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The means of acquiring knowledge are five: hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch. God has created for the mind these five avenues, and has, made every kind of knowledge depend on one of them. Four of the five senses are situated in a special organ, but one, namely touch, is diffused over the whole body. It is possible, however, that this diffusion, which is characteristic of touch, maybe shared by any of the other senses. The Mu'tazilites hold that no sense can exist but in a special organ (mahall-i makhsus), a theory which is controverted by the fact that the sense of touch has no such organ. Since one of the five senses has no special organ, it follows that, if the sense of touch is generally diffused, the other senses maybe capable of the same diffusion. Although it is not my purpose to discuss this question here, I thought a brief explanation necessary. God has sent Apostles with true evidences, but belief in His Apostles does not become obligatory until the obligatoriness of knowing God is ascertained by means of hearing. It is hearing, then, that makes religion obligatory; and for this reason the Sunnis regard hearing as superior to sight in the domain of religious obligation (taklif). If it be said that vision of God is better than hearing His word, I reply that our knowledge of God's visibility to the faithful in Paradise is derived from hearing: it is a matter of indifference whether the understanding allows that God shall be visible or not, inasmuch as we are assured of the fact by oral tradition. Hence hearing is superior to sight. Moreover, all religious ordinances are based on hearing and could not be established without it; and all the prophets on their appearance first spoke in order that those who heard them might believe, then in the second place they showed miracles (mu'jiza), which also were corroborated by hearing. What has been said proves that anyone who denies audition denies the entire religious law.

Chapter on the Audition of the Quran and kindred matters

The most beneficial audition to the mind and the most delightful to the ear is that of the Word of God, which all believers and unbelievers, human beings and peris alike, are commanded to hear. It is a miraculous quality of the Quran that one never grows weary of reading and hearing it, so that the Quraysh used to come secretly by night and listen to the Apostle while he was praying and marvel at his recitation, e.g., Nadr b. al-Harith, who was the most elegant of them in speech, and 'Utba b. Rabi'a, who was bewitchingly eloquent, and Abu Jahl b. Hisham, who was a wondrous orator. One night 'Utba swooned on hearing the Apostle recite a chapter of the Quran, and he said to Abu Jahl: "I am sure that these are not the words of any created being." The peris also came and listened to the Word of God, and said: "Verily, we heard a marvellous recitation, which guides to the right way; and we shall not associate anyone with our Lord" (Qur.lxxii.1-2).1 It is related that a man recited in the presence of 'Abdullah b. Hanzala: "They shall have a couch of Hell-fire, and above them shall be quilts thereof (Qur.vii,39). 'Abdullah began to weep so violently that, to quote the narrator's words, "I thought life would depart from him." Then he rose to his feet. They bade him sit down, but the cried: "Awe of this verse prevents me from sitting down." It is related that the following verse was read in the presence of Junayd: "O believers, why say ye that which ye do not?" (Qur.lxi, 2). Junayd said; "O Lord, if we say, we say because of Thee, and if we do, we do because of Thy blessing: where, then, is our saying and doing?" It is related that Shibli said, on hearing the verse "And remember thy Lord when thou forgettest" (Qur.xviii,23), "Remembrance (of God) involves forgetfulness (of self), and all the world have stopped short at the remembrance of Him;" then he shrieked and fell senseless. When he came to himself, he said: "I wonder at the sinner who can hear God's Word and remain unmoved." A certain Shaykh says: "Once I was reading the Word of God, 'Beware of a Day on which ye shall be returned unto God1 (Qur.ii,281). A heavenly voice called to me, 'Do not read so loud; four peris have died from the terror inspired in them by this verse." A dervish said: "For the last ten years I have not read nor heard the Quran except that small portion thereof which is used in prayer." On being asked why, he answered: "For fear lest it should be cited as an argument against me." One day I came into the presence of Shaykh Abu '1-Abbas Shaqani and found him reading: "God propoundeth as a parable an owned slave who hath naught in his power" (Qur.xvi,77), and weeping and shrieking, so that he swooned and 1 thought he was dead. "O Shaykh," I cried, "what ails thee?" He said: "After eleven years I have reached this point in my set portion of the Quran and am unable to proceed farther." Abu '1-Abbas b. 'Ata was asked how much of the Quran he read daily. He answered: "Formerly I used to read the whole Quran twice in a day and night, but now after reading for fourteen years I have only reached the Surat al- Anfal.'" It is related that Abu 'l-'Abbas Qassab said to a Quran-reader, "Recite," whereupon he recited: "O noble one, famine hath befallen us and our people, and we are come with a petty merchandise" (Qur.xii,88). He said once more, "Recite," whereupon the reader recited: "If he stole a brother of his hath stolen heretofore" (Qur.xii,77). Abu '1- 'Abbas bade him recite a third time, so he recited: "No blame shall be laid upon you this day; God forgiveth you," etc. (Qur.xii,92). Abu '1-Abbas cried: "0 Lord, 1 am more unjust than Joseph's brethren, and Thou art more kind than Joseph: deal with me as he dealt with his wicked brethren." All Muslims, pious and disobedient alike, are commanded to listen to the Quran, for God hath said: "When the Quran is recited hearken thereto and be silent that perchance ye may win mercy" (Qur.vii, 203).3 And it is related that the Apostle said to Ibn Mas'ud: "Recite the Quran to me." Ibn Mas'ud said: "Shall 1 recite it to thee, to whom it was revealed?" The Apostle answered: "1 wish to hear it from another." This is a clear proof that the hearer is more perfect in state than the reader, for the reader may recite with or without true feeling, whereas the hearer feels truly, because speech is a sort of pride and hearing is a sort of humility. The Apostle also said that the chapter of Hud had whitened his hair. It is explained that he said this because of the verse at the end of that chapter: "Be thou steadfast, therefore, as thou hast been commanded" (Qur.xi,l 14), for Man is unable to be really steadfast in fulfilling the Divine commandments, inasmuch as he can do nothing without God's help.4


