The Republic of Rumi: A Novel of Reality
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The Republic of Rumi: a Novel of Reality

Chapter 70

The World of Quran


By Khurram Ali Shafique

The next destination is Mercury.

The sound of the call to prayer fills the air. The nineteenth century reformer Jamaluddin Afghani is leading the prayer with his Turkish disciple Saeed Halim Pasha when Rumi and the Poet join them. Afghani is reciting ‘The Star’, the fifty-third chapter of the Quran, which begins with an account which most scholars believe to be about ‘Ascension’, the special journey of the Prophet to the celestial world.

A Passage from the Quran

‘The Star’, Verses 1—18 (Out of 62)

By the star as it sets,
Your companion has neither strayed nor is he misguided.
He does not speak from some whim,
It is purely inspiration that is revealed.
Someone firm in strength has taught him,
Someone possessing such ability that he soared up
And stood, poised at the highest horizon.
Then he approached and came right down,
And stood two bow-lengths off or even closer.
He inspired whatever he inspired in His servant.
His vitals did not deny what he saw.
Yet you distrust him about what he saw?
He saw him in another descent near the Sidrah on the Boundary
Alongside the Garden of Repose.
When whatever covered the Sidrah covered it,
His eyesight did not falter nor was it carried away.
He saw some of his Lord’s greatest signs.

Mysteries are resolved. Archetypes appear unveiled.

Rumi introduces Iqbal as Zindah Rud, or the Living Stream. Afghani inquires about the affairs of the world and Iqbal replies that Islam is caught in an inner conflict between religion and country, the East is wasted by European imperialism and Communism has taken the luster from the people. Afghani begins to reflect and his disciple Pasha chips in occasionally.

Religion and Country

Country is a means to an end: the sun rises in the East but its light is for the whole world.

Communism and Capitalism

Communism puts the seed of equality in the stomach rather than the heart, but unless equality is rooted in the heart it cannot take roots in the body either. Capitalism doesn’t have a heart in the first place.

Pasha on East and West

The vitality of the Kabah cannot be refurbished if a new idol from Europe enters the Sanctuary – Pasha is apparently critical of the secularism introduced by Mustafa Kemal in Turkey.

“Originality is at the root of all creation,” says Pasha. “Never by repetition shall life be reformed. Look into your conscience and then look at the Quran: a hundred new worlds lie within its lines, one of which suffices for the present age. Seize it.”

The Vicegerency of the Human Being

“The world of Quran is hidden in the hearts of Muslims and awaits its birth,” says Afghani. “Without distinctions of blood and color, it is not afflicted with change within but keeps changing outwardly every moment.”
The first foundational principle of the world of Quran is that the human being is the vicegerent of God.

Sovereignty of God

Sovereignty belongs to God and not to the rulers. This is the second foundational principle of the world of Quran.

The Land Belongs to God

All land belongs to God. This is the third foundational principle of the world of Quran. This is the third foundational principle of the world of Quran.

Wisdom is Abundant Good

Knowledge is a virtue – it is the abundant good. This is the fourth foundational principle of the world of Quran.

Afghani asks the Poet to deliver a message to the people of Russia: “Pass beyond the stage of no god and arrive at except God, so that you may attain permanence. My soul trembles as I fear the day when the Quran might be taken away from Muslims and its rewards given to some other hearts.” There are no chosen people.

There are tears in Rumi’s eyes. He asks the Poet to recite some poem and the Poet does.

DISCUSS

  • What is the relevance of the seven visions of Moon to the world of Quran described here?
  • Could the World of Quran be the same as the one being created by Nature for a new type of human being (mentioned earlier)?
  • In what ways is the Garden of Poetry similar to the world of Quran?
  • How is Mercury, the second planet, similar to or different from the second stage of your journey in the Garden?

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On Mercury, which is the second stop in the spiritual journey, Jamaluddin Afghani discloses the secrets of the world of Quran.
Persian text