7. The seventh office is that one should not go deeply
Into an art until he completes the art which precedes it, For the sciences are very exactly arranged in a neces
sary order, and some of them arean introduction (t.arlq) to others. Happy is he who observes this arrangement and gra
dation. Allah said, "Those to whom we gave the book read it rightly" (2:115).
That is, they do not go beyond an art until they do it well both in respect to knowledge and action or theory and
practice. So in every science let his purpose be to study - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- - - - - - - - -
# £DMZ omits the seventh function
how to get nearer to what is above it.
It is encumbent not to pronounce judgment against a science because there happens to be a disagreement about
it among its people or because of one writing or many nor because of their differences according to their knowledge of acting. So you see a group which leaves off contemplating what pertains to the reason and to jurisprudence, under the pretext that had they had a fundamental principle, their exponents would have comprehended it. The disclosure
of these uncertainties has preceded in the book Mi'yar al185 '11.2 (the Standard of Knowledge)..
You (sometimes) see one group that believes the science
of medicine is untrue because of a mistake which they witnessed on the part of one doctor, and another group which believes that astrology is true because of the successful prediction of one person, and another group which believes that it is untrue because another person's prediction went wrong.
All are at fault. Rather it is encumbent to know a
thing in itself. Every person is not able to completely master every science and thus be competent to Judge (for himself). For that reason 'Ali said, "Do not know the truth through men. Know the truth. Then you will know its people."
8, The eighth office is to know the means by which one
apprehends the noblest of sciences. By that two things are meant , one of which is the nobility of the fruit and the second is the reliability and strength of the proofs.
That is like the science of religion and the science
of medicine. Truly the fruit of one of them is everlasting life, while the fruit of the other is evanescent life. So the science of religion isnobler. (And from the point of view of the second consideration) it is like the science of arithmetic and the science of astrology. For the science of arithmetic is nobler from the point of view of the reliability and strength of its proofs. If the science of arithmetic is compared with medicine, medicine would be nobler in regard to its fruit; and arithmetic, nobler in regard to its proofs. To pay attention to the fruit is a higher (consideration). Therefore medicine is nobler, even if most of it Is by conjecture or diagnosis (takhmine.
By this it is Obvious that the noblest of sciences is knowledge of Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers, as well as knowing, how to reach these sciences. So take care to desire only it, and to be stingy only with it.
9. The ninth office is that the pupil's present purpose should be to adorn and beautify his inner life with virtue and in the time to come, to draw nigh, to Allah and ascend to the proximity of the archangels and those who draw near
(al-mugarrabin) which does not mean leadership, wealth, in
fluence, base quarreling, and emulating competitors. If
this (i.e. to adorn himself with virtue) is his aim, he
will undoubtedly seek what (brings him) closest to his aim,
and that is knowledge of the next abode.
In spite of this he should not despise the other sci
ences. I mean the science of giving legal opinions and the
science of grammar ('ilm al-nahu) and lexicography ('ilm al
3ughah), the two which are connected with the Book and usage,
and other sciences which are a general obligation and which we mentioned among the preparatory and complementary(sci
From our extravagant praise of knowledge of the next
abode do not think that we despise these (other) sciences. For those who assume the responsibility for religion are
like those who are charged with the responsibility for fortified cities and those stationed in them and the warriors who
wage war for Allah (fi sabil illah). Among them there are the fighter, the helper, those who pour out water for them, and those who protect and take care of their mounts. Not
one of them fails to obtain his reward, if his aim Is to elevate the word of Allah and not to obtain plunder; and the learned are like that.
Allah said, "Allah will raise (to higher) grades those
of you who believe and those to whom knowledge was given"
(58:12). And again He said, "These are (varying) grades
with Allah" (3:157)
Excellence is (only) relative. cur contempt for money
changers (when we) compare them with kings does not prove their contempt, when they are compared with sweepers. Do
not at all think that whatever falls below the highest rank is an ignoble rank, (sagit al-qadr), rather the highest rank(rutbah) is for the prophets, then the saints, then the
learned who are firmly established in knowledge, then the
virtuous according to their different degrees. In short, will
whoever does the slightest amount of good, see it; and who
ever does the slightest amount of harm will see it. Allah will assuredly benefit and elevate anyone who aims to please Him with no matter whathefence.
10. The tenth office info know the relation of the sci
enc.e o what is purposed (al-magsad), in order to prefer (what is) high and near to what is distant, and what is of
most concern rather than something else. The meaning of al
muhimm is that which concerns you, and only your business in the present world and the next abode concerns you. So
it is impossible for you to unite the delights of the present world and the happiness of the next abode, as the Qur'an
mentioned and what the enlightened mind testifies to , Just
as vision does. Then that which concerns you most is that which lasts forever. So the present world becomes a stopping place; the body, a vehicle; and our deeds, a way to what is purposed (al-maggad). The only (real) purpose is to meet Allah in whom all delight is found, even if only a few in the present world know its value.
