Abd al-Razzaq Kashani – About Manliness & Chivalry
Ottoman Caligraphic Composition,
1895 “Oh, Submission!”
Another sharing for the day from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA is from Abd al-Razzaq Kashani, in his ‘Tuhfat al ikhwan fi khasa is al-fityan’ (The gift to the brethren on the characteristics of the chivalrous young men), excerpted from the groundbreaking and impressive ‘The Tao of Islam’, by Sachiko Murata. Page 268. SUNY editors.1992.
Chivalry consists in the manifestation of the light of the original nature (fitra) and its gaining mastery over the darkness of bodily configuration. All the virtues become manifest within the soul and all ugly qualities disappear.
The human original nature comes to be delivered from the blights and accidents of the soul’s attributes and motives. It is freed from the veils of natural wrappings and the ties of corporeal attachments. Then it becomes pure and luminous. It gains preparation and yearns for its own perfection. It recoils from base goals and lowly aims. It deems necessary to turn away from ugly qualities and blameworthy character traits. It pulls aside from the belt of this worldly chaff and the clothing of the faculties of anger and appetite. Through high aspiration it passes beyond transitory affairs and turns toward high and noble things. It becomes eagerly desirous and passionately fond of manifesting virtues and perfections within its own nature. This state is called ‘manliness’ (t.n: Murata, relying on Ibn Arabi, is careful to note that ‘manliness’ is not gender specific).
The human being perseveres in these affairs until the force of the soul is broken, its strength and evil are overcome, and subdual and firmness become the person’s second nature. The person remains firm in purity, radiance, luminosity, and subtlety. Then all kinds of moral integrity (‘iffa) and courage become firmly rooted within him. All the variety of wisdom and justice become manifest from him in actuality. This is called ‘Chivalry’.
Hence manliness is to gain the deliverance and purity of the original nature, while chivalry is this nature’s luminosity and radiance. Just as manliness is the foundation and basis of chivalry, so also chivalry is the foundation and basis of being the friend of God (walaya). A person without manliness cannot possibly gain chivalry. A person without chivalry cannot possibly become God’s friend. For manliness is the sign of the connection of the servant to God through the wholesomeness of the original nature. That is why ‘Ali said: “Overlook the slips of the possessors of the attributes of manliness, for none of them slips without his hand being taken by the hand of God”. In the state of his falling away, God takes his hand. The pivot of manliness is moral integrity. When moral integrity is completed, manliness is complete.