Scattered Quotes for the week of 6/26/11

“Let’s not be relativists, there are such things as barbarian savages and civilized people, after all I come from barbarians, at least that’s what people like to call us Berbers..
There are two types of civilizations, Memetic ones and Metallic ones. By this I mean ones of ideas and ones of gadgets and stone buildings. The tragedy of you Westerners is that you can only see the metallic civilizations in history because they leave architectural turds over the landscape, like Egypt or Rome. You are easily impressed by these things, which proves my point. The tragedy is not seeing true civilizations of ideas which precede metallic ones, from whom the latter simply rip off. You can see the surface but not what lies underneath it.” – Khalid Bey

“Umar ibn al-Khattaab, may God be pleased with him, used to say, “A man of reason is not someone who distinguishes good from evil, but rather someone who distinguishes between the lesser of two evils.”

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” – Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff November 2008.

“When opinion is taken as fact, it does not fit properly. When facts are believed to be knowledge, there is an irregularity in the person who tries to integrate this into himself. When obsession is confused with duty, again it leaves a space..” – Idries Shah

“Generosity of mind, which is so often represented as a virtue, is in one sense the highest form of selfishness: in the sense, that is, that it enables people to reach heights denied to the miserly and small-minded. Fear of loss and exulting at gain are methods of emotional stimulus which both provide temporary excitement (which people crave) and stand in the way of deeper understanding.
Most people are played upon by others, by their own ideas, by the environment, to such an extent that they are often unaware that there is any range of experience which is separable from these superficialities.” – Idries Shah

The following quotes are taken from Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih’s compilation and novel, Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 2 of the current English Translation by Professor Issa J. Boullata, McGill University, Montreal. Sources ‘Abd Rabbih quotes from are given.

It was said, “The most likely man to pardon is the most able to punish; and the most deficient mind is that of a man who wrongs someone lower than him.”

..Contemplate humankind with your eyes
And be one of those protected by their nobility.

The ornament of every young man is his graciousness,
And the value of every man is his reason.

In seeking high rank, don’t depend
On a lineage of firm root,

For no young man can be graced by his family
With any quality, if his deeds contradict it.”
‘Abd Allaah ibn Muhammad

“…It is said, “Reason is the perception of things in their realities; so if someone perceives a thing in its reality, his reason is perfect.”

And it was said, “Reason is a man’s mirror.” A poet took this idea and said:
This man’s reason is a mirror, In which you can see his deeds.
If there is rust on it, It is because of ignorance.
If God polishes it well, And makes it clear for him
It will give every living man, Who looks at it an exact image.

Couplets attributed to Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allaah ibn ‘Aahir (also attributed to Mahmud al-Warraaq):
“By your life, it is not by reason that wealth is acquired,
Nor is it by money that reason is obtained.

How many a man of little money is praised for his merits,
And how many a man of wealth has no merit at all!

Never has a favor been conferred on someone
By an ignorant man that was not impaired by ignorance.

If an intelligent man does not give, his mind is praised;
And if he gives, his speech and deed embellish him.”

It is said, “Nothing is more beautiful than a mind embellished by discernment, discernment embellished by learning, learning embellished by truth, truth embellished by action, and action embellished by kindness.”

Some couplets attributed to Muhammad ibn Munaadhir:
“You may see that people are many but when
Men of reason are counted, their numbers become small.

A man does not become of less value by being economical,
Nor does a man increase his value by being lavish.

Don’t promise an evil but rather promise what is good,
And don’t break a promise but hasten to redeem your pledge.

Don’t compose poetry and don’t intend to benefit by it;
But if you compose poetry, let it be good…”

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