired and lord of reason and soul, the goal of disciple and devotee. Reason is as a guide to His existence; all other existences are under the foot of His existence. His acts are not bounded by 'inside' and 'outside'; His essence is superior to 'how' and 'why.' Intelligence has not reached the comprehension of His essence; the soul and heart of reason are dust upon this road; reason, without the collyrium of friendship with Him, has no knowledge of His divinity. Why dost thou instigate imagination to discuss Him? How shall a raw youth speak of the Eternal?
By reason and thought and sense no living thing can come to know God. When the glory of His nature manifests itself to reason, it sweeps away both reason and soul. Let reason be invested with dignity in the rank where stands the faithful Gabriel; yet before all His majesty a Gabriel becomes less than a sparrow through awe; reason arriving there bows down her head, the soul flying there folds her wing. The raw youth discusses the Eternal only in the light of his shallow sense and wicked soul; shall thy nature, journeying towards the majesty and glory of His essence, attain to a knowledge of Him?
He is One, and number has no place in Him; He is Absolute, and dependence is far removed from Him; not that One which reason and understanding can know, not that Absolute which sense and imagination can recognise. He is not multitude, nor paucity; one multiplied by one remains one. In duality is only evil and error; in singleness is never any fault. While multitude and confusion remain in thy heart, say thou 'One' or 'Two,'--what matter, for both are the same. Thou, the devil's pasture, know for certain what, and how much, and why, and how! Have a care! His greatness comes not from multitude; His essence is above number and quality; the weak searcher may not ask 'Is it' or 'Who' concerning Him. No one has uttered the attributes of the Creator, HE,--quantity, quality, why, or what, who, and where. His hand is power, His face eternity; 'to come' is His wisdom, 'the descent' His gift; His two feet are the majesty of vengeance and dignity, His two fingers are the effective power of His command and will. All existences are subject to His omnipotence; all are present to Him, all seek Him; the motion of light is towards light-how can light be separated from the sun?
In comparison with His existence eternity began but the day before yesterday; it came at dawn, but yet came late. How can His working be bounded by eternity? Eternity without beginning is a houseborn slave of his; and think not nor imagine that eternity without end (is more), for eternity without end is like to eternity without beginning.
How shall He have a place, in size greater or smaller? for place itself has no place. How shall there be a place for the Creator of place, a heaven for the Maker of heaven himself? Place cannot attain to Him, nor time; narration can give no information of Him, nor observation. Not through columns is His state durable; His nature's being has its place in no habitation.
O thou, who art in bondage to form and delineation, bound by 'He sat upon the throne'; form exists not apart from contingencies, and accords not with the majesty of the Eternal. Inasmuch as He was sculptor, He was not image; 'He sat' was, not throne, nor earth. Continue calling 'He sat' from thy inmost soul, but think not His essence is bound by dimensions; for 'He sat' is a verse of the Qur'ân, and to say 'He has no place' is an article of faith. The throne is like a ring outside a door; it knows not the attributes of Godhead. The word 'speech' is written in the Book; but shape and voice and form are far from Him; 'God descends' is written in tradition, but believe not thou that He comes and goes; the throne is mentioned in order to exalt it, the reference to the Ka`ba is to glorify it. To say 'He has no place' is the gist of religion; shake thy head, for it is a fitting opportunity for praise. They pursue Husain with enmity because 'Alî spoke the word 'He has no place.'
He made an earth for His creation in this form; behold how He has made a nest for thee! Yesterday the sky was not, to-day it is; again to-morrow it will not be,--yet He remains. He will fold up the veil of smoke in front of Him;--'On a day we will fold up the heavens;' (Qur. 21:103) breathe thou forth a groan. When the knowers of God live in Him, the Eternal, they cleave 'behold' and 'He' in two through the middle.
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