For He bestows spiritual light both on cloud and mist, and God best knoweth how to impart (it).
How Solomon, on whom be peace, bade the envoys of Bilqís return to her with the gifts which they had brought; and how he called Bilqís to (accept) the Faith and to abandon sun-worship.
“O shamefaced envoys, turn back! The gold is yours: bring unto me the heart, the (pure) heart!
Lay this gold of mine on the top of that gold (of yours): date corporis caecitatem pudendo mulae.” [Lay this gold of mine on the top of that gold (of yours): give the body’s blindness (its blind desire for gold) to a (female) mule’s private part.”] 615
Annulo aureo pudendum mulae idoneum est; the lover’s gold is the pallid yellow countenance; [A mule’s private part is suitable (as a hiding place) for a ring of gold; the lover’s gold is the pallid yellow countenance;]
For that (countenance) is the object of the Lord’s regard, while the mine (of gold) results from the sun’s casting looks (of favour).
How can (that which is) the sunbeams’ object of regard be compared with (that which is) an object of regard to the Lord of the quintessence’?
“Make of your souls a shield against my taking (you) captive, though (in truth) ye are my captives even now.”
The bird tempted by the bait is (still) on the roof: with wings outspread, it is (nevertheless) imprisoned in the trap. 620
Inasmuch as with (all) its soul it has given its heart to (has become enamoured of) the bait, deem it caught, (though apparently it is still) uncaught.
Deem the looks which it is directing to the bait to be the knot that it is tying on its legs.
The bait says, “If thou art stealing thy looks (away from me) I am stealing from thee patience and constancy.
When those looks have drawn thee after me, then thou wilt know that I am not inattentive to thee.”
Story of the druggist whose balance-weight was clay for washing the head; and how a customer, who was a clay-eater, stole some of that clay covertly and secretly, whilst sugar was being weighed.
A certain clay-eater went to a druggist to buy (a quantity of) fine hard sugar-loaf. 625
Now, at the druggist's, (who was) a crafty vigilant man, in place of the balance-weight there was clay.
He said, “If you want to buy sugar, my balance-weight is clay.”
He (the customer) said, “I am requiring sugar for an urgent affair: let the balance-weight be whatever you wish.”
To himself he said, “What does the weight matter to one that eats clay? Clay is better than gold.”
As the dallála (go-between) who said, “O son, I have found a very beautiful new bride (for you). 630
(She is) exceedingly pretty, but there is just one thing, that the lady is a confectioner's daughter.”
“(All the) better,” said he; “if it is indeed so, his daughter will be fatter and sweeter.”
“If you have no (proper) weight and your weight is of clay, this is better and better: clay is the fruit (desired) of my heart.”
He (the druggist) placed the clay, because of its being ready (to his hand), in one scale of the balance instead of the (proper) weight;
Then, for the other scale, he was breaking with his hand the equivalent amount of sugar. 635
Since he had no pick-axe, he took a long time and made the customer sit waiting.
(Whilst) his face was (turned) towards that (sugar), the clay-eater, unable to restrain himself, began covertly to steal the clay from him,
Terribly frightened lest his (the druggist's) eye should fall upon him of a sudden for the purpose of testing (his honesty).
The druggist saw it, but made himself busy, saying, “Come, steal more, O pale-faced one!
If you will be a thief and take some of my clay, go on (doing so), for you are eating out of your own side. 640
You are afraid of me, but (only) because you are a (stupid) ass: I am afraid you will eat less (too little).
Though I am occupied, I am not such a fool (as to suffer) that you should get too much of my sugar-cane.
When you see (find) by experience the (amount of) sugar (which you have bought), then you will know who was foolish and careless.”
The bird looks pleased at the bait; still, the bait, (though) at a distance (from it), is waylaying it.
If you are deriving some pleasure from the eye's cupidity, are not you eating roast-meat from your own side? 645
This looking from a distance is like arrows and poison: your fond passion is increased (thereby) and your self-restraint diminished.
Worldly riches are a trap for the weak birds; the kingdom of the next world is a trap for the noble birds,
To the end that by means of this kingdom, which is a deep trap, the great birds may be ensnared.
“I, Solomon, do not desire your kingdom; nay, but I will deliver you from every destruction;
For at this time ye are indeed slaves to the kingdom; the owner of the kingdom is he that escaped from destruction.” 650
Preposterously, O prisoner of this world, thou hast named thyself prince of this world.
O thou slave of this world, thou whose spirit is imprisoned, how long wilt thou call thyself lord of the world?
How Solomon, on whom be peace, showed affection and kindness to the envoys and removed (feelings of) resentment and injury from their hearts and explained to them the reason for declining the gift.
“O envoys, I will send you as envoys (to Bilqís): my refusal (of the gift) is better for you than acceptance.
Relate to Bilqís what marvellous things ye have seen concerning the desert of gold,
That she may know we do not covet gold: we have gotten gold from the gold-Creator, 655
At whose will the whole earth’s soil from end to end would become gold and precious pearls.”
On that account, O thou who choosest gold, God will make this earth silvern on the Day of Resurrection.
“We have no need of gold, for we are very skilful: we make earthly beings entirely golden.
How shall we beg gold of you? We (can) make you (spiritual) alchemists.
Abandon (all) that, (even) if it is the kingdom of Saba, for beyond (this) water and earth there are many kingdoms.” 660
That which thou hast called a throne is (really) a splint- bandage: thou deemest (it) the seat of honour, but (in truth) thou hast remained at the door.
(If) thou hast not sovereignty over thine own beard, how wilt thou exercise sovereignty over good and evil?