Shall that which anyone hath of wealth endure unto him, or avail him tomorrow with him who holdeth his forelock? If any should look on those who sleep under slabs and keep company with the dust, can he distinguish the bones of the king's skull from the knuckles of the slave? No, by the King of Kings! Or doth he know governors from herdsmen, or discern the wealthy and the rich from him who was without shoes or carpet? By God, distinction is removed, save for him who fulfilled righteousness and judged uprightly. Where are the 78 doctors, the scholars, the nobles? Where is the keenness of their glances, the sharpness of their sight, the subtlety of their thoughts, the soundness of their understandings? Where are their hidden treasures and their apparent gauds, their bejeweled thrones and their ample couches? Alas! All have been laid waste, and the decree of God hath rendered them as scattered dust! Emptied is what they treasured up, and dissipated is what they collected, and dispersed is what they concealed: they have become [such that] thou seest naught but their empty places, their gaping roofs, their uprooted beams, their new things waxed old. As for the discerning man, verily wealth will not divert him from regarding the end; and for the prudent man, riches will not withhold him from turning toward [God] the Rich, the Exalted. Where is he who held dominion over all whereon the sun arose, and who spent lavishly and sought after curious things in the world and what is therein created? Where is the lord of the swarthy squadron and the yellow standard? Where is he who ruled Zawra,* and where he who wrought injustice in [Damascus] the spacious? Where are they at whose bounty treasures were afraid, at whose openhandedness and generosity the ocean was dismayed? Where is he whose arm was stretched forth in rebelliousness, whose heart turned away from the Merciful One? Where is he who used to make choice of pleasures and cull the fruits of desires? Where are the dames of the bridal chambers, and the possessors of beauty? Where are their waving branches and their spreading boughs, their lofty palaces and trellised gardens? Where is the smoothness of the expanses thereof and the softness of their breezes, the rippling of their waters and the murmur of their winds, the cooing of their doves and the rustling of their trees? Where are their laughing hearts and their smiling teeth? Woe unto them! They have descended to the abyss and become companions to the pebbles; today no mention is heard of them nor any sound; nothing is known of them nor any hint. Will the people dispute it while they behold it? Will they deny it when they know it? I know not in what valley they wander erringly: do they not see that they depart and return not? How long will they be famous in the low countries and in the high, descend and ascend? 'Is not the time yet come to those who believe for their hearts to become humble for the remembrance of God?'* Well is it with that one who hath said or shall say, 'Yea, O Lord, the time is ripe and hath come,' and who severeth himself from all that is. Alas! naught is reaped but what is sown, and naught is taken but what is laid up, save by the grace of God and His favor. Hath the earth conceived Him whom the veils of glory prevent not from ascending into the Kingdom of His Lord, the Mighty, the Supreme? Have We any good works whereby defects shall be removed or which shall bring Us near unto the Lord of causes? We ask God to deal with Us according to His grace, not His justice, and to make Us of those who turn toward Him and sever themselves from all beside Him.