The One Lost Sheep

Peace, one and all…

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Jesus (as) said: ‘The Kingdom of the Father, she is like a man who has a shepherd, who had a hundred sheep.  One of them, the largest, got lost.  He left the ninety-nie; he sought after the one until he found him.  After thus troubling himself, he said to the sheep: ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine’.

The Gospel of Thomas, 107

In his excellent translation of the Gospel of Thomas, Samuel Zinner makes an interesting point regarding the above saying of Jesus (as):

‘Logion 107 speaks of a single and large sheep… The shepherd is said to love the single sheep that was lost more than the other 99 sheep.  As Quispel observes, this represents the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ which God loves above all peoples, and for whom, according to the canonical gospels, Jesus came to find.  However, the one sheep better than all the others will also represent the all-important metaphysical reality of self-knowledge, which is simultaneously an overcoming of multiplicity (99 sheep) by unity (one sheep), whereby the two become one’
(Zinner, 2011, 284 – 285)

In light of this explanation, I cannot help but see parallels here with this beautiful hadith of the Prophet (as):

‘God’s Messenger (as) said: ‘Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred minus one, and whoever knows them will go to Paradise’

(related in Bukhari; another similar hadith)

Rashid al-Din Maybudi on Quran 1:5

Peace, one and all…

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‘You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help’ (Quran 1:5)

‘This alludes to two of the religion’s great pillars, around which revolves the travelling of the religious. The first is to adorn the soul through worship and self-purification. It is to keep oneself adorned with a worship that is not mere lip-service and an obedience that has no hypocrisy. The other is to purify the soul of associating others with God and of paying attention to power and strength. It is to purify one’s own soul, to keep it cleansed of associationism and corruption, and not to depend on one’s own power and strength.’

Rashid al-Din Maybudi, Kashf al-Asrar

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Abdur Rahman

Are you Fleeing?

Peace, one and all…

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Are you fleeing from Love because of a single humiliation?
What do you know of Love except the name?
Love has a hundred forms of pride and disdain,
and is gained by a hundred means of persuasion.
Since Love is loyal, it purchases one who is loyal:
it has no interest in a disloyal companion.
The human being resembles a tree;
your root is a covenant with God:
that root must be cherished with all one’s might.
A feeble covenant is a rotten root, without grace or fruit.
Though the boughs and leaves of the date palm are green,
greenness brings no benefit if the root is corrupt.
If a branch is without green leaves, yet has a good root,
a hundred leaves will put forth their hands in the end’

Masnavi 5.1163-1169

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This Way of Poverty

Peace, one and all…

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This way of poverty is a way in which you attain all your hopes.  Whatever you may have longed for will certainly come to you on this way, whether it be the conquest of armies, victory over your enemies, capturing property and subjugating people, or superiority over one’s peers, or eloquence in speaking or writing, or anything else. When you have chosen the way of poverty, all these things will come to you.  Unlike other ways, no one who took this way has ever complained.  Out of a hundred thousand who took contrary ways and struggled along, maybe one did reach his goal.  And even that one was not completely satisfied, because every way has its own twists and turns long the path to the goal, and the goal can only be attained by means of those twists and turns.  That way is long, full of pitfalls and obstacles that arise because of those twists, which may end up blocking one’s arrival.

However, when you enter the world of poverty and practice it, God bestows kingdoms and worlds upon you that you could never have imagined.  You become embarrassed by what you had longed for before. ‘Oh,’ you cry, ‘How could I have sought such a mean thing when such a wondrous thing existed?’

Here, however, God Most High says, ‘Although now you no longer desire such a thing, and are now disdainful of it, yet it did once cross your mind. Yet you turned away from it for Our sake.  Our generosity is infinite, so of course, I will make that, also, easily attainable for you’

Mevlana, Fihi ma Fihi 39

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