Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Discourse of Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari

But if we accept the love for other human beings as the criterion, the issue will be solved more easily than if we accept knowledge as the criterion. For example, concerning our preference for Abudhar over Mu'awiyyah, we are in a better position to judge them on the basis of love . Mu'awiy- yah was a selfish and ambitious man who exploited others by force. Abudhar was the reverse, and although he had all the possibilities and even though Mu'awiyyah was prepared to offer him many privileges, yet he was anxious about the fate of others, particularly those who were oppressed by Mu'awiyyah. That is why he arose against this wicked man and spent his last years in exile where he died. Thus, we call Abudhar human as he loved others, and we consider Mu'a- wiyyah inhuman as he was only interested in himself.
Or, similarly, why do we think Hadrat Ali, peace be upon him, is a perfect human being? Because he felt soc- iety's pain, and his 'I' had become 'We'. His personality attracted all others. He was not an individual separated from others. He was a limb or organ of a whole body. He himself said that a pain in one part of society, as in a body, made itself felt in the other parts, one of which was himself. Ali had declared this long before the humanistic philosophy of the twentieth century claimed it as an ideal.
When he heard that a governor appointed by him had attended a feast, he wrote him a letter of protest which is quoted in the Nahj ul-Balagha. It is not mentioned what kind of a feast it had been, whether there had been drinking or gambling or dancing. The governor was considered guilty by Hadrat Ali because he had participated in an aristocratic feast which was not attended by any poor people.
He says, "I never believed a governor and representative of mine would attend such a party of the nobility." He then describes his own life and says that he felt other people's pain more than his own and their pain prevented him from feeling his own. His words show that he was a truly learned and wise sage. Yet the reason why we honor him so deeply is not only because of his wide knowledge, but because he was human. He was not unaware of the destiny of others.
Another school of thought considers resolution and will- power as the criterion for humanity. It claims that if a person can dominate himself, his instincts, nerves and passions by his will-power and reason and not be dominated over by his inclinations and desires, he is really human.

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