Arts & Culture

Hadith in the pages of the Mathnawi

Listen to the reed flute,

its song of separation:  


Mawlana's Mathnawi shares the internal journey of man and his spiritual evolution through verses from the Holy Qur'an and hadith through various talmih (referencing) involving stories and tales. Talmih is the art of stating one's point in a suggestive fashion, between words and by not revealing it clearly. It recalls a colloquialism through an event, saying or tale. In this section, we hope to present the stories told using the talmih method, along with the hadith they point to, to our readers. We covered both the hadith covered in the shared tales and the hadith which they recalled. While doing so, we used Mesnevi Şerhi (The interpretation of the Mathnawi) by Tahir ul Mevlevi, Şefik Can's Mesnevi Hikayeleri (Stories from the Mathnawi), Riyadh-us-Saleeheen (Gardens of the Righteous) by Imam Nawawi, as prepared by M. Yaşar Kandemir, İ. Lütfi Çakan and Raşit Küçük as well as Mesnevi Hadisleri (The hadith of the Mathnawi) by Ali Yardım.

Mawlana calls on the reader, saying "Brother! A tale is like the measure and its meaning is like the grains inside the measure. An intelligent person takes the grain; he does not look to see if there is a measure or not," thus drawing them into the meaning embedded in the tale. Because the way the story is told is just the envelope; the meaning is hidden within it. Mawlana, who said: "As long as I live, I am the slave of the Qur'an, the soil on the path of Prophet Muhammad. If any one person gathers that which is contrary to this statement from me words and gets to know me through different means; I am both tired of such sayings and those who come up with such sayings," and turns those who request the meaning embedded in the envelope to the Holy Qur'an and the hadith narrated from Prophet Muhammad.

What follows is a talmih in which the tale in which an event that occurs between Prophet Moses and a shepherd, is told in a hadith of Prophet Muhammad.

The objection of a believer at Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) selecting a young commander in the presence of an older and experienced commander

 "Allah looks not at your faces and posessions, but your hearts and your deeds."

(Muslim, Birr 34)

Prophet Muhammad was assembling an army in order to fight against the disbelievers and protect the rights of Muslims. When he assigned a youth from the tribe of Huzail as the commander of the army, an ill-intentioned person objected, saying:

“No, no Messenger of Allah! We do not accept his leadership. While there are experienced elders at hand, a young man, even if he is the son of a lion, should not be the commander of an army. Besides, you had said "The person to be followed should be old and experienced!" These words of yours are indicative of the truth that this assignment is not a correct one. Look at this army; there are so many people who are older and more experienced than the person you have appointed as the commander.”

Prophet Muhammad placed his sacred hand on the mouth of the man who was transgressing the limits while speaking, and said:

“How long do you plan on complaining for? O you who looks only at appearances and sees nothing but the exterior! Don't see him as young, inexperienced and untalented! I've tried that young man's mind many times and he demonstrated that he is as experienced as an old man in various matters. Son! There are so many men whose hair or beards have not become gray yet, yet they are aged in terms of their minds and comprehension. And there are so many white haired and bearded men whose hearts have been darkened and tainted. Think of a child with the breath of Jesus, who has been purged of pride and ambition - how can you call him or her a child?

“When I said that an elder person should be chosen in order to be successful at something, I meant that he is cautious and intelligent. For a person with lack of foresight and lack of observance, the whiteness of one's hair and beard is indicative of their maturity. An imitator knows nothing but proof (indication) and constantly searches for a path with proof. But all creatures who have rid themselves of the veil of imitation see with the light of God. They break the shell in order to expose the essence located inside. What does one who looks only at the appearance, know about what is in the heart! Many a gold piece has been darkened with fumes so that it may be protected from envious thieves. Many a copper piece has been gilded and shortsighted men fall for them. We see the inner dimension of men, their hearts - we do not even look at their exteriors.



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