101. i.e., he passed through the world’s gate.

102. i.e., he overcame the distance between the earth and the heavens.

103. Sar-sabzī, which means primarily “verdure and fresh­ness”, has also the sense of “prosperity”. The word is used here in allusion to the fact that the colour attributed to the moon’s sphere is green.

104. Nuqra-kārī, which is not in the dictionaries, means literally “silver-working”. As silver is white, and Muḥammad’s hand is alluded to, I infer that reference is made to the “white hand of Moses”, yad-i baiẓā.

But sīm-kārī, which also means literally “silver-working”, signifies “blandishments, fascination”, and this may possibly be the sense here. It is not impossible, however, that nuqra-kārī may signify safīd-kārī, “white-working,” one of the senses of which is “good, virtuous action”.

The “lead-furnace” means the furnace by which the leaden glazing for pottery is prepared. This glazing is of a bluish colour, the colour attributed to the sphere of Mercury.

“From a lead-furnace” means probably “such as might come from a lead-furnace”.

105. The colour attributed to the sphere of Venus is white.

106. Yellow is the colour attributed to the sun’s sphere.

107. “The Khalif of the West” means the sun when setting, at which time much of the sky is often green.

108. i.e., the effulgence of his face cast a crimson glow upon Mars. The allusion is to the crimson hue which the sun often has when setting. Red is the colour attributed to the sphere of Mars.

109. The author possibly attributes headache to Jupiter on account of the size and weight of the planet conceived poetically as a head. Jupiter, as a fact, is the largest planet in the solar system. A perfumed embrocation for headache and fever is obtained by rubbing a piece of sandal-wood with water on a stone. The colour of it also is that which is attributed to the sphere of Jupiter.

110. “Saturn’s crown” is probably his rings.

Savād, “blackness,” means also “environs, city”. Blackness is the colour attributed to Saturn’s sphere.

111. Lit., “as regarded which Gabriel from (its) distance had permission”; i.e., they had reached a stage beyond which Gabriel and Burāq could not go.

112. Lit., “had left him back from the road.”

113. Isrāfīl is to blow the last trump to summon all at the Resurrection.

Raṣad-gāh, “a place of observation, observatory, watch-tower,” is used perhaps to signify that Isrāfīl is on the watch for the time.

114. ‘Azrā’īl, the name of the angel of death.

115. “Behind”; lit., “in (their) places.” The Rafraf is the abode of Isrāfīl, the Sidra that of Gabriel. (See Note 49.)

116. i.e., unconsciousness of his own existence.

117. i.e., he passed through the ocean of unconsciousness, and left every atom of everything which connected him with existence. But the distich is possibly misplaced, as it is seen from distichs which follow that he has not yet reached the sea of unconsciousness. He is not yet above the ‘Arsh, the “Universal Intellect”. As a matter of fact, this distich in the B. ed. of 1328 occurs after the distich, “He took the road to the world’s gate, (and then) removed (all) distance from the heavens’ sphere,” and in this connexion “ocean” would mean “the heavens”.

118. It may be noticed that the second hemistich is a repetition of that of the last distich but five. The latter is omitted by the B. ed. of 1328.

119. i.e., to the Deity Himself, the Absolute Existence, the One.

120. Lit., “When his stupefaction accepted risks, or peril.” The Vādī-yi Ḥairat, the “Vale of Stupefaction”, is the sixth stage towards Ṣūfī perfection.

121. i.e., guided and took him under its charge.

122. The expressions “he drew near”, “two bow-lengths”, and “or nearer”, are spoken of Gabriel in the Qur’ān, liii., 8, 9, but here, as often, they are applied to Muḥammad.

Verses 4-10 are as follows:

“And it” (i.e., the Qur’ān) “is no other than a revelation revealed (to him):
“(Gabriel) the mighty in power taught (it) him,
“One of sound judgment. He came towards him,
“Being on the highest horizon.
“Then ‘he drew near’ and came down,
“And was (at the distance of) ‘two bow-lengths’, ‘or nearer’,
“And he revealed to his servant what he revealed.”

