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

Chapter 73

Barkhia


By Khurram Ali Shafique

Martians are an inside-out people. It is as if their bodies are contained in their hearts. Hence when the time comes for the death of someone, the person gleefully announces it a few days ahead. On the appointed hour, the person gets absorbed by his or her own self. That’s all.

“This is because existence is a duality in our world: soul and body, invisible and visible, bird and cage,” says Rumi. “For the Martians, however, there is just a unity of thought.” Is this the world of Quran that would suffice your age? Does it exist or is it a possibility that may be realized if you make the effort?

A Martian astronomer comes out of a tall observatory. His beard is white as snow, his eye keen like a European scientist, his raiment like the robes of a Christian monk, the tall frame of his body standing erect despite his advanced age and he is speaking Persian. He explains the mysteries to Iqbal.

The World of Mars

Martians are skilled in many arts like Europeans and excel them in worldly and spiritual advancement.

The Mercy for All Worlds

In the days of Prophet Muhammad, there used to be a Martian of pure soul, who observed the earthly world with insightful eyes. He set out to travel the confines of the humans until he alighted in the desert of Hijaz and wrote down all he saw in the East and the West.

The Temptation of Barkhia

Barkhia was the founder of this race. Farzmurz (as the Devil is known at Mars), came to him and said, “There is a world infinitely superior to heaven, about which God Himself does not know. It has no Book, no Prophet, no Gabriel, no prayers and worship.”

Barkhia refused to be tempted. God rewarded him by giving him Marghdin.

Marghdin

Marghdin is the name given by the Martians to their world. There are tall buildings and beautiful eloquent people who are the guardians of knowledge. They derive their wealth from the sunlight. Currency is unknown, temperaments are not governed by machines that could blacken the sky with smoke and there is no police and army since none is required. The farmers are hardworking and contented since there are no landlords to steal the harvest. The marketplace is free from the noisy shouts and heartrending cries of beggars.

“In this world there is no beggar,” says the Astronomer. “Nor anyone is poor. No slave, no master—no ruler and none dominated.”

Destiny

Iqbal comments to the Martian astronomer, “Being born a beggar or a destitute is all by the decree of God. Destiny cannot be improved by reasoning.”

The astronomer replies, “If you are suffering at the hands of destiny it is not unfair to ask God for a new one. He has no shortage of destinies for you. Change yourself and your destiny will change with you. If you are dust you shall be scattered by the wind but if you become solid as a rock then you may break the glass. A gem is a gem as long as you think it is valuable, otherwise it is just a stone. The world will shape itself according to your perception of it. Heaven and earth too will adjust.”

Marghdin might be the unity that resolves all contradictions.

  • Is this the world of Quran that would suffice your age?
  • Does it exist or is it a possibility that may be realized if you make the effort?
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On Mars, which is the fourth stop in the spiritual journey, Rumi and Iqbal come upon an inside-out world.
Persian text