Old aphorisms never die, they simply fade with over-use, suffering a fate common enough with sacred text: oft repeated words of high sentence, seldom reasoned with, or mined for fresh meaning. To become a rhetorical flourish is not necessarily to remain a burst of illumination. Take, for example, Franklin D Roosevelt’s clarion call: ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ How often is the idea — the fear of fear — used to invite an examination of the nature, structure and manipulation of fear in our time?

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

Access our entire archive of 350+ articles from the world's leading writers on Islam.
Only £3.30/month, cancel anytime.


Already subscribed? Log in here.

Not convinced? Read this: why should I subscribe to Critical Muslim?

Elsewhere on Critical Muslim: