Faith is the Cure for Fear
Recollections from a sohbet by Shaikh Syed Wajhullah Hussaini Qadri Multani of Hyderabad
Submitted by Zaheer Khan Mohammed, Pleasanton, CA
Many centuries ago, in a land far away, there lived two good friends, Zaid and Bakr. They had grown up together but were separated as adults, each pursuing his own vocation. Each wanted to visit the other but the constraints of time, distance and terrain kept them apart.
Years went by. Bakr was by nature restless and the separation was unbearable for him. He just had to go meet his friend Zaid and talk to him about all the experiences he had since their last meeting.
One morning, at dawn, he set out on foot taking with him some provisions for the long journey. The road led through dense forests and narrow streams. He kept walking as fast as he could. Finally, as the sun was setting and darkness was approaching, he arrived at Zaid’s house, exhausted.
Zaid was overjoyed to see his old friend. “Welcome, Bakr”, exclaimed an exultant Zaid, “Please come in. My home is your home.”
The two sat down on a carpet on the floor. “You must be so hungry”, said Zaid, “let us have dinner together and then we will talk. I just can’t wait to hear what you have been doing.”
The two had their meal together. Zaid wanted to talk but Bakr was extremely tired; every bone in his body hurt from the long journey.
“I am so tired”, said Bakr to his friend. “I would like to go to bed now. After a restful night, we will have the whole day tomorrow to talk.”
Zaid relented and walked over Bakr to the guest house. It was a large, clean chamber with a Persian carpet and mattress on the floor.
“This is a quiet room”, said Zaid to his friend. “No one will disturb you here. You will sleep well here. But there is one small piece of information I must share with you. You see that corner there. There is a small hole in that corner and I have seen a snake come out of there once in a while. It does not happen often, only once in a few months. But do not worry about it. Have faith and go to sleep.”
Bakr was dead tired. He could hardly stand up. There was nothing more he wanted in the whole world than go to sleep.
He lay down on the mattress. He was exhausted but the thought of the snake coming out of the corner overwhelmed him. He sat up all night with his sight riveted on that corner expecting the snake to come out.
It was a long night for Bakr. His body was ready to collapse but his mind would not let his body go to sleep. Finally, it was dawn and Zaid knocked at the door to wake up his friend for the morning prayers.
“Did you sleep well, Bakr?”, asked Zaid, expecting an affirmative answer.
“Not a wink, Zaid”, answered Bakr. “I stayed up all night, afraid that the snake might come out from that corner.”
“That is the power of fear, my friend”. Zaid shared his inner thoughts with his friend. “There are snakes in life, all around us, some in front of us, some behind us. “We must place our trust in Allah and keep moving. Only faith can conquer fear.
The Shaikh explained that Zaid represented the heart and Bakr the mind. The mind is always restless, darting out in every direction. It is weak and is prone to suspicion and doubt. By contrast, the heart is secure and serene in its faith. The tension between the heart and the mind keeps a human being on edge. Those who are friends of Allah place their trust in Him and transcend suspicion, doubt and fear. Those who have fear of Allah in their hearts are not fearful of anything else. As the Qur’an explains: “Inna Ala Awliya Allahi Wa La Khawfun A’layhim Wa La Hum Yahzanoon. Indeed! Upon the friends of Allah there shall be no fear nor shall they grieve”.