Jesus: The Friends of God

Here is a saying attributed to Jesus, collected from Muslim sources in the mid-9th c. CE.  The opening question of the disciples speaks of the friends of God, and is based upon a verse of the Qur’an (10:62); thus the text has Jesus giving a Qur’anic commentary.  The ‘friends of God’ is an Arabic phrase that refers to early ascetics and Sufis. The advice given may seem like a harsh renunciation of the world, but if one looks past the stern language and reads it carefully, it is fundamentally similar to Hazrat Inayat’s teaching about spiritual reality in the Journey to the Goal.

The disciples said, “O Jesus, who are ‘the friends of God Almighty upon whom no fear shall come nor shall they grieve’?”  Jesus replied, ‘They are the ones who look into the heart of this world while the rest of mankind looks at its surface, who look forward to the end of the world while the rest of mankind looks at the fleeing present. They kill of the world what they fear might kill them and abandon what they know will abandon them. Hence, what once they considered of much worldly account they now consider negligible.  When they make mention of it, this is only in passing, and their joy at what they gain from it is sadness. They  reject every chance of worldly gain and disdain every chance of worldly glory without just cause. For them, the world is grown old and tattered but they do not renew it. It has fallen into ruin around them, but they do not rebuild it. It has died in their hearts but they do not resurrect it.  They destroy it in order to rebuild their afterlife with it. They sell it in exchange for that which lasts.  They reject it and are thus the truly happy in it. They look at its people, fallen dead and disfigured upon the earth, and renew the mention of death and kill the mention of life.  They love God and the mention of God, seeking His light and shining through His light.  Wonders are related of them and they relate wondrous things.  The Book of God is known through them and they act in accordance with it. The Book of God makes mention of them and they make mention of the Book.  Knowledge of the Book comes through them and through it they themselves acquire knowledge. They expect no gain greater than what they have gained, no peace other than what they hope for, no fear other than what they shun.”

–from “The Muslim Jesus”
Tr. Tarif Khalidi

5 Replies to “Jesus: The Friends of God”

  1. Shamsher van Hees

    These words are very true and rich. I feel that and know it also. The words I will ponder upon further these days. Thank you dear Nawab.

  2. Sabura

    In reading this text in juxtaposition to The Journey to the Goal, the similarities can be extracted and appreciated. This text has strong language. The words of Murshid Inayat Khan seem more practical and kind when contemplating how to exist in this moment as well as viewing our fellow travellers. The ideas Murshid described and you Nawab summarized lead me in considering how one might clear the vibrations collected in order to gain the space of the higher planes. Similar to above, but I feel that a starting point of divine love is indicated in Murshid’s text. Is this correct? Thank you Nawab for this text which challenged me to consider my understanding.

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Dear Sabura, Thank you. All travellers begin from a place of ‘intoxication’; we think that ‘we’ are real and permanent, and that the material world is what ‘is’, and nothing else ‘is.’ To accomplish the journey to the Real, we must sober up. At different times different medicines have been proposed, but they all have the same ultimate effect. This advice, attributed to Jesus, prescribes austerity. Hazrat Inayat does indeed offer a more loving approach, but remember that real love means sacrifice and self-denial, so it brings us to the same place anyway. And we should not overlook this sentence in this text, “They reject it and are thus the truly happy in it.” The person who rises above the denseness of the earth (and the denseness of the ego) can be happy anywhere, enjoying, as the Hindus would say, the Divine dance because they are not deceived by it.

  3. Abdel Kabir

    Thanks a lot Murshid Nawab, because you place me in an special context about Jesus message, making me feel closer to him, almost touchable; which I cannot reach before in Catholic tradition. Beautiful, so beautiful. Love


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