Contention 49

“Maidens! Choose him that uses his ears more than his eyes.”

If he is even minimally smart he will know that what you say, and how you say it, reveals your worth more surely than your skin can.

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Contention 7

“Your greatest liability is your lie-ability.”

‘Lying leads on to foulness, and foulness leads on to the Fire’ (Hadith). Even a small child is outraged by a lie. Human perfection is found in prophecy, which cannot lie and instead reassures us with constant trust and openness; corruption finds its ultimate expression in the Devil, the shadowy trickster, who ‘promises them and gives them hope, but promises them only delusion’ (4:120).

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Contention 95

“To slouch, and to suck one’s pen, are signs that one has never read Scripture.”

Ayyub (‘alayhis salam} prays: ‘Suffering has touched me, and you are the most merciful of the merciful’ (21:83). He does not say, ‘Have mercy on me,’ because of his courtesy with his Lord.

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Contention 38

“If you have not seen the saint, you have not seen the Sunna.”

Most believers are superstitious. These are the ones who hang a miniature Fatiha from their rear-view mirror, before cursing their way through the traffic. They live their lives in the same fashion, seldom reflecting. The gears of their minds are not engaged with religion; they are conformists, the fog of their inner lives punctuated very occasionally by feelings of guilt or fear.

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Contention 87

“Do not be complacent. Most people judge religions by their followers, not by their doctrines.”

‘You have in God’s Messenger an excellent example [uswa hasana]’ (33:21). ‘There is an excellent example [uswa hasana] for you in Abraham and those who followed him’ (60:4). Looking for role models is human nature. The nabi or wali could remain away from society in holy contemplation, but is called to remain among us so that we may see the beauty of what scripture and other written teaching can only describe. ‘Allah will not punish them while you are among them’ (8:33)

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