No god but GodEpub by Reza Aslan

No god but GodEpub by Reza Aslan

Author:Reza Aslan [Aslan, Reza]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

In his madness, Majnun came to the Ka‘ba. Pushing through the crowd of pilgrims, he rushed at the sanctuary and hammered upon its doors, shouting, “O Lord, let my love grow! Let it blossom to perfection and endure. Let me drink from the wellspring of love until my thirst is quenched. Love is all I have, all I am, and all I ever want to be!”

The pilgrims were appalled. They watched as he fell to the ground, heaping dust on his head, cursing himself for the weakness of his passions.

Majnun’s actions shamed his family and tribe, but he himself knew 1 9 6 N o g o d b u t G o d

no shame. When he heard of Layla’s arranged marriage to a man of untold wealth named Ibn Salam, Majnun lost all sense and reason.

Tearing off his clothes, he crawled naked through the wilderness like an animal. He slept in ravines with the beasts of the desert, eating wild plants and drinking rainwater. He grew famous for his love. People from all over the land sought him out, sometimes sitting with him for hours as he spoke of his beloved Layla.

One day, while he was idly reciting his verses to a captive audience, a scrap of paper, borne by the wind, landed on his lap. On it were written two words: “Layla” and “Majnun.” As the crowd watched, Majnun tore the paper in half. The half on which was written “Layla”

he crumpled into a ball and threw over his shoulder; the half with his own name he kept for himself.

“What does this mean?” someone asked.

“Do you not realize that one name is better than two?” Majnun replied. “If only you knew the reality of love, you would see that when you scratch a lover, you find his beloved.”

“But why throw away Layla’s name and not your own?” asked another.

Majnun glowered at the man. “The name is a shell and nothing more. It is what the shell hides that counts. I am the shell and Layla is the pearl; I am the veil and she is the face beneath it.”

The crowd, though they knew not the meaning of his words, were amazed by the sweetness of his tongue.

Meanwhile, trapped by the restrictions of her tribe and forced to marry a man she did not love, Layla was plunged into a lonely darkness. She suffered as deeply as Majnun but did not have his freedom.

She too wanted to live with the beasts of the desert, to declare her love for Majnun from the tops of the mountains. But she was a prisoner in her own tent, and in her own heart. When one morning an old merchant passing by her tribe brought her news of Majnun, Layla felt like a reed swaying in the wind, hollow and weightless.

“Without your radiance,” the old man told her, “Majnun’s soul is like the ocean in a winter’s night, whipped up by a thousand storms.

Like a man possessed, he roams the mountainside, screaming and shouting.


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