On Saadi Shirazi and His Philosophy

On Saadi Shirazi and His Philosophy
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Saadi Shirazi, is also known by the title of Abu-Muhammad Muslih al-Din bin Abdallah Shiraz (Hinds, 1962), and widely known as Saadi, which is his pseudonym or nom de plume. He is the 13th-century Persian Sufi Muslim panegyrist, lyricist and a poet of high caliber (Encyclopaedia Iranica). Saadi was undeniably, incontestably, and indeed categorically a very upright and virtuous Sufi, a mystic, a writer, a theologian, and originally from Shiraz, Iran (Wickens, 1985) where his maxims have remarkably and staggeringly been loved, respected, and treasured as his mystical and unworldly inheritance and legacy were highly valued and documents of his work were widely imitated and exemplified (World Digital Library). His hold on Poetry, Logic, Ethics, Mysticism, and Sufism has motivated, guided, and stimulated Persian school of thought: Poetry as well as Literature that is beyond what is seen and known thereby rising above or going beyond general limits and sidelines, and cultural breaches and divisions which is why he is broadly acknowledged as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, getting him the epithet “Master of Speech” or the main protagonist among Persian scholars (Encyclopaedia Iranica).
Bustan and Gulistan are Saadi’s masterpieces which he completed in the middle part of 13th-century, 1257 and 1258 respectively. The former is completely in stanza incorporating tailpieces or stories suitably elucidating and illuminating the standard intrinsic worth cum canons of justice, liberty, fraternity, modesty, satisfaction commended to Central Asian Muslims and the Muslims of South Asia, in particular, and Muslims across the world, in general, coupled with replications considerations, and thoughts on the behavior of a Sufi or saint and their elated and jubilant practices.
The latter is by and large in prose style containing stories and personal narratives. Furthermore, the textual part is full of short poems encompassing adages, guidance, and amusing or comical images, indicative of Saadi’s deep, thoughtful, and philosophical cognizance and consciousness of the illogicality and irrationality of human existence. A comparative analysis has been drawn between the destiny or outcome of those who rest on the unpredictable moods of monarchs and the sovereignty and free will of the saints or Sufis. The purpose of such analysis was nothing but to teach the rules of conduct here to both kings and dervishes.
Empathy, sympathy, compassion, and responsiveness are the terms which are best defined in an expressive and creative sense in Bani Adam, part of Gulistan. It highlights that suffering of one human being is equivalent to the sufferings of the whole humanity and world. It emphasizes that if someone does not develop worthy fellow feeling in his or her mode of conduct, it would not be suitable to call him or her as a part of Bani Adam.
Based upon specialization, specialized training in education, in particular, a profession is an occupation which aims at providing unbiased or objective guidelines and service to others for a straight and certain remuneration or compensation, exclusively set apart from the probability of another business gain (Competition Commission, 2012). Under a profession, we bestow a major part of our life to definite knowledge, skill, and craft. For that reason, it is vital as it tends to the inborn attributes of hominids, which contains refining, educating, seeking more, growing, uplifting, and enlightening (Tan, 2018). On the subject of the significance of professions Saadi writes:
‘‘O darlings of your fathers, learn the trade because property and riches of the world are not to be relied upon; also silver and gold are an occasion of danger because either a thief may steal them at once or the owner spend them gradually; but a profession is a living fountain and permanent wealth; and although a professional man may lose riches, it does not matter because a profession is itself wealth and wherever you go you will enjoy respect and sit on high places, whereas those who have no trade will glean crumbs and see hardships.’’
Experiences are the understanding of events by way of their involvement and participatory approach (OED, 1989). Human experiences, in general, and spiritual experiences, in particular, are the terms which are often misunderstood in the common jargon. In the Sufi world, spiritual experiences are not just an experience but much more which is captured through deep-down devotion by way of high connection with God. And such experiences are witnessed by the person of high spirituality, a Dervish or a Sufi. In mystical terminology, the religious and spiritual experiences point towards man’s unworldly, mystical, and divine need for Divinity who single-handedly is self-sufficient and all powerful. In Sufism, religious and spiritual experiences, which are actually subjective in nature (Samy, 1998), are attached to a Sufi Muslim who has developed religious, spiritual and mystical potentialities and taken mystical oaths or assurances and have had control over Self (Nafs), renouncing and refusing all transactions, businesses, relations, and personal effects, wealth and possessions. Saadi, in his many sonnets describes human experience, in general, and lamentation or expression of grief on the collapse of Baghdad after the attack by Mongols in 1258. Such experiences are an eye opener for dealing with the miseries of life.
Sufi beliefs and poetry in general and philosophy of Saadi Shirazi, in particular, provide the moral and ethical basis of reading for Central Asian Muslims and the Muslims of South Asia, in particular, and the Muslims across the world, in general, depicting his deep down sense of social and moral thoughts. His poems are lessons plus guidelines for the Kings about the art of rule and maintenance of the code of conduct thereby welcoming and appealing human beings to contemplate themselves as parts of one systematized body (Foroughi, 1995). Explaining human body as a system, he viewed humans as inherent parts of that system but when the circumstances of time harm one part of it, the whole system dwindles. Being indifferent about the sorrow of others is the reflection of inhumanity and nothing else. Philosophy of Saadi is not just about Theology but appreciative of empathy and creative account of this indispensable humanistic approach and sensation. When we constantly are in touch with God we develop empathy and build that character which strengthens our faith.
Encyclopaedia Iranica. SADI. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/sadi-sirazi/
Foroughi, M.A. (1995). Gulistan- E- Saadi: Sheikh Muslih Al- Din Saadi. Diba, Ghoghnous, Tehran, pp. 34-35.
Hinds, Kathryn. (1962). The City: Life in the Medieval Muslim World. Marshal Cavendish Benchmark, New York.
Wickens, G.M. (1985), The Bustan of Sheikh Moslehedin Saadi Shirazi. Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, No. 46
Competition Commission. Architects’ Services: A Report on the Supply of Architects’ Services with Reference to Scale Fees. Retrieved from https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120120004822/http://www.competition-commission.org.uk//rep_pub/reports/1976_1979/108architects.htm
Samy, A. (1998), Waarom kwam Bodhidharma naar het Westen? De ontmoeting van Zen met het Westen, Asoka: Asoka
Tan, Ken. (2018). What is the importance of having a profession? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-importance-of-having-a-profession
World Digital Library. N.d. Sadi’s Gulistan. Retrieved from https://www.wdl.org/en/item/6829/

—The author is a Research Scholar at the Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, and an Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar. She can be reached at: qadribinish@gmail.com