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Majalis-ul Muayyadiya - by Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Life and Lectures of Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis
Lecture 19- He Who Knows Himself Knows God
O Momins, may God confer His favours on you and may He guide you to the right path. Stick to the principle of reticence. Stick to the Imams. If you do so, you will never go astray and you will enjoy the shade of Tayeeba Tree. Its branches are over-hanging on your heads. Its blessings are always open to you, provided you know this and give serious thought to it. Thank God for the special favour that He has conferred on you by guiding you through the Imams and fear the day when no injustice will be done to any one. The month of Rajab is gone and Shabab is come. It is a sacred month. Put on a clean dress of piety. May God show mercy to you. May He help you in keeping your hearts clean. Do not keep your bodies clean and neglect your souls. Let you not be deceived by the health of your bodies if your hearts are diseased. Keep aloof from the filth and idol worship and infidelity. Never tell lies. Seek guidance from those who have been pronounced by the Qur'an to be pure.
Last time I spoke to you on a philosophical subject and now I am going to speak to you on a similar one. It is said that once the learned divine namely Imam Jafar Sadiq was asked by people to explain to them the meaning of the Tradition of the Prophet, "He who knows himself knows God." The divine said, "You must bear in mind that man by nature belongs both to the physical and to the spiritual world. As far as his body is concerned he is like any other material body in this world. Every particle of it belongs to this world. The heat in his body belongs to the fire in this world. The flexibility of his body is due to the air in it. The humidity of his body is due to the water and the heavy mass of his body belongs to the earth. At the time of dissolution of the body every particle of it goes back to its physical source to which it belongs. This is what we can perceive by means of our senses.
He has something else, which can neither be perceived nor compared to anything that we find in this physical world. His being recognised as the noblest of all the creatures of God is not due to his physical body but to something else, which is called the soul.
We know that the component parts of the body such as heat, humidity, flexibility and the mass have originated from the sources such as fire, water, air and earth. We also know that on the dissolution of the body these component parts have to go back to the sources where they have come from. Moreover, we know that the only medium through which the human body can appear on earth is its parents. Besides it cannot grow unless it is fed on the food belonging to this physical world.
Similar is the case with the soul. It cannot shape itself without the medium of its spiritual parents. It cannot develop unless it is fed on spiritual food. The spiritual parents are the ‘Hudud' of God on earth. It is they who give a proper shape to the souls and feed them on spiritual knowledge and lift them up to the spiritual world. Their relationship with the souls is just the same as the connection of the human body with the four elements of this earth.
Thus, he who reflects upon the connection of his body with the physical world and its entire dependence on this world comes to the natural conclusion that the body is the creature of the Universe and the Universe is its Creator. On these lines when he goes a step further and thinks of the relationship of his soul with the ‘Hudud' and its entire dependence for its development on them and its final return to the source from it has come he will naturally know the Lord of his soul and will realize the position of the ‘Hudud' of God on earth, namely the Imams. He will further realize that just as the Universe is the master of his body the ‘Hudud' are the masters of his soul. When he comes to this stage it is sure to dawn on him that God is unlike the bodies which are made of earth and that He is above being compared to anything in the physical world. It will further dawn on him that God is not unlike his body but even unlike his soul which is like the spiritual heads of God and which belongs to the spiritual world. In other words he will realize that God is nether neither the body nor the soul. This is the meaning of the Tradition, "He who knows himself knows God."
O Momins, may God make you men of insight and confer upon you the last of His favours, the forgiveness of your sins. Praise be to God who is hidden from the knowledge of men and Who is above imagination. Greeting be on His apostle, the best of mankind, Mohammed who dispelled the darkness by the light of Islam and who invited people to the abode of safety. Be the greetings on ‘Ali, his ‘Wasees' the Lion of God, the Solver of our Difficulties and the dispeller of our grief, ‘Ali bin Abi-Talib, the master of philosophy and may the greetings be on the Imams from his choice progeny forever. God is enough for us. He is the best pleader of our Cause.
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis
Another article on Al Muayyad by Mohamed Adra
Poetry by Al Muayyad
Al Muayyad's protege Nasir Khusraw
Poetry by Nasir Khusraw
Ismaili Heroes Check out the Al Muayyad Section
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