Zurara b. Abi Awfa, one of the chief Companions of the Apostle, while he wras presiding over the public worship, recited a verse of the Quran, uttered a cry, and died. Abu Ja'far Juhani,5 an eminent Follower, on hearing a verse which Salih Murri6 read to him, gave a loud moan and departed from this world. Ibrahim Nakha'i' relates thai while he was passing through a village in the neighbourhood of Kufa he saw an old woman standing in prayer. As the marks of holiness were manifest on her countenance, he waited until she finished praying and then saluted her in hope of gaining a blessing thereby. She said to him, "Dost thou know the Quran?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Recite a verse." He did so, whereupon she cried aloud and sent her soul forth to meet the vision of God. Ahmad b. Abi '1-Hawari relates the following tale. "I saw in the desert a youth, clad in a coarse frock, standing at the mouth of a well. He said to me: 'O Ahmad thou art come in good time, for 1 must needs hear the Quran, that I may give up my soul. Read me a verse.' God inspired me to read, 'Verily, those who say, "God is our Lord," and then are steadfast' (Qur.xli,30). 'O Ahmad,' said he, 'by the Lord of the Ka'bah thou hast read the same verse which an angel was reading to me just now,' and with these words he gave up his soul."

Chapter on the Audition of Poetry, etc.

It is permissible to hear poetry. The Apostle heard it, and the Companions not only heard it but also spoke it. The Apostle said, "Some poetry is wisdom;" and he said, "Wisdom is the believer's lost she-camel: wherever he finds her, he has the best right to her;" and he said too, "The truest word ever spoken by the Arabs is the verse of Labid:-
'Everything except God is vain,
And all fortune is inevitably fleeting. "

'Amr b. al-Sharid  relates that his father said: "The Apostle asked me whether I could recite any poetry of Umayya b. Abi 'l-Salt, so I recited a hundred verses, and at the end of each verse he cried, 'Go on!' He said that Umayya almost became a Muslim in his poetry." Many such stories are told of the Apostle and the Companions. Erroneous views are prevalent on this subject. Some declare that it is unlawful to listen to any poetry whatever, and pass their lives in defaming their brother Muslims. Some, on the contrary, hold that all poetry is lawful, and spend their time in listening to love-songs and descriptions of the face and hair and mole of the beloved. I do not intend to discuss the arguments which both parties in this controversy bring forward against each other. The Sufi Shaykhs follow the example of the Apostle, who, on being asked about poetry, said: "What is good thereof is good and what is bad thereof is bad," i.e., whatever is unlawful, like backbiting and calumny and foul abuse and blame of any person and utterance of infidelity, is equally unlawful whether it be expressed in prose or in verse; and whatever is lawful in prose, like morality and exhortations and inferences drawn from the signs of God and contemplation of the evidences of the Truth, is no less lawful in verse. In fine, just as it is unlawful and forbidden to look at or touch a beautiful object which is a source of evil, so it is unlawful and forbidden to listen to that object or, similarly, to hear the description of it. Those who regard such hearing as absolutely lawful must also regrd looking and touching as lawful, which is infidelity and heresy. If one says, "I hear only God and seek only God in eye and cheek and mole and curl," it follows that another may look at a cheek and mole and say that he sees and seeks God alone, because both the eye and the ear are sources of admonition and knowledge; then another may say that in touching a person, whose description it is thought allowable to hear and whom it is thought allowable to behold, he, too, is only seeking God, since one sense is no better adapted than another to apprehend a reality; then the whole religious law is made null and void, and the Apostle's saying that eyes commit fornication loses all its forcc, and the blame of touching persons with whom marriage may legally be contracted is removed, and the ordinances of religion fall to the ground. Foolish aspirants to Sufi'ism, seeing the adepts absorbed in ecstasy during audition (sama'), imagined that they were acting from a sensual impulse and said, "It is law fill, else they would not have done so," and imitated them, taking up the form but ncgleeting the spirit, until they perished themselves and led others into perdition. This is one of the great evils of our time. I will set it forth completely in the proper place.

