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

Chapter 72


By Khurram Ali Shafique

There is an ice-clad mountain, and beyond that a deep emerald sea. It is completely motionless, so that the water is transparent down to the bottom.

“This is the place of those who lived by the rule of power and denied the existence of the unseen,” says Rumi. “Two of them are here, one from the East and the other from the West. Moses struck one while the other fell victim to the vengeance of a dervish. They both died by drowning: the death of a tyrant is one of the signs of God.”
Like Moses, Rumi opens the heart of the ocean. At the bottom appears a valley with no color or physical features. It has nothing but darkness layered upon darkness – a fitting place for tyrants, who practically undo themselves when they choose to live like false gods who have existence except in the superstition of their adherents.

Rumi recites ‘Ta-Ha’, the twentieth chapter of the Quran.

A Passage from the Quran

‘Ta-Ha’, Verses 9—24 (Out of 135)

Has the story of Moses ever reached you?
Once he saw a fire and told his family, “Wait here, I have glimpsed a fire. Maybe I can bring you a live coal from it, or find some guidance at the fire.”
As he came up to it, [a voice] called out, “O Moses!
Surely I am your Lord! Take off your sandals, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.
I have chosen you, so listen to whatever is revealed:
I am God! There is no deity except Myself, so serve Me and keep up prayer to remember Me by.
The Hour is coming! I am keeping it hidden so that each soul may be rewarded for whatever it accomplishes.
So do not let anyone who does not believe in it and follows his own passion, bar you from it so that you perish.
What do you have in your right hand, Moses?”
He said, “It is my staff. I lean on it, and beat down fodder for my sheep and goats with it, and I have still other uses for it.”
Said He, “Toss it down, Moses.”
So he threw it down and it became a snake that crawled along.
“Pick it up,” Said He. “And fear not! We shall return it to its original shape.
And stick your hand under your armpit, it will come out white, but not due to any blemish, as yet another sign
So that We may show you some of Our greatest signs.
Go to Pharaoh, he has been so arrogant.”

Suddenly, the darkness is lit up as if by full moon. Apparently it is an effect of the recitation of the passage from the Quran. Now the two tyrants mentioned by Rumi can be seen clearly.

The Tyrants

They are the Pharaoh and Lord Kitchener, a supreme commander of the British imperialist armies who reportedly desecrated the tomb of a Sudanese freedom fighter, Mahdi. Kitchener drowned when his ship was torpedoed by Germans during the Great European War.

“I wonder where this light has come from at last!” says the Pharaoh to his companion. Rumi informs him that it comes from the same source as the light that shone from the hand of Moses.

“Alas! I did not recognize the Truth,” the Pharaoh cannot help a sigh. “Look at our mummies displayed in museums and learn the reality of tyranny.”

Kitchener defends the Western tomb raiders who opened the pyramids for taking out mummies. “They were seeking knowledge,” he says. The Pharaoh retorts, “What wisdom did you expect in the grave of Mahdi?”

The Spirit of Mahdi

The very mention of the name brings Mahdi from Paradise. “O Kitchener!” He says. “Look at my vengeance if you can see. You were refused a grave except at the bottom of brackish waters.”

With a deep sigh, Mahdi then addresses the Arab and African rulers. “O camel driver! Our friends reached the City of the Prophet while we are still on the way. Is there not a song that could make our camel to run faster?”

The night flight to Venus ends here. It has consisted of two parts: the valley of false gods and the dark sea of the tyrants.

  1. Muslim declaration of faith consists of two segments: (a) no god except Allah; and (b) Muhammad is His Messenger. Do the two parts of the tour of Venus correspond to these respectively?
  2. How can the observations made by Rumi and Iqbal in the ocean of darkness help the realization of the world of Quran as mentioned on the previous planet?
  3. How is Venus, the third planet, similar to or different from the third stage of your journey in the Garden?
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In a lifeless sea, Rumi and Iqbal find the doomed spirits of tyrants – Pharaoh and Lord Kitchener – and the spirit of Mahdi of Sudan comes to visit from heaven.
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