God Speaks to Moses

by Farid ud-Din Attar

English version by Raficq Abdulla
Original Language Persian/Farsi

One day God spoke to Moses and said:
'Visit Satan, question him, use your head.'
So Moses descended to Hell's burning halls;
Satan saw him coming, a smile did he install
On his fiery face. Moses proudly asked him
For advice, waiting for Satan's crafty whim;
Satan spoke through his coal-black teeth:
'Remember this rule which sense bequeaths
Never say "I" so that you become like me.'
So long as you live for yourself you'll be
A drum booming pride a cymbal of infidelity.
Vanity, resentment, envy and anger shall be cemented
Into your inner state; you shall be like a demented
Dog with lolling tongue, infected with indolence of sin.
You shall become your own tracked prisoner within.

-- from The Conference of the Birds: The Selected Sufi Poetry of Farid ud-Din Attar, Translated by Raficq Abdulla

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Recommended Books: Farid ud-Din Attar

Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems The Conference of the Birds
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God Speaks to Moses