بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
A SINNER ENTERS HEAVEN
A sinner died, and, as his coffin passed,
A man who practised every prayer and fast
Turned ostentatiously aside — how could
He pray for one of whom he knew no good?
He saw the sinner in his dreams that night,
His face transfigured with celestial light.
‘How did you enter heaven’s gates,’ he said,
‘A sinner stained with filth from foot to head?’
‘God saw your merciless, disdainful pride,
And pitied my poor soul,’ the man replied.
What generous love His wisdom here displays!
His part is mercy, ours is endless praise;
His Wisdom’s like a crow’s wing in the night —
He sends a child out with a taper’s light,
And then a wind that quenches this thin flame;
The child will suffer words of scathing blame,
But in that narrow darkness he will find
The thousand ways in which his Lord is kind.
If all were pure of all iniquity,
God could not show His generosity;
The end of Wisdom is for God to show —
Perpetually — His love to those below.
One drop of God’s great Wisdom will be yours,
A sea of mercy with uncharted shores;
My child, the seven heavens, day and night,
For your sake wage their old unwearied fight;
For your sake angels pray — your love and hate
Reflected back are hell’s or heaven’s gate.
The angels have bowed down to you and drowned
Your soul in Being, past all plummet’s sound —
Do not despise yourself, for there is none
Who could with you sustain comparison;
Do not torment yourself — your soul is All,
Your body but a fleeting particle.
This All will clarify, and in its light
Each particle will shine, distinctly bright —
As flesh remains an agent of the soul,
Your soul’s an agent of the sacred Whole.
But ‘part’ and ‘whole’ must disappear at last;
The Way is one, and number is surpassed.
A hundred thousand clouds above you press;
Their rain is pure, unending happiness;
And when the desert blooms with flowers, their scent
And beauty minister to your content;
The prayers of all the angels, all they do,
All their obedience, God bestows on you.
Taken from The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-din Attar