You are the repository of our wisdom, the meticulous record of our failures and successes, and of our reasons and whims. You connect the past to the present and the present to its genuine self. So, my dear books, why are your guests so few? From that singular divine Book you created a civilization. From an inspiration you created an idea, then a thought, then a system, then a vehicle, then you discovered roads and signs. Why do Muslims insist on re-inventing the wheel at the beginning of every journey? Do any people deny their heritage more than we do? Is there a people more self-effacing than we are? Are there any people who dare limit God's manifestation to a single Golden Age and live enslaved to the illusion of a re-created history as much as we do? Can't we see that every age is God's age and that every age is to be honored, studied, and absorbed but never reproduced?
-Khaled M. Abou El Fadl, Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam, p. 8