Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Triple Filter Test

As tweeted by @IslamicThinking on Twitter.

During the golden Abbasid period, one of the scholars in Baghdad, which was the capital of Muslim caliphate at that time, was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great scholar and said: "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"

"Hold on a minute," the scholar replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Before you talk to me about my friend it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say."

"The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

"Alright," said the scholar, "so you don't know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"

"No, on the contrary..." replied the man.

"So," the scholar continued, "you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though because there's one more filter left, the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really," said the man.

"Well," concluded the scholar, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell me at all?"

"O those who believe, no man should ever mock at other men, since it is possible that the latter are better than the former, nor should women ever mock at other women, since it is possible that the latter women is better than the former ones. And do not find fault with one another, nor call one another with bad nicknames. Bad is the name of sinfulness after embracing Faith. And whoever does not repent, such people are the wrongdoers." (Quran 49: 11).