I asked a good man concerning the qualities of the brethren of purity. He replied: ‘The least of them is that they prefer to please their friends rather than themselves; and philosophers have said that a brother who is fettered by affairs relating to himself is neither a brother nor a relative.’
If thy fellow traveller hastens, he is not thy fellow.
Tie not thy heart to one whose heart is not tied to thine.
When a kinsman possesses no virtue and piety
Then severing connection is better than love of kinship.
I remember that an opponent objected to the last two lines, saying: ‘God the most high and glorious has in his noble book prohibited the severing of connection with relatives and has commanded us to love them. What thou hast alleged is contrary to it.’ I replied: ‘Thou art mistaken because according to the Quran, Allah the most high has said: If they both father and mother, strive to induce thee to associate with me that concerning which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not.
A thousand kinsmen who are strangers to God
Are the sacrifice for one stranger who knows him.