Essential Difference Between Male and Female

A man asked a Sufi, “People talk about male and female, but what is the essential difference between the two?”

The Sufi replied, “O man, both are formed of the five elements. The concept of male and female applies to the body. The Artist who created the male and female merely decorated them differently. The body is a cage, a house in which either can dwell, but you are deceived by the decorations.

“If you think of this with wisdom, you will see that womanly qualities are soft and delicate. In the decorations of womanliness, there is a beauty that is like gold, a beauty that attracts. The energy in their faces and bodies is like a magnet. The male has a similar magnetic energy, but his is on the inside. Though men lack the gentleness and outer softness which attracts externally, they have the strong inner magnetic energy which is attracted by, and connects to, the outer magnetism residing in the face and form of a woman.

“The world says male and female, but if you reflect with your wisdom, you will realize that male and female are like two kinds of breath, like the sun and the moon. The two breaths are called the art of the sun’s heat, which is the male, and the art of the moon’s coolness, which is the female.

“In the sky, the moon is lower and the sun is higher. The moon takes in the light of the sun and sends it out as cool yellow rays in the night.

“But the original light must be understood. The power which is neither male nor female is light, and that is the point which both male and female must reach. You can understand this through the example of the sun and the moon in the sky and through the example of male and female on earth.

“Your understanding will be contained in two words: la ilaha, there is nothing other than You—the outgoing breath, on the left side; illallahu, You are Allah—the incoming breath, on the right side. These two breaths meet in Allah.

“In the same way, the soul which came from God must return to its source. You must return to Him in the same form in which you came from Him. This is the only state God will accept.

“The five parts called earth, fire, water, air, and ether cannot reach Him; they belong to the world. Do not be enamored with them, thinking of them as male and female. Discard them and say la ilaha on the left, and illallahu on the right. There is nothing other than God. If there is nothing else, then there is no male or female. When there is no male or female, there is only light. You must attain that light. That is divine wisdom, or gnanam.

“When God is the power and you are the light, the power is male and you are female. You must reach that power. Everything you see and desire will change. Everything you see in form or without form will change. The changeless power is the only male. God is the power, you are the ray. When this male and female merge, it is called gnanam and resplendence, light and completeness, Nur and Allah, insan kamil and wisdom.

“Both male and female qualities exist in the body. The male qualities are arrogance, strength, egoism, and fanaticism while the qualities of humility, reverence, devotion to God, beauty, and grace are the qualities of womanliness, the beautiful qualities. They male’s arrogant qualities want to control the beautiful female qualities and get on top of them.

“If man destroys the arrogant qualities of his ego, if he cherishes the womanly qualities and behaves as a woman toward God, he will be able to establish a connection with God.

“If men would have the qualities of women, the peace and tranquility of womanliness, then in the same way that women are beautiful, God’s beauty would enter them. Male qualities are the qualities of a male lion, a beast. If the male lion would change into a beautiful and gentle woman, it would no longer be male or female and it would receive the beauty of God’s qualities. Those qualities would fall in love with God, winning the light of God and receiving His beauty.”