Sufinama

Seclusion

MORE BYSharfuddin Yahya Maneri

    A man not wanted by the world for its intellectual or theological education, may isolate himself from others, and avoid company save on necessary occasions, such as those of the Friday and the id prayers, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and other useful meetings. The man who wishes to avoid company altogether, had better live far away from human habitation (in a mountain or on a desert island). Else (let him not isolate him-self altogether) unless he knows for certain that his gains from attendance at the Friday prayer or other social gatherings are really outweighed by the losses he incurs from coming into contact with human society....

    But there may be a different sort of man, a master of knowledge, needed by others for their religious enlightenment, the exposition of truths, the setting aside of heretical arguments, and for stirring them to live out the teachings of religion. It is hardly lawful for such a man to absolutely avoid human society. It is narrated of a sage named abu bakar that, as he wandered about the hills with the object of leading a life of prayer and worship in seclusion, he heard a voice saying, "Abu baker, why dost thou desert the creatures of the lord when thou hast attained the position of a divine light?" so he returned to the society of men. Such a man, though living corporeally in the world and doing his duties to it, has to work for his own salvation as well. Omar (peace on him!) Said of himself, "should I sleep at night i would ruin myself, should i sleep during the day, I would ruin my subjects." it is exceedingly hard to be corporeally in the world and to be at the same time mentally away from it. Imam gazali opines that a learned man may be excused for isolating himself and burying his knowledge in days of trouble and degeneration, when a man may send for a religious teacher, but declines to learn anything of him- when no man appreciates the importance of religious duties...

    An extremely weak man should not resort to seclusion... The real object of seclusion is mental isolation, not bodily separation.- letter 95.

    A man not wanted by the world for its intellectual or theological education, may isolate himself from others, and avoid company save on necessary occasions, such as those of the Friday and the id prayers, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and other useful meetings. The man who wishes to avoid company altogether, had better live far away from human habitation (in a mountain or on a desert island). Else (let him not isolate him-self altogether) unless he knows for certain that his gains from attendance at the Friday prayer or other social gatherings are really outweighed by the losses he incurs from coming into contact with human society....

    But there may be a different sort of man, a master of knowledge, needed by others for their religious enlightenment, the exposition of truths, the setting aside of heretical arguments, and for stirring them to live out the teachings of religion. It is hardly lawful for such a man to absolutely avoid human society. It is narrated of a sage named abu bakar that, as he wandered about the hills with the object of leading a life of prayer and worship in seclusion, he heard a voice saying, "Abu baker, why dost thou desert the creatures of the lord when thou hast attained the position of a divine light?" so he returned to the society of men. Such a man, though living corporeally in the world and doing his duties to it, has to work for his own salvation as well. Omar (peace on him!) Said of himself, "should I sleep at night i would ruin myself, should i sleep during the day, I would ruin my subjects." it is exceedingly hard to be corporeally in the world and to be at the same time mentally away from it. Imam gazali opines that a learned man may be excused for isolating himself and burying his knowledge in days of trouble and degeneration, when a man may send for a religious teacher, but declines to learn anything of him- when no man appreciates the importance of religious duties...

    An extremely weak man should not resort to seclusion... The real object of seclusion is mental isolation, not bodily separation.- letter 95.

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