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Full text of "The Dabistan"


tion and offer tangible bodies; in this manner, in the
account of the other world, they represent figura-
tively paradise, and hiiris, kasiirs, rivers, birds,
and fruits, merely with the Intention of subduing
the hearts of the vulgar, as allurement often ren-
ders their minds inclined to the proposed ends.
And what they relate of chains, bolts, and hell, is
calculated for alarming and terrifying the people.
This class of men, that Is the philosophers, direct
also their hints and Interpretation to this object,.and
their disciples say, that their wish Is to follow the
indicated footsteps of the prophet; these are the
pious sages to whom they give the title of " philoso-
44 phers of God," and in Persian Jdnsayi, " the po-
" Ushers of souls."

The sect which adopts the material and immate-
rial world, adopts also the precepts of reason, but
not the laws of the prophet. These are named Sd-
biah.l Another sect agrees to the material and im-

1 Sheheristani derives the name L-jL-o sdbia from the Syriac verb

sdba, " to love, to desire." It has also been deduced fromsa&a,"ahost,"
(meaning the stars); commonly it means "an apostate from another
'* religion;" so was called Muhammed for having abandoned this very
Sabe'an religion, before him dominant in Arabia,.to which religion, how-
ever, he granted protection in his Koran, associating it there with Juda-
ism andChristianism. According to Maimonides (who died A. D. 1208),
this religion was very ancient, and once pervaded nearly the whole world.
It is said to have been founded by Seth, Adam's son (who is also called
the Egyptian Agathodemon, master of Hermes}) whose son was Sabi. It