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Philosophy of Saadi Shirazi provides the moral and ethical basis of reading for Masses

Author: Binish Qadri is research Scholar, Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar.

What is the appropriate course of action for a man or what is right or wrong in human deeds is the concern of Ethics? It aims at responding the query, “What do I do?”. By way of ethics, we classify our moral standards and follow them at a central level. (Landauer and Rowlands, 2001). It is a necessary condition for human life. It is a means of determining the path of action. If it is followed in all courses of action, we may attain harmonious growth and development at the micro (individual) as well as macro (societal) level. Without ethics, we may follow a random walk series in our actions and deeds. We may be incapable to follow our goalmouths with the probability of triumph even with a virtuous standard. We successfully organize our aims and objectives coupled with our actions to bring about our most important ethics to the extent or point which a rational ethical standard takes in. We need to provide a good amount of ethical touch in every activity and any error, imperfection or weakness in our ethics will bring diminishing returns to our knowledge, skills, and ability to be successful in our endeavors.

Saadi Shirazi, a 13th-century Persian poet par excellence (Encyclopaedia Iranica) was incontestable and indeed a very ethical and virtuous Sufi whose sayings provide the moral and ethical basis for the masses which is why he is extraordinarily being loved and respected. His works were widely imitated and exemplified (World Digital Library). His ideas on human behavior are praiseworthy. His thinking on different aspects of behavioral economics in general and welfare economics, in particular, make him suitable in the good list of behavioral and welfare economists. Economics comes into fame and glare of publicity the moment self-centeredness is associated with welfare. Economic Growth along with Economic Development and encouragement of self-interest and self-regard in terms of welfare consists of putting resources at the proper place and proper time viz. rational allocation of resources for the reason of the twin economic facts that wants are unlimited but means are limited having alternative uses. Economics is the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means having alternative uses (Robins, 1945). According to Saadi, empathy is a prerequisite or essential attribute in human behavior. If people are treated well they would learn to be moral and ethical which ultimately lead the country on the path of economic welfare.

Various definitions came from time to time in order to define the nature and significance of the subject matter of economics. The crux of all the definitions points towards both micro and macro dimensions of economics (microeconomics and macroeconomics) or individual and social dimension. Being both arts as well as science, positive as well as a normative science, economics provides a methodology for the analysis and interpretation of human behavior at both micro and macro level with the ultimate aim of achieving growth with stability and economic welfare for the masses. The Gulistan, masterpiece of Saadi is the guideline for the modern day welfare economists. It encompasses poetry and short stories highlighting the importance of cooperation, empathy, and welfare for the growth of human beings and society at large (Arnold, 2007). The heart and spirit of economics is the scarcity of resources in relation to unlimited human wants, a decision comprehending allocation of resources to maximize human welfare. And The Gulistan of Saadi helps us in understanding the heart and spirit of economics so as to realize the goal of welfare. According to him, economic welfare occurs whenever economic agents empathize with each other, somewhat analogous with Romer’s concept of growth (Romer, 1994) in which he states that growth takes place the moment we take resources and rearrange them in ways that are more valuable.

Saadi had a hold on many aspects of human behavior, Poetry, Logic, Ethics, Mysticism, Sufism, and philosophy which motivated, guided, and stimulated many schools of thought: Economic school of thought, Welfare school of thought, and Persian school of thought. Philosophy, Poetry together with Human Behavior is beyond what is seen and observed, as a consequence, they rise above normality and cultural ruptures which is why he is broadly acknowledged as one of the greatest poets of the classical Persian literature and literary tradition, getting him the epithet of not only “Master of Persian literature” or the main central character among Persian scholars (Encyclopaedia Iranica) but ‘‘master of economics’’ as well.


Philosophy of Saadi Shirazi is an open invitation to people to be upright in their actions. If there are justice and equality thereby treating people well, people would be honest and at the same time develop empathy. His works provide the moral and ethical visions and understandings for the masses in general, and the Muslims across the world, in particular. His philosophy by way of poetry and prose are lessons, guiding principles and strategies for the people in general and saints together with Monarchs in particular about the way of living, art of polity and governance, and maintenance of the code of conduct which appeal human beings to anticipate themselves as parts of one form (Foroughi, 1995).


Arnold E (2007). The Gulistan of Sa’di: Sheikh Muslih-Uddin Sa’di Shirazi. Cosimo, Inc, New York, pp VI–IX

Encyclopaedia Iranica. SADI. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/sadi-sirazi/ 

Foroughi, M.A. (1995). Gulistan- E- Saadi: Sheikh Muslih Al- Din Saadi. Diba, Ghoghnous, Tehran, pp. 34-35.

Landauer, J and Rowlands, J. (2001). Importance of Philosophy. Retrieved from http: // www .importanceofphilosophy.com/Ethics_Main.html

Competition Commission. Architects’ Services: A Report on the Supply of Architects’ Services with Reference to Scale Fees. Retrieved from https://web archive .national archives .gov .uk /20 12 01 20 00 48 22 /http ://www .competition-commission.org.uk//rep_pub/reports/1976_1979/108architects.htm

Robins, L. (1945). An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science. Macmillan and Co., Limited ST. Martin’s Street, London. Retrieved from https://is. Muni .cz /el /1423 /jaro2013/HEN444/um/Robbins-1932.pdf.

Romer, P.M. (1994). “The Origins of Endogenous Growth”. The Journal of Economic Perspectives.Vol.8 (1): 3–22. Doi:10.1257/jep.8.1.3. 

World Digital Library. N.d. Sadi’s Gulistan. Retrieved from https://www.wdl.org/en/item/6829/

Author: Binish Qadri is research Scholar, Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir, Academic Counsellor, IGNOU STUDY CENTRE 1209,S.P. College, Srinagar.

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