Chapter on the Audition of Voices and Melodies

The Apostle said. "Beautify your voices by reading the Quran aloud;" and God hath said, "God addeth unto His creatures what He pleaseth" (Qur.xxxv, 1), meaning, as the commentators think, a beautiful voice; and the Apostle said, "Whoso wishes to hear the voice of David, let him listen to the voice of Abu Musa al-Ash'ari." It is stated in well-known traditions that the inhabitants of Paradise enjoy audition, for there comes forth from every tree a different voice and melody. When diverse sounds are mingled together, the natural temperament experiences a great delight. This sort of audition is common to all living creatures, because the spirit is subtle, and there is a subtlety in sounds, so that when they are heard the spirit inclines to that which is homogeneous with itself. Physicians and those philosophers who claim to possess a profound knowledge of the truth have discussed this subject at large and have written books on musical harmony. The results of their invention are manifest today in the musical instruments which have been contrived for the sake of exciting passion and procuring amusement and pleasure, in accord with Satan, and so skilfully that (as the story is told) one day, when Ishaq of Mawsil9 was playing in a garden, a nightingale, enraptured with the music, broke off its song in order to listen, and dropped dead from the bough. I have heard many tales of this kind, but my only purpose is to mention the theory that the temperaments of all living creatures are composed of sounds and melodies blended and harmonized. Ibrahim Khawwas says: "Once I came to an Arab tribe and alighted at the hospitable abode of one of their chiefs. I saw a negro lying, shackled and chained, at the tent door in the heat of the sun. I felt pity for him and resolved to intercede with the chief on his behalf. When food was brought for my entertainment I refused to eat, knowing that nothing grieves an Arab more than this. The chief asked me why I refused, and I answered that I hoped his generosity would grant me a boon. He begged me to eat, assuring me that all he possessed was mine. 'I do not want your wealth,' I said, 'but pardon this slave for my sake.' 'First hear what his offence wras,' the chief replied, 'then remove his chains. This slave is a camel-driver, and he has a sweet voice. I sent him with a few camels to my estates, to fetch me some corn. He put a double load on every camel and chanted so sweet! v on the wav that the camels ran at full speed. They returned hither in a short time, and as soon as he unloaded them they died one after another.' 'O prince,' I cried in astonishment, 'a nobleman like you does not speak falsely, but I wish for some evidence of this talc.' While we talked a number of camels were brought from the desert to the wells, that they might drink. The chicf inquired how long they had gone without water. 'Three days,' was the reply. He then commanded the slave to chant. The camels became so occupied in listening to his song that they would not drink a mouthful of water, and suddenly they turned and fled, one by one, and dispersed in the desert. The chieftain released the slave and pardoned him for my sake."
WTe often see, for example, how camels and assess are affected with delight when their drivers trill an air. In Khurasan and 'Iraq it is the custom for hunters, when hunting deer {aha) at night, to beat on a basin of brass (tashti) in order that the deer may stand still, listening to the sound, and thus be caught. And in India, as is well known, some people go out to the open country and sing and make a tinkling sound, on hearing which the deer approach; then the hunters encirclc them and sing, until the deer are lulled to sleep by the delightful melody and are easily captured. The same effect is manifest in young children who cease crying in the cradle when a tune is sung to them, and listen to the tune. Physicians say of such a child that he is sensible and will be clever when he grows up. On the death of one of the ancient kings of Persia his ministers wished to enthrone his son, who was a child two years old. Buzurjmihr,10 on being consulted, said: "Very good, but we must make trial whether he is sensible," and ordered singers to sing to him. The child was stirred with emotion and began to shake his arms andTegs. Buzurjmihr declared that this was a hopeful sign and consented to his succession. Anyone who says that he finds no pleasure in sounds and melodies and music is either a liar and a hypocrite or he is not in his right senses, and is outside of the category of men and beasts, .Those who prohibit music do so in order that they may keep the Divine commandment, but theologians are agreed that it is permissible to hear musical instruments if they are not used for diversion, and if the mind is not led to wickedness through hearing them. Many traditions are cited in support of this view. Thus, it is related that A'isha said: "A slave- girl was singing in my house when 'Umar asked leave to enter. As soon as she heard his step she ran away. He came in and the Apostle smiled. '0 Apostle of God,' cried 'Umar, 'what hath made thee smile?' The Apostle answered, 'A slave-girl was singing here, but she ran away as soon as she heard thy step.1 'I will not depart,' said 'Umar, 'until I hear what the Apostle heard.' So the Apostle called the girl back and she began to sing, the Apostle listening to her." Many of the Companions have related similar traditions, which Abu 'Abd ul-Rahman al-Sulami has collected in his Kitab al-Sama';11 and he has pronounced such audition to be permissible. In practising audition, however, the Sufi Shaykhs desire, not permissibility as the vulgar do, but spiritual advantages. Licence is proper for beasts, but men who are subjcct to the obligations of religion ought to seek spiritual benefit from their actions. Once, when J was at Merv, one of the leaders of the Ahl-i hadith12 and the most celebrated of them all said to me; "I have composed a work on the permissibility of "audition." I replied: "It is a great calamity to religion that the Imam should have made lawful an amusement which is the root of all immorality." "If you do not hold it to be lawful," said he, "why do you practise it?" I answered: "Its lawfulness depends on circumstances and cannot be asserted absolutely: if audition produces a lawful effect on the mind, then it is lawful; it is unlawful if the effect is unlawful, and permissible if the effect is permissible."

Chapter on the Principles of Audition

You must know that the principles of audition vary with the variety of temperaments, just as there are different desires in various hearts, and it is tyranny to lay down one law for all. Auditors (mustami'an) maybe divided into two classes: (1) those who hear the spiritual meaning, (2) those who hear the material sound. There are good and evil results in each case. Listening to sweet sounds produces an effervescencc (ghalayan) of the substance moulded in Man: true (haqq) if the substance be true, false (batil) if the substance be false. When the stuff of a man's temperament is evil, that which he hears will be evil too. The whole of this topic is illustrated by the story of David, whom God made His vicegerent and gave him a sweet voice and caused his throat to be a melodious pipe, so that wild beasts and birds came from mountain and plain to hear him, and the water ceascd to flow and the birds fell from the air. It is related that during a month's space the people who were gathered round him in the desert ate no food, and the children neither wept nor asked for milk; and whenever the folk departed it was found that many had died of the rapture that seized them as they listened to his voice: on time, it is said, the tale of the dead amounted to seven hundred maidens and twelve thousand old men. Then God, wishing to separate those who listened to the voice and followed their temperament from the followers of the truth (ahl-i haqq) who listened to the spiritual reality, permitted lblis to work his will and display his wiles, lblis fashioned a mandoline and a flute and took up a station opposite to the place where David was singing. David's audience became divided into two parties: the blest and the damned. Those who were destined to damnation lent ear to the music of lblis, while those who were destined to felicity remained listening to the voice of David. The spiritualists (ahl-i ma'ni) were conscious of nothing except David's voice, for they saw God alone; if they heard the Devil's music, they regarded it as a temptation proceeding from God, and if they heard David's voice, they recognized it as being a direction from God; wherefore they abandoned all things that are merely subsidiary and saw both right and wrong as they really are. When a man has auditition of this kind, whatever he hears is lawful to him. Some impostors, however, say that their audition is contrary to the reality. This is absurd, for the perfection of saintship consists in seeing everything as it really is, that the vision maybe right; if you see otherwise, the vision is wrong. The Apostle said: "O God, let us see things as they are." Similarly, right audition consists in hearing everything as it is in quality and predicament. The reason why men are seduced and their passions excited by musical instruments is that they hear unreal ly: if their audition corresponded with the reality, they would escape from all evil consequences. The people of error heard the word of God, and their error waxed greater than before. Some of them quoted "The eyes attain not unto Him" (Qur.vi,103) as a demonstration that there shall be no vision of God; some cited "Then He settled Himself on the throne" (Qur.vii,52) to prove that position and direction maybe affirmed of Him; and some argued that God actually "comes", since He has said, "And thy Lord shall come and the angels rank by rank" (Qur.lxxxix,23). Inasmuch as error was implanted in their minds, it profited them nothing to hear the Word of God. The Unitarian, on the other hand, when he peruses a poem, regards the Creator of the poet's nature and the Disposer of his thoughts, and drawing an admonition therefrom, sees in the act an evidence of the Agent. Thus he finds the right way even in falsehood, while those whom we have mentioned above lose the way in the midst of truth.


