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Moral and Religious Sayings

CHAPTER III

MORAL AND RELIGIOUS SAYINGS

   A., 1; M., 7.--Jesus (God bless him and grant him peace!) said, "He who knows and works and teaches, that man shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

   A., 2; M., 8.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "How many trees are there, yet all of them do not bear fruit; and how many fruits are there, yet all of them are not good; and how many sciences are there, yet all of them are not useful."

   A., 3; M., 9.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Do not entrust wisdom to those who are unworthy of it, for you wrong it; and do not withhold it from those who are worthy of it, for you wrong them. Be like a kindly doctor who applies the medicine to the diseased spot. He who entrusts wisdom to those who are unworthy of it is foolish, and he who withholds it from those who are worthy of it does wrong. Verily wisdom has a right and it has people who are worthy of it; so give his right to everyone who possesses a right."

   A., 4.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, p. 43 "Do not hang pearls on the necks of swine for wisdom is better than a pearl, and whoever abhors it is worse than swine."

   A., 5; M., 10.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Learned men who are evil are like a rock which has fallen at the mouth of a river; it does not drink the water, and it does not let the water flow to the field. Learned men who are evil are like the pipe of a lavatory whose outside is plaster, but whose inside is stench. And they are like graves whose outside is flourishing, but whose inside is dead men's bones."

   A., 8.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "He who acquires knowledge and does not act upon it is like a woman who practises immorality in secret, then becomes pregnant and her pregnancy becomes apparent and she is covered with shame. Thus shall God (Exalted is He!) cover with shame on the Day of Resurrection in the sight of witnesses him who does not act upon his knowledge."

   A., 9.--It is written in the Torah and the Gospel, "Do not seek knowledge of what you do not know until you practise what you do know."

   A., 15; M., 16.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Make yourselves lovable to God by hating the disobedient, and come near to God by keeping away from them, and seek God's favour by being displeased with them." They p. 44 said, "O Spirit of God, with whom, then, shall we associate?" He said, "Associate with him the sight of whom reminds you of God, whose words increase your works, and whose works make you desire the next world."

   A., 16; M., 17.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said to the disciples, "How would you act if you saw your brother asleep and the wind had blown his cloak off him?" They said, "We should cover and conceal him." He said, "Nay, you would uncover his nakedness." They said, "God forbid! Who would do this?" Then he said, "One of you hears something about his brother, then adds to it and spreads it with an addition."

   A., 19; M., 23.--Someone said to Jesus (Peace be upon him!), "Who trained you?" He said, "No one trained me. I saw the ignorance of the ignorant man to be a blemish, so I avoided it."

   A., 23; M., 27.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Beware of looking, for it sows desire in the heart, and it is sufficient for seduction."

   A., 25; M., 28.--Some people said to Jesus (Peace be upon him!), "Direct us to some work by which we shall enter Paradise." He said, "Never say anything." They said, "We are not able to do that." So he said, "Then never say anything but what is good."

   A., 27; M., 30.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) p. 45 said, "If one tells many lies, his beauty departs; and if one quarrels with men, his manliness falls to the ground; and if one has many cares, his body becomes ill; and if one has bad manners, he punishes himself."

   A., 28; M., 31.--It is related that a pig passed by Jesus (Peace be upon him!), and he said, "Pass in peace." Then someone said, "O Spirit of God, do you say this to a pig?" He replied, "I dislike accustoming my tongue to evil."

   A., 29; M., 33.--Mâlik, son of Dînâr, said: Jesus (Peace be upon him) and the disciples with him passed by the carcase of a dog. The disciples said, "What a stench this dog makes!" Then he (Blessing and peace be upon him!) said, "How white are its teeth!"

   A., 31.--John [the Baptist] said to Jesus (Peace be upon them!), "What is the fiercest thing?" He replied, "God's anger." He said, "Then what comes next to God's anger?" He replied, "That you should be angry." He said, "Then what makes anger begin, and what makes it increase?" He replied, "Pride and boasting and arrogance and indignation."

   A., 32; M., 34.--The Messiah, son of Mary (Blessing and peace be upon him!) passed by a company of the Jews; then they spoke evil to him, but he spoke good to them. Then someone said to him, "Verily they are speaking evil, and p. 46 you are speaking good." He said, "Everyone spends from what he possesses."

   A., 33.--It is said that it is written in the Gospel, "He who asks forgiveness for one who has wronged him routs the devil."

   A., 51; M., 53.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Seek a great amount of what fire cannot consume." Someone said, "And what is that?" He said, "Kindness."

