Book review/recommendation

Islam and the Destiny of Man

“In principle a balance between the spirit of the religion – any traditional religion – and the letter, must be established, however difficult this may be; and it is very difficult for most people. Extreme positions always offer a certain comfort. You can take your rest at the extreme. Tension and effort are involved in maintaining a balance, together with skill and judgment. Those who watch ballet with enjoyment may think…that it looks easy. They do not know that sometimes the dancers have blood in their shoes.”

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“Man is by definition a knower and by destiny a chooser; but, in the Islamic view, he does not have the capacity to make laws for the conduct of society.”

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“Islam is the religion of mercy; but it is also, and above all, the religion of truth, and truth is pitiless in that it cannot be other than it is. There is no way in which black can become white so as to appease the grief of a human soul. Not even God, for all His omnipotence, can choose to make error into truth. The relationship between truth and mercy is therefore the most complex relationship in the whole theatre of creation, and even beyond this theatre, in the principles which govern it. If a balance is possible it can be held steady only by the prophets, the sages and the saints; the rest go this way or that, to one extreme or the other.”

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“Religion cannot survive, whole and effective, when it is confined to one single compartment of life and education. Religion is either all or it is nothing; either it dwarfs all profane studies or it is dwarfed by them.”

Gai Eaton – Islam and the Destiny of Man

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