In a small town outside Princeton, New Jersey, in a small crowded apartment, blessed by its immeasurable powers and burdened by its keeper, you will find the Islamic Civilization. The glories, the infamies, the victories, the ecstasies, the soft supplications, the tearful entreats, the dreams, the endless lessons of human follies and the exacting record of the divine covenant are all here, present every night.
The impregnable resilient volumes stand side-by-side in a solemn procession testifying to our deeds. Hasn't the Lord commanded us to recite and to bear witness? Here, in this small crowded space, is the endless recitation and the eternal murmurings of the Conference of Books. Who was ever foolish enough to believe that there is a past and present? There is only the read and unread, otherwise all times are ever present in this library.
If you listen carefully enough, in the dead of night you will hear the whispers, the arguments, the debates. You will hear the constant search for the divine and the aching sublimation. When was this conference first held? "At first, God created the intellect," the Prophet said. With creation, the library was born and with the library, the numerous books testifying to the glory of the divine.
Has any civilization honored the book more than we have? And, has any civilization betrayed the book more than we have? In the beginning we memorized from our Prophet, "An hour's reflection is better than a year's worship." Puzzled we asked "even better than reading the Quran?" And he, may he be blessed, said, "And, can the Quran be useful without knowledge?" Ali, his student and companion, then declared "God did not distribute to His servants anything more to be esteemed than intelligence..."