The Source of Our War and Peace
Mathnawi VI: 45-58
45 (The source of) our war and our peace is in the Light of the
Essence (of God). It is not from ourselves: it is “between the two
fingers of God.”1
(There is) war of nature, war of actions, and war of words —
there is a terrible war among the parts (of the creation).
(And) this world is enduring because of this battle. Look at the
(conflicting) elements so that (this problem) can be solved.
The four elements are (like) four strong columns: by means of
them the roof of the world is (kept) even and straight.
Each column (is) the breaker of the other. The column of water
is the destroyer of sparks (of fire).
50 Therefore, the foundation of the creation was (based) upon
opposites. Necessarily, we are battling because of loss and gain.
My own states are opposed to one another,2 (because) each one
is contrary against another in (its) effect .
Since I am highway-robbing myself3 every moment, how can I
act harmoniously with another person?
Look at the waves of armies of my states — each one in anger
and enmity toward another one.
(So) observe a great battle such as this within yourself (as well).
Therefore, why are you occupied with battle against others?
55 Or perhaps [you are helpless and hoping] God may buy you
back4 from (remaining in) this war (and) bring you to the single-
colored world of peace.5
That World isn’t (anything) other than eternal and flourishing,
since it isn’t intermixed with opposites.
This mutual destruction reaches (every) opposite from (its
corresponding) opposite. (But) when there isn’t (any) opposite,
there is (nothing) except eternity.
58 The One (Who is) without equal has forbidden contraries from
Paradise, saying, “There will be no sun nor its opposite, extreme
–From “The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî” [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R. A. Nicholson’s 1934 British translation)
© Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on “Sunlight” (yahoogroups.com), 5/30/02
Notes on the text, with line number:
1(45) between the two fingers of God: “refers to the Tradition
[= Hadîth, or saying of the Prophet Muhammad] qalbu ‘l-mu’mini
bayna iSba’ayni min aSábi`i ‘l-RaHmán, ‘the true believer’s heart is
between two fingers of the Merciful God’. The ‘two fingers’ are the
Divine attributes of Majesty (Jalál) and Beauty (Jamál). According
as God reveals Himself in one or other of these aspects, the
mystic’s heart contracts with grief (qabD) or expands with joy
(basT).” (Nicholson, Commentary)
Anqaravi quotes a different form of the Hadîth: “Truly, the
hearts of the sons of Adam are between the two fingers among the
fingers of the Most Merciful, who turns them however He wills”
[yuqallibu-hâ kayfa yashâ’]. And he explained: “The commentators
have explained ‘the two fingers’ as the Severity [qahr] and
Kindness [luTf] (of God). (Anqaravi, the 17th century Turkish
commentator, translated here into English from a Persian
2(51) My own states are opposed to one another: “(It means), for
example, ‘My happiness is contrary to sorrow and the state of my
health is contrary to the state of being sick…'”
3(52) Since I am highway-robbing myself: “(It means), ‘Every
moment I am the robber and enemy of myself. . . and I have not
become the master of attending to [what occurs in my own] heart
. . . ‘” (Anqaravi, Commentary)
4(55) God may buy you back: “(It means), ‘Or perhaps God Most
High will grant you deliverance from this warfare.'” (Anqaravi,
5(55) (and) bring you to the single-colored world of peace: “In
other words, ‘By means of your own efforts alone you have not
become effective in becoming free from this battle. Perhaps God
Most High may cause you to be freed from this battle and take you
to the peaceful world of unicolority.'” (Anqaravi, Commentary)
6(58) There will be no sun nor its opposite, extreme cold,
(therein): refers to a verse in the Qur’an about the Garden of
Paradise, “They will not see therein any sun (with extreme heat)
nor extreme cold.” (Qur’an 76:13)
original text is in Dar-Al-Masnavi (http://www.dar-al-masnavi.org/index.html)
taken by Pentax K10D, at Istanbul