Sayings of St. Isaac of Syria

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“Be persecuted, rather than be a persecutor. Be crucified, rather than be a crucifier.  Be treated unjustly, rather than treat anyone unjustly. Be oppressed, rather than be an oppressor.  Be gentle, rather than zealous.  Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice.

“This is the fruit of humility.  And once a person has become humble, straightaway mercy encircles and embraces him; and once mercy has approached, immediately his heart becomes aware of God helping him. Then his heart is filled with faith, and from this he understands that prayer is the haven of help, the fountain of salvation, a treasury of assurance, a saving anchor in time of storm, a source of recovery at times of sickness, a staff for the weak, a shelter in time of trials, an illumination to those in darkness.”

– Paraphrased from Daily Readings with St. Isaac of Syria (also called St. Isaac of Nineveh), edited by A.M. Allchin.


11 Responses to Sayings of St. Isaac of Syria

  1. asifa sheikh says:

    As salaam u alaikum dearest Brother Irving!

    Insha’Allah you and your loved ones are well! I have just visited with Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller this past weekend and have thanked Allah for blessing me with such a wonderful teacher and guide, Alhamdulillah. I thought about you during my trip and continue to pray for your happiness and success in this world and the next. I responded to this post because it is my particular struggle on a personal level. A damaged trust in the past has left me continuously oscillating between mercy and exactness of justice in every situation I face. The Suhba gathering with Shaykh Nuh often seemed to revolve around the same theme: that being strict with oneself and showing mercy to others is a hallmark of being a good muslim. Please make dua that the lesson takes root! Even whilst I was in Virginia, I thought of you, Br. Irving, and I am greatly honoured in having a spiritual kinship with yourself. May Allah ever increase you in every good (ameen)! Your sister, asifa.

  2. Sophia says:

    I have never been one to pray much, but lately I’ve found myself “talking in my mind” to the Universe. I thank it and sometimes I ask it for things, usually just things like making sure those I love are kept in good health.

  3. Barbara Simpson says:

    Salaam, and greetings of peace

    I enjoy your blog, among others. And if I may, I would like to share my humble perspective regarding this topic. This information is so true, although it can be “extremely” difficult and painful to follow…especially for those who are on the path of humility. Sometimes when we feel insulted, misunderstood, oppressed, persecuted or treated unfairly we tend to feel victimized or become defensive (even depressed). But while we go through all the emotions of the negative feelings we’re feeling, we actually come closer to the Beloved in those intense feelings. Once we hand it all over to the One, He gives us comfort and peace of heart again. Then after some time has passed, we actually come to realize that Allah uses us all in different ways, and that those who intended to harm us, were actually tools of Allah to in the end bring us closer to Him. .. And we realize some of our “ego” was still there if it could actually be hurt in the first place.


  4. Merryweather says:

    Thank you for posting these words of wisdom, as always! :)
    & I have replied to your comment on my blog.
    Peace & Love.

  5. Merryweather says:

    Barbra Simpson explains so well what I have been trying to understand, lately.
    God Bless You! :)

  6. Barbara says:

    Salaams and peace to all,

    Merryweather please, you embarrass me. This is common knowledge and we are all Allah’s tools for each other. Some of us learn from our personal experiences and some of us learn from others experiences…depending on how old we are too. This is by no means an easy path. And as stated above, through prayer, submission, good deeds and thoughts we find the fountain of everlasting beauty, joy and happiness through our living Sheikh of and in the One.


  7. pbsweeney says:

    One interesting thing about Isaac, is that he is included in the canonical list of both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches (to Catholics he is known as Isaac of Nineveh). His interest in the inner dialogue with God and his writings, transcended what was even then a fascinating tangle of monastic politics and debate. His writing on the ascetic life is more than worth a read.

  8. irving says:

    Salaam Dear Sisters:

    Asifa, we are all spiritual kin of one another, as you said so well. May Allah bless you for your kindness, and please continue to make dua for me.

    Barbara, your words ring with truth. Humility is the key to path, and the hardest lesson to learn.

    Merryweather, you are always a welcome voice her, and your wisdom and compassion are evident on your excellent blog also :)

    And PB Sweeney, as always you add an extra bit of knowledge that makes the post better :)

    God bless you all.

    Ya Haqq!

  9. Merryweather says:

    Thank you Brother Irving.
    (Now my turn to be embarrassed by the word wisdom)

  10. tovorinok says:

    Hi all!

    Great book. I just want to say what a fantastic thing you are doing! Good luck!


  11. Aliyah says:

    I’ve just found your blog and it’s great, mashaAllah. So nice to see a fellow Muslim in the creative literary arts. And I especially like this quote. May Allah (swt) put baraka in your work.

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