The Story about the Different Opinions
In a certain country no one had ever seen an elephant. The first elephant that was brought to this country was from India. It was placed in a dark building where one could not see the dark colored elephant. Many viewers came along to see
the animal. They were allowed to touch the elephant and then draw conclusions as to what is an elephant. According to the part of the elephant they touched, they drew their conclusions and in this manner, each one had a different opinion.
The one who touched the ears of the elephant exclaimed, “It is like a huge fan.” The one who touched its back exclaimed, “The elephant is like a platform”. The one who touched its leg exclaimed, “No, you are all wrong. This is like a
pillar”. The one who touched the trunk of the elephant said, “According to my opinion, this elephant is long and hollow within”.
In this manner, all of them had different versions of an elephant. Maulana Rumi (Rahmatullah Alaihi) now says that if they had a lamp in their hands, all these differences of opinion would have disappeared.
“If everyone of them had a lamp in his hand, They would all have been safe from differing”.
These days there are many differences of opinion regarding the concept of Allah Ta’ala, Messengership, Prophethood, the aim and object of life on earth and the resurrection. Many people, in this darkened world, independent of the light of revelation try to understand the
links between the worldly life and the life of the Hereafter.
They try to understand the relationship between the Creator and His creation solely through reason. They are all like the people mentioned in this story. Not one of them will be able to reach the truth.
One blind man, whether he tries to tread the path on his own or by following another blind man, in both cases, will head towards destruction and be deprived of reaching the required destination. If the traveler and the guide are both blind – no
matter how many they may be, the sum total will still be blindness. Hence, to understand the reality of things, logic and reason alone is not enough. The Light of revelation is also required. In the story all those who touched the elephant, were
rational beings, the only thing missing was light. Thus, Muslims should not look towards men of science and philosophy to research the affairs of the Hereafter and fix the object of human life on earth. Those men of science and philosophy lack the light of revelation and as such, they will
conclude that man is just a machine which manufactures feces. They will conclude that the object of this life is merely to eat, drink and defecate – nothing else.
The light to which we refer is Divine Revelation, it is the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). The very light which was revealed in the Cave of Hira, fourteen centuries ago.
May Allah Ta’ala protect us from any modern light.
“O new light, may your face be blackened.
In your heart is darkness and your outside is enlightened”.
Ma’aarif- e -Mathnawi