If you would like to understand this world and the human soul within it, and the nature and values of religion for the human being, and that this world is a prison if his religion is not true, and that “يا الله” [O Allah] and “لا إله إلا الله” [There is no god but Allah] are what reveal the mystery of this world [and] save the human soul from darkness, [then] observe and listen to the this short allegory:

 

In the past, two brothers go on a long journey together. As they traveled, the road forked into two. They saw a serious man at the fork. They asked him “which road is good?”. He said to them “On the road to the right, there is an obligation to follow the law and order. However, within that burden is safety and happiness. As for the road to the left, there is liberty and freedom. But within that liberty there is danger and misery. Now the choice of selection is yours’.”

 

After listening to this, the good-mannered brother took the road on the right saying “I put my trust in Allah” and accepted following the law and order. The other brother who was ill-mannered and corrupt chose the left road simply for liberty. Through imagination, we follow this man who travels in a state of apparent ease [but] spiritual burden.

 

So, this man traveled through streams and hills until he entered an empty desert. Suddenly, he heard an extraordinary sound. He saw a terrifying lion emerging from [behind] the oak trees and rushing towards him. And he ran until he came across a waterless well sixty yards deep. Out of fear, he threw himself into it. He fell halfway through [until] his hands came across a tree; [he] firmly held on [to it]. That tree, which had grown on the well’s wall has two roots. Two rats, one white and one black are holding on and cutting those two roots. He looked above [and] saw the lion waiting at the top of the well like a guard. He looked below and saw a terrifying dragon inside. It lifted its head, moving close to his feet 30 yards above. Its mouth is as wide as the well’s opening. He looked at the well’s wall and saw that stinging vicious insects had surrounded him. He looked at the tree top and saw that it was a fig tree. Yet miraculously it bears the fruits of many different trees from walnuts to pomegranates.

 

Thus, out of his poor understanding and his foolishness, this man does not understand that his is not an ordinary matter. These matters cannot be a coincidence. There are strange mysteries within these matters. And he did not understand that there is a highly great operator. However some of those fruits were poisonous and harmful. Now while his heart, soul, and mind secretly are crying and wailing  from this painful situation, his nafs al-ammara [evil commanding self] acts as though there is nothing, covering his ears to the cries of his soul and heart, starts eating that tree’s fruits deceiving himself as though he is present in a garden. The Almighty Truth (Janab al-Haqq) has stated in a hadith qudsi “اَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِى بى” [I am to my slave as he thinks of Me.] meaning “I will treat My slave the way he knows Me.”

 

So out of pessimism and foolishness, this unfortunate man considered what he saw as ordinary and actual truth, and [as a result] he was treated, is treated and will be treated in that manner. He does not die so that he may be saved, not does he live; he is tortured in this way. And we will leave this unfortunate (one) in this torment and return so that we may understand the situation of the other brother.

 

To be continued. 

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