which literally means to run away from something, is used in Sufism to denote
the journey from the created to the Creator, sheltering from the “shadow”
in the “original,” and renouncing the “drop” to plunge into the
“ocean.” Further, it means discontent with the piece of glass (in which the
Sun is reflected) and thus turning to the “Sun,” thereby escaping the
confinement of self-adoration to “melt away” in the rays of the Truth. The
verse flee to God (51:50), which points to a believer’s journeying in
heart and in spirit, refers to this action of the heart, the spiritual
distant people are from the suffocating atmosphere of corporeality and the
carnal dimension, the nearer they are to God, and the more respect they have
for themselves. Let us hear from Prophet Moses, upon him be peace, a loyal
devotee at the door of the Truth, how one fleeing to and taking shelter in God
is rewarded: Then I fled from you [Pharaoh] when I feared you, and my Lord
has granted to me the power of judging (justly and distinguishing between truth
and falsehood, and right and wrong) and has made me one of His Messengers
(26:21). Prophet Moses states that the way to spiritual pleasure and meeting
with God and Divine vicegerency and nearness passes through fleeing.
people flee to take refuge in God’s forgiveness and favor from life’s
tumults and sin’s ugliness. They repeat or consider the meaning of: My
Lord, forgive and have compassion, for You are the Best of the Compassionate
(23:118). They seek God’s shelter in total sincerity, saying: I take refuge
with You from the evil of what I have done.
distinguished by their piety and nearness to God flee from their own defective
qualities to Divine Attributes, from feeling with their outward senses to
discerning and observing with the heart, from ceremonial worship to its
innermost dimension, and from carnal feelings to spiritual sensations. This is
referred to in: O God, I take refuge with Your approval from Your wrath, and
with Your forgiveness from Your chastisement.
advanced in knowledge and love of God and in piety flee from Attributes to
Divine Being or Essence, and from the Truth to the Truth Himself. They say: I
take refuge with You from You, and are always in awe of God.
All who flee
seek shelter and protection. As consciousness of fleeing is proportionate to
the spiritual profundity of the one fleeing, the quality of the destination
reached varies according to the degree of the seeker’s awareness. Members of
the first group end in knowledge of God. They remember God in everything they
see and mention Him, cherish desires and imagine things impossible for them to
realize, and finally come to rest at sensing the reality of: We have not been
able to know You as knowing You requires, O Known One. They always feel and
repeat in ecstasy:
are in pursuit of knowledge of You,
those who attempt to describe You are unable to do so.
our repentance, for we are human beings
to know You as knowing You requires.
Members of the
second group sail every day for a new ocean of knowledge of God, and spend
their lives in ever-renewed radiations of Divine manifestation. However, they
cannot be saved from the obstacles blocking them from the final station, where
their overflowing spirit will subside. With their eyes fixed on the steps of
the stairway leading to higher and higher ranks, they fly upward from one rank
to another; however, they also tremble with the fear that they might descend.
Members of the third group, freed from the tides of the state (see the chapter:
Hal and Maqam) and drowned in amazement (see the chapter: Dahsha
and Hayra), are so intoxicated with the “wine coming from the source
of everything” that even the Trumpet of Israfil16 cannot cause them to
recover from that stupor. Only one who has reached this rank can describe the
profundity of their thoughts and feelings. Rumi says:
illusions are traps for saints, whereas in reality
are the reflections of those with radiant faces in the garden of God.
of God” signifies the manifestation of Divine Unity—the manifestations of
one, many, or all Divine Names throughout the universe. “Those with radiant
faces” denotes the Divine Names and Attributes focused on a single thing or
being. So, the meaning of the couplet is this: The traps in which saints are
caught are manifestations of Divine Names and Attributes. These manifestations
consist of illusions in the view of those blind to Divine truths. In the words
of Sari Abdullah Efendi, the hearts of the Prophets and saints are mirrors that
reflect the Names and Attributes of God. God also manifests His Names and
Attributes as the Lord—Ruler, Sustainer, and Master—of the universe, making
it a garden with the ever-renewed beauties and charms that enrapture the
Prophet and the saints.