I am intending in the next weeks and months, to document some discourses and studies on Human Perfection from the point of view of Islam, and in particular, from the point of view of the Holy Prophet (s’aw) and his Infallible Progeny (‘a); (to clarify, this is the school of thought of what is known as Twelver Imam or The Household of the Prophet). This will be a multi-part discourse, written in several postings during the coming days and weeks. My sources for these discourses will come mainly from live audio recordings of lectures of Seyyed Kamal Al Haydari held at the religious schools (Hawza) in Qom, Iran; and from the great Allamah Seyyed Mohammed Hussein Tabataba’i’s (may Allah have mercy on his soul) exegesis of the Qur’an known as ‘Al Mizan fi Tafseer Al Qur’an’.
I have finally completed studying the discourses on this paramount topic (all in arabic of course, although the exegesis of Allamah Tabataba’i is partly available in english in the link provided), and made some mental notes on how I will try to bring the idea across in a way that will be beneficial for anybody out there interested in the idea of human perfection and how it is attainable.
But first, a foreword is necessary to give some insight into the Islamic logic with regards to this world we live in. To keep it simple and concise, I will bullet-point these concepts :
- There is no black and white, good and evil in Islam. All creation is based on goodness, wisdom and beauty.
- The natural and innate inclination of man is towards Tawhid (Divine Unity) and striving for perfection, and not bondage to material and worldly affairs, which is contrary to the evolutionary system of creation.
- This world has been created to allow man to pursue his path to perfection, hence it and everything in this creation is made available to man to benefit from and aid him on this course. The analogy that best clarifies this point, is the one of a farmer and his tree, be it apple trees or oranges or any other fruit. He makes everything available to his valuable tree so that it will bring him the best quality crop at its harvest. His goal of growing the tree is that and that alone. The same thing can be said about humanity and the reason for our existence. All of creation has been made available to us to use and benefit and develop to its full potential. All of this so that we can attain perfection in this world. And, at the end of our path return, along with all of creation, to the original source, our Lord the Master of Creation.
- There is no limit to the process of Human Perfection.
- The path to perfection has to be a ‘straight path’, and this straight path needs to be made clear to man with actual manifestations in the form of individuals who have reached that level of knowledge, and whose actions absolutely represent this perfect knowledge.
- One must chose between having this life as their ultimate goal, or pursue the Hereafter as once final eternal abode. It is impossible to achieve both. The more one drifts towards one of those ends, the further one moves away from the other. Yet one depends on the other.
Now that I have introduced the basic ideas and motivations of the logic of Islam towards man’s path to perfection, I can start in my comming posts with the first set of discourses.