‘I have always looked at life as though it were a novel’

Reported in The Guardian: Michael March talks to author Ahdaf Soueif about the war in Iraq and the west’s view of Islam:

Ahdaf1 MM: Name five points from Islam which could redirect history.

AS: If – rather than looking at what specific Muslims have done you look at what Islam says about itself – you find lots of ethical positions that one could build on. Diversity and equality are pretty good starting points: several texts celebrate diversity and affirm it as a positive good. And hand in hand with diversity comes equality. Putting a high premium on knowledge. Islam, until recent decadent times, has never set its face against science.

Encouraging you to simultaneously engage with the world and yet maintain a level of detachment: “Live for the next world as if you were to die tomorrow, and live for this world as though you were going to live forever.” There is a tradition of the prophet that says that if the end of the world were to come and you were carrying a seed in your hand go ahead and plant it.

More here.