The Lamp of Eternity

Here are excerpts from the book The Mystics of Islam, a century-old book by Reynold A. Nicholson (1914). This spiritual classic shines a light on the mystical dimension within Islam, dating back to its early days.

1.  Though all the great types of mysticism have something in common, each is marked by peculiar characteristics resulting from the circumstances in which it arose and flourished. 
(Reynold A. Nicholson)

2.  “O God, I never listen to the cry of animals or to the quivering of trees or to the murmuring of water or to the warbling of birds or to the rustling wind or to the crashing thunder without feeling them to be an evidence of Thy unity.”  (Unknown, 9th century CE)

3.  Publicly I say, “O my God!”
but privately I say, ‘“O my Beloved!”
(Unknown, 9th century CE)

4.  The child is born weeping, for the soul knows its separation from Allah, the One Reality. And when the child cries in its sleep, it is because the soul remembers something of what it has lost. (from “The Way of a Mohammedan Mystic, W.H.T. Gairdner, Leipzig, 1912)

5.  Theologians, who interpret the letter, cannot be expected to
reach the same conclusions as mystics, who interpret the spirit. 
(Reynold A. Nicholson)

6.  Love thrilled the chord of love in my soul’s lute,
And changed me all to love from head to foot. 

7.  Love is the essence of all creeds…
I follow the religion of Love,
whichever way his camels take.  

8.   Infusion of the divine essence (hulul)…
… he becomes the very Light.  
(Reynold A. Nicholson)

9.  He who discourses of eternity
must have within him the lamp of eternity.

10.  Love is…the physician of all our infirmities.
(Jalaluddin Rumi)


First published by Routledge, Kegan Paul, London, 1914. First paperback edition: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1975, also Arkana Penguin Books, 1989.


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