The words au adna, “or nearer,” as applied to Muḥammad, express his close proximity to God.

123. i.e., he became extinct as to his own existence, which is the only means of seeing God. “‘The seeing of the eyes is coincident with a change in the essence.’ In order to see God the Ṣūfī must have reached the ‘station’ of complete extinction, and annihilation as to everything other than God.

“After reaching the ‘station’ in which the Qualities of God are substituted for his own, which is the end of the second journey, as-safaru ’th-thānī, he reaches at the end of the third journey, as-safaru ’th-thālith, the ‘station’ of Adh-Dhātu ’l-Ahadīya, ‘the Unity Essence,’ in which duality no longer exists: he is completely immersed in God. This is the ‘station’ of the perfect saint. In seeing God his own imaginary and accidental essence and individuality are annihilated, he becomes fānin fi-llāh, ‘extinct in God,’ and he is identified with God. In this way only can he see God, since, as the Sūfīs say, Lā yara ’llāha illa ’llāh, ‘No one sees God except God.’” (C. E. Wilson’s Translation of Rūmī’s Masnavī, Book II.)

124. One of the Traditions relating to Muḥammad speaks of these veils as 70, another as 700, and another as 70,000. Each of these expresses only an indefinite number, since it is of course impossible to attach any definite number to the veils which intervene between the creature and God.

“It is by ‘the Light’ (one of the ninety-nine divine Names) that the darkness of the non-existence of contingent beings is, as it were, covered, so that they come into relative existence. They are, however, only as shadows whose apparent existence is due to the Light. If the Light be withdrawn they cease to exist. Thus the veils which conceal God are ‘light’ in so far as it is His Light which gives them a quasi existence, and they are ‘darkness’ in so far as they are inexistent in themselves and have only a shadow-like existence.

“Now according to the higher or lower degree of the saint he has a less or greater number of veils between him and the Light in which the Quṭb dwells, that is the Light of God.

“The Quṭb is the highest in rank in the Ṣūfī hierarchy.” (C. E. Wilson’s Translation of Rūmī’s Masnavī, Book II.)

For another explanation of the 70,000 veils see Gairdner’s The Way of a Mohammedan Mystic.

125. See Note 123.

126. i.e., being in the infinite, he was no longer subject to space relations.

127. i.e., he had no more any existence in space.

128. i.e., when the truth of the infinite makes itself felt the phenomenal world and direction or space are no longer considered as real.

129. i.e., as long as a person is subject to the world of space his heart is liable to be disturbed by anxiety at its vicissitudes.

130. i.e., he was completely absorbed in the Deity, and had only the breath or life which the Ṣūfī has in fanā, “extinction of himself in God.”

131. i.e., the infinite cannot be felt until all sense of space relations is lost.

132. He being infinite.

133. It is an open question “whether the Words of God can be heard as words, or whether God communicates only by inspiration, from behind a veil, or by the mouth of a prophet whom He has inspired. Those who support the latter view say that since the Attribute represented by Mutakallim, ‘the Speaker,’ is one of the eternal Attributes of God, the Words of God in His quality of the Speaker cannot be heard by mortal ears. They interpret the text (Qur’ān, ii., 70), Yasma‘ūna kalāma ’llāh, ‘They hear the Words of God,’ as meaning Yasma‘ūna mā dalla ‘alá kalāmi ’llāh, ‘They hear that which indicates the Words of God.’

“On the text (Qur’ān, iv., 162), Wa-kallama ’llāhu Mūsá taklīmā, ‘God spoke to Moses in speech,’ they say that God created such words as would give indication of His eternal Words (as ‘the Speaker’), and let them fall upon the ears of Moses.

“They also quote the verses (Qur’ān, xlii., 50, 51) ‘And it is not for man that God should speak with him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil; or He sends a prophet and reveals to his hearing what He will.’ ‘From behind a veil’ is explained as meaning that God may make (men) hear in or from certain bodies words which He creates. Thus He spoke to Moses from the tree.

