Sabit Mends His Ways
In the end, Sabit realized that it is love that begets love. Others would return love only when they are loved by you and that love is part of piety.
By Irshad Nayeem
Sabit was an angry boy. There was nothing at all that didn’t irritate him. Not surprisingly, no one liked Sabit at all. And that only made Sabit angrier. ‘I’m the nicest person I ever knew,’ he would console himself, ‘and I know why no one likes me at all. It’s because they are all so bad— not me, as they stupidly think.’ In times of distress, people often turn to God for help, and that’s what Sabit did. ‘God!’ Sabit would say, with tears in his eyes, ‘Punish everyone who hates me’—and that meant quite about everyone else in the world whom he knew. As Sabit began spending more time in his prayers—and he fervently believed that God was listening to him—his hatred for everyone else grew by leaps and bounds. His prayers only strengthened his conviction that not only was he the only good person he knew and that everyone else was bad. Imagining himself to be specially religious because he spent so much time in prayer only made Sabit an even more bitter person. He began despising everyone else even more than before! ‘I’m so pious and Godfearing,’ he would congratulate himself, ‘and everyone else is so far-away from God. That shows how mean they are and how good I am!’ One day, Sabit stepped out of his house when he saw an old man coming down the street. A strange light flowed out of his eyes, and a gentle smile shivered on his lips. Sabit could not help stare at him in surprise. The man stopped at Sabit and turned to him. ‘You can be sure your prayers will never be answered, Sabit,’ he whispered. ‘If you think you’ve been really praying to God, you are sadly mistaken, my dear. Now, stop fooling yourself!’ ‘It isn’t God you’ve been really praying to or who you think is answering you,’ the man continued. ‘It’s just your own imagination! You’ve been praying to your own desires! And the more you do this, dear, the further you are really going
away from God . Your prayers have only made you more mean than you already were—true prayer ought to make you a better person. No wonder the people you hated now detest you even more after you turned “prayerful”!’ Sabit shook as he sobbed. ‘What should I do so that others like me and that I can please God, too?’ he blurted when he somewhat recovered. The old man took Sabit by the shoulder and looked into his eyes. ‘You will get what you give, that’s the law of God. If you give love, you’ll get it back from others. If you hate them, that’s all what you’ll get in return. It’s no surprise that people avoid you, for all that you give them is hatred. That’s why your prayers have remained unanswered, and they’ll remain that way until you realise the folly!’ Saying this, the old man walked away. Sabit stood out in the street, watching the man melting in the crowd. Sabit rushed home and knelt down to pray. And this time it was a real prayer, an outpouring from the heart. ‘Forgive me, God! I’ve cheated You, and myself, too, all this while,’ he cried. And then the words of the old man began resounding in his mind. ‘You will get what you give, that’s the law of God…. and God’s not going to change this law, ever.’ The words echoed while Sabit thought about the many people he had so despised all this while. What a long list of people it was! Then, gradually, Sabit understood why no one seemed to like him. He had had only anger and hate to give them, and it was no wonder that these were all that he had ever received in exchange! ‘You’ve finally answered my question and my prayer, God!’ cried Sabit, truly grateful to God for sending the old man to show him the errors of his ways.