Page:Alchemy of Happiness - Field.djvu/15

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11
PREFACE

judgment unless thou really take refuge in Him." It is related of some unknown Sufi that when asked for a definition of religious sincerity he drew a red-hot piece of iron out of a blacksmith's forge, and said, "Behold it!" This "red-hot" sincerity is certainly characteristic of Ghazzali, and there is no wonder that he did not admire his contemporary, Omar Khayyám.

The little picture of the lion and the fort in the above passage is a small instance of another conspicuous trait in Ghazzali's mind—his turn for allegory. Emerson says, "Whoever thinks intently will find an image more or less luminous rise in his mind." In Ghazzali's writings many such images arise, some grotesque and some beautiful. His allegory of the soul as a fortress beleaguered by the "armies of Satan" is a striking anticipation of the Holy War of Bunyan. The greatest of all the Sufi poets, Jalaluddin Rumi, born a century after Ghazzali's death (A.D. 1207), has paid him the compliment of incorporating several of these allegories which occur in the Ihya into his own Masnavi. Such is the famous one of the Chinese and Greek artists, which runs as follows:

"Once upon a time the Chinese having challenged the Greeks to a trial of skill in painting, the Sultan summoned them both into edifices built for the purpose directly facing each other, and commanded them to show proof of their art.