I read, read enormously on all different fields of Islamic thought, from philosophy to Islamic literature, poetry, exegeses, knowledge of the Hadith, the teachings of the prophet. That's how I trained myself. And then I was appointed imam by a Sufi master from Istanbul, Turkey.
If there is one word that describes the meaning of character, it is the word honor. Without honor, civilization would not long exist. Without honor, there could be no dependable contracts, no lasting marriages, no trust or happiness. What does the word honor mean to you? To me, honor is summarized in this expression by the poet Tennyson, "Man's word [of honor] is God in man."
Theories of what is true have their day. They come and go, leave their deposit in the common stock of knowledge, and are supplanted by other more convincing theories. The thinkers and investigators of the world are pledged to no special theory, but feel themselves free to search for the greater truth beyond the utmost limits of present knowledge. So likewise in the field of moral truth, it is our hope, that men in proportion as they grow more enlightened, will learn to hold their theories and their creeds more loosely, and will none the less, nay, rather all the more be devoted to the supreme end of practical righteousness to which all theories and creeds must be kept subservient. There are two purposes then which we have in view: To secure in the moral and religious life perfect intellectual liberty, and at the same time to secure concert in action. There shall be no shackles upon the mind, no fetters imposed in early youth which the growing man or woman may feel prevented from shaking off, no barrier set up which daring thought may not transcend. And on the other hand there shall be unity of effort, the unity that comes of an end supremely prized and loved, the unity of earnest, morally aspiring persons, engaged in the conflict with moral evil.
There is a city to be built, the plan of which we carry in our heads, in our hearts. Countless generations have already toiled at the building of it. The effort to aid in completing it, with us, takes the place of prayer. In this sense we say, "Laborare est orare."
There may be, and there ought to be, progress in the moral sphere. The moral truths which we have inherited from the past need to be expanded and restated. In times of misfortune we require for our support something of which the truth is beyond all question, in which we can put an implicit trust, "though the heavens should fall." A merely borrowed belief is, at such time, like a rotten plank across a raging torrent. The moment we step upon it, it gives way beneath our feet.
Pellerin read every work on ‘sthetics, in order to find out the true theory of the Beautiful, convinced that, when he had discovered it, he would produce masterpieces. He surrounded himself with every imaginable auxiliary?drawings, plaster-casts, models, engravings; and he kept searching about, eating his heart out.
So far as Emma was pertaining concerned About did not she ask herself Whether she was in love. Love, she thought, was something That must come Suddenly, with a great display of thunder and lightning, descending on one's life like a tempest from above, turning it topsy-turvy, whirling away one's resolutions like leaves and bearing one onward, heart and soul: towards the abyss. She never bethought herself how on the terrace of a house forms the rain Itself into little lakes When the gutters are choked, and she was going on quite unaware of her peril, When all of a sudden she Discovered - a crack in the wall!
She only cared for the sea when it was lashed to fury by the storm and for verdure when it served as a background to a ruin. Everything must needs minister to her personal longings, as it were, and she thrust aside as of no account whatever everything that did not immediately contribute to stir the emotions of her heart, for her temperament was sentimental rather than artistic, seeking, not pictures, but emotions.
Every contribution to human progress on record has been made by some individual who differed sharply from the general, and was thus, almost, superior to the general. Perhaps the palpably insane must be excepted here, but I can think of no others. Such exceptional individuals should be permitted, it seems to me, to enjoy every advantage that goes with their superiority... The rest are as negligible as the race of cockroaches, who have gone unchanged for a million years.