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

Chapter 19

'Time is a Cutting Sword'

By Khurram Ali Shafique

The Garden is interacting with you, obviously long after Iqbal died in his world. This has been highlighted through his appearance as the Old Man of the Desert, especially the initial parts of the chapter where you didn’t know that he was Iqbal himself, and may have presumed him to be gone.

Imam Shafii

“Time is a cutting sword,” says Imam Shafii, a leading Muslim legist of the medieval times.

“By imagining Time as a line, you have sown the seed of darkness in the clay,” Iqbal explains. “O you, who are enthralled by yesterday and tomorrow, behold another world in your own heart!”

Do not vilify Time

Iqbal quotes one of the most intriguing sayings attributed to the Prophet: “Do not vilify time, for God says, ‘I am Time.’”

“A slave is lost in the magic of days and nights but Time with all its expansion is lost in the heart of a free person,” Iqbal explains. “Oh, dive deep into your heart!”

These words are beyond sound and discussion, for the musical instrument of Time has its own silent tunes.


  • If the Garden is still functioning as an interactive device, does it mean that Iqbal overcame the limitations of Time?
  • Is that why “Time” is an indicator to the mystery of Joseph?
  • How does this chapter address these questions?
  • “Behold another world in your own heart!” Could this be the Garden where you are at the moment?

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This is a unique interpretation of Time, one of the five clues for finding Joseph.
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