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Ethics

God Wariness And Knowledge

    "وَاعلَم يَا بُنَيَّ اَنَّ اَحبَّ مَا انْتَ آخِذٌ بِهِ اِليَّ مِن وَصِيَّتِي تَقوَى الله وَالاِقتِصَار على مَا فَرَضَهُ الله عَلَيكَ، وَالاَخْذَ بِمَا مَضَى عَلَيهِ الاَوّلُونَ مِن آبَائِكَ وَالصَالِحُونَ مِن اَهلِ بَيتِكَ، فَاِنَّهُم لَم يَدَعُوا اَن نَظَروا لاَنفُسِهِم كَمَا اَنتَ نَاظِرٌ، وَفَكَّرُوا كَمَا اَنتَ مُفَكِّرٌ ثُمَّ رَدَّهُم آخِرُ ذلِكَ اِلى الاَخْذِ بِمَا عَرَفُوا، وَالاِمسَاكِ عَمَّالَم يُكَلَّفُوا، فَاِن أبَت نَفسُكَ اَن تَقبَلَ ذَلِكَ دُونَ اَن تَعلَمَ كَمَا عَلِمُوا، فَليَكُن طَلَبُكَ ذَلِكَ بِتَفَهُّمٍ وَتَعلُّمٍ لا بِتَورّط الشُّبُهاتِ وعُلَقِ (عُلُوِّ) الخُصُومَاتِ، وَابَدَأ قَبْلَ نَظَرِكَ فِي ذَلِكَ بِالاِسْتِعَانَةَ بِالَهِكَ، وَالرَّغْبَةَ اِلَيهِ فِي تَوفِيقِكَ وَتَرْكِ كُلِّ شَائِبَةٍ اَولَجَتْكَ فِي شُبْهَةٍ اَو اَسلَمَتكَ اِلى ضَلالَةٍ فَاِذَا اَيقَنْتَ اَن قَدْ صَفا قَلبُكَ فَخَشَعَ وَتَمَّ رَأيُكَ فَاجْتَمَعَ وَكَانَ هَمُّكَ فِي ذَلِكَ هَمّاً وَاحِداً، فَانْظُر فِيمَا فَسَّرتُ لَكَ، وَاِن اَنتَ لَم يَجْتَمِع لَكَ مَا تُحِبُّ مِن نَفْسِكَ وَفَراغِ نَظَرِكَ وَفِكْرِكَ فَاعْلَم اَنَّكَ اِنَّمَا تُخْبِطُ العَشْوَاءَ وَتَتَوَرَّطُ الظَّلمَاءَ وَلَيسَ طَالِبُ الدِّينِ مَنْ خَبَطَ اَوْ خَلَطَ وَالاِمْسَاكُ عَنْ ذَلِكَ اَمْثَلُ"

“Know, my son, that what I would like the most for you to take from my will is God-wariness, restricting yourself to what God has imposed on you, and adhering to the practice of your forefathers and the righteous among the people of your household. They did not cease to examine themselves just as you examine yourself, and to contemplate their affairs just as you do. That led them to act on what they knew and to hold back from what they were not required to do.

If your soul refuses to accept that without ascertaining it (for yourself) as they ascertained it, then let your search for that be with understanding and study, not through becoming entangled in doubts and ensnared in arguments. Before looking into that, begin by seeking help from your God, asking Him for your success, and abandoning the least thing that involves you in doubt or exposes you to misguidance.

Thus when you are certain that your heart has become pure and submissive, and your opinions have become perfected and gathered together, and you have a single thought on the matter, then look into what I have explained to you. But if you have not gathered yourself together as you wish and focused your sights and thoughts exclusively on the matter, then know that you will be proceeding at random and be confounded in the darkness, whereas a seeker of religion is not one who proceeds at random or is confused, in which case it is better to hold back from that”.

Commentary

In this section of the letter, Imam ‘Ali (as) refers to the new principles of education which include the approaches of acquiring knowledge and the implementation of the pious old generations and the avoidance of blind imitations and full comprehension of the conditions of the time and finally the avoidance of getting involved in dubious cases of thought.

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"