Islamic Spirituality & Mysticism
Almost fourteen hundred years ago Muhammad, born in Mecca and
raised as an orphan by an uncle and receiving little or no formal
education, began in middle age to experience what he believed to
be Divine Revelations which were recorded through the services of
a scribe who later became a disciple.
Rumi Masnavi poetry quotations
Muhammad began to expound religious and social teachings based
upon these revelations and was obliged to flee from Mecca in what
the western world regards as the year 622 A.D. as his teachings
had alienated powerful local interests.
The Islamic world has its own calendar which counts up from
this year of Muhammads flight from Mecca.
After an eight year absence in the city of Medina, where his
teachings had won many converts, Muhammad and a band of muslim
faithful thousands strong proceeded to Mecca where the existing
idolatrous religious forms were overthrown and the local
population were persuaded, more by the clemency shown rather than
by the force used, to profess Islam themselves.
Islam had appeal by virtue of the strength of its message and
also by virtue of demonstrably regarding all persons as being
morally equal under God.
It was seen by its Prophet Muhammad as a completion of the
tradition of faith which also encompasses Judaism,
Christianity and Sabianism.
Jews, Christians and Sabians are regarded as being "Peoples of the Book".
In order to present key insights about spirituality sourced from
Islamic Mysticism a number of quotations from the Masnavi,
attributable to the remarkable mystical poet Rumi, are related
here. Rumi was born in Afghanistan some eight hundred years ago
but his family moved to Anatolia soon thereafter in order to
escape the depradations of the Mongols. Rumi is considered as
having been a member of the mystical Sufi tradition within
Sets of quotations and quotes that seem to recognise a pronounced emphasis on such
aspects of Spirituality and Mysticism as a Disdain for Materialism, a Distrust of the Intellect, a Preference for
Divine Inspiration, Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility and Meekness from each of these major World Religions
( Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, Taoist and Vedic or Hindu ) can be accessed through our series of "Central" Spiritual Insights pages.
Please be prepared for some "soul-force" that might be held to reside within many of these quotations!!!
Disdain for Material Things
Quit thy wealth, even if it be the realm of Saba; Thou wilt find
many realms not of this earth. What thou callest a throne is only
a prison; Thou thinkest thyself enthroned, but art outside the
door. Thou hast no sovereignty over thine own passions, How canst
thou turn away good and evil? Thy hair turns white without thy
concurrence, Take shame for thy evil passions. Whoso bows his
head to the King of Kings Will receive a hundred kingdoms not of
this world; But the delight of bowing down before God Will seem
sweeter to thee than countless glories.
Masnavi ~ Book 4 Story 2
Distrust of Intellect
Would he had been less full of borrowed knowledge! Then he would
have accepted inspired knowledge from his father. When, with
inspiration at hand, you seek book-learning, Your heart, as if
inspired, loads you with reproach. Traditional knowledge, when
inspiration is available, Is like making ablutions in sand when
water is near. Make yourself ignorant, be submissive, and then
You will obtain release from your ignorance.
Masnavi ~ Book 4 Story 2
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere
opinion, bewilderment intuition.
Masnavi ~ Book 4 Story 2
Spiritual Insights are possible!
Reason is like an officer when the king appears; The officer
then loses his power and hides himself. Reason is God's shadow;
God is the sun. What power has the shadow before the sun.
Masnavi ~ Book 4 Story 4
Little is known by any one but the spiritual man, Who has in
his heart a touchstone of vital truth. The others, hovering
between two opinions, Fly towards their nest on a single wing.
Knowledge has two wings, opinion only one wing; Opinion is weak
and lopsided in its flight. The bird having only but one wing
quickly drops down, And again flies on two steps or more. This
bird of opinion goes on rising and falling On one wing, in hope
to reach his nest. When he escapes from opinion and knowledge is
seen, This bird gains two wings and spreads both of them.
