A statement on the different stages of life

Jesus said to the disciples, “Man is created into the world in four stages, in three of which he feels secure and in the fourth of which he is ill-disposed and fears that God will forsake him. In the first stage, he is born in three darknesses: the darkness of the belly, the darkness of the womb, and the darkness of the placenta. God provides for him in the darkness of the cavity of the belly. When he is brought out of the darkness of the belly, he falls upon milk which he does not advance toward on foot or leg, or obtain with his hand or move strongly toward, but he is forced to it and rewarded with it until flesh and blood grows upon him. Weaned from milk, he falls upon the third stage: food provided by his parents, who earn it either lawfully or unlawfully. When his parents die, people take pity on him, one person feeding him, another giving him a drink, another sheltering him,and another clothing him. When he falls upon the fourth stage and has grown strong and erect and had become a man, he fears that he will not be provided for, so he attacks people, betrays their trust, robs their belongings, and carries away their wealth, fearing that God Almighty might forsake him.”[1]

- excerpted from: The Muslim Jesus by Tarif Khalidi, The sayings and stories, no.86

An elaborate description on the general stages of a mans life and how one can fall to become a criminal. It gives the understanding that a persons downfall is as a result of despondency towards God’s gratuity. I read it and thought it to be profound in its meaning. Though the saying dates from the 9th century AD, it has deep relevance to the society and environment we are in now and the situations that we face – a rise of materialistic desires¬† and forgetfulness the Creator etc.

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References 

[1] Abu ‘Uthman al-Jahiz (d. 255/868), al-Mahasinwa al-Addad, pp. 82-83. Cf. Abu Hayyan, al-Imta’ wa al-Mu’anasa, 2:127; and al-Bayhaqi, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi, p. 309. (Asin, p. 537, no. 105; Mansur, no. 236; Robson, pp. 50-51). Cf.Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Kitab al-Qana’a wa’l Ta’affuf, in Mawsu’at Rasa’il, 1:57, excerpt no. 126; Ibn ‘Asakir, Sirat, p.170, no. 193.

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