The Shaykhs have uttered many sayings on this subject. Dhu 'l-Nun the Egyptian says: "Audition is a Divine influence (warid ai-haqq) which stirs the heart to seek God: those who listen to it spiritually (ba-haqq) attain unto God (tahaqqaqa), and those who listen to it sensually (ba-nafs) fall into heresy ftazandaqa.)." This venerable Sufi does not mean that audition is the cause of attaining unto God, but he means that the auditor ought to hear the spiritual reality, not the mere sound, and that the Divine influence ought to sink into his heart and stir it up. One who in that audition follows the truth will experience a revelation, whereas one who follows his lower soul (nafs) will be veiled and will have recourse to interpretation (ta'wil). Zandaqa (heresy) is a Persian word which has been Arabicizcd. In the Arabic tongue it signifies "interpretation". Accordingly, the Persians call the commentary on their Book Zand u Pazand.13 The philologists, wishing to give a name to the descendants of the Magians, called them zindiq on the ground of their assertion that everything stated by the Muslims has an esoteric interpretation, which destroys its external sense. At the present day the Shi'ites of Egypt, who are the remnant

of these Magians, make the same assertion. Hence the word zindiq came to be applied to them as a proper name. Dhu '1- Nun by using this term, intended to declare that spiritualists in audition penetrate to the reality, while sensualists make a far-fetched interpretation and thereby fall into wickedness. Shibli says: "Audition is outwardly a temptation (Jitnat) and inwardly an admonition ('ibrat): he who knows the mystic sign (isharat) may lawfully hear the admonition; otherwise, he has invited temptation and exposed himself to calamity," i.e. audition is calamitous and a source of evil to anyone whose whole heart is not absorbed in the thought of God. Abu Ali Rudbari said, in answer to a man who questioned him concerning audition: "Would that I were rid of it entirely!" because Man is unable to do everything as it ought to be done, and when he fails to do a thing duly he perceives that he has failed and wishes to be rid of it altogether. One of the Shaykhs says: "Audition is that which makes the heart aware of the things in it that produce absence" (ma fiha mina '1-mughayyibat), so that the effect thereof is to make the heart present with God. Absence (ghaybat) is a most blameworthy quality of the heart. The lover, though absent from his Beloved, must be present with him in heart; if he be absent in heart, his love is gone. My Shaykh said: "Audition is the viaticum of the indigent: one who has reached his journey's end hath no need of it," becausc hearing can perform no function where union is; news is heard of the absent, but hearing is naught when two are face to face. Husri says: "What avails an audition that ceases whenever the person whom thou hearest become1: silent? It is neccssary that thy audition should be continuous and uninterrupted," This saying is a token of the concentration of his thoughts in the field of love. When a man attains so high a degree as this he hears (spiritual truths) from every object in the universe.

Chapter on the various opinions respecting Audition

The Shaykhs and spiritualists hold different views as to audition. Some say that it is a faculty appertaining to absence, for in contemplation (of God) audition is impossible, inasmuch as the lover who is united with his Beloved fixes his gaze on Him and does not need to listen to him; therefore, audition is a faculty of beginners which they employ, when distracted by forgetfulness,in order to obtain concentration; but one who is already concentrated will inevitably be distracted thereby. Others, again, say that audition is a faculty appertaining to presence (with God), because love demands all; until the whole of the lover is absorbed in the whole of the Beloved, he is deficient in love: therefore, as in union the heart (dil) has love and the soul (sirr) has contemplation and the spirit has union and the body has service, so the ear also must have such a pleasure as the eye derives from seeing. How excellent, though on a frivolous topic, are the words of the poet who declared his love for wine!

"Give me wine to drink and tell me it is wine.
Do not give it me in secret, when it can be given openly, "i4

i.e. let my eye see it and my hand touch it and my palate taste it and my nose smell it: there yet remains one sense to be gratified, viz. my hearing: tell me, therefore, this is wine, that my ear may feel the same delight as my other senses. And they say that audition appertains to presence with God, because he who is absent from God is a disbeliever (munkir), and those who disbelieve are not worthy to enjoy audition. Accordingly, there are two kinds of audition: mediate and immediate. Audition of which a reciter (qari) is the source is a faculty of absence, but audition of which the Beloved (yari) is the source is a faculty of presence. It was on this account that a well-known spiritual director said: "I will not put any created beings, except the chosen men of God, in a place where 1 can hear their talk or converse with them."
Chapter concerning their different grades in the reality of Audition You must know that each Sufi -has a particular grade in audition and that the feelings which he gains therefrom are proportionate to his grade. Thus, whatever is heard by penitents augments their contrition and remorse; whatever is heard by longing lovers increases their longing for vision; whatever is heard by those who have certain faith confirms their certainty; whatever is heard by novices verifies their elucidation (of matters which perplex them); whatever is heard by lovers impels them to cut off all worldly connexions; and whatever is heard by the spiritually poor forms a foundation for hopelessness. Audition is like the sun, which shines on all things but affects them differently according to their degree: it burns or illumines or dissolves or nurtures. All the classes that I have mentioned are included in the three following grades: beginners (mubtadiyan), middlemen (mutawassitan), and adepts (kamilan). I will now insert a section treating of the state of each of these three grades in regard to audition, that you may understand this matter more easily.


