To Him is Our Return

Mathnawi III: 3901-3906

3901 I died to the mineral state and became a plant; I died to the
vegetable state and reached animality;

I died to the animal state and became a man; then what should I
fear? -- I have never become less from dying.

At the next charge (forward) I will die to human nature, so that I
may lift up (my) head and wings (and soar) among the angels.

And I must (also) jump from the river of (the state of) the angel:
"Everything perishes except His Face."1

3905 Once again I will become sacrificed from (the state of) the
angel; I will become that which cannot come into the

3906 Then I will become non-existent; non-existence says to me
(in tones) like an organ:3 "Truly, to Him is our return."4

--From "The Mathnawî-yé Ma`nawî" [Rhymed Couplets of
Deep Spiritual Meaning] of Jalaluddin Rumi.
Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with
gratitude for R. A. Nicholson's 1930 British translation)
Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)
First published on "Sunlight" (, 12/17/98

Notes on the text, with line number:

1. (3904) "Everything perishes except His Face": Qur'an: 28:88.

2. (3905) I will become that which cannot come into the imagination;
refers to a saying of the Prophet Muhammad: "What no eye has
seen,what no ear has hard, and what has never passed into the heart
of any mortal."

3. (3906) an organ [arghanûn]: a type of pan-flute, with multiple
reeds of different sizes.

4. (3906) "Truly, to Him is our return": Qur'an 2:156. These verses
of the Mathnawi describe the descent of the spirit into matter and
its re-ascent. This is not transmigration, reincarnation, or an early
view of biological evolution)-- but a different metaphysical
viewpoint, see William Chittick, "The Sufi Path of Love: The
Spiritual Teachings of Rumi," pp. 72-82.


3901 az jumâdî mord-am-o nâmê shod-am
w-az namâ mord-am ba-Haywân bar zad-am

mord-am az Hawânî-wo âdam shod-am
pas che tars-am, kay ze mordan kam shod-am?

Hamla-yé degar be-mîr-am az bashar
tâ bar âr-am az malâ'ik parr-o sar

w-az malak ham bâyâd-am jastan ze jû
kullu shay-in hâlik illâ wajha-hu

3905 bâr-é dêgar az malak qurbân shaw-am
ânche andar wahm n-ây-ad ân shaw-am

3906 pas `adam gard-am `adam chûn arghanûn
gôy-ad-am ke innâ ilay-hi râji`ûn

(mathnawi meter: XoXX XoXX XoX)