In relation to the happiness of meeting Allah and contemplating his gracious fac.e---I mean the contemplation
which the prophets sought and understood, not what the masses and theologians quickly understand---the sciences are in three grades which you understand by comparison with an example which is that of a slave whose emancipation and whose being empowered to have authority depend on the pilgrimage. Some one says to him, "If you go on the pilgrimage and complete it, you will arrive at freedom and authority together; and if you begin to get ready and prepare for it and some unavoidable obstacle prevents you, then you have emancipation and salvation from the misery of slavery only, not the happiness of authority."
So he has three kinds of work: The first is to prepare the means(of living) by purchasing a she-camel, sewing up a water-bag, and preparation:: of provisions and a mount; the second isjthe journey and separation from one's native land by setting one's face toward the Ka'bah (and proceeding)
one station after another; and the third is to engage in the acts of the pilgrimage, one essential (rukn) after another. Then, when he has finished and removed the form of the Ih
ram and has made the farewell circumambulation, he deserves
to or has the right to present himself (as ready for) dominion and authority.
In every station (madam) there are stages (manazil) from beginning to end of the means, from beginning to end of one's journey over the desert, and from beginning to end of to essentials of the pilgrimage. The proximity to happiness of one who begins the essentials of the pilgrimage is not like that of one who gets far along in his preparation of food and a mount, nor like that of one who begins the journey, but he is nearer to it.
The sciences also have three parts. There is a part which resembles getting food and a mount ready and the purchase of a camel: that is, the science of medicine and juris
prudence and what is connected with the cure of the body in the present world. Then there is a part which resembles
the journey over the deserts and overcoming its obstacles: that is, to purify the inner life from unclean qualities and surmount those high obstacles which all ancients and moderns except those who were granted success-bringing aid
failed to do. This is journeying on the way, and acquiring
its knowledge is like acquiring knowledge of the directions and stages of the way. Just as knowledge of the stages and the desert roads gives (one) no benefit unless he proceeds on them, in the same manner knowledge of character training
gives him no benefit unless he begins the training; but it
is impossible to begin it without knowledge.
Then there is a third part which resembles the pilgrimage itself and its essentials (arkan). It is knowledge
of Allah, His attributes, His angels, His acts, and all that
we have mentioned in the interpretations of mystical knowledge. Here is salvation and acquiring happiness. Salvation (al-naj.h) is obtained by every traveler on the road if his purpose is the real objective (al-magsad al-hagq)
which is security (from eternal destruction). As for ac
quiring happiness, only those who know Allah obtain it.
Their are the angels who are blessed in the proximity of Al
lah with rest and sweet odor of fragrant plants and the blessed Garden. As for those who are prevented from reaching the apex of perfection, they have salvation and security, as Allah said, "As for one who enjoys near access to Allah,
he has rest and fragrant plants and t:e blessed Garden. As
for one who is of the people of the right hand, he has the
greeting, 'Peace be to you' from the people of the right
Every one who does not face up to the objective and does not rise up to it enthusiastically or rises up to face it , not for the purpose of obedience and devotion, but for an immediate aim, (such a person) is one of the people of the left hand and one of the erring ones. "Then his lot shall be a scalding with water and a broiling in the Fire`.:
You should know that this is unquestionable truth
among the learned who are well-grounded. I mean that they ha have apprehended it by inner sight (mushadah min al-bat,in)
which is stronger and clearer than physical sight (muahahadah al-abpar). They progressed in it from the bounds of
imitation to bare hearing (mujarrad al-sama'). Their state
(Ml) is that of one who isjtold and believes. Then he sees and is sure, while the state of others is that of one who accepts with good belief and faith and is not favoured: with sight and vision.
Then happiness is beyond mystical knowledge ('ilm al-mukRshafah), and mystical knowledge is beyond practical knowledge ('ilm al-mu'aralah) which is to journey on the way to the next abode and overcome the obstacles of (mean) characteristics. Journeying along the way of abolishing blameworthy characteristics is beyond knowledge of (these) characteristics. Knowledge of the way to treat illness
222 and howto proceed in that is beyond knowledge of bodily
health and aiding the means of health. The well-being of the body is by collective activity (al-ijtima'), mutual as
sistance, and cooperation by which clothing, food, and shelter are obtained. This is entrusted to the sultan. His. law in controling people according to a program of justice and political science is in the hands of the canon lawyer. As for the means of health , they are in the hands of the
doctor. The one who said, "Knowledge is of two kinds: knowl
edge: of bodies and knowledge of religions", and by it (i.e.
the final phrase) indicated jurisprudence, meant by that
the widespreading legalsciences, not rare mysticall knowledge.