Audition is an influence (warid) proceeding from God, and inasmuch as this body is moulded of folly and diversion the temperament of the beginner is nowise capable of (enduring) the word of God, but is overpoweringly impressed by the descent of that spiritual reality, so that some lose their senses in audition and some die, and there is no one whose temperament retains its equilibrium. It is well known that in the hospitals of Rum they have invented a wonderful thing which they call angalyun; the Greeks call anything that is very marvellous by this name, e.g. the Gospel and the books (wad) of Mani (Manes). The word signifies "promulgation of a decree" (izhar-i hukm). This angalyun resembles a stringed musical instrument (rudi az rudha). The sick are brought to it two days in the week and are forced to listen, while it is being played on, for a length of time proportionate to the malady from which they suffer; then they arc taken away. If it is desired to kill anyone, he is kept there for a longer period, until he dies. Everyone's term of life is really written (in the tablets of destiny), but death is causcd indirectly by various circumstanccs. Physicians and others may listen continualy to the angalyun without being affccted in any way, because it is consonant with their temperaments. I have seen in India a worm which appeared in a deadly poison and lived by it, because that poison was its whole being. In a town of Turkistan, on the frontiers of Islam, 1 saw a burning mountain, from the rocks of which sal-ammoniac fumes (nawshadur) were boiling forth;15 and in the midst of that fire was a mouse, which died when it camc out of the glowing heat. My object in citing these examples is to show that all the agitation of beginners, when the Divine influence descends upon them, is due to the fact that their bodies are opposed to it; but when it becomes continual the beginner receives it quietly. At first the Apostle could not bear the vision of Gabriel, but in the end he used to be distressed if Gabriel ever failed to comc, even for a brief space. Similarly, the stories which J have related above show that beginners are agitated and that adepts are tranquil in audition. Junayd had a disciple who was wont to be greatly agitated in audition, so that the other dervishes were distracted. They complained to Junayd, and he told the disciple that he would not associate with him if he displayed such agitation in future. "I watched that dervish," says Abu Muhammad Jurayri, "during audition: he kept his lips shut and was silent until every pore in his body opened; then he lost consciousness, and remained in that state for a whole day. 1 know not whether his audition or his reverence for his spiritual director was more perfect." it is related that a man cried out during audition. His spiritual director bade him be quiet. He laid his head on his knee, and when they looked he was dead. 1 heard Shaykh Abu Muslim Faris b. Ghalib al-Farisi say that some one laid his hand on the head of a dervish who was agitated during audition and told him to sit down: he sat down and died on the spot. Raqqi 16 relates that Darraj17 said: "While Ibn al-Quti and I were walking on the bank of the Tigris between Basra and Ubulla, we came to a pavilion and saw a handsome man seated on the roof, and beside him a girl who was singing this verse:--

'My love was bestowed on thee in the way of God;
Thou changest every day: it would be seem thee better not to do this.'

A young man with a jug and a patched frock was standing beneath the pavilion. He exclaimed: 'O damsel, for God's sake chant that verse again, for I have only a moment to live; let me hear it and die!' The girl repeated her song, whereupon the youth uttered a cry and gave up his soul. The owner of the girl said to her. Thou art free,1 and came down from the roof and busied himself with preparations for the young man's funeral. When he was buried all the people of Basra said prayers over him. Then the girl's master rose and said: 'O people of Basra, I, who am so-and- so, the son of so-and-so, have devoted all my wealth to pious works and have set free my slaves.' With these words he departed, and no one ever learned what became of him." The moral of this tale is that the novice should be transported by audition to such an extent that his audition shall deliver the wicked from their wickedness. But in the present age some persons attend meetings where the wicked listen to music, yet they say, "We are listening to God;" and the wicked join with them in this audition and are encouraged in their wickedness, so that both parties are destroyed. Junayd was asked: "May we go to a church for the purpose of admonishing ourselves and beholding the indignity of their unbelief and giving thanks for the gift of Islm?" He replied: "If you can go to a church and bring some of the worshippers back with you to the Court of God, then go, but not otherwise." When an anchorite goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his cell, and when a haunter of taverns goes into a cell, that cell becomes his tavern. An eminent Shaykh relates that when he was walking in Baghdad with a dervish, he heard a singer chanting

"If it be true, it is the best of all objects of desire. And. if not, we have lived a pleasant life in it. "
The dervish uttered a cry and died. Abu Ali Rudbari says: "I saw a dervish listening attentively to the voice of a singer. I too inclined my ear, for I wished to know what he was chanting. The words, which he sang in mournful accents, were these :—\

I humbly stretch my hand to him who gives food. liberally,'

Then the dervish uttered a loud cry and fell. When we came near him we found that he was dead." A certain man says: "I was walking on a mountain road with Ibrahim Khawwas. A sudden thrill of emotion seized my heart, and I chanted -

'All men are sure that I am in love, But they know not whom I love.

There is in Man no beauty
That is not surpassed in beauty by a beautiful voice.'
Ibrahim begged me to repeat the verses, and I did so. In sympathetic ecstasy (tawajud) he danced a few steps on the stony ground. I observed that his feet sank into the rock as though it were wax. Then he fell in a swoon. On coming to himself he said to me: 'I have been in Paradise, and you were unaware." I once saw with my own eyes a dervish walking in meditation among the mountains of Adharbayajan and rapidly singing to himself these verses, with many tears and moans :—

"By God, sun never rose or set but thou wert my heart's desire and my dream.
And I never sat conversing with any people but thou wert the subject of my conversation in the midst of my comrades.
And I never mentioned thee in joy or sorrow but love for thee was mingled with my breath.
And I never resolved to drink water, when I was athirst, bat I saw an image of thee in the cup.
And were I able to come I would have visited thee, crawling on my face or walking on my head. "
On hearing these verses he changed countenance and sat down for a while, leaning his back against a crag, and gave up his soul.


