2016 gave us Brexit, Trump, a growing sense of fear, nationalism, isolationism and fear of the other. We can change this by reforming our attitude, by adopting rules that can clearly guide our thinking so we can once more get closer to each other and become caring. Here are five golden values that will keep us on the straight and narrow, insha Allah.
Long ago there lived a brilliant teacher, a spiritual guide, an excellent life coach. He lived in a tranquil countryside house at the foot of the snow-capped Mount Judi, his zawiya (spiritual retreat) offered an oasis of peace in the most scenic part of North East Turkey not far from the Iranian border. So students and disciples flocked to him. His purpose was to produce good human beings, so people rushed to him for knowledge and wisdom. He was kind, considerate and a compassionate man seeking to make the world a peaceful and harmonious place. One day the old sage summoned a student who had stayed with him for a few years and was finally ready to graduate, so he asked him “what have you learnt from me?” He wanted to satisfy himself that he had done a decent job with this student, the student replied “sir, I have learnt five valuable things from you”. The wise old man was surprised that over the years he had learnt just five things.
The five values of inner peace
He replied “firstly, people should love neither wealth nor high positions nor fame, they should focus on doing the common good for Humanity. You have taught me we should not be greedy or mean, instead we should be generous and charitable. I have noticed how people spend their day and night in fact their entire life accumulating wealth and they don’t get to use it and when they die others inherit it. So what I have learnt from you is whatever good we are given by the Almighty we should use it in the best way for the good of others, in this way we will have peace of mind and also the pleasure of the Lord. This is what will give true happiness here and in the hereafter“.
The Wise old man smiled and asked, “what is the second thing you have learnt?” The student replied, “it is that one should always be mindful of the Lord, be attentive and aware and fully awake to his responsibilities so that he could be thankful and this will stop him from doing wicked things. One should always remember that sustenance for our worldly needs is provided by the Almighty Loving God, therefore we should not be overly concerned with it“.
By now the smile on the face of the sage was growing bigger and bigger, he then enquired, “what is the third thing you have learnt from me?” The young man replied, “O sage! The third thing that I have learnt from you is that one should never be jealous of the wealth and the status of others. This is a moral vice that eats away people’s good deeds like the fire burns dry wood. After all the real owner of all wealth is Allah. Therefore, never wish to see people deprived of their possessions“.
The Great Teacher nodded his head and approved his student’s wisdom. “So what next?” The student responded, “The fourth lesson is that Satan is the bitterest enemy, he just seeks to destroy and damage people’s lives and their happiness and therefore we ought to regard him as our enemy“.
The old man said you have spoken the truth and asked him to tell him the fifth lesson. The student replied, “my dear teacher, I have learnt that people’s real Helper and the Guardian is the Almighty Lord and no one else, therefore we should put trust in Him alone“. After hearing these words of wisdom the old sage was thankful to Allah for giving him such wonderful people to teach.
This articulate young man has shown us the need for spiritual values, the connection with the bigger reality that life is more than material things and secondly the need to care for others, when we are genuinely concerned about others our view of the world will change for the better and fear of the other will disappear.