   A., 55.--Jesus the Messiah (God bless him and grant him peace!) said, "When a day comes in which one of you fasts, let him anoint his head and his beard and wipe his lips, that men may not see that he is fasting. And when he gives with his right hand let him hide it from his left hand, and when he prays let him lower the screen of his door, for God will apportion praise as He apportions provision." [Cf. A., 87, p. 48.]

   A., 56; M., 55.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) said, "Blessed is he whom God teaches His Book, and who does not die proud."

   A., 57.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) said, "Blessed are the humble in this world; they will be set on high on the Day of Resurrection. Blessed are they who make peace between men in this world; they are those who will inherit Paradise on the Day of Resurrection. Blessed are they whose hearts are purified in this world; they are those who will see God (Exalted is He!) on the Day of Resurrection."

p. 47

   A., 59; M., 56.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) said, "Verily the seed grows on level ground and does not grow on a rock; similarly wisdom works in the heart of the humble but does not work in the heart of the proud. Do you not see that if one raises his head to the roof it breaks it; but if one bends down [his head] it shades him and covers him?"

   A., 62.--The disciples said to the Messiah (Peace be upon him!), "Look at this mosque, how beautiful it is!" Then he said, "My people, my people, verily I say unto you, God will not leave one stone of this mosque standing on another, but will destroy it for the sins of its people. Verily God does not pay any heed to gold, or silver, or these stones which charm you. The things dearest to God (Exalted is He!) are the pure hearts. With them God preserves the earth, and with them He destroys it if they are otherwise."

   A., 64.--The Messiah (Peace be upon Him!) said, "Verily you will obtain what you like only by your patience with what you dislike."

   A., 65.--I saw in the Gospel that Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!) said, "It has been said to you formerly, Tooth for tooth and nose for nose; but I say to you, Do not resist evil with evil. On the contrary, if someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the left cheek; and if one takes your cloak give him your mantle; p. 48 and if one compels you to go a mile with him go with him two miles."

   A., 68; M., 60.--It is related concerning the Messiah (Blessing and peace be upon him!) that he said, "O company of the disciples, you fear acts of disobedience, but we, the companies of the prophets, fear infidelity."

   A., 76; M., 64.--It is related on the authority of our prophet [i.e. Mohammad] and on the authority of Jesus (Peace be upon them!), "Four things are attained only with trouble--silence, which is the beginning of worship; humility; much glorifying of God; and small possessions." [Cf. A., 135, p. 55.]

   A., 83.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "He is not wise who cannot rejoice at entering calamities and illnesses in his body and his wealth on account of what he hopes for from that of remission of his sins."

   A., 85.--In the stories of Jesus (Peace be upon him!) [we read], "When you see a young man smitten with the search after God (Exalted is He!), then that has engrossed him to the neglect of everything else."

   A., 87.--It is handed down in the Gospel, "When you give alms, do it so that your left hand does not know what your right hand has done; then he who sees the hidden things will reward you openly. And when you fast, wash your face and anoint your head, that no one p. 49 other than your Lord may know of it." [Cf. A., 55, p. 46.]

   A., 89; M., 68.--It is related that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said to the Children of Israel, "Where does the seed grow?" They replied, "In the earth." Then he said, "Verily I say unto you, wisdom grows only in a heart like the earth."

   A., 91; M., 70.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) was asked about the best work, and he said, "Resignation to God (Exalted is He!) and love for Him."

   A., 92; M., 71.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Blessed is the eye which sleeps and does not think of disobedience, and awakes to sinlessness."

   A., 94; M., 72.--The disciples said to Jesus, (Peace be upon him!) "What is the purest of deeds?" Then he replied, "[That of] him who works for God (Exalted is He!) not wishing anyone to praise him for it."

   A., 96; M., 73.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Things are of three kinds--one whose righteousness is clear, so follow it; another whose error is clear, so avoid it; and another which is doubtful to you, so commit it to him who knows it." [i.e. for him to give advice regarding it.]

   A., 97; M., 74.--The disciples said to Jesus, son of Mary, "O Spirit of God, is there anyone in the earth like you to-day?" He replied, p. 50 "Yes; he whose talk is glorifying God, whose silence is meditation, and whose look is a tear; he is like me."

   A., 100.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Do not worry about to-morrow's food, for if to-morrow is one of your periods your provisions will come in it along with your periods; and if it is not one of your periods, do not worry about other people's periods."

   A., 104.--They saw him coming out of a prostitute's house, then someone said to him, "O Spirit of God, what are you doing with this woman?" He replied, "The doctor comes only to the sick."