Some of the Sufi Shaykhs have objected to the hearing

of odes and poems and to the recitation of the Quran in such a way that its words are intoned with undue emphasis, and they have warned their disciples against these practices and have themselves eschewed them and have displayed the utmost zeal in this matter. Of such objectors there are several classes, and each class has a different reason. Some have found traditions declaring the practices in question to be unlawful and have followed the pious Muslims of old in condemning them. They cite, for example, the Apostle's rebuke to Shirin, the handmaid of Hassan b. Thabit, whom he forbade to sing; and 'Umar's flogging the Companions who used to hear music; and 'Ali's finding fault with Mu'awiya for keeping singing girls, and his not allowing Hasan to look at the Abyssinian woman who used to sing and his ealling her "the Devil's mate". They say, moreover, that their chief argument for the objectionableness of music is the fact that the Muslim community, both now and in past times, are generally agreed in regarding it with disapproval. Some go so far as to pronounce it absolutely unlawful, quoting Abu '1-Harith Bunani, who relates as follows: "I was very assiduous in audition. One night a certain person came to my cell and told me that a number of seekers of God had assembled and were desirous to see me. I went out with him and soon arrived at the place. They received me with extraordinary marks of honour. An old man, round whom they had formed a circle, said to me: 'With thy leave, some poetry will be recited.' I assented, whereupon one of them began to chant verses wrhicb the poets had composed on the subject of separation (from the beloved). They all rose in sympathetic ecstasy, uttering melodious cries and making exquisite gestures, while I remained lost in amazement at their behaviour. They continued in this enthusiasm until near daybreak, then the old man said, 'O Shaykh, art not thou curious to learn who am I and who are my companions?' 1 answered that the reverence which 1 felt towards him prevented me from asking that question. 'I myself,' said he, 'was once 'Azazil and am now lblis, and all the rest are my children. Two benefits accrue to me from such concerts as this: firstly, I bewail my own separation (from God) and remember the days of my prosperity, and secondly, 1 lead holy men astray and cast them into error.' From that time (said the narrator) I have never had the least desire to practise audition."

I, 'Ali b. 'Uthman al-Jullabi, have heard the Shaykh and Imam Abu '1-Abbas al-Ashqani relate that one day, being in an assembly where audition was going on, he saw naked demons dancing among the members of the party and breathing upon them, so that they waxed hot.
Others, again, refuse to practise audition on the ground that, if they indulged in it, their disciples would conform with them and thereby run a grave risk of falling into mischief and of returning from penitence to sin and of having their passions violently roused and their virtue corrupted. It is related that Junayd said to a recently converted disciple: "If you wish to keep your religion safe and to maintain your penitence, do not indulge, while you are young, in the audition which the Sufis practise; and when you grow old, do not let yourself be the cause of guilt in others."

Others say that there are two classes of auditors: those who are frivolous (lahi) and those who are divine (ilahi). The former are in the very centre of mischief and do not shrink from it, while the latter keep themselves remote from mischief by means of self-mortify tion and austerities and spiritual renunciation of all cre^ed things. "Since we" (so say the persons of whom I am now speaking) "belong to neither of these two classes, it is better for us to abstain from audition and to occupy ourselves with something that is suitable to our state."

Others say: "Inasmuch as audition is dangerous to the vulgar and their belief is disturbed by our taking part in it, and inasmuch as they are unable to attain to our degree therein and incur guilt through us, we have pity on the vulgar and give sincere advice to the elect and from altruistic motives decline to indulge in audition." This is a laudable course of action.
Others say: "The Apostle has said, 'It contributes to the excellence of a man's Islam if he leaves alone that which does not concern him.' Accordingly, we renounce audition as being unnecessary, for it is a waste of time to busy one's self with irrelevant things, and time is precious between lovers and the Beloved."

Others of the elect argue that audition is hearsay and its pleasure consists in gratification of a desire, and this is mere child's play. What value has hearsay when one is face to face? The act of real worth is contemplation (of God),
Such, in brief, are the principles of audition Chapter on Wajd and Wujud and Tawajud

Wajd and wujud are verbal nouns, the former meaning "grief' and the latter "finding". These terms are used by Sufis to denote two states which manifest themselves in audition: one state is connected with grief, and the other with gaining the object of desire. The real sense of "grief' is "loss of the Beloved and failure to gain the object of desire", while the real sense of "finding" is "attainment of the desired object". The difference between hazan (sorrow) and wajd is this, that the term hazan is applied to a selfish grief, whereas the term wajd is applied to grief for another in the way of love, albeit the relation of otherness belongs only to the seeker of God, for God Himself is never other

than He is. It is impossible to explain the nature of wajd, because wajd is pain in actual vision, and pain (alam) cannot be described by pen (qaiarn). Wajd is a mystery between the seeker and the Sought, which only a revelation can expound. Nor is it possible to indicate the nature of wujud, because wujud is a thrill of emotion in contemplation of God, and emotion (tarab) cannot be reached by investigation (talab). Wujud is a grace bestowed by the Beloved on the lover, a grace of which no symbol can suggest the real nature. In my opinion, wajd is a painful affection of the heart, arising either from jest or earnest, either from sadness or gladness; and wujud is the removal of a grief from the heart and the discovery of the object that was its cause. He who feels wajd is either agitated by ardent longing in the state of occultation (hijab), or calmed by contemplation in the state of revelation (kashf). The Shaykhs hold different views on the question whether wajd or wujud is more perfect. Some argue that, wujud being characteristic of novices (muridan), and wajd of gnostics ('arifan), and gnostics being more exalted in degree than novices, it follows that wajd is higher and more perfect than wujud; for (they say) everything that is capable of being found is apprehensible, and apprehensibility is characteristic of that which is homogeneous with something else: it involves finitcness, whereas God is infinite; therefore, what a man finds is naught but a feeling (mashrabi), but what he has not found, and in despair has ceascd to seek, is the Truth of which the only finder is God. Some, again, declare that wajd is the glowing passion of novices, while wujud is a gift bestowed on lovers, and, since lovers are more exalted than novices, quiet enjoyment of the gift must be more perfect han passionate seeking. This problem cannot be solved without a story, which I will now relate. One day Shibli came in repturous ecstasy to Junayd. Seeing that Junayd was sorrowful, he asked what ailed him. Junayd said, "He who seeks shall find." Shibli

