The Ocean of the Soul: Man, the World, and God in the Stories of Farid Al-Din 'Attar

By Hellmut Ritter; John O'Kane | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY
VIRTUES OF THE INNER ATTITUDE

1

Ayāz, in his attitude toward his master, gives proof of two virtues which above all others are expected from the slave of a king: proper manners and humility.

These two virtues are closely bound up with one another. Good manners require that one should appear modest, accord fewer rights to oneself than to others, and ascribe guilt to oneself even when it is not clear how responsibility is to be meted out.

It is this attitude which in practice provides Islamic piety with the means to eliminate the problem of predestination and responsibility, which has not been theoretically resolved in a satisfying manner. Muḥammad Ghazzālī says the following:

And he will not make predestination reponsible because no one is allowed to
talk this way. Even if he knows it is part of the faith that nothing happens
which God has not previously determined, he still upholds the sunna of his fa-
ther Adam who, when he noticed that he had violated a commandment, ascribed
the guilt to himself and said: "Lord, we ourself have done wrong, and if You do
not forgive us and take pity on us, then we are lost." (Surah 7/23).

Wa-hēch idāfat bā taqdīr nakunadh az ān ki hēch kas-rā musallam nakardand ki bar īn
ʿibārat sukhun gōyadh, wa-agarchi iʿtiqād dānadh ki ba-juz az ān nabāshadh ki Ḥaqq taʿālā
taqdīr karda ast. wa-lēkin sunnat-i pidhar-i khwēsh Ādam ṣalawātu'llāhi ʿalayh nigāh dāradh
ki chun bar mukhālafat-i amr wāqif gasht idāfat-i jurm ba-khwadh kard u guft: Rabbanā
ẓalamnā anfusanā wa-in lam taghfir lanā wa-tarḥamnā la-nakūnanna mina'l-khāsirīn.
M.
Ghazzālī, Mirāt al-sālikīn wa-mirqāt al-ʿārifln, Ms. Ayasofya 2061, fol. 3b. Cf. Bāqillānī,
Inţāf 133, 139; Mathnawī 1/1490–93.

Ḥāfiẓ expresses the same idea:

Even if the sin was not of my free will, oh Ḥāfiẓ, keep to the path of proper
manners and say: "It's my sin!"

Gunāh garchi nabūdh ikhtiyār-i man, Ḥāfiẓ tu bar ṭarīq-i adab bāsh u gō: gunāh-i man ast.

-313-

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