Today, we are surrounded by vast numbers of voices, all clamouring for attention through various sorts of media, saying all sorts of things.
Often, in winters there is dense fog in parts of northern India. When that happens, sometimes trains are made to halt at stations till the fog clears, or else they move very slowly. To solve this problem, Indian Railways have developed what is called a ‘fog-safe device’. With this device, it has now become possible for train drivers to drive their trains at 60 kilometres an hour even in dense fog.
Now, this is about physical fog. Like physical fog, there is something that can be called ‘intellectual fog’. Today, we are surrounded by vast numbers of voices, all clamouring for attention through various sorts of media, saying all sorts of things. You could call this as ‘intellectual fog. Perhaps it is this ‘intellectual fog’ that is referred to in a hadith of the Prophet as fitnah ad-duhaymah (The Age of Total Darkness). (Sunan Abu Dawud, hadith no. 4242)
Dense Darkness of Thoughts
Every person is, in reality, living inside this intellectual fog. They think in accordance with it. They act in accordance with it. Now, the question is: How can one save oneself from this problem? How can we be firmly established in right thinking in this dense darkness of thoughts?
The example of the ‘fog-safe device’ that is used for trains provides us an indication of the solution to this problem. What we need to do is to prepare ourselves internally in such a way that we are capable of thinking without being influenced by the external ‘fog’. Like the physical strategy employed by the railways, all of us need to make use of an intellectual strategy.
In line with the law of nature, the external fog is never going to stop. The only solution is that a person should take measures at the individual level so that he can protect himself from its negative effects. (Courtesy: Al Risala)