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Chapter 11. Epilogue

A Poem on Protecting Knowledge

Abu al-Hasan Abd al-Aziz al-Jurjani said:

They say to me that you are withdrawn,
but they saw a man even more humiliated and withdrawn.
I saw people who belittled any humble soul who drew near to them;
anyone who was exalted by pride they received with honour.
l gave not knowledge its due,
and every time a craving for the world came to me,
l used my knowledge as a staircase to attain it.
When it was said, "This is a fountain." I said, "I see."
But the unfettered soul will [foolishly] endure thirst.

I strove not in the service of knowledge,
nor as a servant of the needy souls l met.
I thought, instead, to be served.
Am I to be made wretched by the seedling l planted,
harvesting only humiliation?
If this is so, it would have been better to have sought ignorance!
lf only the people of knowledge had protected it,
it would have protected them.

If they had magnified it in their souls,
they would have been magnified.
To the contrary, they belittled it,
and thereby became despicable.
They disfigured its face with their craving for the world,
leaving it frowning and dejected.

A Poem on Repentance and Returning to Allah

The time has come for me to see after the darkness of ignorance.
My old age is a morning that calls me to its dawning rays.
The night of youth is short, so proceed deliberately.
The morning is the end of the road for the night traveller.
How have I been deceived by the world and its adornment,
building my home on the crumbling ground, at the edge of a precipice?

A home whose transgressions remain, but whose delights perish:
How wretched is such a home!
The happy one is not one who is delighted by his worldly trinkets.
Rather, the happy one is one saved from the torment of Hell.

I have awakened from my wickedness, fearful and trembling,
for Allah knows my deeds, open and secret.
If I hold my sins to be grave and they fill me with despair,
I can only hope that they will be eradicated,
by the One who alone can do so ...
The All-Forgiving.