educational effects of love to persons of excellece

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Whether ~love~ and affection for ~those near to God~, and devotion to persons of excellence, is an aim in itself, or whether it is a means for refining the soul, reforming one's morals, and acquiring human virtues and excellences.

In animal love, all the interests and endeavour of the lover is towards the form of the loved one and the harmony of the loved one's limbs and the colour and beauty of the skin, and these are instincts which pull and attract man. However, after the satisfying of the instinct, these fires have no brightness, become cool, and are eventually extinguished.

But human love is life and vitality; it engenders obedience and loyalty. This is the love which makes the lover resemble the loved one, makes him try to be a manifestation of the loved one and a copy of the loved one's behaviour.

Khwajah Nasiru'd-Din at-Tusi viewpoint about love
just as ~Khwajah Nasiru'd-Din at-Tusi~ says in his commentary to ~Ibn Sina~ 's Kitabu ~'l-isharat wa 't-tanbihat~ (Book of Directives and Remarks)

(The love of) the soul is that whose source is the essential resemblance of the soul of the lover with the soul of the beloved. Most of the lover's delight is in the characteristics of the beloved which proceed from the soul of the beloved. .. It makes the soul tender, yearning and ecstatic and gives it a delicacy of feeling which detaches it from the distractions of the world. [Sharh Kitab al-isharat wa 't-tanbihat-vol.3, p.383].

Love pushes towards similarity and resemblance, and its power causes the lover to assume the form of the beloved. Love is like an electric wire which joins the being of the beloved to the lover and transfers the qualities of the beloved to him; and it is here that the choice of a beloved is of fundamental importance. Thus Islam has given much importance to the subject of finding a friend and taking a companion. There are many verses (of the Qur'an) and sayings (of the Prophet and the Imams) in this domain, because friendship causes resemblance, creates beauty and brings imprudence. Where its shines its light it sees the defect as art, and the thorn as rose and jasmine.

In some of the verses (of the Qur'an) and sayings (of the Prophet and Imams) a warning is given about frequenting and befriending unwholesome and rotten people, and in some of them a call is made to pure-hearted friendship.

~Ibn Abbas~ said: "We were in the presence of the Prophet when it was asked: `Who is the best companion?' He replied: "That person who when you see him, you are reminded of God; when he speaks, your knowledge increases; when he acts, you fall to thinking of the hereafter and the Resurrection. " [Biharu 'l-anwar, vol. 15, Alishrat book, p.51 ,old edition].

Mankind is in dire need of the elixir of love for pure and virtuous people, so that love may be cultivated, and so that love for such people may create a resemblance and similarity to them in mankind.

Experience has shown them that companionship with the pure and fellowship and love for them has affected their spirits to an extent which reading hundreds of volumes on ethics has not.

"Persons of excellence's love" in word of Rumi, Hafiz and Allamah Tabatabi
~Rumi~ has related the message of love by the complaint of the reed; he says:

Whoever saw a poison and antedote like the reed?
Whoever saw a sympathiser and a longing lover like the reed?
Whoever's garment is torn by love
Is entirely cleansed of covetousness or blemish.
Hail, O Love, that bringest us good gain -
O physician of all our ills. [Rumi, Mathnawi]

Sometimes we see some great person whose followers imitate him even in the way of walking, dressing, meeting with people and gesturing. This imitation is not voluntary, it is automatic and by the force of nature. It is the strength of love and fellowship which has influenced all the elements of the lover's existence and has made him resemble his beloved in every one of his states. This is why every human being must search for a man of reality and truth for his own reformation, and devote himself to him so that he can truly reform himself.

If there is the desire for union in your head, O Hafiz,
You must become like clay in the craftsman's hands.

When a man who, however much he may at first have decided to be pious and do good deeds, again falls prey to weakness in the fundamentals of his aspiration, finds love and fellowship, that weakness and lethargy will then go away, and his resolution will become firm and his ambition strong.

Love of the good ones unscrupulously took away heart and religion;
The rook in chess cannot take as much as a beautiful face can capture.
Do you imagine that Majnun became deranged by himself ?
It was the glance of Layla that transported him among the stars.
I did not find my way alone to the source of the sun,
I was a mote, and love for you bore me up.
It was the curve of your eyebrow, it was your heavenly hand,
Which circled round in this revelry and drove my heart insane. [Allamah Taba'taba' i]

Shams love story for Mawlana
History tells of great persons in whose spirit and soul a revolution was created by love and fellowship with a perfect one - at least according to the idea of their followers. Mawlana Rumi is one of such persons. He was not from the first so consumed (by love) and full of commotion. He was a scholar, and was calmly and quietly engaged in teaching in a corner of his town. But from the day that he encountered Shams-a Tabrizi and the desire for fellowship with him seized his heart and soul his manner completely changed and a fire flared up inside him. It was like a fuse which has fallen into a gunpowder store and bursts into flames. He was, apparently, a follower of ~Ash'arism~, but his ~Mathnavi~ is without doubt one of the greatest books in the world. All the poetry of this man is surging, in movement. He composed the ~Divan of Shams~ in memory of his desire, his beloved; and in the Mathnavi too, he mentions him a great deal.

We see Mawlana Rumi in the Mathnavi searching after something, but as soon as he remembers Shams a wild storm brews up in his spirit, and roaring waves surge up in him; he says:

At this moment my soul has plucked my skirt;
He has caught the perfume of Joseph's vest.
(He said:) "For the sake of our years of companionship,
Recount one of those sweet ecstasies,
That earth and heaven may laugh,
That intellect and spirit and eye may increase a hundred fold. "
I said: "The one who is far from his beloved is Like an invalid who is far from the doctor.
How should I describe (not a vein of mine is sensible) That Friend who hath no peer.
The description of this severance and this heart's blood Do thou at present leave over till another time.
Do not seek trouble and turmoil and bloodshed:
Say no more concerning Shams-a Tabrizi. [Rumi, Mathnawi]

And this is the fitting meaning of what ~Hafiz~ said:

The nightingale learnt its song by the favour of the rose, otherwise there would not have been
Any of this song and music fashioned from its beak.

From this we can infer that exertion and being drawn, or action and attraction must go together. Nothing can be accomplished from effort without attraction, just as being drawn where there is no effort will not reach its aim.

Sources

attraction and repulsion of Imam Ali p.b.u.h- pages: 67to70 and 73to75

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