idols, so it forbids the worship of images, which is a sort of imitation of idol-worship. Whereas civilization counts the representation of forms as one of its virtues, and has attempted to dispute the Qur’an in this matter. But represented forms, whether pictorial or concrete, are either embodied tyranny, or embodied hypocrisy, or embodied lust; they excite lust and encourage man to oppression, hypocrisy, and licentiousness. Moreover, the Qur’an compassionately commands women to wear the veil of modesty so that they will be treated with respect and those mines of compassion will not be trodden under the feet of low desires, nor be like worthless goods for the excitement of lust.1 Civilization, however, has drawn women out of their homes, rent their veils, and corrupted mankind. For family life continues through the mutual love and respect of man and wife. But immodest dress has destroyed sincere respect and affection, and has poisoned family life. While worship of the human form in particular has shaken morality in appalling fashion, causing the abasement of man’s spirit. This may be understood from the following: to look lustfully and with desire at the corpse of a beautiful woman who is in need of pity and compassion destroys morality; so too, to look lasciviously at the representations of dead women, or of living women, for they are like little corpses, shakes to their very roots the elevated human emotions, and destroys them.
Thus, together with assisting human happiness in this world, all of thousands of matters of the Qur’an like the above three examples also serve eternal happiness. You can compare other matters to these.
Just as present-day civilization stands defeated before the Qur’anic principles concerning human social life and in reality is bankrupt in the face of the Qur’an’s miraculousness, so too it has been proved decisively in the previous twenty-five Words through the comparisons between European philosophy and human science, which are the spirit of civilization, and the wisdom of the Qur’an that philosophy is impotent and the wisdom of the Qur’an miraculous. The impotence and bankruptcy of philosophy and miraculousness and wealth of Qur’anic wisdom have been proved in the Eleventh and Twelfth Words; you may refer to those.
Furthermore, just as present-day civilization is defeated before the miraculousness of the Qur’an’s wisdom in regard to learning and actions, the same is true for literature and rhetoric. The comparison of the literature and rhetoric of civilization and those of the Qur’an is that of the dark grief and hopeless wailing of a motherless orphan and the low and uproarious song of a drunkard, and the yearning, hopeful sorrow of an elevated lover arising from a temporary separation and patriotic songs urging victory or war and high self-sacrifice. For in regard to the effects of its styles, literature and rhetoric
The Twenty-Fourth Flash of the Thirty-First Letter about the veiling of women has proved most decisively that Islamic dress is natural for women, and that to cast it aside is contrary to women’s nature.