The Hero’s Belt

[A portion of Mahmud Shabistari’s response to the question, ‘What is the meaning of the Christian belt?’  At that time, Christians wore a belt to distinguish themselves from Muslims, and it was therefore something that was normally pejorative in Shabistari’s society.]

I’ve looked carefully, observing the origin of things.
The tying of the belt signifies service and obedience.

The people of Knowledge are not trusting a word
unless they have known its original sense.

Tie the hero’s belt like a real man.
Come be among those who “Keep your pledge to Me.”

On the steed of knowledge with the mallet of worship
carry off the ball of felicity from the polo field.

This is the reason you were created
out of all the other creatures He created.

Knowledge is like a father and good works a mother
of countless states that are a “coolness for the eyes.”

There is no person without a father in this world
save Jesus like whom there’s never been another.

Abandon idle talk of visions, ecstasies, exclamations,
the fantasy of inner lights, and doing miracles.

Your miracles are found in the worship of God.
Except for that, it’s pride, hypocrisy and vanity.

Except for the path of inner poverty,
All else is the cause of vanity and deceit.

from Garden of Mystery, The Gulshabn-i-raz of Mahmud Shabistari
tr. Robert Abdul Hayy Darr

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