cried, "No; he who finds shall seek." This anecdote has been discussed by the Shaykhs, because Junayd was referring to wajd and Shibli to wujud. I think Junayd's view is authoritative, for, when a man knows that his object of worship is not of the same genus as himself, his grief has no end. This topic has been handled in the present work. The Shaykhs agree that the power of knowledge should be greater than the power of wajd, Since, if wajd be more powerful, the person affected by it is in a dangerous position, whereas one in whom knowledge preponderates is secure. It behoves the seeker in all circumstances to be a follower of knowledge and of the religious law, for when he is overcome by wajd he is deprived of discrimination (khitab), and is not liable to recompense for good actions or punishment for evil, and is exempt from honour and disgrace alike: therefore he is in the predicament of madment, not in that of the saints and favourites of God. A person in whom knowledge ('ilm) preponderates over feeling (hal) remains in the bosom of the Divine commands and prohibitions, and is always praised and rewarded in the palace of glory; but a person in whom feeling preponderates over knowledge is outside of the ordinances, and dwells, having lost the faculty of discrimination, in his own imperfection. This is precisely the meaning of Junayd's words. There are two ways: one of knowiedge and one of action. Action without knowiedge, although it maybe good, is ignorant and imperfect, but knowledge, even if it be unaccompanied by action, is glorious and noble. Hence Abu Yazid said, "The unbelief of the magnanimous is nobler than the Islam of the covetous;" and Junayd said, "Shibli is intoxicated; if he became sober he would be an Imam from whom people would benefit." It is a well-known story that Junayd and Muhammad19 h. Masruq and Abu '1-Abbas b. 'Ata were together, and the singer (qawwal) w;as chanting a verse. Junayd remained calm while his two friends fell into a forced ecstasy (tawajud), and on their asking him why he did not participate in the audition (sama) he recited the word of God: "Thou shalt think them (the mountains) motionless, but they shall pass like the clouds" (Qur.xxvii,90). Tawajud is "taking pains to produce wajd", by representing to one's mind, for example, the bounties and evidences of God, and thinking of union (ittisal) and wishing for the practices of holy men. Some do this tawajud in a formal manner, and imitate them by outward motions and methodical dancing and grace of gesture: such tawajud is absolutely unlawful. Others do it in a spiritual manner, with the desire of attaining to their condition and degree. The Apostle said, "He who makes himself like unto a people is one of them," and he said, "When ye recite the Quran, weep, or if ye weep not, then endeavour to weep." This tradition proclaims that tawajud is permissible. Hence that spiritual director said: "I will go a thousand leagues in falsehood, that one step of the journey maybe true."
Chapter on Dancing, etc.

You must know that dancing (raqs) has no foundation either in the religious law (of Islam) or in the path (of Sufi'ism), because all reasonable men agree that it is a diversion when it is in earnest, and an impropriety (laghwai) when it is in jest. None of the Shaykhs has commcnded it or exceeded due bounds therein, and all the traditions cited in its favour by anthropomorphists (ahl-i hashw) are worthless. But since ecstatic movements and the practices of those who endeavour to induce ecstasy (ahl-i tawajud) resemble it, some frivolous imitators have indulged in it immoderately and have made it a religion. I have met with a number of common people who adopted Sufi'ism in the belief that it is this (dancing) and nothing more. Others have condemned it altogether. In short, all foot-play (pay-bazi) is bad in law and reason, by whomsoever it is practised, and the best of mankind cannot possibly practise it; but when the heart throbs with exhilaration and rapture becomes intense and the agitation of ecstasy is manifested and conventional forms are gone, that agitation (idtirab) is neither dancing nor foot play nor bodily indulgence, but a dissolution of the soul. Those who call it "dancing" are utterly wrong. It is a .state that cannot be explained in words: "without experience no knowledge."

Looking at youths (ahdath). Looking at youths and associating with them are forbidden practices, and anyone who declares this to be allowable is an unbeliever. The traditions brought forward in this matter are vain and follish. I have seen ignorant persons who suspected the Sufis of the crime in question and regarded them with abhorrence, and I observed that some have made it a religious rule (madhhabi). All the Sufi Shaykhs, however, have recognized the wickedness of such practices, which the adherents of incarnation (hululiyan) — may God curse them! - have left as a stigma on the saints of God and the aspirants to Sufi'ism. But God knows best what is the truth.
Chapter on the Rending of Garments (fi 'l-kharq)

