Reading but Not Actually – I was reading up a Sufi book of devotional practices when I noticed something new. Interspaced between texts which were familiar to me are some sentences and words apparently new. But of course, it cannot be so. After all, the pages are dog-eared and it is the same old copy that I have been reading intermittently. I am sure no elf sneaked into my shelves in the middle of the night to mischievously alter the pages.
It may not be elves but I think I have a clue. I was merely using the natural approach towards the practice of any new thing. I essentially wanted to know the basics – Ergo , what I needed to recite, how many times and in what sequence. In doing so I guess I kinda skimmed over the substantive explanations. Silly billy me.
Selective Reading – And of course, what we understand a book to mean will also depend on our own preconception and misconception of whatever topic the book may be about. Often we read books not to actually seek new knowledge, but merely to affirm or validate things we already believe in. Whether we like it or not, we either consciously or subconsciously drift to authors and publications that we anticipate agreement with. So already we are rigging our ‘quest’ to only ‘discover’ knowledge which naturally fits with our own pre-conceived notions of truths and moral rights and wrongs.
Thus, perhaps we have a lot to be thankful for – That wisdom and beneficial knowledge does not come from our choice of books. Because were it so, our ‘wisdom’ would be skewered in the direction of our own bias and secret prejudices. And as history has shown, this is a trend that we should avoid at all cost.
Alhamdulillah (Praise unto God) we are at this orderly juncture. Because I was a little nervous about the apparent contradiction between the Sufic view that wisdom does not originate from books, while at the same time espousing love and devotion to books. Sometimes we just need to delve a little deeper, I guess… To swim a little further and to contemplate little more longer. To find the unity of purpose and divine beauty hidden in the apparent contradictions that spice our life and thoughts. Our eternal gratitude to God Almighty and His Habibullah (saws) for seeding our path with these little questions, that we may learn to find the right answers.
Do you not agree, sunshine?
wa min Allah at-taufiq
Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way