When we speak of a 'perfect wisdom or knowledge', it refers to a higher degree of an already existing wisdom or knowledge. A man may be complete in a horizontal sense, without being perfect vertically. There are people who are half-complete or even less than that. But when perfection is attained, there are still higher levels of perfection until a perfectly perfect state is reached.
The term â€˜perfectâ€™ did not exist in Islamic literature until the seventh century of the Hejira. It is now used frequently in Europe, but was first used in the Islamic world by the well-known Gnostic "Mohyedin Arabi Andalusi Taâ€™i", who is the father of Islamic Gnosticism, and many Islamic Gnostics, including Iranian and Persian-speaking ones, and even Rumi, have been his pupils. Rumi with all his greatness is small compared with Mohyedin in Gnosticism. He is of Arab extraction and a descendant of Hatam Ta'i, from Andalusia, that is modern Spain. He has traveled in Islamic countries and died in Damascus where he was buried. He has a pupil called Sadredin Ghownawi who is rated second to his teacher as a Gnostic. Islamic Gnosticism has been given a complicated form by Mohyedin and commentaries of Sadredin. Rumi is a contemporary of the latter and his follower through whom he imbibed the ideas of Mohyedin.
This man used the term "perfect man" from the special viewpoint of Gnosticism, but we intend to discuss it from the viewpoint of the Qur'an. We have human beings who are physically sound or defective. But you do not consider blindness, deafness, paralysis, or shortness as defects of virtue, personality or humanity. For example Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, who is sometimes rated as a prophet, was a most ugly man, but this ugliness is not counted as a defect. Abol-Ala Moâ€™arra, and Taha Hossain of our time were blind. Is this blindness a defect of personality? This means then that a person has a physical personality and a spiritual one, with two distinct reckonings. It is a mistake to suppose that the spirit is a dependent of the body. Can the spirit be sick while the body is sound or not? This is a question in itself. Those, who deny the genuineness of the spirit and believe spiritual peculiarities to be the direct influence of the nervous system, have no belief in the spirit and for them everything is dependent on the body, According to them if the spirit is sick, it is because the body is sick, and mental sickness is, in fact, the same as physical sickness.
Fortunately, it has been proved to-day that the body may be perfectly sound with regard to blood composition, nerves, vitamins, etc, and yet, one may be mentally ill, such as suffering from what they call a "complex". Consequently, the way to treatment mental illness may not be medicine and drugs at all. Can we find a drug for someone who is suffering from narcissism, which is a kind of mental disorder? Can we change a personâ€™s haughtiness into modesty, or his cruelty into kindness by means of a pill or an injection? It is deprivations, which produce such illnesses, and cause someone for example not to rest until he takes revenge.
What is this feeling of revenge? What is this envy which rouses a person to dislike other people's enjoyment of a blessing, and long to deprive them from it. Such a man is not thinking of having that blessing for himself. The envy of a sound person always gives priority to his own goal, and this is not a fault. But desiring harms and defeats for others is an ailment. You find that such individuals are prepared to hurt themselves wholly in their bid to even partially harm the envied person.
A historical story is told in this connection. In the time of a caliph, a rich man bought a slave whom he treated, from the beginning, like a gentleman, giving him the best of food and clothes, and money exactly like his own child or even more lavishly. But the slave noticed that his master always felt uneasy. Eventually he made up his mind to set him free and provide him with some capital. One night as they were sitting together, the master said: "Do you know why I have treated you so well?" The slave asked the reason. The master said: "I have one request to make which if you fulfil, you would enjoy all I have given and will give you! But if you refuse, I will be discontented with you."The slave said: "I will obey whatever you ask. You are my benefactor who has given me my life." The master said: "You must promise me in good faith to do it, for I am afraid you may refuse it." The slave said:
"I promise to do what you want." The master said: "My proposal is that you must behead me at a specific time and place." The slave exclaimed: "What? How can I do that?" The master said: "That is what I desire." The slave said: "That is impossible." The master said: "I have got your promise. You must do it." One midnight, he awakened the slave and gave him a sharp knife and a bag full of money and climbed up a neighborâ€™s roof, and told the slave to behead him there and then go wherever he liked. The slave asked the reason for such an act. He answered: "I hate this one man and prefer death to seeing his face. We have been rivals but he has gone ahead of me and excels me in everything, and I am burning with hatred. I desire him to be jailed for this fake murder and this idea is a relief to me. Everyone knows him to be my rival, and so he will be condemned to death for this act." The slave said: You seem to be a foolish man and deserve this death." So he beheaded the man and ran away, His rival was consequently arrested and imprisoned, but no one believed that he would have killed his rival on his own roof. It had become a mystery. At last, the slave felt a prick of conscience, went to the authorities and confessed the truth. When they understood the matter, they freed both the slave and the neighbor.
This is a fact that envy is a disease. The Qur'an says in Chapter "The Sun" (Shams), Verses 9 and 10. "He will indeed be successful who purifies it, and he will indeed fail who corrupts it." Thus, the first proposal of the Qur'an is purification of the self from ailments, complexes, ignorance, deviations and metamorphoses. You could have heard that in the past there were people who, because of excess of sins, were cursed by the Prophets of their time and were thus metamorphosed, that Is, they were transformed into animals such as a monkey, a wolf, a bear etc.
One may not become physically metamorphosed, but he may be mentally or spirituality transformed into an animal the like of which in wickedness and nastiness may not be found in the world. The Qur'an speaks of those "who are in worse errors" and who are lower than quadrupeds.How can that happen? Man's personality depends on his ethical and spiritual qualities, without which he would be a beast. Thus, a defective man may be lowered to the level of a metamorphosed being. Some may think this a fancy, but it is real and true.
Someone said: "We had made a pilgrimage to Mecca along with Imam Sajjad and when we looked down at the Desert of Arafat it was full of Hajis (pilgrims). There were so many of them that year. The Imam said: "There is much uproar, but few are true pilgrims." The man says: "I don't know how the Imam gave me the insight, but when he asked me to look down again, I saw a desert full of animals, like that in a zoo, among whom a few human beings were moving about." The Imam told him how things looked to those who had a clear sight and were concerned with the inward concept of things.