One thing is the goal and aim of the Koran, 1410
other the rite and ritual of the Moslem;
in his heart there is no burning fire,
the Chosen One is not living in his breast.
The believer has not eaten the fruit of the Koran,
in his cup I have seen neither wine nor beer.
He broke the magic spell of Caesar and Chosroes 1415
and himself sat on the throne of empire;
when the young shoot of power gathered strength,
his religion took on the shape of empire,
But empire changes the gaze entirely,
reason, understanding, usage and way alike. 1420
You who have laid down a new plan,
and disengaged your heart from the ancient system,
like us Moslems you have broken
the bone of imperial rule in this world.
So that you may light a lamp in your heart 1425
take a warning from our past history;
set your foot firm in the battle,
circle no more about this Lat and Hubal.
This aged world requires a nation
that shall be both bearer of good tidings and warner. 1430
Return again to the peoples of the East;
your ‘days’ are bound up with the ‘days’ of the East.
You have kindled a new flame in the soul,
your heart houses a new night and day.
The rite and religion of the Franks have grown old; 1435
look no more towards that ancient cloister.
You have finished now with lords;
pass on from ‘no’, march onwards to ‘but’—
pass on from ‘no’, if you are a true seeker,
that you may take the road of living affirmation. 1440
You who desire a new world-order,
have you sought for it a firm foundation?
You have expunged the ancient tale chapter by chapter;
illumine your thoughts from the Archetype of the Book.
Who gave the black man the White Hand? 1445
Who gave the good news of no Caesar, no Chosroes?
Transcend the many-coloured splendours,
find yourself by abandoning Europe!
If you are apprised by the Westerners’ cunning
give up the wolf, take on the lion’s trade. 1450
What is wolfishness? The search for food and means;
the Lion of the Lord seeks freedom and death.
Without the Koran, the lion is a wolf;
the poverty of the Koran is the root of empire.
The poverty of the Koran is the mingling of meditation and reason— 1455
I have never seen reason perfect without meditation.
Meditation? To school pleasure and passion;
this is the affair of the soul, not the affair of lip and palate.
From it arise the flames that burn the breast,
it does not accord with your temperament yet. 1460
Martyr of the delicate beauty of reason,
I will tell you of the revelations of reason!
What is the Koran? Sentence of death for the master-man,
succour for the slave without food and destitute.
Look not for good from the money-grubbing manikin— 1465
You will not attain piety, until you expend.
What pray is born of usury? Tumults!
No one knows the pleasure of ‘a good loan’.
Usury darkens the soul, hardens the heart like a stone,
makes man a ravening beast, without fangs and claws. 1470
It is lawful to draw one’s sustenance from the soil—
this is man’s ‘enjoyment’, the property of God.
The believer is the trustee, God is the possessor;
whatever you see other than God is perishing.
God’s banner has been beaten down by kings, 1475
their entry has reduced townships to misery.
Our bread and water are of one table;
the progeny of Adam are as a single soul.
When the Koran’s design descended into this world
it shattered the images of priest and pope; 1480
I speak openly what is hidden in my heart—
this is not a book, it is something other!
When it has entered the soul, the soul is transformed;
when the soul has been transformed, the world is changed.
Like God, it is at once hidden and manifest, 1485
living and enduring, yes, and speaking.
In it are the destinies of East and West—
realise then the lightning-like swiftness of thought!
It told the Moslem, ‘Put Your life in your hands;
give whatever you possess beyond your needs.’ 1490
You have created a new law and order;
consider it a little in the light of the Koran
and you will understand life’s heights and depths,
you will comprehend the destiny of life.
Our assembly is without wine and cupbearer, 1495
yet the melodies of the Koran’s instrument are immortal;
if our plectrum now strikes without effect,
Heaven houses thousands of excellent strummers.
God’s remembrance requires not nations,
it transcends the bounds of time and space. 1500
God’s remembrance is apart from the remembrance of every remembrancer—
what need has it of Greek or Syrian?
If God should remove it from us
He can if He will transfer it to another people.
I have seen the blind conformity and opinionatedness of Moslems 1505
and every moment my soul trembles in my body;
I fear for the day when it shall be denied to them.
and its fire shall be kindled in quite other hearts.

The Sage of Rum bids Zinda-Rud intone a song

The Sage of Rum, that man filled wholly with ecstasy and passion,
I know what effect these words had on his soul; 1510
he drew from his breast a heart-rending sigh,
his tears ran redder than the blood of martyrs.
He, whose arrows pierced only the hearts of heroes,
turned his gaze upon Afghani, and spoke:
‘The heart must throb with blood like the twilight, 1515
the hand must be thrust into the saddle-straps of God;
hope moves the soul to flow like a running river,
the abandonment of hope is eternal death.’
He looked at me again, and said: Zinda-Rud,
with a couplet set all being afire. 1520
Our camel is weary and the load is heavy;
more bitter must be the song of the caravaneer.
The proving of holy men is through adversity,
it is right to make the thirsty yet more athirst.
Like Moses depart from the the River Nile, 1525
stride out like Abraham towards the fire.
A melody of one who catches the scent of the Beloved
bears a people onwards even to the Beloved’s street.