Page images
PDF
EPUB

Moreover, a certain Kádí observes, that some difference of opinion exists with regard to the explication of the word Khullat (äls), or Friendship, and the correct derivation thereof. A Friend is said to be one who is absolutely set apart and devoted unto God; from which devotion and separation he never falls away; so that Love is of necessity appropriated and defined to be his. The synonym of the word translated Friendship,' is Election. Abraham is called the Friend, because he inclined to or broke off from others, as God inclined to or broke off from them. This Friendship, thus entertained with God, gave him victory, and constituted him Imám and Superior over all posterity. The word Khalil (or Friend) has another synonym, or root, signifying Poverty, a state of Want, or of great Need, from the sourness and constraint attendant upon that condition. Abraham is so called because he referred all his wants to his Lord alone, and cast all his anxiety and thought in fulness upon Him, choosing no guide or friend but him, as when he said unto Gabriel, when they were about to shoot him from the slinging-machine into the fire, and Gabriel asked him if he could aid him ; when he replied, Not thee. Again,

Again, the whole meaning of the word, as applied unto Abraham, rests upon that

choice Love which of special necessity belongs to him alone, and by which he became Participator of Secrets. The synonym of the word is Love, Affection; and the meaning refers unto · Right of Near Access,' Subtle Penetration,' 'Loftiness of Rank,' • Power of Intercession.' This Right of Friendship is most powerful in prophets, if they be among enemies; for God

says,

If
your

wives and children be your foes, such enmity, if accompanied by The Friendship, shall be of service unto you. Now, this Friendship has been granted unto Abraham and Muhammad : that is, an especial devotion unto God, beyond all other men ; a recurrence in need to God alone; a right of an interchange of secrets, standing face to face; and also a right of urging reasons and arguments; a visit granted of peculiar right by God to these two; a manifestation of subtleties; a sort of intermingling of divine secrets in their inmost souls, and a deep perception of mysteries ; a surpassing knowledge, granted by Elective right unto them; a purification and sifting of their hearts, whereby they, being emptied of all things but Him alone, retained no loving principle to any but Him. Therefore the word Khalíl means, He who expands his heart to no intimacy but God's; which explains the Prophet's words, “ If I could

choose any friend but my Lord, I would choose Abú Bekr the Sincere ; but all Islám are brethren.'

Learned men, masters of mysteries, differ also upon this question ; viz. Whether Khullat (friendship) and Hubbat (love) are both upon an equality, or one expressing a higher rank than the other. First, it is said that Khullat is Hubbat, and Hubbat, Khullat; but that Khullat is the distinctive property of Abraham, and Hubbat of Muhammad. Referring to the words of Muhammad, quoted above,-“If I could choose any Khalíl,” &c. we might say that Khullat is the higher. Nevertheless, it will readily be determined by all noble hearts, that Hubbat is the higher; for the degree of Muhammad is higher than the degree of Abraham. Moreover, the synonym and explanation of Hubbat is, a certain preponderating inclination towards some object that engages our love, even although that object is in its nature averse to reciprocal inclination or swerving. Now the former is precisely the case with created beings; for the Creator is too glorious and exalted, and is far removed from all this. His love unto his servant was that which aided him by his blessing and support and guardianship, turning all events unto his good, and, by reason of his sacrifice, his feast and hos

pitality, fulfilling his compassion upon him; for they tell, how that the veil was removed from his heart, so that he (Abraham) could see him (God) with the eye of his heart, and behold him with his heart's glance, just as the tradition has it,-“ When I loved him, I became unto him ears whereby to hear, sight to behold, and tongue to utter.” Now, by no possibility could it be compassed, that any one should be so intelligent, but he who was utterly devoted unto God, cut off from all beside him, turning away from all but him, having cleansed his heart for God, and freely yielding to its motions unto Him.

Abraham, it is said, was circumcised when he was one hundred and twenty years old, and lived ninety years after this. Also it is said again, He also circumcised Ismaël at the age of thirteen years, and Isaac at the

and Isaac at the age of seven days. He also is said to be the first Musalmán, the first who broke idols,' or wore slippers, or lifted his hands in prayer at every falling of the voice. Every morning he offered four Rakás, which God accepted from him as the full complement of prayer.

Abraham was, also, the first who displayed hospitality, or broke bread into 'crumbs, or parted the hair, or cleansed with water, or cut his nails, or kneaded and shampooed his bones.

He was

the first also who shook hands, or laid his hands on the neck in embracing, or kissed between the eyes, on the spot which strikes the ground during adoration. "He was the first whose hair ever became grey ; upon which he said, What is this? And God said, This is to make thee look grave and reverend. Then he said, O God ! make me still more grave and reverend ; and he ceased not his entreaty until his beard also became white. Another story has it, that, upon a certain day, Abraham saw a hand coming forth from the sky, and holding a white hair between two of its fingers. It continued to approach until it seized hold of the hair of his head, saying, “Be whitened !” and it was whitened, and became grey. God then spake in revelation unto him, desiring him to be clean ; whereon he performed the sacred ablution. Then he said to him again, Be clean; whereon he bathed. Then, again, he said, Be clean; whereon he circumcised himself. Another story has it, That men then arrived at a great age without symptoms of decay; but, that once a father and son were amongst the people, and the father said, Ye cannot distinguish between father and son.

Then said Abraham, I will do something whereby a distinction can be made. Then he made his head and beard white. He was perfect in the right way before he arrived at the full

« PreviousContinue »