"The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenatrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling ... that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself amoung profoundly religious men."
Some of the best insight into American civilization:
"The essential difficulty of pedagogy lies in the impossibility of
inducing a sufficiency of superior men and women to become
pedagogues. Children, and especially boys, have sharp eyes for the
weaknesses of the adults set over them. It is impossible to make boys
take seriously the teaching of men they hold in contempt."
(a pedagogue's a teacher btw)
"Experience is a poor guide to man, and is seldom followed. A man
really learns little by it, for it is narrowly limited in range. What does
a faithful husband know of women, or a faithful wife of men? The
generalizations of such persons are always inaccurate. What really
teaches man is not experiences, but observation. It is observation that
enables him to make use of the vastly greater experience of other men,
of men taken in the mass. He learns by noting what happens to them.
Confined to what happens to himself, he labors eternally under an
insufficiency of data."
"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both
commonly succeed, and are right... The United States has never
developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia
really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations
between two gangs of frauds."
"The theory behind representative government is that superior
men--or at all events, men not inferior to the average in ability and
integrity--are chosen to manage the public business, and that they
carry on this work with reasonable intelligence and honesty. There is
little support for that theory in the known facts..."
"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
"The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth."
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
Of course, his critical athiest eye which helped lead him to these views is also responsible for his own admitted prejudices against all manner of other institutions, including religion and other things. But it's a good look at America by a good example of an American intellectual upholding it's own principles.
"Amongst those in Heaven, the greatest in the sight of God, are those who reflect upon the Divine beauty and greatness of God, day and night."
-Rasulullah (peace be upon him) (Tirmidhi)
The very strength that protects the heart from injury is the strength that prevents the heart from enlarging to its intended greatness within. The song of the voice is sweet, but the song of the heart is the pure voice of heaven.
Love until it hurts. Real love is always painful and hurts: then it is real and pure.
I have now reigned above fifty years in victory and peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to be wanting for my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen. O man, place not thy confidence in this present world!
-Abd-ar-Rahman III, Amir and Caliph of Al-Andalus (891 - 961 A.D.)
"There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter."
"I was made to love three things in your world: women, scent, and the coolness of my eye in the prayer."
"So behave that the odor of your actions may enhance the general sweetness of the atmosphere, that when we behold or scent a flower, we may not be reminded how inconsistent your deeds are with it; for all odor is but one form of advertisement of a moral quality, and if fair actions had not been performed, the lily would not smell sweet. The foul slime stands for the sloth and vice of man, the decay of humanity; the fragrant flower that springs from it, for the purity and courage which are immortal."
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
"Even if a dog dies hungry on the bank of the river Euphrates, I think that on the Day of Judgement I shall be asked, 'O Umar, why did a dog die hungry during your rule?'"
Hell: I am higher in dignity because I shall accommodate great tyrants and proud people, including the rich and the high placed dignitaries.
Heaven: I shall accommodate the weak and the poor.
God: You are Paradise, the token and target of my mercy. Through you shall I send down my mercy on whom I please.
God: You are Hell, the token and target of my wrath and punishment. Through you shall I send down my punishment on whom I displease.
God: I promise that I shall fill both of you. I shall fill Paradise with those on whom I send down my Mercy and shall fill Hell with those on whom I send down my punishment.
"Every utterance that comes forth does so with the vestment of the heart from which it emerged."
-Hikam of Ibn Ata'illah
[Commentary: It is said, that the tongue translates what is in the heart. If the heart is confused or sick, so are the utterances. If the heart is wholesome and pure, then the utterances are real and appropriate. If you contemplate deeply what is being said, you will come to know the state of the speaker and the extent of his connectedness to the Truth and his position with Allah.]
"There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless: boys and women, and I am neither one."