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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 15 - In the World but not of the World
O Momins, may God make you from amongst those whose guardian is God in this world and the world to come and with whose devotion to Him He is much pleased.
You must bear in mind that you are made of a thick earthly body and a fine heavenly spirit. Your earthly body needs earthly nutrition to sustain its earthly existence and your spirit needs spiritual food to continue its spiritual life. The earth is the storehouse of the material nutrition consisting of food and water for the body and the Prophets and the Imams are the storehouse of sciences, which supply nutrition to the spirit, which is the most precious stuff.
O Momins, take from the Imam the food for your next life. It will save your spirit from pollution and will qualify you with the attributes of the angels. You have heard what I told you on the last occasion and those of you who were attentive have profited by it.
Now, we shall explain to you the meaning of the Qur'anic verse, "Those who do not witness untruth and when they come across frivolities they turn away from them as great souls." This verse is usually interpreted to be a prohibition, of false evidence. According to some of the commentators, the word ‘untruth' means an indulgence in amorous music. God says, "Keep aloof from the filth of idol worshipping and keep aloof from the words of untruth i.e., amorous talk." This is a correct interpretation but there is something more which has escaped the notice of the commentators. We add that in the Qur'anic expression, "they do not witness untruth," the word ‘untruth' refers to the deceptive world. The learned divines look upon this world as the abode of untruth and the next world as the abode of truth. They call this world an abode of untruth because it is never steady. It always changes from one state to another. It is impossible for a man to find in this world a thing, which does not change. Its time is changeable. At one time we have the spring season and at another time we have the autumn. At one time we have summer and at another time we have winter. Its products are equally changeable. At one time we notice an embryo at another time it grows into a babe. This babe again grows into a child. From a child it changes into a young man. The young man again changes into an old man who ultimately dies and disappears from this world. It is for these reasons that the world is called the house of ‘untruth', and it is on this account that we interpret the not-witnessing the untruth as not-witnessing the world. By not witnessing the world we do not mean that the man is not present in this world. How can one who is living in this world be absent from the world of which he is the product?
What we mean to say is this. Man has a physical life as well as a spiritual one. Physically he is like lower animals. Spiritually he is above these animals and is capable of flying into higher regions. The one who knows the value of his spiritual life, inspite of his physical presence in this world, is spiritually absent from it. He is more attached to the next world than to this world where he lives the life of a prisoner. Our Prophet says, "The world is a prison house for the Momins." If we understand this, the meaning of the whole verse will be as clear to us as daylight.
It is said that some dogs were eating a dead body and were fighting over it. A pious man passed by them and was disgusted with the foul smell of the dead body. To avoid the filthy smell he began to run away from the sight. The dogs imagining that he was running towards them to snatch the dead body from them jumped at him and attacked him from all sides. This is the way the people of the world run after this world and they mistake those who are detached from it to be as much attached to it as they themselves are.
The word ‘laghve' in the above verse, which is usually translated as frivolity, etymologically means that which is thrown away. Here it stands for the worldly wealth and its concomitants. The wise people naturally pass by it unattracted by it and unstained by it. This makes the meaning of the verse sufficiently intelligible to us. The word ‘zoor' in the above verse, which is usually, translated as ‘untruth' also means the misrepresentation of the truth or the fabrication of a lie. Accordingly the one who pretends to be a Prophet, or a ‘Wasee' or an Imam or one gifted with divine knowledge belongs to the category of those people of whom God says, "Who is a greater oppressor than the one who fabricates a lie against God or says that he receives revelations from God while no revelation has come to him or the one who says, ‘I shall reveal what God has revealed'." Such people are said to be ‘Shaid-e-Zoor' i.e., the misrepresenters of truth or fabricators of lies.
The above verse speaks of three types of lies: (1) those who fabricate lies against God are the persons who pretend to be the Prophet, like'Musailamatul-kazzab'. (2) Those who pretend that they receive the revelation but in reality no revelation is sent to them. They are the persons who pretend to be the ‘Wasee' of the Prophet. (3) Those who say that they say exactly what God says. They pretend to take up the place of the Imams. All these three types of lies are the worst forms of oppression. For, oppression means the putting of a thing in a wrong place.
The Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali bin Abu Talib says, "There is no verse in the Qur'an about which I do not know, how it was revealed, when it was revealed and it what connection it was revealed. Before you lose me, consult me about what it is and what it will continue to be up to the Day of Judgement." While he was saying this he pointed out to his chest thereby meaning that it was the storehouse of the divine knowledge.
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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