Only one religion, the religion of love, God is love

People tend to elevate their own view to beome a truth. Thus a view can become an opinion, a conviction, even a sacred principle. People appear to be willing to fight for their truth, to condemn others, even to kill. A fixed stance is like a coin tossed up and once dropped, it remains on one side. People cling to that one side that is visible to them. If they looked up into space, they would see at a glance the free-floating coin and two sides, heads and tails. Our society is permeated by 'being right', the 'I know' culture. We polarize.

Only one religion, the religion of love, God is love

If you delve into Sufism, you will come across the Persian poet Rumi. Rumi’s knowledge from the heart is in line with the gnosis, as has become known from the Nag Hammadi scriptures. This is not surprising, because gnosis, broadly speaking, is the source from which all Middle Eastern mysticism drew. As Sufism, this mysticism originated within Islam.

Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi was born on September 30, 1207 in present-day Afghanistan, then part of the Persian Empire. As now, the times were restless, for the power of Genghis Khan left a destructive trail through this empire. In these dark times Persian poetry flourished.

Rumi moved like a free spirit in the world of science and poetry. He chose his imagery close to the everyday. That is why his choice of words is so recognizable, still, even in our time. In form and meaning, his poetry represents man’s whirling around himself, around the axis on which everything in the universe revolves, like a whirling dance, which is in harmony with the universe, around his beloved, the one God, who is love. In the Middle East, Rumi’s Masnavi [1] was called “the little Quran.” For many it was an important guide besides the difficult Qur’an. Rumi speaks about man, his desires and his relationship to creation and the creator. Seen from the creator’s point of view, he writes:

I was a Hidden Treasure; I loved to be known, so I created the creation in order to be known. [2]

In his famous Lamentation of the Reed, he depicts the pain of separation:

Hearken to the reed-flute, how it complains,

Lamenting its banishment from its home. [3]

Like the reed flute, cut loose from the bed of reeds, man is separated from his origin. There is a deep homesickness in man. Like Vasalis [4] so beautifully close:

It is not the cutting, but the separation that hurts.

Rumi’s worldview speaks of the almighty, who seeks himself in and through his creatures. They relate to each other as the lover and the beloved. And every creature goes and knows its own way to the beloved. Everyone experiences the divine in his own way according to his predisposition and development. No man can therefore be condemned or rejected. Every religious movement reveals something of the absolute truth. This very important thought, especially for our time, leads to tolerance, tolerance and respect for the views of others. For Rumi, the different religions are facets of one and the same diamond and there is no religion outside the religion of love. Particularly expressed in our time in the booklet A jihad of love [5]:

When I meet a follower of a different faith who is guided by love, I have the feeling that we profess the same religion. Love, the foundation, the pedestal on which every faith must rest.

It is illustrated in Rumi’s Masnavi by the story of:

Moses and the Shepherd

Moses encountered a farmer who was deep in prayer:

Oh God, where are you?

Let me be your servant so I can tie your shoes,

can comb your hair, delouse you,

bring you milk and kiss your little hands

when it’s time to put you to bed.

I’ll sweep your room and keep everything clean.

O God, my sheep and my goats, they are yours.

In my sighs, my aahs and oohs I will remember you.

Moses could take it no more:

Who do you think you’re talking to?

I’m talking to the one who made us the earth and the heavens,

was the shepherd’s reply.

To which Moses said:

What are you talking about socks and shoes!

And how dare you talk about tiny hands and feet!

What blasphemous language!

Save that for your family, but keep it far from the world.

Does God have feet to walk?

Keep your shoes and socks to yourself.

Milk is for a growing babe, not for God,

who stands like a Sun in our midst.

Adjust your language, that’s not how you speak to God,

nor do you call a man Fatima.

This kind of chatter suits the world, but not the source of everything,

not the one in whom all is One.

Whereupon the shepherd repented and tore his clothes and without a word went into the wilderness.

There spoke a voice in Moses, the voice of God:

Servant of mine, why have you forsaken me?

Did you come as a prophet to gather, or to take apart?

Don’t take a step towards divorce, because that is what I most despise.

Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves.

What is bad for one is good for another.

Honey to one person is poison to another.

Uncleanliness, impurity?

I’m above it.


One walks the edges, the other trots too far.

What would bother me?

You don’t think I gave man worship and prayer, do you?

to make yourself better?

No, I gave it to him as a gift.

Let Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian pray according to each one’s own god and commandment.

It is not I who benefit, but those who pray.

They will shine.

It is not their words that are prayer, but their humility.

Leave that language alone, it is after all about the heart!

Don’t blame the lover.

His ‘wrong’ language is a hundred times better than the ‘correct’ of others.

If you are in the Kaaba, it does not matter which direction

your prayer rug is on!

The religion of love has no laws or commandments, only God. [6]



My religion is to live from love –

living from this animal soul and this head is a disgrace.

The sword of love

wipes the dust from the lover’s heart,

for this sword wipes out sins.

When the bodily dust disappears,

my moon will shine

the moon of my mind finds a clear sky.

My love, I’ve been hitting for you forever

on the drum of love

to the tune of: “My life depends on my dying.”




What does learning the knowledge of God’s unity mean?

To be absorbed in the presence of the One.

If you want to shine like the day, burn the delusion

that you think you stand on your own and dissolve

in the Being that is everything.

You cling to ‘I’ and ‘we’

and that duality is your downfall.



God gives this world a certain color,

variety and value,

giving people something to argue about.

When the dough is baked in the shape of a camel or a lion,

then children excitedly bite their fingers with gluttony.

Both the lion and the camel become bread again in the mouth,

but there is no point in saying this to children.



What God said to the rose, which made her smile into perfect beauty,

He also said to my heart and made it a hundred times more beautiful.




[1] Rumi, Jalaluddin, Masnavi i Ma’navi (

[2] Ibd, Book IV

[3] Ibid, Book I, Prologue

[4] Vasalis, M., Sotto voce [Whisper] uit Vergezichten en gezichten [Views and faces], Van Oorschot, 1954

[5] El Bachiri, Mohamed en Reybrouck, David Van, Een jihad van liefde [A Jihad of Love], Amsterdam 2017

[6] Rumi, Jalaluddin, De Masnavi, Book 2, Story VII

[7] Zwan, W. van der, Rumi gedichten [Rumi poems], AnkhHermes, Deventer 2008

[8] Seyed-Gohrab, Asghar, Soefisme een levende traditie [Sufism a living tradition], Prometheus, Amsterdam 2015

[9] Brakell Buys, R. van, Gestalten uit de Perzische Mystiek [Figures from Persian Mysticism], East West Publications, Den Haag 1982

[10] den Boer, Sipko A. en Swierenga, Aleid C., Roemi juwelen [Rumi jewels], Milinda Uitgevers, Den Haag 2006

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Date: November 11, 2021
Author: Ankie Hettema-Pieterse (Netherlands)
Photo: Mohamed Babayan on Unsplash CCO

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