Ameen Rihani English Excerpts
Like matter itself, an ideal is mutable, but indestructible. It does not die; it only undergoes a change.
.... And if Europe gives Arabia a railway, Arabia gives Europe an idea -- which I think balances the account.
THE PATH OF VISION
.... And Khalid's motto was, "One book at a time". He would not overload himself with books any more than he would with shoes. But that the mind might not go barefoot, he always bought a new book before destroying the one in hand. Destroying? Yes; for after reading or studying a book, he warms his hands upon its flames, or makes it serve to cook a pot of lentils-with-rice. In this extraordinary and outrageous manner, barbarously capricious, he would baptize the ideal in the fire of the real.THE BOOK OF KHALID
.... The Oriental mind is saturated with tradition. But the Occidental mind, no matter how modern, how insurgent, is not wholly free from it. From tradition springs the flower of culture. There is this difference, however, between the Oriental and Occidental nations: the first allow their traditions to grow to seed, to run wild and impoverish the soil, while the latter seldom neglect its cultivation. In other words, the Eastern people allow their traditions to accumulate throughout the centuries, without ever attempting to reduce or overhaul the pile, while the Western people seldom hesitate to abandon what has become more or less effete in the process of acquiring or creating new traditions.THE PATH OF VISION
In the religious systems of mankind, I sought thee, O God, in vain; in their machine-made dogmas and theologies, I sought thee in vain; in their churches and temples and mosques, I sought thee long, and long in vain; but in the Sacred Books of the World, what have I found? A letter of thy name, O god, I have deciphered in the Vedas, another in the Zend-Avesta, another in the Bible, another in the Koran.THE BOOK OF KHALID
My wish is to live without disliking anyone,
To love without being jealous of anyone,
To rise without being elevated over anyone, and
To advance without stepping on anyone or becoming envious of those above me(translated from Arabic)
THE RIHANI ESSAYS
I am the East,
I am the corner stone
Of the first temple of God
And the first throne of Humanity...
I am the East,
I possess philosophies and creeds
So who would exchange them with me for technology(translated from Arabic)
HYMNS OF THE VALLEYS
Like the seasons of the year, like history, truth always repeats itself...THE PATH OF VISION
....And especially to my friends, the writers, I invite you to travel with me to a land that is magical despite its poverty, to a people that is generous despite its conflicts and disagreements, and to a nation that is free and dignified despite its limitations.(translated from Arabic)
Introduction to KINGS OF ARABIA
Our Father in Heaven be with me in life and death. If you give me strength, provide me with humbleness. If you grant me wisdom, award me with patience. Do not kill in me a virtue in order to revive another.... You have given me a mind to think; if I do, do not humiliate me. Be patient with me, oh God.(translated from Arabic)
THE RIHANI ESSAYS
Whirl, whirl, whirl
Till the world is the size of a pearl.
Dance, dance, dance
Till the world's like the point of a lance.
Soar, soar, soar
Till the world is no more.A CHANT OF MYSTICS
....For our country is just beginning to speak, and I am her chosen voice. I feel that if I do not respond, if I do not come to her, she will be dumb forever.
....The East and the West are the male and female of the Spirit.
....He never was satisfied with the seen horizon, we are told, no matter how vast and beautiful. His soul always yearned for what was beyond, above and below, the visible line.THE BOOK OF KHALID
We are, in a word, drifting away from the path of vision. We no longer find joy, as did the ancients, in pure thought. Pragmatism and utilitarianism are our gods.
.......We often choose the line of least resistance. We must be practical and we must have our creature comforts. Moreover, we expect, we insist upon, our reward within a certain time in the material things of the world. .... We are a practical people -- very busy -- in a hurry. We have no time for ethics.
Experience is knowledge; but knowledge, when it is sought only as a material resource, is not always a blessing. Experience is wisdom; but wisdom, with those who lack vision, is not always power. ..... A thought in the crucible of life melts into the thought of the world; the footsteps of a pioneer become ultimately the highway of a nation. ..... Every human action, collective or otherwise, has in it the possibility of a creative or destructive force.THE PATH OF VISION