   A., 105.--Jesus, son of Mary (The blessings of God--exalted is He!--be upon him!) said, "O company of the disciples, verily man is created in the world in four ranks, in three of which he is secure, but in the fourth of which he has evil thoughts, fearing that God will abandon him. As regards the first rank, he is created in three darknesses, the darkness of the belly, the darkness of the womb, and the darkness of the placenta; then God gives him his provision in the depth of the darkness of the belly. Then when he is taken out of the darkness of the belly, he comes to the milk. He does not step to it with foot or leg, or reach out to it with a hand, or leap to it with force; on the contrary, he is forced to it against his inclination and is guarded p. 51 until his flesh and blood grow upon him. Then when he gets beyond milk, he comes into the third rank with respect to food from his parents which they acquire for him of what is allowable and what is forbidden. Then if they die, people are kindly-disposed to him. One gives him food, another gives him drink, another shelters him, and another clothes him. Then when he comes into the fourth rank and grows up and becomes a man, he fears that he will not be given provision, so he attacks men and betrays their trust and steals their goods and takes their possessions by force out of fear that God (Exalted is He!) may abandon him."

   A., 107.--We are told concerning the Messiah (God bless him and grant him peace!) that he said, "If God shows generosity to one of His worshippers, His generosity is necessary for all His creatures."

   A., 109.--In a tradition [it is said] that Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!) met a man and said to him, "What are you doing?" He replied, "I am devoting myself to God." He said, "Who is giving you what you need?" He said, "My brother." [Jesus] said, "He is more devoted to God than you."

   A., 112.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said to the disciples, "Do not consider men's works as though you were lords, but consider your own works as though you were servants; for people p. 52 are only of two kinds, tried and preserved. So have pity on those who are tried, and praise God for health."

   A., 116.--And among the things which God sent down to the Messiah in the Gospel [we read], "We have made you desire, but you have not desired; and we have wailed to you, but you did not weep. O you of fifty years, what have you sent before and what have you left behind! O you of sixty years, your harvest has come near. O you of seventy years, come to the account."

   A., 119.--The Messiah (God bless him and grant him peace!) passed by some people of the Children of Israel who were weeping, and said to them, "What makes you weep?" They replied, "We are weeping for our sins." He said, "Leave them alone; they are forgiven you."

   A., 122.--We have been told about Jesus (Peace be upon him!) that someone said to him, "Who is the mightiest of men in seduction?" He replied, "The slip of a learned man; when he slips a world slips with him." [This saying contains a pun which cannot be reproduced in English. The word for "learned man" is `âlim, and for "world," `âlam.]

   A., 127.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) passed some dyers outside the city and stopped beside them and said to them, "Do you think that when you have washed and purified and whitened these clothes, their owners will be right p. 53 in putting them on while their bodies are soiled with blood and urine and excrement and various kinds of filthiness?" They replied, "No, the one who did that would be foolish." He said, "You yourselves have done it." They said, "How?" He said, "Because you have purified your bodies and whitened your clothes while your souls are soiled with rottenness, full of filthiness from ignorance and blindness and dumbness and evil manners and envy and hatred and guile and deceit and covetousness and niggardliness and wickedness and evil thoughts and the pursuit of evil desires, and you are in the abasement of slavery, wretches for whom there is no rest but death and the grave." Then they said, "How shall we act? Is there any escape from seeking a livelihood?" He said, "Can you take pleasure in the kingdom of heaven where there is no death, or decrepitude, or pain, or illness, or hunger, or thirst, or fear, or grief, or poverty, or need, or weariness, or affliction, or care, or envy among its people, or hatred, or boasting, or pride? But on the contrary, brethren sit opposite one another on couches, glad and rejoicing in pleasure and bounty and favour and satisfaction and splendour and agreeableness, walking in the vastness of the spheres in the wideness of the heavens, and seeing the kingdom of the Lord of the worlds and beholding the angels round His throne, pure, p. 54 celebrating the praise of their Lord with melodies and tunes the like of which men and jinn have never heard. And you will be with them for ever, not ageing, or dying, or hungering, or thirsting, or becoming ill, or fearing, or grieving."

   A., 130.--Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!), in what Ibn al Hamal the Christian scribe told us, said to his disciples, "The sign by which you are known as being from me is that you love one another." And Jesus said also to Joshua, his disciple, "As regards the Lord, you must love him with all your heart, then love your neighbour as you love yourself." They said to him, "Explain to us, O Spirit of God, what is the difference between these two loves, so that we may prepare for them with discernment and clearness." He said, "You love your friend for yourself, and you love yourself for your Lord; so when you guard your friend you do it for yourself, and when you are bountiful yourself you are so towards your Lord."

