WHICH KNOWLEDGE IS BETTER THAN IGNORANCE?
One day Ruknuddin, when conversing with Shams-i-Tabriz, had said to him,
“In the land of Roum is a Sufi who glows with divine love; thou must go
thither and fan this glow to a clear flame.” Shams-i-Tabriz immediately
went to Iconium. On his arrival he met Jalaluddin riding on a mule in
the midst of a throng of disciples who were escorting him from the
lecture hall to his house. He at once intuitively recognised that here
was the object of his search and his longing. He therefore went straight
up to him and asked, “What is the aim of all the teaching that you give,
and all the religious exercises which you practise?” “The aim of my
teaching,” answered Jalaluddin, “is the regulation of conduct as
prescribed by the traditions and the moral and religious law.” “All
this,” answered Shams-i-Tabriz, “is mere skimming the surface.” “But
what then is under the surface?” asked Jalaluddin. “Only complete union
of the knower with the known is knowledge,” answered Shams-i-Tabriz and
quoted the following verse of Hakim Sanai:–
Only when knowledge frees thee from thyself,
Is such knowledge better than ignorance.
These words made a most powerful impression on Jalaluddin, so that he
plied Shams-i-Tabriz with questions and resorted with him to lonely
desert places for uninterrupted converse.
Title: Mystics and Saints of Islam – Author: Claud Field – Gutenberg etext