Monday, 2 January 2012

The Pig, The Dog, The Demon and The Wise Man

There are elements of the inner being, which are the traits of Mans nature. Success lies in keeping these elements in balance.
Imaam Al-Ghazzali says:
Know, that there are 4 factors intermixed elements that dwell in a man’s nature that are united against him, the qualities of:
1)      The predatory beast (animalistic)
2)      Demonic (deceitful, cunningness, evil intention)
3)      lordly (God-given wisdom/knowledge - which may lead to good or may lead to arrogance, i.e. to claim lordship – like Pharaoh, notice we use this word with lower case letter “L”)
4)      Brutish qualities (greed)
Every man has a mix of these four qualities, these all gather within a man’s skin as if they were a pig (Brutish), a dog (Predatory beast), a demon (Demonic) and a Wise Man (lordly).
The Pig = appetence, desire, lust, internal greed
The Dog = Anger, enmity, as it is in the nature of this animal to be savage, to slaughter, to be wild
The Demon, it continues to stir up the appetence of the Pig and the enmity of the Wild beast.
And within Man there also lies a “wise man” (akl), who, wards off the Demon, and kills off the gluttony of the Pig by setting the enmity of the Dog onto it. And if he is successful in doing so and maintains the balance then the kingdom is safe. However if he is weak and he fails, then he is constantly searching out new ways to satisfy the Pig and please his Dog. And thus the scary reality of it is that most of mankind are not serving their Lord, but are serving a Dog and a Pig, because their primary concern is their bellies, sexual indulgence and getting even with the enemy.
And so the irony comes, as Imaam Al-Ghazzali says, he whom disapproves of idolatry to a stone, if the veil were surely to be removed, he would actually find himself in prostration to a Pig, serving his appetite and that which he lusts. Or he would find himself in prostration to a Dog, by planning and scheming to become obedient to it. And as it is the Demon that arouses the Pig and the Dog, in effect, Man is worshipping the Demon.
If Man is able to bring all of these elements under the lordly rule of the wise man, then he is able to gain more knowledge, wisdom, understand the real nature of things. By bringing the appetence of the Pig back within limits, he is able to gain so much more honourable qualities, such as chasteness, contentment, happiness, modesty and such. By holding back the anger of the Dog he is able to gain courage, generosity, self-control, patience, gentleness, nobility, dignity and such.