One of the most painful discoveries of the seeker is that we are not, by and large, people of truth. There are amongst us honest, upright people, who will bear witness to truth, even against themselves, but the masses sadly have no compunction in sharing convenient untruths.
The question which occurs to the seeker is this: why do we talk about the importance of trustworthy chains of narration and verifying the information that comes to us in our tradition, if we do not institute it in our own lives with regard the information we receive from friend and foe?
It’s great calling the seeker a self-righteous, pompous fool for perpetually objecting to claims that can clearly be shown to be erroneous at best and downright lies at worst; it’s probably true, for we are all in need of inner reform and humility. But this principle of verification has always been the selling point of this deen: that we’re a people who cares about the truth.
Are we really? More often we seem to believe in political expediency. We believe in contingent truths. If an untruth serves our interests, we will share it. If the whole truth is too much to bear, we will edit it, conceal a part of it, chop it in half, censor it and alter it. Every sect, political movement and commercial organisation has its own truths, refined and honed to counter the truths of the other. There are our truths, and then there is the truth.
As a community we would be better replacing the notion of the pursuit of knowledge with the pursuit of truth. You may say this really means the same thing, but the latter would better focus our efforts on the ultimate goal. It might also help us remember to be people of truth, and not just wanderers taking sides.