Reynard Alleyne Nicholson, the eminent authority on Islamic mysticism, was a very shy and retiring man, who achieved a deeper penetration of the mind and spirit of Islam than any other man (written by Arthur John Arberry).
Reynard Nicholson composed this poem in which he revealed his inner thoughts. These thoughts had obviously been profoundly influenced by his long studies of Rumi.
Deep in our hearts the Light of Heaven is shining
Upon a soundless Sea without a shore.
Oh, happy they who found it in resigning
The images of all that men adore.
Blind eyes, to dote on shadows of things fair
Only at last to curse their fatal lure,
Like Harut and Marut, that Angel-pair
Who deemed themselves the purest of the pure.
Our ignorance and self-will and vicious pride
Destroy the harmony of part and whole.
In vain we seek with lusts unmortified
A vision of the One Eternal Soul.
Love, Love alone can kill what seemed so dead,
The frozen snake of passion. Love alone,
By tearful prayer and fiery longing fed,
Reveals a knowledge schools have never known.
God's lovers learn from Him the secret ways
Of Providence, the universal plan.
Living in Him, they ever sing His praise
Who make the myriad worlds of Time for Man.
Evil they knew not, for in Him there's none;
Yet without evil how should good be seen?
Love answers: "Feel with me, with me be one;
Where I am nought stands up to come between."
There are degrees of heavenly light in souls;
Prophets and Saints have shown the path they trod,
Its starting points and stages, halts and goals,
All leading to the single end in God.
Love will not let his faithful servants tire,
Immortal Beauty draws them on and on
From glory unto glory drawing nigher
At each remove and loving to be drawn.
When Truth shines out words fail and nothing tell;
Now hear the Voice within your hearts. Farewell.
(By Reynard Alleyne Nicholson)
It was of that serene vision of Truth that al-Hallaj, the great Muslim mystic, spoke shortly before his crucifixion in 922:
Now stands no more between the Truth and me
Or reasoned demonstration,
Or proof or revelation;
Now, brightly blazing full, Truth's luminary,
That drives out of sight
Each flickering, lesser light.
What is truth? I think ...Truth, then is Light, a light that shines into the Heart
God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth;
the likeness of His Light is as a niche
wherein is a lamp
the lamp in a glass
the glass as it were a glittering star
kindly by a Blessed Tree,
an olive that is neither of the East not the West
Whose oil well-nigh would shine, even if no fire touched it.
Light upon Light
I think that once this light has shone into the heart, no darkness can evercome it.