Chapter XXV (f)
Various Opinions Respecting Audition
The Sheikhs and spiritualists hold different views on audition. Some say that it is a cause of absence, for in contemplation (of Allah) audition is impossible. The lover while united with his Beloved fixes his gaze on Him and is free of the audition of anything. Hearing involves some news and in contemplation news reflects veil and negligence, therefore audition is a faculty of beginners which they employ, when distracted by forgetfulness, in order to obtain composure, but one who is already concentrated will inevitably be distracted thereby.
Others say that audition is a faculty which leads to presence (with Allah), because love demands full absorption i.e. until the whole of the lover is absorbed in the whole of the Beloved, he is deficient in love. Therefore, as in union the heart has love and the soul has contemplation and the spirit has union and the body has service, so the ear also must have such a pleasure as the eye derives from seeing. How excellent, though on a frivolous topic, are the words of the poet who declared his love for wine!
الافاسقني خمرَا وقل لي هي الخمر ولا تسقني سرًا اذا امكن الجهر
“Give me wine to drink and tell me it is wine.
Do not give in secret, when it can be given openly.”
i.e. O lover give me cup of wine to whom my eye sees, my hand touches, my palate tastes and my nose smells. There yet remains one sense to be gratified, viz. my hearing: tell me, therefore, this is wine, that my ear may feel the same delight as my other senses.
This is also said that audition is cause of presence with the Truth because absent is absence to himself and a skeptic, and he does not qualify for audition. Accordingly, audition is of two kinds,
- audition which is heard from a reader is a faculty of absence
- but audition of which the Beloved is the source is a faculty of presence.
It was on this account that an elder Sheikh said:
“I do not consider created of any worth to either listen about them or talk about them.”