If you should say, "Why do you liken the knowledge of
medicine and jurisprudence to getting provisions and a camel ready?" you should know that what is earnestly trying to draw near to Allah is the heart, not the body. By al-galb I do not mean the flesh which can be felt, but it is one of Allah's secrets (sirr min asrar 'llah) to which sensation
does not attain, and (it is) one of His subtleties (lam fah
min lata'ifihi) sometimes expres A by al-rah (the spirit) and
sometimes by al-nafs al-mu4ma'innah (the tranquil soul or the soul at rest). The law expresses it by 'the heart' (al-galb)
because it is the first vehicle (matiyah) for that secret, and by means of it ail the body becomes a vehicle and an in-
strument for that subtlety (la~ ti ah) . To remove the veil from that secret is part of mystical knowledge which is something about which one is niggardly; rather, there is no permission to mention it. The most one is permitted to say about it is, "It is a precious jewel and a rare pearl which is nobler than these visible bodies". And truly it is a transcendental affair (amr ilahi) as Allah said, "And if they ask you about the spirit, say, 'The spirit is an affair pertaining to the Lord"' (17:87), (or as Wensinck
translates it, 'Say, the spirit belongs to the amr of my 191
All creatures are related to Allah, but His relation is nobler than the relation of the rest of the bodily members. Then both (the world of) created things and (the world of) the invisible realia (al-khalq wa '1-amr) belong to Allah (cf. 7:52). And (the world of) invisible realia is higher than (the world of) created things, This precious substance is that which carries (one) to trust in Allah and , by means of this rank, has priority over the heavens, the earth, and the mountains.
For they (the mountains,etc.)emphatically refused to bear it, and they feared it because of the realm of invisible realia ('clam al-amr). One shoul t understand from
# reading with S~,,Z al and instead of al-ardain
this that it is an allusion to its priority. For one who pro-ceases the priority of the spirits is sadly mistaken and ignorant and does not know what he says. So let us put a stop to the explanation of this art. For it is beyond our
scope, and what is meant isthat this subtlety is what strives to draw nigh to its Lord, because it is a (result) of the command of the Lord (amr al--rabb), from whom it (received) its origin and to whom it returns.
As for the body, it is its (the subtlety's) vehicle which it rides and by means of which it speeds on its way (to the King of Kings). And on the way of Allah the body acts for it (the spirit) as a camel does for the body on
the way of pilgrimage and as the water-vessel which contains water that is needed for the body. So the objective of each science is the welfare of the body. Then it is part of the Group of things (that conduce to) the welfare of the vehicle.
It is not hidden that such is the case with medicine, for sometimes man needs it to preserve his bodily health; and,, even if he were alone, he would need it. Jurisprudence differs from it in the fact that were man alone, he might be able to do without it; but he was created in such a way that he cannot live alone; for he is not independently able to obtain his food by carrying on a-Lone ploughing, planting,
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SNZ reads sihhah
baking, and cooking, and to obtain his clothing and a dwelling place, and to prepare tocls for all this. Therefore he is obli ed to associate (with others:) and seek aid.
Whenever people mingle and their sensual desires are stirred up, they contend for the means (to obtain) their desires, and dispute and fight. As a result of their fighting they perish, because of of their outer contention, just as they perish because of the disagreement of the (four) internal bodily humours. By the art of medicine the balance of the contending internal bodily humours is preserved, whi=le by political science and justice, balance is preserved in the external competition.
Knowledge of the way to balance the bodily humours is medicine, while knowledge of the way to balance people's circumstances in practical life and deeds is canon law. And all that is in order to preserve the body which is the ve
edge: of canon law or medicine does not discipline himself and does not correct his heart (by emptying it of all save Allah), he''is like one who devotes himself to buying a camel and its fodder and buying a water-vessel and sewing it up, if 1-.he does not journey (across) the desert of the pilgrimage. And one who spends his life engrossed in the details of words which occur in arguments of canon law is like one
hicle. If one
who devotes himself entirely to the xnowl
Whose life is engrossed in details of the means by which
to strengthen the threads with which water-vessels for the
pilgrimage are sewn.
