abrogated the tribalism of the Age of Ignorance.” For years I have considered negative nationalism and racialism to be fatal poison, since they are a variety of European disease. And Europe has infected Islam with them thinking it would cause division, and Islam would break up and be easily swallowed. My students and those who have had anything to do with me know that for years I have tried to treat that disease. Since it is thus, good sirs, I wonder why you make every incident a pretext to harass me? According to what principle do you cause me distress at every worldly incident, like punishing and inflicting trouble on a soldier in the west because of a mistake made by a soldier in the east due to the connection of the army, or convicting a shopkeeper in Baghdad because of a crime committed by a tradesman in Istanbul due to their being in the same line of business? How can the conscience demand this? What benefit can require it?
My friends who wonder how I am and are astonished at my meeting every calamity silently with patience ask the following question: “How can you endure the difficulties and troubles with which you are faced, whereas formerly you were very proud and angry and could not endure even the least insult?”
T h e A n s w e r : Listen to two short incidents and stories and you shall receive your answer:
The First Story: Two years ago an official spoke insultingly and contemptuously about me behind my back. They later told me about it. For about an hour I was affected due to the Old Said’s vein of temperament. Then through Almighty God’s mercy the following fact occurred to me; it dispelled the distress and made me forgive the man. The fact is this:
I addressed my soul saying: if his insults and the faults he described concern my person and my soul, may God be pleased with him, because he recounted the faults of my soul. If he spoke the truth, he drove me to train my soul and he helped in saving me from arrogance. If he spoke falsely, he has helped to save me from hypocrisy and undeserved fame, the source of hypocrisy. No, I have not been reconciled with my soul, for I have not trained it. If someone tells me there is a scorpion on my neck or breast or else points it out to me, I should be grateful to him, not offended. But if the man’s insults were directed towards my belief and my attribute of being servant of the Qur’an, it does not concern me. I refer him to the Qur’an’s Owner, Who employs me. He is Mighty, He is Wise. And if it was merely to curse at me, insult me, and destroy my character, that does not concern me either. For I am an exile, a prisoner, a