The Hierarchy of Saints: In words of Mevlana Rumi

mevlana rumi portrait

mevlana rumi portrait

The Hierarchy of Saints: In Words of Mevlana Rumi [Masnavi Volume II, Verse 815]

Once Rasoolallah’s [SAW] unmatched greatness is agreed.
Hence if you praise any faithful [Momin], it cannot cause envy.
Behold! In every era, there is a Wali [Saint]
The people are on trial till the Resurrection.
Whosoever has a good nature is saved, But one with frail heart is broken.
The Saint, is the living Imam, who appears in every age,
Whether he be a descendant of Umar R.A. or Ali R.A [1]
He is the God-guided one (Mahdi) and the Guide (Hadi) [2]
He is both disguised and present before you
He is as the Light of the Prophet [SAW], and Universal Reason is his Jibreel
His subordinate saint receive illumination from him, like a lamp.
The Saint below this “lamp” is as the lamp-niche: as Light has grades of intensity [3]
For the Light of God has seven hundred veils: hence the veils of the Light has so many tiers too
Behind each veil a certain class of Saints has its abode: the veils mount tier after tier up to the Imam. [4]
The light that is the life of the topmost rank is painful and insupportable to one beneath;.
Yet, by degrees, his squintness in eyes reduced; and when he has passed through all seven hundred veils, he becomes the Sea.
The fire that is good for iron or gold—how can it be good to ripe, quinces and apples?
The apple and quince have only slight crudity : unlike iron, they want a gentle heat;
But those flames are too mild for the iron, which easily absorbs the glow of the fiery dragon.
What is that iron? The self-mortified dervish: under the hammer and the fire he is red and happy.
He is the chamberlain of the fire, in immediate touch with it: he goes straight into the heart of the fire.
Therefore he is the Heart of the world, for through heart, the body performs its proper function.
All individual hearts are as the body in relation to the universal Heart of the Saint.

– Above Translation inspired by Prof. Reynold A. Nicholson 


[1] Rumi here reinforce the uninterrupted succession of great Sufi saints, who have no common ancestry [i.e. can be from Hazrat Umar or Ali, which contradicts with Shiite doctrine] except their purely spiritual descent from the Prophet in virtue of the “Light of Mohammed” (Nur-i Muhammadi) immanent in them all.

[2] The Qutb is a “Mahdi” and a “Hidden Imam,’ but only in the sense that he is the Divinely-guided Perfect Man who makes others perfect (Kamil u Mukmil), and that although seen by many he is recog­nised by few.

[3]   “The lamp-niche” (mishkdt) alludes to a celebrated verse of the Qur’an (XXIV, 35): “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth; the likeness of His Light is a niche wherein is a lamp.”

[4]  The Hadith concerning seven hundred (or seventy thousand) veils of light and darkness which conceal the Face of Allah is expounded by Ghazali in his Mishkdt al-Anwar. See Gairdner’s translation, 88-98. The light-veils correspond to various degrees or levels of saintship.







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