Can you talk about the Sufi saying, “Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first”?
Sometimes I feel I hide in passivity, waiting for things to happen. And yet sometimes I am in awe at the way existence seems to be constantly caring for me.
The Sufi saying is as ancient as it is wrong. Nobody has ever objected to the inner contradiction in the saying. The saying is: Trust in Allah – trust in God – but tether your camel first. Obviously the camel is a priority. God is just a belief.
The saying is not in favor of Allah, it is simply denying the very existence of Allah. Trust in Allah cannot be put second to anything. It can be put second only if it is just a fictitious belief. That’s why I say the saying is absolutely wrong.
In fact it is saying, “Tether your camel first – then do whatever you want to do with Allah. Trust or no trust, but tether your camel first.” Such sayings have existed for centuries without being objected to because only a man of Allah can object. And in the marketplace you can find the camel, but not Allah.
If the trust is total, then forget all about the camel, God will take care of it. And if God cannot take care of the camel what else can he do? Your trust is not even enough for a camel’s care – who will care for you? Who will take care for this whole existence?
But the fact is, everybody believes in God and everybody knows it is just a belief. It is good, a social formality, but not a heartfelt reality. The real thing is the camel – heartfelt! You cannot trust God in such important matters as tethering your camel.
Then what is the purpose of your trust in God? If he is so inefficient that he cannot take care of the camel, it is better to forget all about God, tether the camel, and take every care that is possible for you to take. That’s actually what it is saying, but it is saying it in such a way that it looks as if it is a very religious statement.
It is utterly irreligious.
I don’t believe in God and I don’t even have any idea that God exists, but I believe in trust. This gives a strange turn to the whole thing:
Trust in itself is enough.
Don’t be doubtful, be trusting.
Naturally you will ask, “If there is no God, then whom to trust?”
Trust in your intelligence, trust in your love. Trust in existence. Trust in this whole universe, which is running so efficiently…no accidents, no stars colliding, no planets going away for a holiday. Everything is going so smoothly…and it is so vast and infinite that even a God cannot manage, the sheer vastness is such. But existence itself is intelligent.