Perfection of Human Species

  October 03, 2021   Read time 3 min
Perfection of Human Species
Science of the soul is an essential part of the philosophical work of Muslim philosophers. Science of the soul is supposed to lead the human beings to eternal prosperity. Sijistani the early Muslim philosopher presents a specific prescription that would lead us to perfection.
Praise to God, who cleaves the dawn of tenebrous nothingness with the light of bounty, who furnishes evidences of divinity and proofs of unity, confutes the doubts of denial and rejection, and marks the signs of the worlds of creation and wonders of innovation as witnesses for the perception of rational intellects and pure senses; who gave everything, articulate and dumb, its natural disposition, and bestowed intellect upon the worthy among the family of kneeling and prostration [the angels]. He appointed them as archangels, cherubs, those arrayed in ranks and giving praise, recorders for individuals of the human species, not for all of them, but for those of subtle insight. He stands at the utmost extremity, arranging things in their ranks, from where body begins to the end of an extended line and computable quantity. What occupies a place does not exceed it, and contraries are not in discord. If one exceeds its bounds, it returns to its own level, so that every effect depends upon its cause, and everything having a goal repairs to it. The inferior is linked with the superior; the powers arrive in intergraded succession at their supreme horizon; and all is combined by divine wisdom in an order that preserves for existents their specific and general perfections.
A human being is distinguished among [the existents] by a most perfect form and superior aspect. [God] balanced his temperament (mizāj) and constitution (ikhtilāṭ), and caused to emanate upon him His bounty and the illumination of His substantiality, by which [a human being’s] soul is enlightened and his body sustained. His power flows in the diverse existents below him, so that he controls them by coercion with the limbs of his body and by comprehension with the cognitions of his soul, which comprise their notions and the causes that are from them, to them, in them, and upon them. The substance and essence of each of them become clear, and by dint of his knowledge and intellect he scrutinizes its hidden reality.
The aim of this treatise is to elucidate the specific perfection of the human species and to describe the individual in whom this perfection has consummately appeared in this time, for the edification of our lord the king, may God preserve his dynasty and majesty and sustain his dominion. It is therefore necessary to allude to the notion I have asserted to be the power emitted from the ultimate principle, flowing over powers and souls until it brings all the virtues within it which tend to appear in this world to a pure soul, pristine nature, and intellect undefiled by the taint of views and opinions deviating from the truth. He then undertakes the regimen of the world, governing its inhabitants with just laws (sunan). He rescues them from the hands of despots, who have abolished the effects of lawful opinions, eliminated the regulations of political authorities, permitted the vilest subjects to vie with men of consequence, and ignited in the souls of the vicious the fire of fanatical partisanship, arousing the lesser over the greater and the base over the prominent. He ranks and classifies them. Each man knows his station and halts at the boundary set before him, obedient to whomever is above him and not inclining to contend with whomever is superior to him in power and authority. Matters thus move toward the ends which divine wisdom and the rational law (al-sharīʿa al-ʿaqliyya) have determined for them. Mankind is secure, the country prospers, and authorities proceed together, guided by one authority and one head.

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