A Sufi Court

Today, Fali Nariman wrote an article in Indian Express commenting upon a judgement by a bench of Karnataka High Court. He specially showers praise on its courage for taking on the executive in order to ensure the basic rights of people. And in the end he says –

“I salute the judges of the Karnataka High Court for their humanitarian approach. Like Abou Ben Adhem (in the poem by James Hunt) “May their tribe increase!””

I looked up for the poem. Here it goes –

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

It is a typical and popular Romantic era poem. It talks about an event in the life of the Sufi saint Ibrahim bin Adham (anglicized to Abou Ben Adhem). Ben Adhem encounters an angel, who is writing a record of those who love God. Learning his name isn’t on this list, Ben Adhem instructs the angel to mark him down as one who loves his “fellow men.” The next night, the angel returns with a second list: those who are blessed by God. Ben Adhem’s name is at the top this time, suggesting that God favors those who love their fellow human beings—indeed, that love for other people is the best way to express love for God.

प्रतिक्रिया व्यक्त करा

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