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Part I Chapter II. Of Law, Doctrine And Truth, Oriental Mysticism

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Oriental Mysticism, by E.H. Palmer, [1867] THE Law is the word of the Prophet, the Doctrine Definition of Law, Doctrine and Truth. is the example of the Prophet, and the Truth is the vision of the Prophet. This follows from the Hadís 1, "My words are Law, my example is Doctrine, my state is Truth." The Traveller must first learn the theory of the Law, and act up to the practice of the Doctrine, by which means the Truth will become manifest in him. Those who possess all these three things are the Perfect, and these are the leaders of the people; but those who are deficient in all are lower than the brutes; these are the wretches referred to in the Corán: "Verily we have created for Hell many of mankind and of the genii; hearts have they and understand not, eyes have they and see not, ears have they and hear not; they are like unto the beasts of the field, nay more perverse, for they are the negligent." (Cor. ca, v. 178.) From this we learn that each is bound to fulfil his duty in his allotted sphere. Of the superficial and the real.The superficial has no credit without the real. Mankind in reality is man; the animal kingdom in reality is animal. By reality is meant the possession and employment of the qualities naturally appertaining to the order to which the individual belongs. Thus the wise man knows all, sees all, and works with all; for otherwise the business of the world would not go on. Teachers also work in their way for the same reason. But Rulers work not, or otherwise the harmony of the world would be disturbed. The object of Law, Doctrine and Truth.The final object of Law, Doctrine and Truth is that mankind should speak aright, act aright, and think aright, or, in other words, become wise and good. The object is threefold: first, that man may not become like the brute he should receive the command and prohibition of Scripture, and obey the same. This he must confirm in his heart and confess with his tongue. Secondly, that he may be adorned with grace and piety he should associate with the wise, and strive earnestly to know and understand the unity of God. Thirdly, that he may become accomplished he should, after the knowledge of God, learn the nature and properties of material objects. [paragraph continues] When thus accomplished the Traveller may be considered as adorned with Law, Doctrine and Truth. But all the foregoing theory is useless without Marks and Practice of the followers of Doctrine. practice; the Traveller cannot arrive at the goal unless he combines theory with practice, superficiality with reality; for the Corán says, "and righteous actions shall raise him." (Cor. ca, v. 11.) Now the actions constituting this practice are ten in number. 1. Search after God, which is the object of all striving and conflict. 2. Search after Wisdom, the guide without whom it is impossible to find the road. 3. Inclination towards the wise; that is, the Traveller should frequent the society of the wise and sit as a disciple at their feet. This inclination is the strong steed that bears him on his way. 4. Obedience. The Traveller should in everything be obedient and submissive to the wise, both in reference to the affairs of this world and the next. 5. Renunciation. He must renounce trifling, and at the bidding of the elder even give up all that he has to his care, forsaking his most favourite pursuits, unless they meet with the approbation of his superior. 6. Piety. He must be pious and continent, in word and deed and mode of life, complying with the dictates of the Law and the Scriptures. 7. Submission. The serenity of the Traveller's path is the result of submission to the Law. 8. Reticence. To speak little. 9. Vigilance. To sleep little. 10. Temperance. To eat little. These are the marks which determine the practice of the followers of the Doctrine, ten fierce dragons in the Traveller's path to keep him from swerving in the direction of sin. If he assiduously follow them under the direction of the wise he ultimately reaches his Goal, and the Truth is made manifest in him; but if he be deficient in one only he can never arrive at his destination. Marks and Practice of the followers of Truth.There are also ten marks which determine the practice of the followers of Truth. 1. That the Traveller should know God first, and subsequently the nature and properties of material objects. 2. That he should be at peace with all the world, and refrain from all contradiction and opposition. According to the mother from whom he is born into the community each receives a different patronymic; thus one is called a Hanefite, one a Shafíite 1, one a Pagan, one a Jew, and another a Mussulmán; but the true philosopher recognises in each a weak and helpless being like himself, he sees in each a fellow-searcher after God. 3. Charity towards all. Charity is that course of action and teaching which benefits our fellows both temporally and spiritually. Now real charity consists in the employment of counsel and discipline. Teachers should employ counsel that men may be improved; rulers should employ discipline for the regulation and well-being of society. 4. Humility; this consists in paying due respect to others. 5. Submission and resignation. 6. Trust in God, patience, endurance and perseverance. 7. Freedom from avarice; for avarice is the mother of vice. 8. Contentment. 9. Inoffensiveness. 10. Conviction; for the Truth brings conviction with it. Such are the marks, and such is the practice of the followers of Truth; and until the Traveller shall have thoroughly penetrated the inmost depths of wisdom, and shall have completed the journey to and in God, these marks and qualities will not be made manifest in him. 7:1 The sayings of Mohammed are so called. 10:1 The Hanefites are the followers of Abú Hanífa, one of the principal authorities for the traditional law. His doctrines are esteemed chiefly among the Turks. The Shafíites are those who follow the tenets taught by Abú Abdallah Mohammed ben Idrís, al Sháfi’í, who was descended from the family of Mohammed. Salah-uddin (Saladin) founded a college for the exclusive propagation of his doctrines at Cairo. A beautiful mosque to his memory also exists at Herát, in Khorassan. Both sects are considered perfectly orthodox by the Mussulmáns.

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1 Sahil Badruddin = ""The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." (18:29)"