The Sixteenth Letter
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Men said to them: “A great army is gathering against you,” and frightened them. But it [only] increased their belief; they said: “For us God suffices, and He is the best Disposer of Affairs.”(3:173)
This letter manifested the meaning of the verse, “But speak to him mildly,”(20:44) and was not written vehemently. It is the answer to a question asked me explicitly and implicitly by many people.
[To reply is not agreeable to me and I do not want to, for I have bound everything to reliance on God. But since I have not been left in peace to myself in my own world and since they have turned my attention towards the world, I am compelled to propound five points in the language of the Old Said in order to explain the reality of the situation both to my friends, and to the worldly,1 and to those in authority, so as to save not myself, but my friends and my Words, from the suspicions and ill-treatment of the worldly.]
I am asked: “Why have you withdrawn from politics and now have nothing to do with them?”
T h e A n s w e r : The Old Said of nine or ten years ago was involved in politics to a degree; indeed, thinking he would serve religion and learning by means of politics, he was wearied for nothing. He saw that it is a dangerous way which is dubious and full of difficulties, and for me superfluous as well as forming an obstacle to the most necessary duties. It is mostly lies and may be exploited by foreigners without one being aware of it. Furthermore, a person who enters politics either wins or is in opposition. As for
For ‘the worldly,’ see, p. fn.