Rafed English

Freedom as the lack of attachment

Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"

The third meaning of freedom is a concept, which is often used in ethics and mysticism. In this famous poem of Ha-fiz?, 8 he has pointed to it:

I am the servant of anyone who under the sky

Is free from every color of attachments.

In this sense, freedom is the opposite of “belongingness” and “attachment”. That is, sometimes the heart of man is attached and fond of some things, and at other times it has no attachment to anything; it is free from any form of belongingness. Of course, what is meritorious is that man should have no affection to the world, material things, and worldly and non-divine pleasures, and not that he should have no love and affection to anything or anybody including God, the Prophet (s?), 9 awliya-’ [saints], and the like.

One more precise and mystical meaning of “the lack of attachment” is that the man in the sublime station of monotheism reaches a point where his love belongs to anything or anybody except the Divine Sacred Essence. In this state, even if he would love a person or thing, it is under the auspices, and because, of love of God, which is under the aegis of the Divine Beauty. In the perspective of the Islamic sciences, one of the highest stages of human perfection is love and affection to God:

“Those who believe are stauncher in their love for Allah.” 10

In the Du‘a- Kumayl 11 we read:

“(O Lord! Make) my heart enthralled by Your love!”

Similarly, this subject is also present in numerous supplications and traditions, and the highest station of man is that the love of God encompassed his entire being from head to foot and his whole heart is enthralled with His love such that not a single speck of love to other than God is ever present there.

This meaning is another conception of freedom; freedom means “emancipation” and lack of attachment to anything and anybody other than God. It is again obvious that this meaning is totally different from the first two meanings mentioned earlier. The two meanings are related to the domains of realities and “beings and not-beings” while this meaning is related to the domain of values and “must and must not”.

Here, we are saying that it is “good” for man to be free from affection to other than God, and if he wants to acquire more perfection, he “must” be free and liberated from love to other than God.

If we apply this meaning to freedom, then absolute freedom is not desirable. That is, that man should be free from love and affection to anything and anybody other than God, the Exalted, is against moral values. There is also an opportunity here to commit error and fallacy. Anyone would deceptively talk about freedom in this sense that man must not be under captivity and bondage, and then say that man must thus not be fettered even by the love of God and that he must emancipate himself and be totally free. To emphasize his point, he would recite the same poem of Ha-fiz?:

I am the servant of anyone who under the sky
Is free from every color of attachments.

This is while it is an obvious and deceptive fallacy. When did Ha-fiz? wanted to say that “I am the servant of the aspiration of him who, to the extent of being insensible and cold-hearted, nurtures nobody’s love in his heart”? Ha-fiz? negates affection and attachment to other than God. His point is the negation of affection to materiality and worldliness,

and that man should give his affection to a thing, which is worthy of such an affection, as well as to somebody who is the embodiment of all goodness, and whatever beauty and perfection existing in the world are all reflections of His Beauty. This is yet another meaning of freedom, which is often applied in ethics and mysticism.

Notes :

8. It refers to Khwa-jah Shamsuddi-n Muhammad Ha-fiz? Shi-ra-zi- (ca. 1325-1391), the fourteenth century Persian lyric bard and panegyrist, and commonly considered as the preeminent master of the ghazal form. [Trans.]

9. The abbreviation, “s?”, stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, s?allalla-hu ‘alayhi wa a-lihi wa sallam [may God’s salutation and peace be upon him and his progeny], which is used after the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s?). [Trans.]

10. Su-rah al-Baqarah 2:165.

11. Du‘a- Kumayl [Supplication of Kumayl]: The supplication taught by Ima-m ‘Ali- (‘a) to one of his loyal companions and staunch supporters of Islam, Kumayl ibn Ziya-d. Usually offered on every night preceding Friday [Laylat’ul-Jum‘ah] individually or in congregation after Isha-’ prayers, this supplication envisages divine teachings and solid foundations of religion in order to enable everyone to follow the right path for becoming a worthy Muslim.

The Arabic text, English translation and commentary of this famous supplication are available online at http://www./kumayl. [Trans.]

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