Michel Chodkiewicz: Emir Abd El-Kader – About The Majdhub Or The Fool Of God
‘Whirling Ring’ by
Mohammed Abu Elwafa
Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA is a contribution by our friend Emir Abdülkadir İnanç, a selections from the ‘Mawakif’ of Amir ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jazayiri (Emir Abd el-Kader) by Michel Chodkiewicz, translated into English by James Chrestensen, Tom Manning et al. From the French scholar’s Introduction, pages 9-10.
It becomes clear from this that Abd al-Kader is majdhub, an “ecstatic” whom God “draws”, “attracts” to Him (this is the meaning of the root J Dh B) and who thus in one bound leaps over the stages which the salik (the “voyager”) crosses one by one in the course of a long, methodical progression. The majdhub is a relatively exceptional case, but it is one which has had, for a long time, its place in the initiatic typology of Islam and which further subdivides itself in a series of derived forms. In the extreme case the majdhub is a “fool of God” (majnun, bahlul) whose acts totally escape from the control of reason and who, because of this, is no longer subject to legal obligations. He can even be liberated by the divine seizure (jadhba) from the ordinary constraints of the human condition, like that Abu Iqbal al-Maghribi that Ibn Arabi speaks of, who, during the four years at Mecca, lived in chains without eating or drinking. We see that these characteristics are difficult to reconcile with what we know of the behavior of Abd al-Kader and the functions which he assumed in the different phases of his existence. But, as Ibn Arabi shows in the same chapter of the Futuhat, in certain beings the jadhba can produce no apparent effect or can manifest itself by barely perceptible exterior signs.
For, if “the way of ecstatic rapture is the shortest and surest,” the way of methodical progression is, according to Abd al-Kader himself, “the highest and most perfect.” In order to attain perfection and become able to guide others, the majdhub must make himself an apprentice and becoming a salik in his turn, oblige himself to traverse step by step path whose end he already knows.