Friday, March 04, 2005

Reminder to self: Judge not a book by its cover

Ustaz K related to us how, recently on our trip to Hajj, he was often given lectures by various individuals regarding matters pertaining to Hajj or religion. For those who did not know him personally, on the first impression they thought that Ustaz K was a clueless man. Perhaps because Ustaz K is a very humble and sempoi person. He is down to earth, dressed very simply, no large turban, dark eyeliners or kopiah.

In fact, even though we consider him as our religious teacher, he never lectures us on how we should lead our lifestyle or what he thinks we should and should not do. He doesn't judge us, but is always wiling to help when we needed help. He is an amicable person. And because he is all that his words carry a lot of resonance and he is very much respected by those who know him.

One afternoon, after performing his afternoon prayers, he was approached by a young man. This man is a student of Medina University, being an ustaz in training he was very eager to impart his newfound knowledge. For some reason he singled out Ustaz K as the person whom he would impart his knowledge to that day. The conversation went something like this:

Student: Assalammualaikum
K: Wa'alaikummusalam
Student: Asal dari mana ni.
K: Asal dari jawi.
Student: Datang buat Haji ke?
K: Ya.
Student: Dah tau apa rukun-rukun Haji?

Ustaz K being the humble and unassuming person that he is, did not tell The Student that this was his 20th time performing the Hajj. He merely smiled and listened attentively. He was to meet one of his friends there and so he didn't mind listening to The Student talk.

Shortly afterwards, Ustaz K's friend showed up. W who is also a student and lives in the same city as Ustaz K also knew The Student, who at that time was "teaching" Ustaz K. After greeting them with the normal pleasantaries and listerning to the excerpt of The Student's speech, he could not contain himself any longer.

W: Anta tau ke dengan siapa anta sedang berbual ni?
Student: Jemaah haji dari Jawi.
W: Anta pernah tak dengar nama Ustaz K, yang sedang buat PHD?
Student: Pernah, tapi tak pernah jumpa lagi. Insyallah kalau ada rezeki dapat ana jumpa.
W: Ini lah orangnya.

And the student's face went all white. There he was, trying to teach the basics to the man who was obviously more qualified and more experienced than he is. He apologized profusely, but nothing could hide his embarassment.

But Ustaz K, being the kind, modest and humble soul that he was, quickly put the student at ease. He commended the student on his initiative and wished him luck in his endeavour.

Every now and again, one would encounter with people who think that they know more than you and is all too eager to teach you something new.

From that I often have to remind myself never to judge a book by its cover. I should not be too enthusiatic in imparting the little knowledge that I have but strive to learn more rather than impress upon others my opinion of what they should or should not do.

Neither should I chide people, especially people whom I hardly know. Never assume anything because when I assume, I might make an ass out of me.


Yam said...

Oh.. I agree sangat - never judge a book by its cover.

Sometimes those who seem the most clueless are actually the exact opposite of what they seem, kan?

Ustaz K sounds very humble, as you mentioned :)

Bustaman said...

Heheh! Opening your mouth and putting both feet in it.
I guess when youhave newfound knowledge you want to flaunt it.

Kak Teh said...

the arrogance!!! and there's too many around too.
Yes, pok ku - flaunt is the word.

CN said...

ckp dlm hati

harap2 ramai lah org mcm ustz k di atas bumi Allah ... ameen

MakNenek said...

salam sunflora
wah shiook nya. ustaz k ni mengajar agama di sana ke? best nyaaaa.. one of the things i mise abt living here. takde ustaz for me /english or malay speaking ahh.

nefertiti said...

you've hit the paku karat right on the kepala besi..
we're constantly prejudging others without knowing them personally.. and the itchiness of imposing our values on to others..

atenah said...

the young, very teruja but not so tactful

Anonymous said...

thanks for the humble at all times.
is that really you sunflora? i've been searching for you for years. good to hear you're doing ok.
a clue on who I am - my son asked me last dec when he looked through my album "is that your sister? why same clothes?" :-)