Jumping off the cliff

The past few weeks have revealed the astounding wisdom of the traditional teachings of faith — that salutary advice found in pearls like the Letter of James of the Christian corpus and in the traditions of the Prophet of Islam alike.

Advice like ‘do not act on your anger’: that the strong man is not the one who fights hard, but he who restrains himself in anger. Advice like ‘control your tongue’: consider what a vast amount of timber can be set alight by the tiniest spark.

Alas, politicians are heedless of the timeless wisdom of sages down the ages, and so the world burns. Here is an instructive insight into what happens when rhetoric and rage take hold of a nation:

J J Goldberg: How politics and lies triggered an unintended war

The Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount were not esoteric counsel, but a practical prescription for the ailments of life in the world. Likewise, the teachings of our Prophet, peace be upon him, were not idealistic notions divorced from reality. We were not taught to purify our hearts only for times of peace and plenty, but for all times. Yes, in times of war, a soldier must be brave, fearless and strong, but he must also be just, merciful and true.

May God give us the wisdom to restrain ourselves in anger, to humbly serve the poor and oppressed, to do what is just, to speak the truth, be compassionate and to live a life that enables us to draw closer to Him.

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