Kendall K. Downunread,
Nov 13, 2022, 3:29:36 AM11/13/22
Ibn Battuta records his visit to a hermit in southern Persia:
From there we went to visit a pious man who lives as a recluse at the
end of this island. He has carved out for his habitation a cave, in
which is a hermitage, a sitting-room, and a small chamber in which he
keeps a slave-girl. He has slaves outside the cave, who tend cattle and
sheep of his. This man was one of the principal merchants, then he went
on pilgrimage to the Holy House (Mecca), renounced all attachments, and
devoted himself to religious exercises at this spot, having transferred
his wealth to one of his brethren to use in trading for him. We spent
one night with him, when he treated us with exceeding hospitality (God
be pleased with him), and the marks of goodness and of pious exercises
were plainly visible on him.
Obviously "renouncing the world" has a different meaning in Islam, where
you renounce the world (apart from a slave girl) and live in poverty
(while your brother carries on your business for you). SS Francis and
Benedict didn't know what they were missing!
Ibn Battuta also refers with grudging approval to a certain Jamal al-Luk.
He had under him a large band of Arab and Persian horsemen, with whom he
engaged in highway robbery. He would build hospices and supply food to
wayfarers with the money that he robbed from people.
Building a hospice (khan) and supplying travellers like Ibn Battuta with
free food, ranks high in Ibn Battuta's estimation of how to earn
salvation with good works.
Kendall K. Down