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We live in a world in which four fifths of its population live in frustration while the other fifth lives in fear. The United Nations, our world's "figleaf," does not hide the shame of humanity but rather scandalizes humanity's malaise. It is troubling that the League of Nations and the United Nations were born after two world wars. Humanity's unity should come as a natural birth and not as the result of a caesarian section, i.e., through violent global wars. This is reminiscent of the ages of epidemics. Then, because of ignorance about the causes behind these illnesses, plagues swept through communities, leaving millions of dead behind. Yet, after technology made it possible for us to see smaller forms of life and medicine brought us a better understanding of germs, communities became better equipped to halt disease and heal the sufferers. If a country now is devastated by an epidemic, we blame it on the lack of sufficient hygiene. So too, the wars that erupt here and there are caused by ignorance of the intellectual organisms that infect communities with hate and influence people to commit atrocities. In today's world, relying on science, we concern ourselves with preventing germ warfare while sheltering the intellectual viruses that destroy us: our intellectual foods are still polluted. We cannot afford to continue to be confused or ignorant about these invasive germs.

- "Ten millennia back, humans learned agriculture and the domestication of animals, but they also learned how to enslave other humans - yes, some humans started to be sold together with the land on which they worked. This is the tragic aspect of the new epoch: for ten thousand years, man has been adjusting to agriculture, but he is still trying, for the adjustment has not so far succeeded: We still find some humans enslave other humans, and we still find a minority of people living in luxury on the shoulders of the majority."

- "As I understand Islam, it is possible for me to associate with people, in justice and kindness to all people - with only one condition, that they give up violence, and do not resort to violence to impose their convictions."

- "From the first day of the creation of man, he was entrusted with this mission. The responsibility is quite heavy - but then, have not the angels been commanded to prostrate themselves before the human: this honoring cannot be without its heavy responsibility. Humans must be able to prove that they are qualified to realize justice and suppress the spilling of blood."

- "And once religion has become a science, like chemistry, people will stop disputing about its facts: it is so because science cuts off disputes. It will be as the Lord said in the Qur’an: “for the scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth,” (13:17). "

- "A human mind can take one of two attitudes towards problems: It can assume that problems are subject to laws, and hence that a problem is within control once we have discovered the laws which it is subject to; or it can assume that things happen without being controlled by laws, or, which comes to the same result, that the laws that control things are beyond the reach of a human. Of course, the two positions are the two ends of a curve, for there will be a whole range of positions between the one and the other extreme."

-"What this book introduces is the problem of all Adam's descendants. I have in mind the event of Adam's two sons as related by God - two sons, two styles and approaches in solving problems: One of the two sons seeks to solve a human problem by eliminating the human, and the other holds off his hand ˗ realizing that to eliminate a human is not the right way to solving his/her problem."

- I take up here an approach to the main dilemma of human life on this planet; I tackle this issue in the light of the story of Adam's two sons, as related by God in His Scripture, the Qur'an (5:27-31). In that parable, we have two distinct methods of dealing with life's problems, since one of Adam's sons tried to get over the problem by killing the other, like a doctor trying to get over the disease by killing the patient; and the other held back his hand, and affirmed that killing could not be the right solution.

- J'avais écrit, il y a un demi-siècle, un livre sur le rôle du penseur et de la pensée dans les crises. Certes, je parlais alors de la crise dans le monde musulman. Un demi-siècle auparavant, de nombreux développements ont eu lieu dans un monde qui change toujours et à grande vitesse. Toutefois, les principes formulés dans ce livre sont toujours valables, à mon avis pour approcher la crise mondiale.

- Half a century ago, I wrote a book about the intellectual and his role in times of trouble and crisis. Although my main focus was on issues pertaining mainly to the Islamic world, and despite the fact that it was written a half a century ago—a long time considering the changes that have taken place in a dynamic and ever evolving world despite all that, I still believe that my book can still provide an effective instrument with which to...


Interview with Current Islamic Issues