The Sunrise Ruby
In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She ask, "Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth."
He says, "There's nothing left of me.
I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.
-- Version by Coleman Barks
"The Essential Rumi"
Castle Books, 1997
One morning a beloved said to her lover to test him,
I wonder, do you love me more, or yourself?
Tell the truth, oh man of sorrows!"
He replied, "I have been so annihilated within
thee that I am full of thee from head to foot.
Nothing is left of my own existence but the
name. In my existence, oh sweet one, there is naught
I have been annihilated like vinegar in an ocean
In the same way, a stone transformed into a
flawless ruby has become full of the attributes of the
The description of that stone does not remain
within it – full of the sun's description, front and
Should it love itself, then that will be love for
the sun, oh youth!
Should it love the sun to the bottom of its soul,
without doubt it will be in love with itself.
-- Translation by William C. Chittick
"The Sufi Path of Love- The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi"
State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983
At the hour of the morning-drink a beloved said to her
by way of trial, "O such-and-such son of such-and-such,
I wonder, do you love me or yourself more? Tell the
O man of sorrows."
He replied, "I have become so naughted in thee that I am
full of thee from head to foot.
Of my existence there is nothing (left) in me but the
in my being there is naught but thee, O thou whose
By that means I have become thus naughted, like vinegar,
thee (who are) an ocean of honey."
As the stone that is entirely turned into pure ruby: it
with the qualities of the sun.
That stony nature does not remain in it: back and front,
filled with sunniness.
Afterwards, if it love itself, that (self-love) is love
of the sun,
And if it love the sun with (all) its soul, `tis
Whether the pure ruby loves itself or whether it loves
There is really no difference in these two loves: both
(aspects) are naught but the radiance of the sunrise.
Until it (the stone) has become a ruby, it is an enemy
because it is not a single "I": two "I's" are there;
For the stone is dark and blind to the day (-light): the
essentially opposed to light.
(If) it love itself, it is an infidel, because it offers
resistance to the supreme Sun.
Therefore `tis not fitting that the stone should say
it is wholly darkness and in (the state of) death.
A Pharaoh said, "I am God" and was laid low; a Mansur
(Hallaj) said, "I am God" and was saved.
The former "I" is followed by God's curse and the latter
"I" by God's mercy, O loving man;
For that one (Pharaoh) was a black stone, this one (Hallaj)
cornelian; that one was an enemy to the Light, and this
passionately enamoured (of it).
This "I," O presumptuous meddler, was "He" (God) in the
consciousness, through oneness with the Light, not
through (belief in) the doctrine of incarnation.
Strive that thy stony nature may be diminished, so that
stone may become resplendent with the qualities of the
Show fortitude in (enduring) self-mortification and
continually behold everlasting life in dying to self.
(Then) thy stoniness will become less at every moment,
nature of the ruby will be strengthened in thee.
The qualities of (self-) existence will depart from thy
the qualities of intoxication (ecstasy) will increase in
(thy spiritual centre).
Become entirely hearing, like an ear, in order that thou
gain an ear-ring of ruby.*
-- Translation by Reynold A. Nicholson
"The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi"
Published and Distributed by
The Trustees of The "E.J.W. Gibb Memorial
* Literally, "an ear-ring (consisting) of a ruby ring."