They asked Imaam Mursheed Mohammed-bin-Mohammed Ghazali, on whom be God’s mercy, how he had reached such a pitch of knowledge. He replied: “Whatever I was ignorant of myself, I felt no shame in asking of others":—Thy prospect of health conforms with reason, when thy pulse is in charge of a skilled physician. Ask whatever thou knowest not; for the condescension of inquiring is a guide on thy road in the excellence of learning.
Anything you foresee that you may somehow come to know, be not hasty in questioning, lest your consequence and respectability may suffer:—When Lucman perceived that in the hands of David iron was miraculously moulded like wax, he asked him not, How didst thou do it? for he was aware that he should know it, through his own wisdom, without asking.
It is one of the laws of good breeding that you should forego an engagement, or accommodate yourself to the master of the entertainment:—If thou knowest that the inclination is reciprocal, accommodate thy story to the temper of the hearer. Any discreet man that was in Mujnun’s company would entertain him only with encomiums on Laila.
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Whoever interrupts the conversation of others to make a display of his fund of knowledge makes notorious his own stock of ignorance. Philosophers have said:—A prudent man will not obtrude his answer till he has the question stated to him in form. Notwithstanding the proposition may have its right demonstration, the cavil of the fastidious will construe it wrong.
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To tell a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain. In like manner as the brothers of the blessed Joseph, who, being notorious for a lie, had no credit afterwards when they spoke the truth:—God on high has said—Jacob is supposed to speak—(Koran xii. Sale ii. 35):—“Nay, but rather ye have contrived this to gratify your own passion; yet it behooves me to be patient":—If a man who is in the habit of speaking truth lets a mistake escape him, we can overlook it; but if he be notorious for uttering falsehoods, and tell a truth, thou wilt call it a lie.
The noblest of creatures is man, and the vilest of animals is no doubt a dog; yet, in the concurring opinion of the wise, a dog, thankful for his food, is more worthy than a human being who is void of gratitude:—A dog will never forget the crumb thou gavest him, though thou may’st afterwards throw a hundred stones at his head; but foster with thy kindness a low man for an age, and on the smallest provocation he will be up against thee in arms.