   A., 132.--Jesus, son of Mary (God's blessings be upon him!), said to the disciples, "O salt of the earth, do not become bad, for when things become bad they can be treated only with salt, but when salt becomes bad it cannot be treated with anything. O company of the disciples, do not take remuneration from those whom you teach, except like what you have given me. And know that there are two characteristics of p. 55 ignorance in you--laughter without anything extraordinary, and sleeping in the morning without a [previous] vigil."

   A., 134.--Jesus said to the Children of Israel, "Do not reward an evil-doer with evil, for your favour will go for nothing with your Lord."

   A., 135.--This word is handed down from Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!), "Four things are found only in a believer: silence which is the beginning of devotion, humility, glorifying of God (Exalted is He!), and a small amount of evil." [Cf. A., 76; M., 64, p. 48.]

   A., 136.--It is related concerning Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!), that he said, "Every word which is not accompanied by mention of God is vanity; and every silence which is not accompanied by meditation is negligence; and every speculation which is not accompanied by a tear is folly. So blessed is he whose speech is mention of God, whose silence is meditation, and whose speculation is a tear."

   A., 140.--It is written in the Gospel, "He who sows evil reaps remorse."

   A., 141.--It is related concerning Katâda that he said: It was mentioned to us that [the following] is written in the Gospel, "O son of man, as you show pity so will you be pitied; for how can you hope that God will pity you if you do not show pity to His servants?"

   A., 142.--Mâlik, son of Anas (God--Exalted p. 56 is He!--be pleased with him!), said: It has reached me that Jesus (God's blessings and peace be upon him!) said, "Do not speak much without mention of God, or your hearts will become hard, and the hard heart is far from God (Exalted is He!); but you do not know."

   A., 144.--[The following] is quoted from Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon them!), "What is the use of a blind man carrying a lamp while others get light from it? And what is the use of a dark house having a lamp on its roof? And what is the use of your speaking with wisdom and not acting with it?"

   A., 150.--It is related concerning Jesus, son of Mary (Blessing and peace be upon him!), that he said, "There is nothing wonderful about one perishing in the way he perishes, but there is something wonderful about one being saved in the way he is saved."

   A., 153.--Jesus said, "If Thou punishest them they are Thy servants, and if Thou forgivest them Thou art the mighty and the wise One." [Korân V, 118.]

   A., 154.--In the Gospel [there is written], "I am the prince of life and the ways of truth; whoever believes in me and dies, has not died a death but has only lived a life." [Cf. John xiv. 6, xi. 25, 26.]

   A., 155.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said to the disciples, "Verily I say unto you, the speaker p. 57 of wisdom and the hearer of it are partners, and the one of them who is more worthy of it is he who verifies it by his deeds."

   A., 156.--It is related that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said to the disciples, "I do not teach you that you should wonder; I only teach you that you should act. Wisdom is not talking wisely; wisdom is only acting wisely."

   A., 157.--Jesus said, "If you are able to be simple like a dove concerning God, then do so; nothing is more simple than a dove. You may take its two young from under it and kill them, and it will return to that very place and bring forth [others] in it."

   A., 158.--Jesus said, "Speak much to God and speak little to men." They said, "How shall we speak much to God?" He said, "Be apart in intercourse with Him; be apart in prayer to Him."

   A., 163.--Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!), said, "The steps slip only with regard to three things: smallness of thanks for God's gifts (Exalted is He!), fear of something other than God, and hope in created things."

   A., 166.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "I am not incapable of raising the dead, but I am incapable of applying a remedy to the fool." [Cf. M., 5.]

   A., 167; M., 32.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Verily one of the greatest sins in God's p. 58 eyes is that a servant [of His] should say 'God knows,' when he is ignorant."

   A., 173.--Jesus, son of Mary (Peace be upon him!), said, "The world consists of three days:--yesterday which has passed, from which you have nothing in your hand; to-morrow of which you do not know whether you will reach it or not; and to-day in which you are, so avail yourself of it."

   A., 175.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "The recollection of the eternity of those who live for ever rends the hearts of those who fear God." [Asin interprets "those who live for ever " as "the damned," which gives good sense; but the literal translation is as above, with no reference to a particular class.]

   A., 176.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) said, "O company of the disciples, how many lamps has the wind put out, and how many worshippers has self-conceit spoiled!"

   A., 177.--Jesus said to John [the Baptist] (Peace be upon them!), "When a man admonishes you about something and says concerning you what is true, thank God (Great is His glory!); and if it is false, increase your thanks, for it flourishes in the register of your good deeds and you are at rest."

