should offer thanks for these conditions. We should try to perform our duties of serving religious belief with sincerity, which is our duty, and not concern ourselves with being successful or obtaining good results, which is God’s concern. We should say: “The best matters are the most difficult,”1 and patiently offer thanks in the face of our difficulties in this place of trial. We should understand that it is a sign of the acceptability of our actions and a diploma for having passed the examination of our sacred struggle.
* * *
I have a petition I want to put before the prison administrators,
and chiefly the Prison Governor, which is apparently unimportant, but has great importance in my eyes
After spending twenty-two years in total isolation, my seventy-five-year-old body cannot sustain inoculations. In fact, long ago they inoculated me, and it left a suppurating wound which persisted for twenty years. It was like a chronic poisoning. Two doctors in Emirdağ and my friends there know this. Also, four years ago in Denizli they inoculated me together with all the other prisoners. Although it had no harmful effects on any of them, it made me ill for three weeks. Through Divine preservation, I was not forced to go to the hospital, which for me is dangerous. It is absolutely certain that my body cannot take inoculations. Both my excuses are powerful, and being extremely weak at the age of seventy-five, I can take the inoculation only of a ten-year-old child. Moreover, because I am in perpetual solitary confinement, I do not have contact with anyone. Also, two months ago the provincial governor sent two doctors to Emirdağ to give me a thorough examination. They could find no trace of any contagious disease, only that I had lumbago, and was extremely weak, elderly, and alone. This condition of mine certainly does not oblige me to be inoculated.
I also have a very important request of you: Don’t send me to hospital. Don’t force me into a situation I could never have endured these twenty-two years of solitary confinement, that is, to be put under the command of nurses I do not know. I have started to think of entering the grave as being pleasant, but for now I have chosen prison, for the sake of the prison administrators, whose humanity I have witnessed, and to console the other prisoners.
‘Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafa’, i, 55; Muhammad al-Shaybani, Sharh al-Sirat al-Kabir, i, 11.