rules. 0is onern is rather that we should be restored, through our labours and 0is grae, to that state of purity and e$uilibrium with whih we were born. The rules are a vital means to that end, and are failitated by it. But they do not take its plae.The 0oly 1ur'an Sura 48944.To make this point, the 0oly 1uran deploys a striking metaphor. !n
, verses :; to :<, we read9 0ave you not seen how /od oineth a likeness9 a goodly word like a goodly tree, the root whereof is set firm, its branh in the heaven= !t bringeth forth its fruit at every time, by the leave of its >ord. Thus doth /od oin likenesses for men, that perhaps they may reflet. &nd the likeness of an evil word is that of an evil tree that hath been torn up by the root from upon the earth, possessed of no stability. &ording to the sholars of
6e#egesis7, the referene here is to the 'words' 6
7 of faith and unfaith. The former is illustrated as a natural growth, whose floresene of moral and intelletual ahievement is nourished by firm roots, whih in turn denote the basis of faith9 the $uality of the proofs one has reeived, and the ertainty and sound awareness of /od whih alone signify that one is firmly grounded in the reality of e#istene. The fruits thus yielded % the palpable benefits of the religious life % are permanent 6'at every time'7, and are not man's own aomplishment, for they only ome 'by the leave of its >ord'. Thus is the sound life of faith. The ontrast is then drawn with the only alternative9
, whih is not grounded in reality but in illusion, and is hene 'possessed of no stability'.3:5 This passage, reminisent of some of the binary ategorisations of human types presented early on in
, preisely enapsulates the relationship between faith and works, the hierarhy whih e#ists between them, and the sustainable balane between nourishment and frutition, between taking and giving, whih true faith must maintain. !t is against this riterion that we must (udge the $uality of ontemporary 'ativist' styles of faith. !s the young 'ultra', with his intense rage whih an sometimes render him liable to nervous disorders, and his fi#ation on a relatively narrow range of issues and onerns, really firmly rooted, and fruitful, in the sense desribed by this 1urani image= >et me point to the answer with an e#ample drawn from my own e#periene. ! used to know, $uite well, a leader of the radial '!slami' group, the
, at the "gyptian university of &ssiut. 0is name was 0amdi. 0e grew a lu#uriant beard, was onstantly srubbing his teeth with his miswak, and spent his time preahing hatred of the Copti Christians, a number of whom were atually attaked and beaten up as a result of his
. 0e had hundreds of followers? in fat, &ssiut today remains a itadel of hardline, Wahhabi%style ativism.