Benefits of education – The News International

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By Dr A Q Khan

Education and training play a very important role in the shaping of the character of a person. If a person is dull and not very intelligent, no matter how much you try to teach him/her good manners, common sense and learning, they wont retain the information.

That great, wise man of Shiraz, the sage Shaikh Sadi, put it in this way: No matter how many times the donkey of Hazrat Esa went to Makkah, he remained a donkey, devoid of any intelligence and wisdom. If someone hasnt inherited the ability, nothing will turn him into an intellectual. Here are some of Shaikh Sadis wisdoms to clarify his philosophy (a free rendering from the translations of Richard Francis Burton).

I heard a Pir-instructor say to his murid: The mind of a man is so occupied with thoughts about maintenance that he would surpass the position of angels if he were to devote as many of them to the giver of that maintenance. God had not forgotten you at the time when you were no more than a sperm, buried and insensible. He gave you a soul, a nature, intellect and perception, beauty, speech, opinion, meditation and acuteness. He arranged five fingers on your hand and two arms on your shoulders. You, whose aspirations are worldly, do you think He would now forget to provide you with sustenance?"

I once saw an Arab in the desert who said to his son: O son, on the day of resurrection you will be asked what you have done, not from whom you are descended. The covering of the Kabah, which is kissed by many, has not been ennobled by the silkworm. It spent many days in the company of a venerable man, from where it became respected like him."

It is said by philosophers that scorpions are not born in the same manner as other living things but that they devour the bowels of their mother and, after gnawing through her belly, take themselves off to the desert. The skins which may be seen in the nests of scorpions are evidence of this. I narrated this to an illustrious man who then told me that his own experiences bore witness to the truth of this. He had seen many who had treated their fathers and mothers in this way when they were young and were now receiving the same treatment from their children when they were old. A father once admonished his son saying: O noble fellow, remember this advice. Whoever is not faithful to his origin will not become the companion of happiness.

The wife of a dervish had become with child and when the time of her confinement drew near, the dervish who had no child during his whole life said: If God the most high and glorious presents me with a son, I shall bestow everything I possess as alms upon dervishes, except this patched garment of mine which I am wearing. As it happened, the infant was a son. He rejoiced and gave a banquet to the dervishes as he had promised. Some years afterwards, when I was returning from a journey to Syria, I passed near the locality of that same dervish and asked about his circumstances, but was told that he had been put in prison by the police. Asking for the reason, I was told that his son, having become drunk, quarrelled and, having shed the blood of a man, had fled. His father was loaded with a chain around his neck and heavy fetters on his legs and sent to prison in his stead. If pregnant women, O man of intellect, bring forth serpents at the time of birth, that would be better for her than to give birth to a wicked progeny.

When I was a child I asked an illustrious man about puberty. He replied: It is recorded in books that it has three signs. First, the age of fifteen years; secondly nocturnal pollutions and thirdly the sprouting of hair on the pudenda. In reality there is only one sign which is sufficient; that is you should seek the approbation of the most high and glorious rather than to be in the bondage of sensual pleasures. Whoever does not contain his lusts is considered by learned men not to have attained puberty of the mind. If a man does not possess excellence and goodness, then what is the difference between him and a picture on the wall? It is no virtue to gain the whole world. Gain the heart of one person if you can the Almighty.

One year, while travelling to Haj, discord had arisen in the caravan among those who walked and I also travelled on foot. To obtain justice, they attacked each others heads and faces, giving full vent to their anger. I saw a man sitting in a camel litter say to his companion: How wonderful! A tradesman travels across the chess board and becomes a better person while someone travelling across the whole desert to perform Hajj, only becomes worse.

Someone should tell that back-biting Haji who tears the skin of his opponents, that he is not a true Haji while the camel I travel on is so. That is because the poor brute, while feeding only on thorns, still has to bear the load.

An illustrious man had a worthy son who died. Being asked what he desired to be written upon the sarcophagus of the tomb, he replied: The verses of the glorious book are deserving of more honour than to be written on such a spot. They would be injured by the lapse of time, would be walked upon by passers by and urinated upon by dogs. Let the following suffice: Every time the plants in my garden sprouted, my heart rejoiced. Pass by, my friend, so that in spring you may see plants sprouting from my loam.

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Benefits of education - The News International

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