A Stairway to Heaven and a Bow for an Arrow
“The Shaikh is the stairway to heaven.
The arrow only takes flight when placed in a bow.”
Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Akhtar Sahib (DB) explaining the above couplet of Maulana Rumi (RA) says, “The Shaikh is the stairway to heaven, he is the means, the connector that connects us to Allah. If anyone wants to reach Allah, then they should seek out a true Shaikh. “Heaven” here refers to Allah. This is only a claim that the shaikh is the stairway to Allah, but what a wonderful proof Maulana Rumi (RA) has presented in the next line. It is because of this type of vast knowledge he possessed that scholars in every era revered him.
He asked, “What causes an arrow to take flight?” The bow obviously. If the arrow costs a million dollars, and is made of gold, it will still remain grounded. The Shaikh is like a bow. When the mureed comes into the company of the Shaikh, then the Shaikh can make the mureed take flight all the way to ‘Arsh of Allah. He can make the mureed from being a farshi to an ‘arshi, and from being unmindful of Allah to being conscious of Allah.
Maulana Rumi (RA) is not making this stuff up from his own side. The Mathnawi is actually a very unique commentary on the Qur’an and Hadith. To make people understand, he has put the knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith in the form of stories and examples in a very heart-rending manner. The evidence for this particular example is the following verse:
“Be with the truthful ones.” (Surah Taubah, Ayah 119)
Can anyone reject or deny the Qur’an? Allah is saying that if you want taqwa, if you want to become My friend, then stay with those who have taqwa. If you stay with them, then the taqwa that is in their hearts will transfer into your heart on the condition that you have true love for them. Connect your heart to their heart. One candle lights the other candle.
–Dars-e-Mathnawi pg. 28-29