شناسه مطلب صحیفه
نمایش نسخه چاپی

Letter [to Fatimah Tabataba'i]

Jamaran, Tehran
Need to pay attention to the truths and avoid being engrossed in terminologies
Fatimah Tabataba'i
جلد ۲۰ صحیفه امام خمینی (ره)، از صفحه ۱۵۱ تا صفحه ۱۵۵
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
My Dear Fati,
Finally, you imposed on me to write a few lines, not accepting my excuses of old age and preoccupations. Now I will begin with the plagues of old age and of youth both of which I have experienced or, to be exact, completed. Now, I am in the intermediate stage of purgatory or grappling with the minions of the angel of death in hell. Tomorrow, the black letter of my deeds shall be handed to me, and I shall be asked for an account of my misspent life. I have no answer, except my hope in the mercy of" He Whose mercy embraces all things" «1» and who revealed" do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives sins." «2» To the Prophet of Islam «3».
Suppose I am included among those to whom these verses apply, what will happen to the ascension to the sacred premises of His Majesty, mounting to the neighborhood of the Friend and joining in the banquet of Allah, to which one must arrive by one's steps? In my youth, when I had vigor and ability, I was preoccupied with temptations of Satan and his minion, the carnal self and waste my time with bandy notions and expressions by which I acquired neither concentration nor spiritual stations. I never took in the spirit of these things nor did I go from the exoteric to the esoteric and from the earthly domain to the angelic domain." I gained nothing from clamors of school but some heart-rendering words after all those cries."
I was sunk so deeply in expressions that instead of seeking to lift the veils, I collected books as if nothing else mattered in the entire world but a handful of papers. In the name of the humanities, divine goals and philosophical truth, the seeker, who has been endowed with a divine nature, is diverted and sunk beneath a great veil.
The Four Journeys «4» diverted me from my journey to the Friend; I acquired no opening from The Openings, «5» nor any wisdom from The Bezels of Wisdom, «6» let alone from other books, for each of which is another sad story.
When I reached old age I was gradually drawn away «7» from that misfortune until I reached senility and what is beyond senility, with which I am now grappling." And among you are some who are brought back to a most decrepit life, so that they do not know anything after they had known. «8» You, my daughter, are miles away from this stage. You have not tasted its savor. May God extend your life to such an age, but without its ill effects. You expect writings and discourses from me, and that in the form of a mixture of poetry and prose! You do not seem to realize that I am neither a writer nor a poet nor an orator.
You, my dear daughter, without having reached the stage of unripe grapes, wish to attain the stage of confection made from boiled ripe grapes! Know that a day shall come when, God forbid, you will bear the heavy burden of regret upon your shoulders for having misspent your youth with such infatuation while you let the higher things escape you, just as I have, I who have fallen behind in the caravan of lovers. So, listen to this wretched one who bears such a burden on his shoulders, and who is bent beneath it. Do not be satisfied with expressions such as these, which are a trap of the big Satan. Seek the Great and Glorious One! Youthful days with its delights and gratifications pass by soon. I have been through it all; now I am wrestling with all its hellish chastisement. The inner Satan does not let up on me so that, God forbid, he should strike the last blow. However, being despaired of the embracing mercy of the Divine is itself a cardinal sin. «9» May God protect the sinner from such an affliction.
Hajjaj ibn Yousuf, the ruthless murderer in history, has been reported as saying in his last days:" Oh God! Forgive me, even though every one says You will not forgive me!" Upon hearing this, Shafi`i «10» said," If he has said this, he might be forgiven. But I doubt whether this wicked man can make such request." «11» I know that despair is worse than anything. Oh my daughter, do not be so overconfident of mercy that you neglect the Friend. Do not also be despaired and thus become one of those who have lost both this world and the hereafter.
Oh God! By the five companions of the cloak protect Ahmad, Fati, Hasan, Rida [Yasir] and `Ali, who belong to the household of your dear Prophet and his appointed one, `Ali (`a) against Satan and passions of the soul. Here ends my speech, and God's sentence upon me is complete. Peace!
Since you have demanded me to quote you some of my poems with that insistence, which is so characteristic of you, I should confess that throughout my lifetime I have never had talent for poetry. There is a narration reading," My power in old age has not differed from what it was in my young days, for I have not been to lift this stone then and now." Now, I can say the same thing about my poetry and literature, for I have lacked the talent both in my youth and old age. Thus I declare:
If `poet' be the word for Sa`di of Shiraz,
What you and I may weave is but a play of dross.
Now, since I'm incapable of poetry, I'll play a trick with doggerel, and so concede to your demands.
Ahmad is from Muhammad the chosen one
Whom the Praised One shall watch from above.
Fati is from the throne of the womb of Fatimah
Whom the Creator of the heavens shall love.
, a fruit of this tree of beauty,
The Benefactor shall be his sure companion boon.
Yasir, of the pure house of the two offspring,
The secrets of sanctity about him shall be strewn.
`Ali who is from the garden of `Ali,
His slogan shall be `Ali is great.
Five persons from the loins of Ahmad
Shall find intercession from the four plus eight.
My daughter asks me for fresh poetry,
Doggerel, I say, as mementoes of late.
Again you ask for poetry, and yet again, so here is some more babble:
I am a lover, a lover!
Except for union with You
there is no cure for this,
Who is there
whose soul has not been kindled
by this fire?
Except for you,
in the assembly of those burnt of heart,
nothing is remembered.
This is a story
with neither a beginning
nor an end.
The mystery of the heart
cannot be exposed
to anyone
Except to the Friend
for whom there is neither presence
nor absence.
With whom may I confide,
that one can never
see the Friend,
Unless neither thought
nor vision
is under his control?
Open a corner of your eye
to look
at this poor man;
Engage him with the play of love,
for this is a disorderly wilderness.
Open the cask
and fill the goblet to the brim.
Except for You,
None gives the true measure
nor keeps its promise.
The tongue cannot be stilled
From the distracted talk
Of one in whose breast is only
a distracted heart.
Tear up the tablet,
break the pen,
and breath nothing more,
For there is no one
who is not baffled and bewildered
by Him.
1365 AHS
Rabi` ath-Thani 1407 AH
«۱»- Bihar al-Anwar, ۳۹۶:۹۱. «۲»- Chapter Zumar of Qur'an, ۳۹:۵۳. «۳»- Soureh Anbia, ۲۱:۱۰۷. «۴»- The Asfar al-`Arba` is the magnum opus of Sadr ad-Din Shirazi (۹۷۹-۱۰۵۰ AH/۱۵۷۱-۱۶۴۰), the most important Muslim philosopher since the thirteenth century. «۵»- The Futuhat al-Makkiyyah of the great sufi theoretician, Ibn al-`Arabi (۵۶۰-۶۳۸ AH/۱۱۶۵-۱۲۴۰). «۶»- The Fusous al-Hikam of Ibn al-`Arabi, cf. fn. ۱ of the introduction. «۷»- This is an allusion to an expression in the Qur'an:" We will draw them on gradually whence they know not."(۱۷:۱۸۲;۶۸:۴۴). «۸»- From the Qur'an: ۱۶:۷۰ and ۲۲:۵ . «۹»- Usoul al-Kafi, ۲۷۸:۲ and ۴:۲۸۰ and ۱۰. «۱۰»- Muhammad ibn Idris Shafi`i, one of the Imams of four Sunni schools. «۱۱»- Ehya al-`Ulama al-Din, ۶۹۷:۴

امام خمینی (ره)؛ 01 آذر 1365

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