   A., 180.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "God sent this revelation to the world, Whoever serves Me, serve him, and whoever serves you, take him as your servant."

p. 59

   A., 184.--Al Bokhârî related on the authority of Abû Huraira that the prophet--i.e. Mohammad--(God bless him and grant him peace!) said: Jesus, son of Mary, saw a man stealing and said to him, "Are you stealing?" He replied, "By no means! [I swear] by Him than whom there is no God!" Then Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "You believe in God, and you have accused my eye of falsehood!"

   A., 185.--The Messiah (Peace be upon him!) said, "What is the forbearance of him who has not been patient with foolishness, and what is the strength of him who has not repelled anger, and what is the worship of him who has not been humble towards his Lord? (Exalted is He!) The worship of the foolish is the coming at the wrong time and the sitting beyond what is decreed; but when necessity arises counsel disappears."

   A., 188.--Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "If you bear with one word from a foolish man you will profit tenfold."

   A., 190.--There has been handed down from Jesus (God's blessings be upon him!), "He who has not been born twice shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." [Cf. A., 207, p. 61.]

   A., 191.--It is related concerning Jesus (Peace be upon him!) that he said, "Verily God (Exalted is He!) hates him who laughs immoderately without reason, and him who walks p. 60 about without an aim, and talk which comes between jesting and facetiousness."

   A., 192.--The upright Jesus (Peace be upon him!) has said, "Every man's heart is where his wealth is; so place your wealth in heaven that your hearts may be in heaven."

   A., 194.--Jesus (Blessing and peace be upon him!) gave the following injunction to one of his companions, "Fast from the world, and do not cease from your fast till you die, and be like him who treats his sore with medicine out of fear that it may become worse to him. And occupy yourself much with the thought of death; for death brings good to the believer with no evil after it, but evil to the wicked with no good after it."

   A., 196.--From the book of Interpretations [or, Biographies] [we are told] that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Associate with people in such a way that if you live they may long for you, and if you die they may weep for you."

   A., 200.--A man asked Jesus (Peace be upon him!) "Who is the best of men?" Then he took two handfuls of earth and said, "Which of these two is the better? Men were created from earth, so the most honourable of them is the most God-fearing of them."

   A., 204.--lt is related on the authority of Ibrâhîm, son of Adham, that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "The honour of a believer with p. 61 God is that he should say to a mountain, 'Move,' then it should move."

   A., 205.--It is related on the authority of Ma`rûf al Karkhî that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Remember cotton when it is put over your eyes."

   A., 207.--A saying of Jesus, son of Mary, "O, Children of Israel, verily I say unto you, he who has not been born twice will not see the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. By God, verily we are of those who have been born twice. The first birth is the birth of nature, and the second birth is the birth of the spirit in the heaven of knowledge." [Cf. A., 190, p. 59.]

   A., 209.--Sufyân al Thaurî used to say: "A man said to Jesus, son of Mary (Blessing and peace be upon him!), "Give me some advice." He replied, "Consider where your bread comes from."

   A., 217.--It is related on the authority of Sâlim, son of Abu al Ja`d, that Jesus (Peace be upon him!) said, "Blessed is he who weeps for his sin, and who stores away his tongue, and whose house contains him."

   A., 225.--There is handed down from Jesus (Peace be upon him!), "The wise are of three kinds: he who knows God and God's command, he who knows God and does not know God's command, and he who knows God's command and does not know God."

p. 62

   [The following passages are not included in Asin's collection. I give Professor Margoliouth's rendering of them along with his note on one of them.]

   M., 2.--Jesus said: The world is a place of transition, full of examples; be pilgrims therein, and take warning by the traces of those that have gone before.

   M., 3.--Jesus said: Be in the midst, yet walk on one side. [This is variously interpreted. Some say it means, Be in the world, yet let thy heart be in heaven; the context, however, in which it is quoted deals with cases in which it is necessary to avow friendship while concealing enmity.]

   M., 4.--In the sermons of Jesus, son of Mary, it is written: Beware how you sit with sinners.

   M., 6.--God revealed unto Jesus: Command the children of Israel that they enter not my house save with pure hearts, and humble eyes, and clean hands; for I will not answer any one of them against whom any has a complaint.

   M., 13.--Jesus said: If a man send away a beggar empty from his house, the angels will not visit that house for seven nights.

   M., 19.--When Jesus was asked, How art thou this morning? he would answer, Unable to forestall what I hope, or to put off what I fear, bound by my works, with all my good in another's hand. There is no poor man poorer than I.