May 31, 2012

What shall I do to please God? – a story by ‘Abdu’l-Baha quoted by Juliet Thompson

“There was once a disciple of Muhammad who asked of another disciple, ‘What shall I do to please God?’ And the other disciple replied: ‘Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not covet,’ etc., etc., etc. A great many ‘do nots.’" the Master laughed. "He asked still another, ‘What shall I do to become nearer to God?’ And this one said: ‘You must supplicate and pray. You must be generous. You must be courageous,’ etc., etc., etc. Then the disciple went to ‘Alí [the first Muslim Imam]. ‘What do you say I should do in order to please God and to become nearer to Him?’ ‘One thing only: be truthful.’”

“For,” continued the Master, “if you are truthful, you cannot commit murder. You would have to confess it! Neither can you steal. You would have to confess it. So, if one is truthful, he possesses all the virtues.” (The Diary of Juliet Thompson, pp. 332-333)