Trust in Allah, but tether your camel first

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“This Sufi saying wants to create the third type of man, the real man: who knows how to do and who knows how not to do,” expounds Osho.

‘Trust in Allah but tether your camel first’ –
I love this Sufi saying, but I don’t know who or what the camel is.

It changes. The camel is not a fixed entity, it comes in all shapes and sizes. The camel is only a symbol. It simply says one thing: don’t be passive. God has no hands other than your hands. Trust in Allah, trust in God, but that should not be an excuse for becoming lousy, lazy.

There are three types of people in the world. One thinks he has to do a thing; he himself is the doer. He does not trust the whole, the encompassing whole. He simply lives on his small, small energy, and naturally is defeated again and again and proves a failure. If you live on your very small energy against this vast energy that surrounds you, you are going to be a loser, a goner. And you will suffer great agonies and anguish. Your whole life will be nothing but a long, long misery.

Then the second type of person is one who thinks, “When God is doing everything, I need not do anything. I’m not supposed to do anything.” He simply sits and waits. His life becomes more and more lazy, and there comes a point when he no longer lives, he simply vegetates. […]

This Sufi saying wants to create the third type of man, the real man: who knows how to do and who knows how not to do; who can be a doer when needed, can say “Yes!”, and who can be passive when needed and can say “No”; who is utterly wakeful in the day and utterly asleep in the night; who knows how to inhale and how to exhale; who knows the balance of life.

‘Trust in Allah but tether your camel first’ –

This saying comes from a small story.

A Master was traveling with one of his disciples. The disciple was in charge of taking care of the camel. They came in the night, tired, to a caravanserai. It was the disciple’s duty to tether the camel; he didn’t bother about it, he left the camel outside. Instead of that he simply prayed. He said to God, “Take care of the camel,” and fell asleep.

In the morning the camel was gone – stolen or moved away, or whatsoever happened.

The Master asked, “What happened to the camel? Where is the camel?”

And the disciple said, “I don’t know. You ask God, because I had told Allah to take care of the camel, and I was too tired, so I don’t know. And I am not responsible either, because I had told Him, and very clearly! There was no missing the point. Not only once in fact, I told Him thrice. And you go on teaching ‘Trust Allah’, so I trusted. Now don’t look at me with anger.”

The Master said, “Trust in Allah but tether your camel first – because Allah has no other hands than yours.”

Osho, The Wisdom of the Sands – Discourses on Sufism, Vol 1, Ch 2, Q 4 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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