“You have no idea how hard I have looked for a gift to bring You,
Nothing seemed right.
What is there to bring gold to the gold mine,
Or water to the ocean…
Everything I came up with resembled taking spices to the Orient.
Even to gift You my heart and soul is worthless,
As they belong to You already.
So I’ve brought You a mirror,
Look at Yourself and remember me.”
This poetic manifestation of Rumi exquisitely captures the essence of Love, revealing the marvels of an inextricable relationship between the Creator and the created. Carrying the desire to please his Beloved, Rumi insinuates his desire to show appreciation, yet desperately whimpers on the lack of his innate / human ability to fulfill this desire. Afterall, what is there to give God, when everything one could offer already belongs to Him? By nature, no aspect of our finite existence could satisfy an Entity of Infinity, nor could our barren scope of comprehension ever grasp His all-encompassing qualities. This seemingly perplexive presence of Allah to the human mind is stated in the Quran through the verse: “Vision does not encompass Him; He encompasses vision. He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things,” (Qur’an, 6:103). Nevertheless, to the binary understanding of human capacity this verse remains mind-boggling, which Hazrat Abu Bakr al-Siddiq responds to with the words: “Our inability to understand Allah is our understanding of Him.” This theory of theological existentialism is further supported by Eastern and Western mysticism and philosophy throughout centuries, from the “[a]ll I know is that I know nothing,” of Socrates to the Virtue of the Absurd Theory of Søren Kierkegaard.
In respect to this interpretation of the Divine Presence, it is natural for one to ponder on how Rumi-like seekers could ever reach a state of such intimacy, or how he specifically escaped this quarrel with a mirror as stated in his plea. The mirror in this case is complementary to Ghazzali’s understanding of a polished heart, one that “reflects the light of God,” since “To God belongs the east and the west, wherever you turn there is the face of God,” (Qur’an, 2:115). Similar to our multidimensional definition of qalb, it is important to clarify that the face in this verse signifies God’s essence (adh-dhat) in its omnipresent reflection in all of creation, afterall, as remarked by 13th-century mystic Ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari, “Whatever you think concerning Allah— know that He is different from that!” However, although one can not imagine, know, see, or feel Allah as He is, His qualities can be experienced indirectly through His creations. “Similar to what happens when white light hits a prism and spreads out to unveil the color spectrum, when the light of the name Allah pierces the dense prism of creation, it manifests into the spectrum of [D]ivine names.” Therefore, “just as every artist is reflected in their artworks but [are] not the artwork [themselves], God is reflected in what He creates, but is not [and can not be] limited by His creation.” Once again, Rumi relates the manifestation of the universe of its Lord by saying, “Nothing I say can explain to you Divine Love, yet all of creation can not seem to stop talking about it.” In this case, one is not left with another gift for the Beloved, besides serving their duty in reflecting His all-pervasive presence like a mirror in the form of dhikr, Divine Remembrance.
Helwa, A., Secrets of Divine Love.