“The Turkish Commentator on Rūmī’s Masnavī seems to come to the conclusion that God makes His servant hear His eternal Words, though since they are from an eternal Attribute they are unlike those of His creatures. God’s servant will understand also that those words are from God.”

I have added to this, “Would it not be simpler and clearer to say that Words coming from the Attribute expressed by the name Mutakallim, ‘the Speaker,’ may be manifested as a revelation to the elect?” (C. E. Wilson’s Translation of Rūmī’s Masnavī, Book II.)

134. i.e., the special drink and robe of honour of the perfect Ṣūfī, which would be his ecstatic state and condition of freedom from all ties. (See the next distich.)

135. Iqbāl, “bliss, beatitude, felicity, prosperity,” means here the state of him who is the object of God’s grace. It is the opposite of idbār or shaqāvat.

Ma‘rifat, “knowledge,” is the possession of the ‘Ārif, “the Knower, the Ṣūfī.”

136. Lit., “With the humility or conciliation of a hundred thousand prayers.”

137. “That Goal,” or “Centre”; i.e., God.

138. “That which he brought”; i.e., the spiritual knowledge which he brought.

139. i.e., from the court of the king to whom this work is dedicated.

140. “A crescent moon”; i.e., a poem.

“On festive night.” The allusion is to the night of the termination of the month of fast, Ramaẓān, when the new moon, the appearance of which betokens the end of the fast, is eagerly watched for.

141. i.e., the poem is to be extremely subtle and shrouded in obscurity.

142. Lit., “may make magicians the prey of your magic.”

143. Filfil bar ātish rīkhtan, “to scatter pepper upon the fire,” is to make the beloved restless until she sees her lover. This is effected by the lover’s reciting a charm over some pepper, which he then throws into the fire.

In this case the beloved is presumably the poet’s ṭab‘, “poetic vein or muse,” which he is urged to rouse.

The second hemistich seems only to emphasize the first, thus, “make the fierce fire crackle by throwing plenty of pepper upon it.”

144. Lit., “for the sake of gentle-heartedness.” “The cold and hardened wax” represents the poet’s ṭab‘, “poetic vein or muse,” which has lain inactive for six years. He is urged to make his muse gentle-hearted and propitious by using the lover’s charm.

145. “This narrow way” is presumably a reference to the poet’s quiet, ascetic life and to his inactivity as to his poetical gifts. “To dance on stones” is not given in the dictionaries, but “to sit on a stone or stones” means “to be unhonoured, unesteemed”, so that if the former be equivalent to this the sense of the second hemistich would be: “You have been living long enough without the esteem which the exercise of your genius would give you.” But some MSS. give in the second hemistich bar or dar rah-i jang (jang probably for chang), and kvash instead of bas. If this were adopted the translation would be: “dancing is pleasant to the music of the harp,” and the meaning, I think, “engaging in writing an entertaining poem.” But this is scarcely acceptable. As some lithographed editions have jang, “battle,” the editors have possibly thought that reference is made to the Sikandar-nāma of Nizāmī, in which many battles occur, but as this had been finished six years before, as the Author also made a new recension of it not long after writing the Haft Paikar, and as there are also battles in the latter poem, such interpretation does not seem very plausible. But, to conclude, “dancing on stones” may be simply a metaphor for “living the retired, austere life of an ascetic”, which the king engages him to leave for awhile.

146. Lit., “Let the musky reed sneeze.” Musk being blackish and fragrant, the reed is poetically called musky because it offers in the black ink words which on account of their beauty are considered fragrant. “May be perfumed”; lit., “may rub galia moschata,” a perfume composed of musk, ambergris, camphor, and oil of ben-nuts.

147. i.e., to pass over the inky words which are likened here to ambergris, as they were before to musk.

148. i.e., let them convey fragrance to the verdure of the world, as people scent silk garments with musk.

149. “Leaves” mean the “leaves” of the poem to be written, and in a secondary sense “stamped coin”.

150. i.e., until the juice of the grape is pressed out it does not smile in the form of wine.