To Slouch, And To Suck One’s Pen

“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.

Jesus (‘alayhis salam) prays: ‘You know what is in my self, and I know not what is in Thy self; You, only You, are Knower of unseen things.’ (5:116)

‘Moses drew water for them, and then turned to the shade, saying: “My Lord, I am, of the things You have sent down to me, needy.”’ (28:24)

Prophecy is good manners with the Lord and with His creatures.

‘We need a little adab more urgently than we need a large amount of knowledge’ (Ibn al-Mubarak rahmatullah).

Courtesy and refinement are signs of inward discipline, and of respect for what one is called to be. Nobility is the watchword of Islam, a dignity in one’s bearing, restraint in one’s speech, an awareness of one’s ancestry in the one to whom the angels could prostrate. The spirit’s beauty makes the outward beautiful, even in old age; the ego’s victory makes the outward ugly, even in youth.

The great test of our time is to witness the outrages of the time, and for one’s self-restraint to withstand the shock. The great Muslim failure of the time is to allow one’s courtesy and dignity to be broken, so that one’s ‘almost burst with rage’ (67:8).

The Umma of tawakkul must not become the Umma of outraged pride.

(Source: Commentary on the Eleventh Contentions, Contention No. 95, Pgs. 166)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s