And Once Again Abu-Dhar
Dr. Ali Shariati
In the prevailing darkness of the night of oppression, the dawn was
under the influence of the rising of another sun; the world, in a
silence before the storm; and history, in contemplation of a great
rebellion against the earthly gods and their shadows and signs—the gods
of heaven: multitheism.
In the depths of the consciences upon which falls the shadow of 'Divine Will' and in the concealment of primordial natures, which seemingly are related to the essence of being, indescribable and strange changes began to appear, just like the enigmatic sense of scent of wild birds, who perceive a storm's coming and, hurriedly, migrate from their land; or, like the mysterious instinct of alert horses who arise before the occurrence of an earthquake, rend apart the bridle and leave the master's house, saddleless, riderless, heading f or the desert, lonely spirits sense that there is something in the air, something great! Sometimes a person is a world, and sometimes an individual is a society!
And Jundab, the son of Junadah, a bedouin Arab from Ghifar, a poverty stricken tribe from Rabadhah, a wilderness between Makkah and Madinah, along the way of the Quraysh commercial caravans and pilgrimage to the Ka'bah, with brazen men, fearless before customs, rules and laws, and, as a result, in the eyes of one who lives in the refuge of these arrange ments and systems and prospers from its blessings and security, notorious, reckless, evil and ethically corrupt! for ethics here means following customs, obeying laws, and all of these are protecting walls enclosing exclusiveness and privileges: right and rights, order and security and all of this was so that this this man could eat well and enjoy himself at the head of his sumptuous feasts among a group of the hungry.
Ghifar: a notorious tribe; bandits! Bandits of the goods and slaves of the commercial caravans, reckless, who do not even hold the four forbidden months in respect.
They also disturb the security ruling the peninsula during these four months. When the commercial caravans, which are in motion between Rome, Makkah and Iran, under the protection of religion during these months of pilgrimage, pass the place of danger of Rabadhah, they once again see the Ghifar, swords above their heads, flying at them from their place of ambush.
The people of Ghifar, these poor, sinful, wicked people, instead of extending their hands like a beggar's bowl to the commercial caravans, offer their swords to the masters!
The son of Junadah is one of these and this is why later when he becomes Abu Dharr, "He is perplexed by a hungry person who has no bread in his house; why does he not arise from among the people, his sword unsheathed and rebel"
Jundab, the son of Junadah, like every Ghifari man, knows that in a system of tyranny, every law and rule, custom and ethic, order and security is a guard of tyranny, and obeying it, ignorance. But he took a step—the last step, going further than any other, he knew that here the ruling religion has such a role, and obeying it, kufr.
And an idol? What is this? One night when the tribe had gone on a pilgrimage to Manat, the Ghifar idol, and with the ardency, happiness, enthusiasm and zealty of praying, worshipping, vowing and need, begging for rain to be saved from famine and drought which threatened the Ghifars with death, he, in the depths of his certainty, sensed the sacred flame of a doubt.
This flame of wisdom was further kindled in the breeze of contemplation and deep and continuous deliberations when the tribe fell asleep; the mysterious silence set up a tent in the environs of Manat, in the wilderness, night and heaven; he quietly arose, picked up a stone, with uncertainty and, fluctuating between doubt and certainty, went forward; for a moment he remained staring into the eyes of the deity of his time.
He found nothing but two non-seeing eyes; with all of his anger and hatred, he hit this idol, which had been carved by ignorance and tyranny, with the stone.
The sound of stone hitting stone and ... then nothing. Returning in salvation towards the Absolute, being all at once released from the chains, bonds and shackles which seemingly had been wound around his soul for centuries, he suddenly sensed that he had, alone and unknown, left a deep well and a narrow and dark cave in which he had been imprisoned from the beginning of creation. He looked at the wilderness, a shoreless expanse; to the horizons, distant, extensive and heaven! full of glorv, beautiful, deep and mysterious ... it was as if he had seen them, and could see them, for the first time.
Through faith and certainty, he had attained release and a void and now, little by little, new edges of faith and certainty but clear, large, deep, conscious, that which he himself chooses!
