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Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Body And Soul (Part I)

Worldly pleasures and pains are of two sorts: those of the body and and those of the soul. Everything that gives pleasure to the body, gives pain to the soul. Everything that hurts the body, tastes sweet to the soul. It is understood that the soul and the body are opposites of each other. In this world, however, the soul has fallen down to the grade of the body, united with the body and given itself up to the body. The soul, taking the shape of the body, has begun to take pleasure from the things that give pleasure to the body, and to feel pain at the things that are painful to the body. Common people are in this state. The ayat [1] "We then demoted it (the soul) to the lowest grade" in Surat-u-Wa-t-tin [2] indicates their state. If a person's soul does not get rid of this slavery, this dependence, if it does not go back up to its own grade and reach its own native land, shame upon him thousands of times!

Of all creatures, man is in the highest rank
But he also remains deprived of it, to be frank;
If he doesn't turn back and follow the road hinted.
Who else could ever be more disappointed?


Thus one of the illnesses of the soul is that it supposes the things that harm it to be a blessing and the things that aid it to be a disadvantage. This state of the soul is similar to that of a person with a sick stomach; this person tastes what is sweet as bitter because his bile is unhealthy. At is it necessary to cure this person, so it is necessary to save the soul from this disease. The soul, being cured, should take pleasure from the inconveniences and pain given to the body.

To attain this pleasure and delight
Until you die, work hard day and night.

GLOSSARY
[1] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[2] suura(t): a Qur'anic chapter [a chapter of the Qur'an].