بخش 47

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بخش 47

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 6 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

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Baybars the Warrior

KONYA, JULY 10, 1245

“Baybars, my son, trust no one,” my uncle says, “because the world is getting more corrupt each day.” He claims that the only time when things were different was during the Golden Age, when the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was duly in charge. Since his death everything has been going downhill. But if you ask me, anyplace where there are more than two people is bound to become a battleground. Even at the time of the Prophet, people had their share of hostilities, didn’t they? War is the core of life. The lion eats the deer, and vultures reduce to bare bones what remains of the carcass. Nature is cruel. On land, in sea or air, for every creature without exception, there is only one way to survive: to be shrewder and stronger than your worst enemy. To stay alive you need to fight. It’s as simple as that.

And fight we must. Even the most naïve can see there is no other way in this day and age. Things took a nasty turn five years ago when a hundred Mongol diplomats sent out by Genghis Khan to negotiate for peace were all slaughtered. After that, Genghis Khan turned into a fireball of fury, declaring war against Islam. How and why the diplomats were killed, nobody could say. Some people suspected that it was Genghis Khan himself who had his own diplomats killed, so that he could start this massive war campaign in the first place. It could be true. One never knows. But I do know that in five years the Mongols devastated the whole Khorasan area, causing destruction and death everywhere they galloped. And two years ago they defeated the Seljuk forces at Kosedag, turning the sultan into a tribute-paying vassal. The only reason the Mongols didn’t wipe us out is that it is more profitable for them to keep us under their yoke.

Wars might be present since time immemorial, at least since Cain killed his brother Abel, but the Mongol army is like nothing we have seen before. Specialized in more ways than one, they use a vast array of weapons, each designed for a specific purpose. Every Mongol soldier is heavily armored, with a mace, an ax, a saber, and a spear. On top of that, they have arrows that can penetrate armor, set whole villages ablaze, poison their victims, or pierce the hardest bones in the human body. They even have whistling arrows, which they use to send signals from one battalion to another. With such well-developed warfare skills and no God to fear, the Mongols attack and annihilate every city, town, and village on their way. Even ancient cities like Bukhara have been turned into heaps of rubble. And it is not only the Mongols. We need to get Jerusalem back from the Crusaders, not to mention the pressure from the Byzantines and the rivalry between Shiites and Sunnis. When surrounded by cold-blooded enemies on all sides, how can we afford to be peaceful?

This is why people like Rumi get on my nerves. I don’t care how highly everyone thinks of him. For me he is a coward who spreads nothing but cowardice. He might have been a good scholar in the past, but nowadays he is clearly under the influence of that heretic Shams. At a time when the enemies of Islam are looming large, what does Rumi preach? Peace! Passivity! Submission!

Brother, stand the pain. Escape the poison

Of your impulses. The sky will bow to your beauty

If you do.… That way a thorn expands to a rose.

A particular glows with the universal.

Rumi preaches submissiveness, turning Muslims into a flock of sheep, meek and timid. He says for every prophet there is a community of followers and for every community there is an appointed time. Other than “love,” his favorite words seem to be “patience,” “balance,” and “tolerance.” If it were up to him, we would all just sit in our houses and wait to be slaughtered by our enemies or be stricken by some other calamity. And I am sure he would then come and briefly examine the wreck, calling it baraqa. There are people who have heard him say, “When school and mosque and minaret get torn down, then dervishes can begin their community.” Now, what kind of talk is that?

And when you come to think of it, the only reason Rumi ended up in this city is that decades ago his family left Afghanistan seeking refuge in Anatolia. Many other powerful and wealthy people at the time had received an open invitation from the sultan of Seljuks, among them Rumi’s father. Thus sheltered and privileged and always showered with attention and approval, Rumi’s family left the bedlam of Afghanistan for the tranquil orchards of Konya. It’s easy to preach tolerance when you have a history like that!

The other day I heard a story that Shams of Tabriz told a group of people in the bazaar. He said that Ali, the Prophet’s successor and companion, was fighting with an infidel on a battlefield. Ali was about to thrust his sword into the other man’s heart when all of a sudden the infidel raised his head and spit at him. Ali immediately dropped his sword, took a deep breath, and walked away. The infidel was stunned. He ran after Ali and asked him why he was letting him go.

“Because I’m very angry at you,” said Ali.

“Then why don’t you kill me?” the infidel asked. “I don’t understand.”

Ali explained, “When you spit in my face, I got very angry. My ego was provoked, yearning for revenge. If I kill you now, I’ll be following my ego. And that would be a huge mistake.”

So Ali set the man free. The infidel was so touched that he became Ali’s friend and follower, and in time he converted to Islam of his own free will.

This, apparently, is the kind of story Shams of Tabriz likes to tell. And what is his message? Let the infidels spit in your face! I say, over my dead body! Infidel or not, nobody can spit in the face of Baybars the Warrior.

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