STORY XIII. The Prophet's Scribe.
The Prophet had a scribe who used to write down the texts that fell from his
lips. At last this scribe became so conceited that he imagined all this
heavenly wisdom proceeded from his own wit, and not from the Prophet. Puffed up
with self-importance, he fancied himself inspired, and his heart was hardened
against his master, and he became a renegade, like the fallen angels Harut and
Marut. He took his own foolish surmises to be the truth, whereas they were all
wide of the mark, as those of the deaf man who went to condole with a sick
neighbour and answered all his remarks at cross purposes.
How philosophers deceive themselves.
On the last day, 1 "when Earth shall quake with quaking,"
This earth shall give witness of her condition.
For she "shall tell out her tidings openly,"
Yea, earth and her rocks shall tell them forth!
The philosopher reasons from base analogies
(True reason comes not out of a dark corner) ;
The philosopher (I say) denies this in his pride of intellect.
Say to him, "Go, dash thy head against a wall!"
The speech of water, of earth, of mire,
Is audible by the ears of men of heart!
Tho philosopher, who denies Divine Providence,
Is a stranger to the perceptions of saints.
He says that the flashes of men's morbid imaginations
Instil many vain fancies into men's minds.
But, on the contrary, 'tis his perverseness and want of faith
Which implant in himself this vain fancy of negation.
The philosopher denies the existence of the Devil;
At the same time he is the Devil's laughing-stock.
If thou hast not seen the Devil, look at thyself,
Without demon's aid how came that blue turban 2 on thy brow?
Whosoever has a doubt or disquietude in his heart
Is a secret denier and philosopher.
Now and then he displays firm belief,
But that slight dash of philosophy blackens his face.
Beware, O believers! That lurks in you too;
You may develop innumerable states of mind.
All the seventy and two heresies lurk in you;
Have a care lest one day they prevail over you!
He in whose breast the leaf of true faith is grown
Must tremble as a leaf from fear of such a catastrophe.
Thou makest a mock of Iblis and the Devil,
Because thou art a fine man in thy own sight;
But when thy soul shall tell thy wretched faults,
What lamentation thou wilt cause to the faithful!
The sellers of base gold sit smiling in their shops,
Because the touchstone is not as yet in their sight.
O Veiler of sins! strip not the veil from us;
Lend us aid on the day of trial!