Afterwards he "goes upright on a straight path, Not grovelling on
his face or creeping." He flies up on two wings even as the angel
Gabriel, Free of opinion, of duplicity, and of vain talk.
Masnavi ~ Book 3 Story 7
How long wilt thou dwell on words and superficialities? A
burning heart is what I want; consort with burning! Kindle in thy
heart the flame of love, And burn up utterly thoughts and fine
expressions. O Moses! the lovers of fair rites are one class,
They whose hearts and souls burn with love are another.
Masnavi ~ Book 2 Story 7
Purity of Heart
"Why hast thou said I have sinned so much, And God of His mercy
has not punished my sins?" Thou sayest the very reverse of the
truth, O fool! Wandering from the way and lost in the desert! How
many times do I smite thee, and thou knowest not? Thou art bound
in my chains from head to foot. On thy heart is rust on rust
collected, So thou art blind to divine mysteries.
Masnavi ~ Book 2 Story 15
I regard not the outside and the words, I regard the inside and
the state of the heart. I look at the heart if it be humble,
Though the words may be the reverse of humble. Because the heart
is substance and the words accidents.
Masnavi ~ Book 2 Story 7
Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first
condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.
Ansari of Herat
O Thou that changest earth into gold, And out of other earth
madest the father of mankind, Thy business is changing things and
bestowing favours, My business is mistakes and forgetfulness and
error. Change my mistakes and forgetfulness to knowledge; I am
altogether vile, make me temperate and meek.
Masnavi ~ Book 5 Story 3
Communion with God
Fools laud and magnify the mosque, While they strive to oppress
holy men of heart. But the former is mere form, the latter spirit
and truth. The only true mosque is that in the heart of saints.
The mosque that is built in the hearts of the saints Is the place
of worship for all, for God dwells there.
Masnavi ~ Book 2 Story 13
I pray God the Omnipotent to place us in the ranks of His
chosen, among the number of those He directs to the path of
safety; in whom He inspires fervour lest they forget Him; whom He
cleanses from all defilement, that nothing remain in them except
Himself; yea, of those whom He indwells completely, that they may
adore none beside Him.
The Masnavi of Jalaluddin
Rumi is an overtly religious work formed within an Islamic
context more than seven hundred years ago.
In the Masnavi there are several passages which suggest that
personal spirituality is relative ~
The monk said, "I am searching everywhere for a man
Who lives by the life of the breath of God."
The other said, "Here are men the Bazaar is full;
These are surely men, O enlightened sage!"
The monk said, "I seek a man who walks straight
As well in the road of anger as in that of lust.
Where is one who shows himself a man in anger and lust?
In search of such an one I run from street to street.
If there be one who is a true man in these two states,
I will yield up my life for him this day!"
Masnavi Book 5 Story 10
The Ka'ba is a singularly important Islamic shrine which
stands in the court of the Great Mosque of Mecca and is a site of
pilgrimage for all Muslims.
The Ka'ba, whose renown waxes greater every moment,
Owes its foundation to the piety of Abraham.
Its glory is not derived from stones and mortar,
But from being built without lust or strife.
Masnavi Book 4 Story 2
[It is widely known that Allah's faithful are expected to pray five times a day, and it
is widely believed that they are expected to face the city of Mecca in doing so.
It is actually the case that it is the Ka'ba, and not the city, that is the (global) focus of those countless prayers-to-Allah]!
See more, similarly directed, quotations from the Masnavi of
The following linked pages are intended to fully demonstrate a degree of
Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of several major World Religions on Charity, Purity of
Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism
(compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning
for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).
These quotations are presented on a series of very brief pages where each faith is considered individually.
We have seen it as worthwhile to add
another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given to the possibility of Mystical Communion with God ~ as this
addition may rather directly tend the range of agreement about "Core Spiritual Truths" already demonstrated
towards actually becoming something of a proof of the Existence of the one God or Spirit which is the focus of Mystical
Links to Particularly Popular Topics & Pages