Wisdom? Sez Who?

Here’s something that’s always struck me an odd chord in me, but I’ve never mentioned before as such. You know those little bits of ‘wisdom’ that get stuck on fridge magnets, passed down as life-philosophies and forwarded in over-enthusiastic emails?

A simple sentence or two, words placed in a certain way aimed at making you stop, think and go *sigh*. But on second reading, how much of it is actually wise? Or even sensible to begin with?

Here are some examples:

– a few years ago a friend gave me a small square plastic fridge magnet with the words: “This life must be a test. If it was the real thing, we’d be given better instructions.” Everytime I read it, a part of me goes ‘eh?’ and then it hits me…the person who wrote that, wasn’t a Muslim.

Of course, this starts another train of thought as to why people can’t see the obvious fact that heck, this life might be a test, okay, but we have like the best, most perfect instructions to live it out. I mean after all, how well you fare in the ‘test’ is based on how clear the instructions are to begin with, innit?

– and then I saw this email forward with lots of soppy, feel-good advice. The kind that reeks of scented letter, bunches of roses and coochie-coochie-coo’s *shhhuudddeerr*

And right there in the top ten (only made it that far) was ‘Make sure you’re engaged for at least six months before you get married.’


And this was *kindly* forwarded to me by a Muslim! I’m thinking, did you even READ the mail? The concept of an engagement doesn’t even exist in Islam and although we do indulge in it – mainly I think so we can get enough time to throw some well-earned money away in the guise of shopping (who says the concept of a trousseau exists in Islam either?).

– and then today I was reading a newsletter I get and the host ( a wonderful person by the way) says the following in consolation to a reader who has been diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer.

“If I knew the way, I’d take you home.”

It’s a touching phrase and joins those who read it in a sense of ‘we’re all in the same boat, doing the best we can and none of us really knows the secret to that elusive aim of life we’re all searching for’.

But then I thought to myself: But I do know the way home. Hasn’t Allah (SWT) laid it all out for me in clear instructions and then sent the most amazing guide to show me how to walk the path? Not only do I know the way home, I know how to walk on it and I know what home will be like.

Which leaves me with the question: Why am I not taking those who are lost home with me? I’m not sure I have an answer I like. Do you?

Bint Ali


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