Last will of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) to Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.)
  1. My advice to you is to be conscious of Allah and steadfast in your religion. Do not yearn for the world, and do not be seduced by it. Do not resent anything you have missed in it. Proclaim the truth; work for the next world. Oppose the oppressor and support the oppressed.
  2. I advise you, and all my children, my relatives, and whosoever receives this message, to be conscious of Allah, to remove your differences, and to strengthen your ties. I heard your grandfather, peace be upon him, say: "Reconciliation of your differences is more worthy than all prayers and all fasting."
  3. Fear Allah in matters concerning orphans. Attend to their nutrition and do not forget their interests in the middle of yours.
  4. Fear Allah in your relations with your neighbors. Your Prophet often recommended them to you, so much so that we thought he would give them a share in inheritance.
  5. Remain attached to the Quran. Nobody should surpass you in being intent on it, or more sincere in implementing it.
  6. Fear Allah in relation to your prayers. It is the pillar of your religion.
  7. Fear Allah in relation to His House; do not abandon it as long as you live. If you would do that you would abandon your dignity.
  8. Persist in jihad in the cause of Allah, with your money, your souls, and your tongue.
  9. Maintain communication and exchange of opinion among yourselves. Beware of disunity and enmity. Do not desist from promoting good deeds and cautioning against bad ones. Should you do that,the worst among you would be your leaders, and you will call upon Allah without response.
  10. O Children of Abdul Muttalib! Do not shed the blood of Muslims under the banner: The Imam has been assassinated! Only the assassin should be condemned to death.
  11. If I die of this stab of his, kill him with one similar stroke. Do not mutilate him! I have heard the Prophet, peace be upon him, say: "Mutilate not even a rabid dog."

(Source: Nahj al Balagah)
 

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Jared Diamond on Islam

Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine; recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1998.

      "Medieval Islam was technologically advanced and open to innovation. It achieved far higher literacy rates than in contemporary Europe; it assimilated the legacy of classical Greek civilization to such a degree that many classical books are now known to us only through Arabic copies.  It invented windmills, trigonometry, lateen sails and made major advances in metallurgy, mechanical and chemical engineering and irrigation methods. In the middle-ages the flow of technology was overwhelmingly from Islam to Europe rather from Europe to Islam. Only after the 1500's did the net direction of flow begin to reverse."

[Guns, Germs, and Steel - The Fates of Human Societies, 1997, p. 253]