|Before you unlock the Truth, better learn some discretion first...|
RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. I find it strange that when it comes to religion, some people put their finest sentiments, their most beautiful aspects aside, ignoring the very best things in their character which makes them such good people. It is like the moment an issue arises which requires consultation of a religious book or a religious authority, they change. They are not themselves anymore, not as sweet, caring and understanding.
GOSSIPS. I have a friend who recounted his village life, saying how his neighbours ALL attended the Marghrib prayers (evening) at the surau (small mosque) of his village. Before and after prayers they would often sit in a circle and talk. Sometimes, one of the congregation would notice a man walking outside the surau, heading somewhere, but clearly not heading into the mosque, then they would speak of that fellow (who is oblivious to what is going on) saying things like, “Look at that guy, where is he coming from and where is he going to? He should be here praying!”
HUBRIS. You know, I have absolutely no problem with people going to mosques and praying. Indeed, I do believe it is one of the cornerstones of the faith (like in all religion). Associating with your brethren and strengthening your ties with each other – it makes sense. But why sully your very best intentions, your attendance in a House of God with gossip and backbiting? This thing, which happens too often, pains me, because my friend really is one of the nicest and honest man I have had the pleasure of knowing.
BITTER IRONY. And the irony of it all is that what my friend is saying is not untrue. It is not a lie. It is true that you should be praying in the mosque, the more often the better. But how you couch your comments… how you enunciate them and with whom… all these variables affect the Truth of what you are saying. And when you offer truth, but tainted with a little hubris (and a lot of self-satisfaction)… well, it just spoils the taste of Truth. This reminds me of a poem I have posted earlier. Now I cannot find it, but I reckon it went something like this…
The Finest Truth?
You can have
The finest Truth,
But who would
Sip the wine if
You serve it
In a dirty glass?
There are many people (sadly, many of the learned) who doesn’t appear to comprehend this simple rule. They go about their lives dispensing truths according to their knowledge, but it sounds like curses and condemnation to you and me. They would shout to a believer or non-believer, “No! No! You are not dressed decently, you cannot come into the temple / church / mosque!” Sometimes they would sit with you and say things like, “I like you. I really do. And as one friend to another, why don’t you convert and join us in heaven?”
ONE SECRET IN THE NATURE OF TRUTH – DISCRETION. So I will share with you one secret aspect of Truth. One refined understanding of the Divine Attribute of God, by Whose command, we also call Him by the name of Haqq (Truth). And this is it, sunshine, ... that is Discretion is also the Nature of Truth. Discretion to pick the right time and audience to say what you consider to be true. The Discretion to keep secret what needs to be hidden, and the discretion to pick your words carefully. But such discretion doesn’t come easy for some. You must earn it through wisdom, and not knowledge. Knowledge is the first step of the lover. Wisdom is the second station which comes when the lover becomes the servant.
And we have to do this, because God does it too. One famous Sufi tale exemplifies this.
One day, a saintly saint asked God, “Oh my Lord! Release my senses from the cage of this world that I might see, hear and feel things as they TRULY are. God being on a buddy-buddy relations with this fella, assented to the saint’s prayers. And so, for a while the saint’s existence was amplified by his third eye, seeing and reveling in the hidden reality – which is the continuous dzikr (remembrance of God) by all living and non-sentient things. It was breathtaking for the Sufi. It was that is, until the Sufi had to go to the toilet, and accordingly needed to clean his body from the impurities. But he found it impossible to do so. You know why? Well how could you, assuming you want to use water, or sand, a rock or a leaf, when your ears can hear them ALL reciting the Divine Names of God?
So the saint quickly prayed to God, asking that the truth, that the absolute reality of creation be drawn again behind the veil of his mortality. And suddenly as Universal Dzikr started, the world became silent once again. The sufi was a little sad. But let me tell you that he was also very, very relieved!
So have a wise and discreet day, sunshine. God bless you!