medieval Arab poet and thinker
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- If you will do some deed before you die,
Remember not this caravan of death,
But have belief that every little breath
Will stay with you for an eternity.
- As quoted in The Diwan of Abu'l-Ala (1909) by Henry Baerlein, XLVII
- They recite their sacred books, although the fact informs me that these are a fiction from first to last. O Reason, thou (alone) speakest the truth. Then perish the fools who forged the (religious) traditions or interpreted them!
- The inhabitants of the earth are of two sorts:
Those with brains, but no religion,
And those with religion, but no brains.
- As quoted in The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984) by Amin Maalouf, p. 37
- Original: اِثْنَانِ أَهْلُ الْأَرْضِ ذُو عَقْلٍ بِلَا دِينٍ وَآخَرُ دَيِّنٌ لَا عَقْلَ لَهُ
- Variant translations:
- The world holds two classes of men; intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
- A Short History of Freethought Ancient and Modern (1906) by John Mackinnon Robertson, Vol. I, Ch. VIII: Freethought under Islam, p. 269
- The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit.
- A little doubt is better than total credulity.
- Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,
- And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,
- Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught
- for their young, not noble ladies.
- And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;
- for injustice is the worst of crimes.
- And spare the honey which the bees get industriously
- from the flowers of fragrant plants;
- For they did not store it that it might belong to others,
- Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.
- I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I
- Perceived my way before my hair went gray!