No Consideration for the Inconsiderate

from the diwan of al-Shafi’i, english versification by I. A. Malik


تَصَبَّرْ على مُرِّ الجَفا مِنْ مُعلّمٍ

فإنَّ رُسُوبَ العِلمِ في نَفَراتِهِ

Be patient with the stinging harshness of a teacher
For below his scorn the sediments of knowledge lie.


ًومنْ لَمْ يَذُقْ مرَّ التَعلُّمِ سَاعَة

تَجَرَّعَ ذُلّ الجَهْلِ طولَ حَيَاتِهِ

Who has studied but never tasted bitterness in learning
Must swallow the humiliation of a misconducted life.


ومَنْ فَاتَهُ التَّعليمُ وَقْتَ شَبابِهِ

فكبِّر عليه أربعاً لوفاته

Who misses learning during the days of his youth
Make upon him four *takbirat*, for he is dead already.


وَذَاتُ الْفَتَى ـ واللَّهِ ـ بالْعِلْمِ وَالتُّقَى

إذا لم يكونا لا اعتبار لذاتهِ

Youth, by God, is for the gain of knowledge and piety.
If he has gained neither, his fate is to be yet another entity with no essence.


Translator’s postscript: there is no consideration for the one who has never considered himself.