Trust in Allah but tie up your camel

 

camellargeAs I write, it’s the day of the European Elections in the UK. Over the past few months, there has been a political storm gaining strength through whipping up the fears and concerns of the voting public, resulting in strong feelings, harsh words and a sense of creeping disquiet throughout the country as the nature of belonging and who should live here is argued about.

Yet despite all the debate and mud-slinging, a large majority of voters will fail to turn up to the polling stations today (around two thirds, if the last two years’ European Elections are anything to go by).

This isn’t a political blog though, so why am I writing about elections?

Because I see a striking similarity between people who don’t vote and then complain about the government and people who want something in their life but don’t do anything about it. The sort of people who claim they never win anything, without ever having bought a raffle ticket.

There’s an Arabian proverb about a man who has had a successful day at the market and stops at the temple to give thanks to God. Leaving his camel outside, he goes into the temple and prays for several hours, thanking Allah and promising that he will help the poor and his community in the future. When he comes out, he finds that his camel is gone. He is angry and shouts at the sky, “Allah! How could you do this to me? I put all my trust in you and this is how you repay me!”

A passing wise man hears the rantings of the angry man and calls out to him. “Trust in Allah, my child,” he chuckles, “but tie up your camel.”

It’s not enough to put your faith in others – be they God, other people, governments or institutions – without some action on your part too. It’s not enough just to talk about what you want to change without doing something, however small, to make that change happen. Similarly, action without a bigger picture can feel futile and frustrating – like walking in circles rather than heading for a destination.

Trusting in Allah but tying up your camel is the perfect balance of big picture and details focus. It means casting your vote in an election, however imperfect the choice is; it means having a vision and doing something about it; it means taking care of your own business and letting God or whatever higher power you have faith in take care of theirs; it means buying a ticket in the lottery of life. It means participating.

Where in your life are you focusing so much on the big picture that you neglect the details? Where are you concentrating so much on tying up your camel that you forget to even go into the temple? How could you participate more in making your dreams come true?

Want to talk this through? Need some help with how to step up and take part? Get in touch today.

 


Comments

Trust in Allah but tie up your camel — 2 Comments

  1. Great post Claire and yes I have conversations with people who are down and out about their life or business or both and I make suggestions of things they could try but I feel my help and advice is falling on closed ears. These are people who blame everyone else but themselves. I’m not saying they need to ‘blame’ themselves, they just need to take some action to make things better for their lives or their business instead of simply complaining or sulking. Being a non British citizen, I can’t vote here. I am considering taking the Life in the UK test http://www.bringingupbrits.co.uk/blog/life-in-the-uk-test so I can get my British citizenship and be able to vote. It’s becoming more important to me to be able to vote here than in the States because this is my home now and it’s where my children are growing up.

    Lastly, in one of my first drafts for my book (written with Heidi Walker) Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs, I actually wrote something along the lines of “Be adaptable, flexible and willing to take action and instigate change. If you fail at first or are not happy with the way your business is going, then do something about it. Make a plan, assess the situation and if you need to, get help. There’s lots of help and support out there if you look for it. Don’t be a cry baby.”

    In the editing stage, I took out the bit about being a cry baby! But I stand by what I originally wrote. Just don’t think it was right for the tone of the book in the end!

  2. So glad you enjoyed it Meg. I like the ‘don’t be a cry baby’ message but agree it might not be the right tone for some!

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