An Introduction to Irfan
Moreover, the 'urafa' insist that none but those initiated to the Path should know their ideas, because - in their view at least - none but the 'urafa' are able to understand these concepts. Thus the 'urafa' unlike the masters of other sciences and crafts, intentionally attempt to keep their meanings concealed so that the vocabulary they devised bears, in addition to the usual aspects of a terminology, also something of an enigmatic aspect, leaving us to discover the enigma's secret.
Furthermore, there is also a third aspect to be occasionally taken into account, which increases the difficulty. This arises from the practice of some 'urafa' - at least those called the Malamatiyyah - who adopted an inverted form of ostentation (riya' ma'kus) in their discourses by cultivating ill fame instead of good name and fame amongst the people. This means that as opposed to those afflicted with the vice of ostentation (riya') who wish to make themselves appear better than they actually are, the 'urafa' practising self-reproach seek to be considered good by God and yet appear to the people as bad. In this way they seek to cure themselves of all types of ostentation and egoism.
It is said that the majority of the 'urafa' of Khurasan were Malamatiyyah. Some even believe that Hafiz was one. Such words as rindi (libertinism), la ubaligari (carelessness); qalandari (mendicancy), qallashi (pauperism) and the like signify indifference to creation, not to the Creator. Hafiz has spoken a lot on the subject of giving the impression of doing things that earn for one a bad name, while being inwardly good and righteous. A few examples:
If an adherent of the path of love, worry not about bad name.
However, Hafiz, elsewhere condemns the ostentatious cultivation of ill fame just as he condemns sanctimoniousness:
My heart, let me guide thee to the path of salvation:
Rumi defends the Malamatiyyah in the following verses:
Behold, do not despise those of bad name,
This issue is one of those over which the fuqaha' have found fault with the 'urafa'. Just as Islamic law condemns sanctimony (riya') - considering it a form of shirk - so does it condemn this seeking of reproach. It says that a believer has no right to compromise his social standing and honour. Many 'urafa' also condemn this practice.
In any case, this practice, which has been common amongst some 'urafa', led them to wrap their ideas in words which conveyed the very opposite of what they meant. Naturally this makes the understanding of their intentions a good deal harder.