All or nothing

It is not all or nothing. There doesn’t need to be a simple binary of love or hate. The men and women that teach you don’t deserve your undivided loyalty. Take the good from them and leave the rest. Don’t let your respect for a teacher turn into idolatry. Don’t worship your sages and scholars. Don’t become a fanatic who defends another even when he does wrong, or is unjust, or becomes an oppressor.

Take the good of the good men and women do, but leave the rest. Sit with them while it is mutually beneficial, but recognise that times change, that yesterday and today are not alike, and tomorrow too. Revel in their wisdom and insight, but realise that there are limits to the knowledge of all men and women. Beware of what they do not know. If you expect more from your companions, know that you are doing it all wrong. Do not be a ring in the hand of another. Do not let a man or woman be the object of your devotion.

Take what is beneficial from the mufti and leave the rest. Recognise that sometimes he speaks with wisdom and penetrating insight founded on knowledge, and sometimes he simply makes things up or regurgitates what others have said without checking. Recognise that sometimes the sheikh is a fount of knowledge, passing on all that he has learned from his teachers over many years, but that sometimes he veers off into unknown realms and speaks in ignorance. Recognise that sometimes those you trust tell the truth, and sometimes they lie outright. Recognise that sometimes people are good and sometimes they are bad.

Humans are complicated. Do not worship them. Never let it be all or nothing.

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