RANDOM THOUGHTS: The Young Commander-in-Chief (Part I) - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

imageRANDOM THOUGHTS
The Young Commander-in-Chief
Part I
Dr. A.Q. Khan

dr.a.quadeer.khan@gmail.com


The following tale is taken from Rumi’s Masnavi, which I never tire of reading. It is a free rendition of the English translation by R.A. Nicholson

The Prophet was gathering together a force to fight against disbelievers and to repel insolence. He chose a youth from the tribe of Hudhayl and appointed him as Commander of the army and leader of the cavalry (to which there were some objections, about which next week’s column will be). Now we all know that the foundation of an army unquestionably rests with the chief in command: an army without a command or a people without a chief are like a body without a head. When abandoning their Chief, a people become morally and spiritually dead and decrepit. On account of avarice, egoism and self-interest, some people have become headstrong and taken justice into their own hands. They are like pack animals fleeing from a burden and running into the mountains even while their master comes running after them saying: “There is a wolf in the mountains ready to devour you. If you disappear from sight now, the mighty wolf will appear from any direction. He will chew your bones like sugar and you will not survive. Even if he does not devour you immediately, you will be left without fodder and you will die for lack of food. Beware! Do not flee from my control and from your burden, as I am your sustainer.” Those people are just like this beast of burden – their carnal souls, which determines their nature, predominates and they become ‘worshippers of self’. The Almighty did not call human beings an a** or a beast of burden; he called them a horse. The Arabs say to their horse “ta’dl” (come) and it comes. Mustafa (Mohammed) was God’s stable overseer for the beasts, which are the iniquitous carnal soul. Moved by loving kindness, God said: “Come all of you, so that I may train you; I am the trainer.” The Holy Prophet has said: “Since I have trained the carnal souls, I have suffered many kicks from these beasts. Wherever there is someone who tries to train others, there is no way of avoiding kicks as well. It is always the prophets who get most of the kicks because it is they who attempt to enlighten the ignorant. Without enlightenment you are merely stumbling along. At my command, go at a jog-trot so that you may become gentle and be suitable for a king to ride. The Lord said: ‘Come all, come all beasts of burden that have shied away from discipline. If they do not come, O Prophet, do not grieve for them nor be full of hatred for those who lack steadfastness. The ears of some are deaf to these messages; every beast has a different stable. Some are frightened and run away from this call; the stall of every horse is separate. Some are angry and annoyed by this message; every bird has a separate cage. Even the angels were not all equal; for this reason they formed diverse ranks in heaven. Some children, even though they are all at the same school, surpass others in their lessons. Sense perceptions are possessed by all, but the function of sight belongs only to the ocular sense. Though a hundred thousand ears be arranged in rows, they all still need a clear eye. These rows of ears have the special function of hearing the words of the Spirit and the Traditions of the Prophet and the Revelation. A hundred thousand eyes alone would not have that ability; no eye is equal to hearing. Similarly, consider each sense separately, one by one; each one is incapable of doing the work of another. The five external and the five internal senses are arranged in ten ranks according to their worship of God. Anyone who deliberately draws back from the rank of true religion, will be demoted to a lesser rank’. Do not make little of the Divine Word; this word is an exceedingly great elixir. If someone turns away in repugnance from His word, by no means withhold the elixir from him. If his soul presently has a spell cast on it, your teachings will profit him later on. So say: ‘Come all, come all, take heed, for God invites you into the Abode of Peace.’ Therefore, come back from egoism and headstrongness; seek a leader and do not desire leadership.”

When the Holy Prophet (PBUH) appointed this young, brave warrior, he had Divine blessings to do so. The objections raised by one who was jealous were in violation to the following Divine Edicts: “It is possible that you dislike a thing that is good for you and like a thing that is bad for you. But Allah knows and you don’t know it” (2:216). “If you dislike a thing it may be that Allah brings about a great deal of good through it” (2:19). “Those who swear allegiance unto You (O Muhammad) swear allegiance only unto Allah. The Hand of Allah is above their heads. So whosoever breaks his oath, breaks it only to his soul’s hurt, while whosoever keeps his covenant with Allah, on him will He bestow immense award” (48:17). “Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance unto You beneath the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down peace of reassurance on them, and has rewarded them with a near victory” (48:18). “Say (O Muhammad) to mankind: ‘If you love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. So obey Allah and His apostle’” (3:31-32).

To be continued...


Posted on Nov 28, 17 | 5:30 am