The Third Piece,
which is the Third Matter
[This matter consists of a private and particular answer to a general question asked by most of my brothers through the tongue of disposition, and by some of them verbally.]
Q u e s t i o n : You say to everyone who visits you: “Don’t await any saintly intervention from me and don’t think of my person as being blessed. I have no spiritual rank. Like a common soldier may convey orders coming from the rank of field marshal, I convey the orders of just such a rank. And like a bankrupt can advertise the precious diamonds of a jeweller’s shop, I announce the wares of a sacred, Qur’anic shop.” However, our hearts desire an effulgence in the same way that our minds need knowledge, and our spirits seek a light, and so on; we want many things in many respects. We came to visit you supposing you to be the person who will meet our needs. What we need is a saint, someone with saintly influence, someone of spiritual attainment, rather than a scholar. If the matter is really as you say, then perhaps we were wrong in visiting you? They ask this through the tongue of disposition.
T h e A n s w e r : Listen to the following five points, then think about them and judge whether your visits are pointless or beneficial.
The common servant and wretched soldier of a king gives some generals and pashas royal gifts and decorations in the king’s name, and makes them grateful. If the generals and pashas ask: “Why are we demeaning ourselves before this common soldier and accepting these gifts and bounties from him?”, it will be arrogant foolishness. The soldier too, if, outside his duty, he does not stand up before the field marshal and recognize him as superior to himself, it will be stupid folly. If one of the grateful generals thankfully condescends to visit the soldier’s humble dwelling, the king, who sees and knows of the situation, will send dishes from the royal kitchen for his loyal servant’s eminent guest, so the soldier will not be ashamed at having nothing to offer but dry bread.