And the relationship of these (who are engaged in canon :Law) to those who are traveling on the road of correctin the heart which causes one to reach mystical knowledge
is :Like the relation of those (who are engaged in buying a camel ) to the travelers on the way of pilgrimage or those having an intimate connection with its essentials. So think
of -this first and accept this advice freely from one who
in general revolted against it, and he only reached it after
great struggle and perfect boldness in abandoning both the masses and the elite in deposing their (blind) acceptance
of sensual desire. Then this amount suffices concerning the pupil's offices.
B. An Exposition of the Duties 192. o f a Teacher Who Guides
You should know that in regard to man's knowledge he
has four states as his state in acquiring wealth, when the possessor of wealth has the state of seeking benefit. Then
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# Sip:Z. reads al-wdsil
1hrl reading S,LZ who omits dhalik
### reading SMZ shadid instead of ahid
he is profiting. The (second) state (is that) of hoarding
up for the future what he has earned. Then by that he does
not need to beg. The (third) state (is that) of spending
for himself. Then he is gettin.- benefit. The (fourth) state (is that) of disbursing for others. Then he is voluntarily generous which is the noblest of his states.
Knowledge is acquired in the same manner as wealth is. It has the state of seeking and acquiring; the state of obtaining, which does away with any need to ask others; the state of enlightenment, which is meditation about the ob
ject acquired as well as enjoying it; and the state of en
lightening (others), which is the noblest of its states.
He who knows and does and teaches is called great in 193
the kingdom of heaven;for he is like the sun which gives light to others, while it is lighted itself; and like musk which gives fragrance to others, while it is sweet-smelling
One who knows and does not act accordingly is like a copybook which benefits others, while it is empty of knowledge; and like a whetstone which sharpens other things, while
it does not cut; and like a needle which clothes others, whi-_e it is naked; and like a lamp wick which gives light to others, while it is consumed. As somebody said, "hat is he but a burning wick which gives light to people while it is
Whoever engages in teaching has assumed a grave matter and an important responsibility. Then let him guard his manners and his offices.
1. The first office is (to have) compassion for his pupils and to treat them as sons. The Messenger of Allah said, "Verily, my relationship to you is that of a parent to his child", because he purposes to save them from the fire of the next abode, which is more important than the two parents' saving their child from the fire of the present world. Therefore the suitability or obligation (hagg) of a teacher became greater than that of parents. For his. parent is the means of his present existence and his evanescent life, while his teacher is the means of his everlasting life. Were it not for his teacher, what he obtains from his father would be driven to everlasting destruction.
Truly, a teacher is one who helps (a person to reach) the everlasting life of the next abode; the teacher (who teaches) the sciences of the next abode or (one who teaches) the sciences of the present world on the ground that (their) objective is the next abode, not the present world.
As for teaching in order to obtain some worldly benefit,
it is destruction (for one's self) and causing (others) to be destroyed, from which we take refuge with Allah.
Just as it is the duty (hagq) of the sons of one man
to love one another and to cooperate for all purposes, so is the same manner it is the duty of the pupils of one man to _Love one another; and it will only be like that, if their objective is the next abode, while there will only be envy and hatred, if their objective is the present world.
For the learned and the sons of the next abode are journeying toward Allah and travelling to Him by way of the present world, the years and months of which are stations
along the way. On the road companionship between the jouris
neyers to (various) cities the cause of mutual love. Then
how (should one consider the state of) the journey to the highest Paradise (al-firdaus al-A'la) and mutual companionship on the way! There is no stricture in the happiness of the next abode. For that reason there will be no contention among the sons of the next abode, nor any amplitude in the happiness of the present world. And there will continue to be a stricture on crowding and competition.
Those who incline to seek leadership by knowledge are departing from conformity with His saying: "=Verily the believers are brothers", (49:10) and are entering into conformity with His saying, "On that day, excepting the godfearing, friends shall become foes to one another" (43:67).
2. The second office is that he should emulate the
giver of the divine law (xuhammad) and not seek recompense for giving benefit of knowledge. Nor should he aim at reward or thanks, but teach for the sake of Allah and to seek to k; et closer to Him. He should not consider that he has any favor over them even if the favor were inseparably against them (and on his side) (because he led them to the Real.), rather he should consider that the favor is on their side, for they have entrusted their hearts to him in order that. they may be drawn nighto Allah by knowledge being sown in them, just as one who lends you land in which to sow something for yourself. For your benefit in them (the hearts in which knowledge has been put) exceeds the benefit of the owner of the land. Then how do you consider it (your teaching him) a favor, while your reward with Allah is greater for teaching than the pupil's reward. And were it not for the pupil, you would not receive this reward. Then seek no recompense except from Allah, as He said, tto (my) people, I do not ask you any pay for it; verily my recompense is from Allah only" (11:31).
For wealth and what is in the present world is a servant of the body, and the body is a vessel and vehicle of