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Saadi Shirazi

(1814-1291 / Iran)

Introductory 01


Laudation to the God of majesty and glory! Obedience to him is a cause of approach and gratitude in increase of benefits. Every inhalation of the breath prolongs life and every expiration of it gladdens our nature; wherefore every breath confers two benefits and for every benefit gratitude is due.

Whose hand and tongue is capable
To fulfil the obligations of thanks to him?

Words of the most high: Be thankful, O family of David, and but few of my servants are thankful.

It is best to a worshipper for his transgressions
To offer apologies at the throne of God,
Although what is worthy of his dignity
No one is able to accomplish.

The showers of his boundless mercy have penetrated to every spot, and the banquet of his unstinted liberality is spread out everywhere. He tears not the veil of reputation of his worshippers even for grievous sins, and does not withhold their daily allowance of bread for great crimes.

O bountiful One, who from thy invisible treasury
Suppliest the Guebre and the Christian with food,
How could’st thou disappoint thy friends,
Whilst having regard for thy enemies?

He told the chamberlain of the morning breeze to spread out the emerald carpet and, having commanded the nurse of vernal clouds to cherish the daughters of plants in the cradle of the earth, the trees donned the new year’s robe and clothed their breast with the garment of green foliage, whilst their offspring, the branches, adorned their heads with blossoms at the approach of the season of the roses. Also the juice of the cane became delicious honey by his power, and the date a lofty tree by his care.

Cloud and wind, moon and sun move in the sky
That thou mayest gain bread, and not eat it unconcerned.
For thee all are revolving and obedient.
It is against the requirements of justice if thou obeyest not.

There is a tradition of the prince of created beings, the paragon of existing things, the mercy to the inhabitants of the world, the purest of mankind and the completion of the revolving ages, Muhammad the elect, upon whom be blessing and peace:

Intercessor, obeyed, prophet, gracious,
Bountiful, majestic, affable, marked with the seal of God.
What danger is there to the wall of the faithful with thee for a buttress?
What fear of the waves of the sea has he whose pilot is Noah?
He attained exaltation by his perfection.
He disspelled darkness by his beauty.
Beauteous are all his qualities,
Benediction be on him and on his family.

The tradition is that whenever a sinful and distressed worshipper stretches forth the hand of repentance with hopes of acceptance to the court of heaven, God the most high does not notice him, whereon he continues to implore mercy with supplications and tears and God the most holy says: O my angels, verily I am ashamed of my servant and he has no other lord besides myself. Accordingly I have fully pardoned him.

See the generosity and kindness of God.
The servant has committed sin and he is ashamed.

Those who attend permanently at the temple of his glory confess
the imperfection of their worship and say: We have not worshipped thee
according to the requirements of thy worship; and those who describe
the splendour of his beauty are rapt in amazement saying: We have
not known thee as thou oughtest to be known.

If someone asks me for his description,
What shall I despairing say of One who has no form?
The lovers have been slain by the beloved.
No voice can come from the slain.

One of the devout who had deeply plunged his head into the cowl of meditation and had been immersed in the ocean of visions, was asked, when he had come out of that state, by one of his companions who had desired to cheer him up: ‘What beautiful gift hast thou brought us from the garden in which thou hast been?’ He replied: ‘I intended to fill the skirts of my robe with roses, when I reached the rose-tree, as presents for my friends but the perfume of the flowers intoxicated me so much that I let go the hold of my skirts.’

O bird of the morning, learn love from the moth
Because it burnt, lost its life, and found no voice.
These pretenders are ignorantly in search of Him,
Because he who obtained knowledge has not returned.

O thou who art above all imaginations, conjectures, opinions and ideas,
Above anything people have said or we have heard or read,
The assembly is finished and life has reached its term
And we have, as at first, remained powerless in describing thee.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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