Anxious about her son’s overeating of sweets, a mother took him to a guru for a counsel. The guru, but, instructed them to come after a week. The mother and son went again to the guru after a week. The guru admonished him gently. Surprised by the gurus action, the mother asked him why they were asked to come after a week. The guru replied: “I have a strong sweet tooth too. I should get my craving corrected first, otherwise, how will I counsel your son?”
Advice comes of no cost. No land goes dry of it. To check whether the counselor qualifies for that is no man’s duty, but the counselor’s itself. There are those who can speak to your heart, eloquently. They can converse with your souls. But, many a times, the words that come out of them, though blooms a spring in others’ hearts, sows nothing in their’s.
An unbrimmed cup overflows never. Only when it fills to the maximum, it flows out. Its only when our life abound in virtues, we pass it over to others. And there it goes fruitful. Prophet (Peace be upon him) said, there will be some who are like the donkeys of flour mill, in the Hell. Everything that is inside their body would have come out. Seeing this, people will ask them, “you used to advise us, din’t you?” and the man replies, “yes I did, I used to counsel you on virtues, but never practised it in my life. I used to prevent you from sins, but never abstained, myself.”
This is result of overflowing without brimming. The words he uttered were not from his heart. Counsels after counsels, he made himself feel that he is the one only to give it, and hence he never paid attention to others’ advice to him. And finally, he succumbed to the Anger of Allah.
The life of our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) shows us how the life of a counselor goes. He was not any mysterious character that spend his time in the solitary seclusion of a hermitage. Instead, living among the people, as one among them, he grew into greatness. He did not just advise them to pray, but lead them in it. Did not just encourage them for mutual compromise, but enlivened it in his personal life. Did not just counsel them not to lie, but stood by it.
Qur’an severely censures the act where one advises people on virtue and forgets about it in their own life. There are many who can give a whole lecture on the Qur’anic verse ” Why would you talk of that which you do not do”, of Surah as-swafat, with no prick of conscience. Many a times, we have witnessed people who are not strict about their personal religious-life, showering their advice on others, pretending themselves to be the imaams.
In a hadith reported by Damiri from Hasan (R), Prophet (Peace be upon him) says: “knowledge is of two types, one that is etched in the hearts. And that is the useful knowledge. The other is the one lying only on the tongue. That will stand against man infront of Allah”.
It is easy to counsel on “tavakkul (Trust), patience, or devotion. But the majority leaves it out in their practical life. The only hindrance, many has, to engage in admonition in own family and place is that they fail to live up to a character for that quality and piety. And they go abroad and engage in full time “advisory” roles.
Though the cookie is sweet, we hesitate to accept it if the hands stretching it to us is dirty. Similarly, if the propagators are immoral and heedless, there will be no one to receive the message of Islam.
A person who emanate faith and knowledge does not need long lectures to shine among the people. People will look upto him as a role model. And for those who does not have those qualities, no matter how beautiful they speak, will not be admired, though applauded and appreciated.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud!
Translated by Noufal PT