Under the rain of thought which incessantly grows stronger and stronger, he sensed that springs open to him in the dark, dry and thirsty inner desert and now, 'the sound of the steps of water!' and every moment, faster and faster; it rises high and higher and acquires all of his inner self; he is filled by it. In the painful inflammation and anguishing ardency of a birth, alone in the world, a shadow alone in the desert, in the night, under the conversant sky of the desert, all of his existence addressed to 'Him!', he suddenly falls upon the dust, head in prostration upon the earth and the sound of impatient, ancient complexes came undone, crying!
And this was the first real prayer of Abu Dharr. "Three years before I met the Prophet of God, I prayed to God."
"To which direction did you turn?"
"To the direction in which He made me aware of Himself."
Three years later he heard that a man had appeared in Makkah who makes fun of the people's religion; who calls the sacred things of the people, 'false'; who names all of the great idols of the Ka'bah, 'mute and foolish stones'; who has placed the One God for the gods of all.
The Ghifar wayfarers and travelers received this news as if it were a tragedy for religion and Arab ethics. They spoke of him with words filled with ridicule and aversion, but Jundab, in the midst, found his lost self.
He knew that whatever the fossil-worshippers, who connect their
multitheist, polluted, ignorant superstitions to Abraham, the
idol-destroyer, condemn, call kufr, interpret as the cause for: discord
in society, the lethargy of beliefs, the deviation of the thoughts of
the youth, the boldness of the lowly people of society, the shaking of
the base of morality and faith, the cause of the pessimism and
separation amidst a boy and a girl and his or her mother and father, the
cause of the scorn of nobles, glories and religious personalities, the
disappearance of respect for the ancients,
And Jundab, who was from among the pulsating and revolutionary spirits, who does not become hard and stone-like in the narrow moulds of social and heriditary traditions, does not lag behind movement, creativity, ability to change, transformation and the power to choose, sensed there is something in the air; this is exactly what his unlettered spirit and liberated thought sought in the solitude of the desert, in his inner alone ness.
He did not remain indifferent before this 'news'. Responsibility obliged him to begin to search and not to base his persuation and judgment on rumors, propaganda, lies, insults and successive falsifications, which are structured by the self interested elite and are spread by the egenerated populace and he himself to arise and investigate, because a person's judgment is the most outstanding sign of his or her personality. Whosoever judges against a person, a thought, an action, a movement and against every reality, based upon what others have said, and the source of all of heir thought and judgment is a person called, 'Mr. So and So Says ... before they ignorantly and unfairly condemn a truth, there are deprived who have condemned themselves to the intellectual bondage of the powers of their age, superstition-making masters and their manifest and hidden propaganda facilities—and they have shown that they are the impotent ruminators of rumors, insults and lies which the enemy places a special order for, the hypocrite structures, the demagogue spreads and the populace accepts!
But the son of Junadah sent his brother, Anis, to Makkah to see, at close hand, this man condemned to lying insanity, witchcraft, poetry and kufr, who they say had come to take away the respect of the house of God, to change social unity into conflict and discord and family solidarity into dispersion and hostility, listen to his words, grasp his message and give him [Abu Dharr] a report.
Anis came to Makkah. He did not find the man. No one pointed out this
nameless, placeless stranger to him. Hopelessly, he searched through the
city. He heard nothing other than abuse, ridicule, aversion and hatred
about this man. Every place, mosque, bazaar, and person, in particular,
"He is crazy; a magician. The allure of his words is not the
magnatism of revelation; it is magic; it is not the beauty of truth, it
is poetry; he does not receive his words from Gabriel; his words are not
his own either; a foreign scholar intimates what he should say; he gets
them from a Christian monk, an Iranian scholar; he is a calamity who has
descended upon the ummah of Abraham; he throws the honor of the mosque,
the sacred ness of the House of God, the tradition of the pilgrimage,
the worship of the gods, the genuineness of ethics, the respect of
families and all of the honors and values of our ancestors to the