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2. Political Advice for Rulers and Mystical Guidance for Sufis in Salāmān Va Absāl

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Chapter Summary

The tradition of giving advice to rulers, statesmen, and other officials on how to comport themselves according to religious and ethical ideals while expediently achieving their political, military, or administrative aims is rooted in Late Antiquity. The Sasanian model of kingship, and the didactic literature it spawned in medieval Islam, is reflected in the Naslhat al-mulük of al-Ghazali. The concept of advice, especially the idea that the good counsel of a father or sage ultimately determines the success of a prince, is a central theme in Jami's Salaman va Absal. It was understood that the maintenance of equipoise also applied to the ruler's own constitution. In the Naslhat al-muluk, al-Ghazali states that inner equilibrium is a precondition for societal justice and that no ruler can achieve harmony among his subjects unless he first observes justice within himself. On the surface, Salaman's response appears to be a stubborn act of defiance.

Keywords: Absal; al-Ghazali; Late Antiquity; Salaman



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