the world and struggle with it again. After the age of fifty, a person who has no connection with anything and is alone, will not sacrifice eternal life for one or two years of the chatter and deception of this world. If he does, he is not cunning but foolish and crazy. What can a crazy lunatic do so that anyone should bother with him? As for suspecting me of outwardly abandoning the world while inwardly seeking it, in accordance with the verse,
Nor do I absolve my own self [of blame]; the [human] soul is certainly prone to evil,(12:53)
I do not exonerate my soul, for it wants everything bad. But in this fleeting world, this temporary guest-house, during old age, in a brief life, it is not reasonable to destroy eternal life and everlasting happiness for a little bit of pleasure. Since it is not profitable for the reasonable and the aware, willy-nilly my soul has had to follow my reason.
T h e T h i r d S u s p i c i o u s Q u e s t i o n : The worldly say: Do you like us? Do you approve of us? If you do like us, why are you stand-offish and have nothing to do with us? If you don’t like us, that means you object to us and we crush those who object to us.
T h e A n s w e r : Not you, if I had loved your world, I would not have withdrawn from it. I don’t like either you or your world, but I don’t interfere with them. For I have different goals; my heart is filled with different things, leaving no room for anything else. Your duty is to look to a person’s hand, not to his heart. For you seek your government and your public order. So long as his hand does not interfere, what right do you have to interfere in his heart and tell him, “your heart should love us too,” although you are in no way worthy of it? Yes, just as I desire the spring during this winter and long for it but cannot will it or make it come; so too I long for the world to be righted and I pray for it and I want the worldly to be reformed, but I cannot will these things because I do not have the power. I cannot bring them about, because it is neither my duty, nor do I have the capacity.
F o u r t h S u s p i c i o u s Q u e s t i o n : The worldly say: we have experienced so many calamities, we no longer have confidence in anyone. How can we be certain that given the opportunity you won’t interfere like you want to?
T h e A n s w e r : The previous points should assure you. In addition, I did not interfere in your world while in my native region among my students and relatives, with those who heeded me in the midst of volatile events. So for someone who is alone in exile, with no one, a stranger, weak, powerless, turned with all his strength towards the hereafter, cut off from all