Inherent in human nature is a desire to be accepted by other people and groups. Sometimes we go to extremes to receive approval from others.
Following is the story of Mullah Nasreddin Hodja, the eighth-century wise jester that typifies this behavior.
One day Mullah Nasreddin set out for the bazaar with his grandson and donkey.
As he entered the bazaar, a person commented, “Look how silly the Mullah is; he has a perfectly fine animal for transportation, but yet he doesn’t take advantage of it for himself or his grandson.”
So, the Mulla mounted the donkey, but as he moved along, he overheard someone else saying, “This is why our younger generation is resentful. The Mullah is wise in years, but he doesn’t care about the little boy suffering under the heat while he is comfortable on the donkey.”
The Mulla quickly dismounted and made his grandson ride the donkey. Further along the path, more whispers: “Just imagine! A healthy boy rides the donkey while the grandfather struggles under the scorching heat. This is how we spoil our youth and then wonder why they grow up so demanding.”
Hearing this, both the Mulla and grandson got on the donkey, but then another conversation reached their ears. “Look how these two are treating the poor donkey, making it carry the load of two people in the heat. Surely, God will punish us all for the way we abuse animals.”
In response to this, Mullah and the grandson got off the donkey, lifted it on their shoulders, and started walking.
This satisfied everyone .. well, of course, not everyone!
- Do not become a slave to other people’s opinions.
- Carefully select the people and groups whose approval and opinion we want to follow.
- Keep the company of those who will remind us of God.
- Only seeking the acceptance of his Lord, the Most High * And such, indeed, shall in time be well-pleased. Quran 92:20-21
- Remember, our goal should always be to seek the approval of God.
Adapted from Sacred Laughter of the Sufis