In the conclusion of this lecture, Hazrat Inayat Khan continues his warning against the disease of doubt and the word ‘perhaps,’ and outlines the necessary steps toward the development of faith. The previous post is here.
Faith should be continued to the end. One may have faith when climbing stairs of a hundred steps; one may climb ninety-six steps with faith, and then one may lose it. Before the four steps that are still to be climbed one may lose faith; doubt has come and the whole journey is spoiled. This happens very often in the lives of so many people who are face to face with their success and yet fail. They have just approached what they wanted and then they lose it. In nearly every person’s life one sees this, and the greater the person, the more one sees it; for the greater the person the more powerful his faith, and therefore he is able to see the play of faith. It is just like sending a kite so far into the sky – and before it reaches higher, it drops down. The enemy which causes this is doubt.
One may do something during one’s whole life, and accomplish it to a great extent, but through lack of a little more faith one will lose it, and all that was done will be spoiled in a moment’s time. How long does it take for a house to be built, and how long does it take to destroy it? How long does it take to make a business really prosperous? How long does it take to fail? One moment. When one learns this principle and thinks about it, one begins to see that the whole world, with all that we hear and see and touch and feel, is all illusion in the face of faith. Faith alone is reality, and compared with faith all else is unreal. But since we do not see faith with our own eyes, it is very difficult to call faith real and all else unreal; our eyes cannot see faith and we do not know where it is.
Now arises the question: how can one find faith in oneself, how can one develop it? One can find faith by practicing self-confidence as the first thing, by having self-confidence even in the smallest things. Today most people have the habit to say with everything ‘perhaps.’ It seems as if a new word has come in use; they say ‘perhaps it will happen.’ It is a kind of polite expression, or a word of refined people to show themselves pessimistic. I can see their reason; they think that it is fanatic, presumptuous, and simple to say, ‘It will be,’ or ‘It will come,’ or ‘It will be accomplished,’ or ‘It will be fulfilled.’ To say ‘perhaps’ – so they think – makes them free from the responsibility of having committed themselves. The more pessimistic a person, the more ‘perhaps’ he uses, and this ‘perhaps’ has gone so deep in souls today that they cannot find faith.
After self-confidence is developed, the second step is to trust another with closed eyes. One might think that this is not always practical, and one might think that it might lead to great loss. But at the same time even that loss would be a gain, and a thousand gains compared with the loss of faith would be as nothing. A person is richer if he has trusted someone and lost something than if he had not trusted someone and preserved something – something that one day will be taken away from him! He could just as well have given it up.
One might say that every simple person is inclined to trust another. Yes, but the difference between the wise person who trusts bravely and the simple person who trusts readily is great. The wise man who trusts, if he is influenced by another that he may not, or must not, trust a certain person, even if he is given a certain proof, even then that habit of trusting will remain with him. As to the simple man, as soon as anyone says, ‘Oh, what are you doing, you trust somebody who is not trustworthy,’ his trust will change. That is the difference between the wise and the foolish person. The foolish person trusts because he does not know better; the wise person trusts because he knows that to trust is best.
The third step towards the development of faith is trust in the unseen, to trust in something which one does not see. Reason does not show what it is, where it is, how it is, how it should be gained, how it can be brought about, how it should be obtained, how it can be reached. One does not see the reason, one only sees: it will be done, it must be done, it must come. It is that trust in the unseen which is called trust in God. When you do not see any sign before you of something that should happen, and yet you think, ‘Yes, it must happen, it will happen, it certainly must happen,’ and you have no doubt, then your trust is in God.
The first principle of the Sufi message is faith. It is not only occult study, nor is it scientific analysis, nor psychic phenomena. The first lesson of the message is faith, and it is with faith that the message will be spread. We each shall work in our own way in serving, in spreading the message, and it is with faith that the message of God will be fulfilled.