header pic header text

Volume VIII - The Art of Being

The Privilege of Being Human

Chapter XXXV


Patience in perseverance is a very good thing, but it can only be possessed by those who have confidence. Each Sura of the Quran is addressed to those who have patience and great importance is given to confidence: iman.

Muslims perform namaz, their prayers, five times a day. If you ask an old Muslim whether he has gained anything by it, he will answer, 'What do you know about it?' I have gained what I wanted: my satisfaction.' If he is ill he does not care, he does not blame God. If he loses his fortune, he does not blame God. He does not say, 'After so many years of namaz this illness, this trouble has come!'

Everything that has been done has been done by confidence, and nothing can be done without confidence. You cannot dig the earth for gold, if you do not have confidence that the gold is there; you cannot watch the cooking pan, if you do not have confidence that there is something in the pan which the fire has the power to cook.

If I were to tell you to work three hours in the night repeating the name of Allah, you would say, 'My Murshid has told me so, and I must do it, but...' Then when you repeated Allah, Allah for half an hour, you would think, 'Here I am sitting for half an hour in this cold, and I do not see what I have gained by it. If I were to write some music now, tomorrow I could sell it for five pounds. Then I would have worked and I would have gained something.'

It has been the difficulty of all prophets, of all who have come with a message, that people said, 'Show us something that these eyes can see. Show that the sun comes down, or the moon, or that the earth cleaves. But the message of God – what is it? Show us something.' That is why, if there is a suffrage meeting, at once there is a subscription for a thousand pounds, because people know that by fighting the government they can get laws passed. If someone comes with a message from God and says, 'We need money to spread this message,' people say, 'Why do you need money? Money is needed for a scheme. Have you engineered a scheme?'

To have patience, to have confidence, we must see an object before us. We can have confidence in obtaining any material object. It is much more difficult to have patience where there is nothing to show – only the satisfaction of the soul; to have patience enough to acquire virtue, to merge in the illumination, to gain the light. It is the same with fire: at first there is smoke mixed with it and, if it had no patience until it would become a flame, there would only be smoke and then it would go out. If it has patience it will become a flame that illuminates the whole room so that everything can be seen and known. More than all else this patience is the greatest gift and blessing.


Every success in life is brought about by confidence, iman, and all our lacks are due to want of confidence. It is so with material as well as spiritual things.

In India many things are thought lucky or unlucky. If you go out on an undertaking and a cat crosses your road, it is thought that you cannot be successful then. If you go out and at once meet a person carrying flowers, then you will be successful. It is easy to understand the reason. If you first meet something that gives you pleasure, you have a good impression, and that gives you confidence. If you receive a bad impression your confidence disappears. A man, an ordinary sort of man, once came to my Murshid and asked him, 'Give me your blessing for good luck. I have built a carriage and I want to make some money with it.' My Murshid said, 'Every morning when you get up count your money.'

Whatever we are to undertake, we should say, 'I shall accomplish it, or lose my life.' Failure comes from lack of confidence, lack of confidence comes from doubt, doubt comes from reasoning, and reasoning comes from thinking of the means. If you think, 'I will go to Brighton, but perhaps, if I do, the Zeppelins will come and I shall be killed.' Then you lose your confidence. There was no need to think of the Zeppelins. They might come, but if they come you would be one among the many inhabitants of Brighton, and you might not be killed.

Whether in our own undertakings or in what we may do to help another, confidence is needed. You may do everything to help another, but if he has no confidence, if he does not work also, there cannot be success. God also needs your confidence and your effort for success.


checked 4-dec-2015