Jt is a custom of the Sufis to rend their garments, and they have commonly done this in great assemblies where eminent Shaykhs were present. I have met with some theologians who objected to this practice and said that it is not right to tear an intact garment to pieces, and that this is an evil. 1 reply that an evil of wrhich the purpose is good must itself be good. Anyone may cut an intact garment to pieces and sew it together again, e.g. detach the sleeves and body (tana) and gusset (tiriz) and collar from one another, and then restore the garment to its original condition: and there is no difference between tearing a garment into five pieces and tearing it into a hundred pieces. Besides, every piece gladdens the heart of a believer, when he sews it on his patched frock, and brings about the satisfaction of his desire. Although the rending of garments has jio foundation in Sufi'ism and certainly ought not to be practised in audition by anyone whose senses are perfectly controlled - for, in that case, it is mere extravagance — nevertheless, if the auditor be so overpowered that his sense of discrimination is lost and he becomes unconscious, then he maybe excuscd (for tearing his garment to pieces); and it is allowable that all the persons present should rend their garments in sympathy with him. There are three circumstances in which Sufis rend their garments: firstly, when a dervish tears his own garment to pieces through rapture caused by audition; secondly, when a number of his friends tear his garment to pieces at the command of a spiritual director on the occasion of asking God to pardon an offcnce; and thirdly, when they do the same in the intoxication of ecstasy. The most difficult case is that of the garment thrown off or torn in audition. It maybe injured or intact. If it be injured, it should either be sewed together and given back to its owner or bestowed on another dervish or torn to pieces, for the sake of gaining a blessing, and divided among the members of the party. If it be intact, we have to consider what was the intention of the dervish who cast it off. If he meant it for the singer, let the singer take it; and if he meant it for the members of the party, let them have it; and if he threw it off without any intention, the spiritual director must determine whether it shall be given to those present and divided among them, or be conferred on one of them, or handed to the singer. If the dervish meant it for the singer, his companions need not throw off their garments in sympathy, because the cast off, garment will not go to his fellows and he will have given it voluntarily or involuntarily without their participation. But if the garment will not go to his fellows and he will have given it voluntarily or involuntarily without their participation. But if the garment was thrown off with the intention that it should fall to the members of the party, or without any intention, they should all throw off their garments in sympathy; and when they have done this, the spiritual director ought not to bestow the garment on the singer, but it is allowable that any lover of God among them should sacrifice something that belongs to him and return the garment to the dervishes, in order that it maybe torn to pieces and distributed. If a garment drops off while its owner is in a state of rapture, the Shaykhs hold various opinions as to what ought to be done, but the majority say that it should be given to the singer, in accordance with the Apostolic tradition: "The spoils belong to the slayer;11 and that not to give it to the singer is to violate the obligations imposed by Sufi'ism. Others contend ~ and 1 prefer this view - that, just as some theologicans are of opinion that the dress of a slain man should not be given to his slayer except by permission of the Imam, so, here, this garment should not be given to the singer except by command of the spiritual director. But if its owner should not wish the spiritual director to bestow it, let no one be angry with him.

Chapter on the Rules of Audition

The rules of audition that it should not be practised until it comes (of its own accord), and that you must not make a habit of it, but practise it seldom, in order that you may not cease to hold it in reverence. It is necessary that a spiritual director should be present during the performance, and that the place should be cleared of common people, and that the singer should be a respectable person, and that the heart should be emptied of worldly thoughts, and that the disposition should not be inclined to amusement, and that every artificial effort (takalluf) should be put aside. You must not exceed the proper bounds until audition manifests its power, and when it has bccome powerful you must not repel it but must follow it as it requires: if it agitates, you must be agitated, and if it calms, you must be calm; and you must be able to distinguish a strong natural impulse from the ardour of ecstasy (wajd). The auditor must have enough perception to be capable of receiving the Divine influence and of doing justice to it. When its might is manifested on his heart he must not endeavour to repel it, and when its force is broken he must not endeavour to attract it. While he is in a state of emotion, he must neither expect anyone to help him nor refuse anyone's help if it be offered. And he must not disturb anyone who is engaged in audition or interfere with him, or ponder what he means by the verse (to which he is listening)/0 because such behaviour is very distressing and disappointing to the person who is trying (to hear). He must not say to the singer, "You chant sweetly;" and if he chants unmetrically, he must not say to him, "Chant better!" or bear malice towards him, but he must be unconscious of the singer's presence and commit him to God, who hears correctly. And if he have no part in the audition which is being enjoyed by others, it is not proper that he should look soberly on their intoxication, but he must keep quiet with his own "time" (waqt) and establish its dominion, that the blessings thereof may come to him. I, Ali b. 'Uthman al-Jullabi, think it more desirable that beginners should not be allowed to attend musical concerts (sama'ha), lest their natures become depraved. These concerts are extremely dangerous and corrupting, because women on the roofs or elsewhere look at the dervishes who are engaged in audition; and in consequence of this the auditors have great obstacles to encounter. Or it may happen that a young reprobate is one of the party, since some ignorant Sufis have made a religion (madhhab) of all this and have flung truth to the winds.

I ask pardon of God for my sins of this kind in the past, and I implore His help, that He may preserve me both outwardly and inwardly from contamination, and I enjoin the readers of this book to hold it in due regard and to pray that the author may believe to the end and be vouchsafed the vision of God (in Paradise).

1 After a farther eulogy of the inimitable style of the Quran, the author relates the story of 'Umms conversion.
2 The ebapter of the Spoils, a title given to the eighth chapter of the Quran.
3 Here the author quotes a number of Quranic verses in which the faithful are enjoined to listen beedfully to the rccitation of the sacred volume, or are rebuked for their want of attention.
4 I have omitted here a story related by Ahu Sa'id al-Kbudri concerning Muhammad's interview with a party of destitute refugees (mubajirun), to whom the Quran was being read.
5 BI. Abu Juhayn, J. Abu Juhani.
6 Sha'rani, Tabaqat al-Kubra, I. 60.
7 Ibn Khallikan, No. 1.
8 B. al-Rashid.
9 Aghani, 5,52-131/
10 The vizier of Khusraw Nushirwan, the great Sasanian king of Persia (531 -78 A.D.).
11 The Book of Audition.
(2 "The followers of Tradition" as opposed to "the followers of Opinion" (ahl- c-ra'y)
13 See Professor Browne's Literary History of Persia, I, 81.
14 Abu Nuwas, Die Weinlieder, ed. By Ahlwardt, No.29, verse 1.
15 The mountains referred to are the Jabal al-Buttam, to the east of Samarcand. See G. Le Strange, The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate, p.467.
16 U. Duqqi. Qushayri, who relates this story (184, 22). has "al-Raqqi", The nisba Duqqi refers to Abu Bakr Muhammad al-Dinawari (Nafahat, No.229), while Raqqi probably denotes Ibrahim b. Dawud al-Raqqi (ibid., No.194)
17 Nafahat, No.207."
18 So Qushayri. The Persian texts have. In the commentary on Qushayri by Zakariyya al-Ansari the name is written al-Futi.
19 Apparently a mistake for Ahmad b. Muhammad. See Nafahat, No.83.
20 The text of this clanse is uncertain. I haye followed B.'s reading, u murad-e- ura badan bayt-e-u bi-na-sanjad. but I am not sure that it will bear the translation given above. L. has badan niyyat-e-u, and S. badan nisbat-e-u.