Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273 / Balkh / Afghanistan)
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In the prologue to the Masnavi Rumi hailed Love and its sweet madness that heals all infirmities, and he exhorted the reader to burst the bonds to silver and gold to be free. The Beloved is all in all and is only veiled by the lover. Rumi identified the first cause of all things as God and considered all second causes subordinate to that. Human minds recognize the second causes, but only prophets perceive the action of the first cause. One story tells of a clever rabbit who warned the lion about another lion and showed the lion his own image in a well, causing him to attack it and drown. After delivering his companions from the tyrannical lion, the rabbit urges them to engage in the more difficult warfare against their own inward lusts. In a debate between trusting God and human exertion, Rumi quoted the prophet Muhammad as saying, "Trust in God, yet tie the camel's leg."8 He also mentioned the adage that the worker is the friend of God; so in trusting in providence one need not neglect to use means. Exerting oneself can be giving thanks for God's blessings; but he asked if fatalism shows gratitude.
God is hidden and has no opposite, not seen by us yet seeing us. Form is born of the formless but ultimately returns to the formless. An arrow shot by God cannot remain in the air but must return to God. Rumi reconciled God's agency with human free will and found the divine voice in the inward voice. Those in close communion with God are free, but the one who does not love is fettered by compulsion. God is the agency and first cause of our actions, but human will as the second cause finds recompense in hell or with the Friend. God is like the soul, and the world is like the body. The good and evil of bodies comes from souls. When the sanctuary of true prayer is revealed to one, it is shameful to turn back to mere formal religion. Rumi confirmed Muhammad's view that women hold dominion over the wise and men of heart; but violent fools, lacking tenderness, gentleness, and friendship, try to hold the upper hand over women, because they are swayed by their animal nature. The human qualities of love and tenderness can control the animal passions. Rumi concluded that woman is a ray of God and the Creator's self.
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