From all eternity the Beloved unveiled His beauty in the solitude of the unseen;
He held up the mirror to His own face, He displayed His loveliness to Himself.
He was both the spectator and the spectacle; no eye but His had surveyed the Universe.
All was One, there was no duality, no pretence of 'mine' or 'thine.'
The vast orb of Heaven, with its myriad incomings and outgoings, was concealed in a single point.
The Creation lay cradled in the sleep of non-existence, like a child ere it has breathed.
The eye of the Beloved, seeing what was not, regarded nonentity as existent.
Although He beheld His attributes and qualities as a perfect whole in His own essence,
Yet He desired that they should be displayed to Him in another mirror,
And that each one of His eternal attributes should become manifest accordingly in a diverse form,
Therefore He created the verdant fields of Time and Space and the life-giving garden of the world,
That every branch and leaf and fruit might show forth His various perfections,
The cypress gave a hint of His comely stature, the rose gave tidings of His beauteous countenance.
Wherever Beauty peeped out, Love appeared beside it; wherever Beauty shone in a rosy cheek, Love lit his torch from that flame.
Wherever Beauty dwelt in dark tresses, Love came and found a heart entangled in their coils.
Beauty and Love are as body and soul; Beauty is the mine and Love the precious stone.
They have always been together from the very first; never have they travelled but in each other's company.
(Jami; Excerpted from' Mystics of Islam' by Reynold A. Nicholson)
Quote Reference and Recommended Reading:
'The Mystics of Islam'
By Reynold A. Nicholson
Sufism is the heart of the Islamic tradition. Its teachings, which synthesize the ways of knowledge and love, are founded upon many of the most beautiful verses of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Through an unbroken succession of wise and ecstatic voices - many of whom were among the greatest poets of both the Arabic and Persian languages - the doctrine of Sufism has been a constant fountain of spiritual illumination throughout its long history for seekers both within and outside Islam. The Mystics Of Islam, first published in 1914, has long been recognized as a classic and definitive introduction to the message of Sufism. In this short but comprehensive work, R.A. Nicholson - who was one of the greatest Islamic scholars of the early 20th century - provides the general reader with an easy approach to the study of Islamic mysticism. He gives a broad outline of Sufism and describes the key principles, methods and characteristic features of the inner life as it has been lived by Muslims of every class and condition from the 8th century onwards. Many quotations are given, mainly in the author's own fine translations from the original Arabic and Persian