Letter to the Sultan of Aleppo

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Letter to the Sultan of Aleppo (1170s) 
by Noureddin, translated by Robert Durie Osborn
Letter sent in response to the Sultan's threats to Noureddin circa 1174 AD. Translation comes from the text Islam under the Khalifs of Baghdad, 1878 by Robert Durie Osborn.

As for your words that you will cut off my head, and tear my fortresses from the firm rocks which sustain them, know that these are delusive thoughts, vain imaginations; for the substance is not destroyed by the disparition of its accidents, neither is the soul dissolved by the body. But to return to things external and sensible from things internal and intellectual...You well know our external state, the character of our men, the sort of food for which they long, and for which they offer themselves to the absyss of death... In a common current proverb it is said, "Is a goose to be threatened with being cast into the river?" Prepare therefore a tunic against misfortune and a cloak against afflication; for evils of your own doing shall prevail against you...like the animal who scraped with its hoof till it found its death[1], and like him who cut off his nose with his own hand. To effect this will not be difficult for God.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. An Arab caught a gazelle, but knew not how to kill it, when the animal, scraping with its foot upon the sand, uncovered a knife that was hidden beneath.
This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.