Rabbee Zidnee

"And convey to my servants that surely I am the Ghafoor (the Forgiving) and the Raheem (the Merciful)". -- Suratul Hijr, Verse 49

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Crocodile Tears

In His Name, the Most High

“Crocodile tears” is a term used to describe insincere portrayal of emotion. For example, during a recitation of du’a al-nudbah (which literally means the supplication of weeping and lamentation), someone might shed many tears out of love of the 12th Imam (a) and fervently join with everyone in calling upon his quick return. However, that same person could at the same time be committing sins (for example not paying his khums in a timely fashion or looking with pleasure at certain actors/actresses at the movies) or not fulfilling his wajibaat (like not waking up for fajr prayers).

The Prophets and the Imams have taught us that emotional love for them is a good thing, but it is far more meaningful to them, and useful for us to put this love into action. Someone might be looking forward to an eminent return of the 12th Imam (a). But since his actions are contrary to his feeling, when the 12th Imam does return, he might quickly join the ranks of the opposition. Why? Because the Imam’s ways will differ from his ways.

The Qur’an has also given us a vivid example of crocodile tears. The brothers of Yusuf (a), by lying to their father, obtained permission to take him for an outing. Out of their jealousy for their youngest brother, they cast him into a well, and concocted a story that a wolf had eaten him in the wild. The Qur’an describes their return on the night of the journey as follows:

They returned to their father at night in a state of weeping.

Note that the Arabic (yabkoon) used in this ayah literally means they were crying, not that they were pretending to cry.

Why does the Qur’an tell us that they were crying? The Qur’an is not a storybook and Allah (swt) would not tell us this detail just for the purpose of entertainment. There must be a lesson and a reminder in it for us.

Let us not be like the brothers of Yusuf who outwardly shed tears, but at the same time possessed sick hearts (filled with jealousy) and openly disobeyed Allah in their actions.

-- From a discussion with a teacher at Madasah al-Mahdi, 1/16/05.


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