Thursday, February 09, 2006


A few weeks ago, while my car was at the automotive mechanic workshops, I went to buy some gear oil from a nearby shop. The shop owner is a seemingly nice person, has a long beard, always carries a tasbeeh and never misses a prayer in the mosque, which I notice whenever I have been to the workshop.
I gave the oil to the mechanic and went to the university. A while later, when I returned to the workshop, the workshop owner asked me where I had bought the oil from. I told him I bought it at the neighboring shop. I had bought those cans for Rs. 190 each. The owner told me that he had learnt from the mechanic how much I had bought them for and he bought the same oil at the gas station for Rs. 120 each for me and asked me to return the cans to the shop owner if possible.
What a shock! Something that is retailing for Rs. 120 carries sufficient margin for the shopkeeper, yet he'd love to sell it for as much as possible. Cant trust anything in Pakistan, can you. And to think that he seems so religious, and is selling something for about 50% more than necessary. What is all his religious practice teaching him?
At least in the land of the infidel, I could go to WalMart and rest assured that whatever I buy, I buy it for what it is worth. I can find things of various quality on the same shelf, and the best quality is expensive and the compromise is cheaper. The choice is mine. But here, I am confused. I buy expensive, yet low quality.


Adnan Farooq Hashmi said...

Word of advice Saqu bhai. In matters of business and committments, the Muslim is worse than the Jew.

Haven't you read/heard, "Tum mein behtareen shakh woh hai jo sab say ziyada parhezgaar hai (bhalay apna karobaar aur zindagi jhoot per guzaray)".

Anonymous said...

Dear Adnan,

I guess you quoted a more than correct saying at a terribly worng place and that too without considering what actually a "parhezgar" is ..

to quote from a surah .. Halakat hay un namazion kay liay jo apni namazon say ghafil hain , jo riyakari karti hain .... !! namazi and namazon say ghaflat !! , this points to the same guy sir saqib came across with .. coz we are told that , "namaz rokti hay bayhaey aur buri baat say", and buri baat includes everything from breaking the line to take undue profits ... so i guess there is nothing wrong with the saying , its just we mortals who extract the wrong meaning out of it more often than not .

Muhammad Saqib Ilyas said...

Adnan, I would beg to disagree here on the grounds that piety not just limited to forms of worship such as prayers and fasting, it also includes everyday dealing, which is what we muslims tend to forget. Recall in the old days in Medina, visiting traders were surprised to find traders in Medina who would describe the faults in their merchandise. This in days when telling lies and all sorts of wrong doing, like today, was commonplace.
I'll also quote Paulo Coelho who answers Juan Arias in "Confessions of a pilgrim" on the topic of excesses conducted by followers of a certain religion:
'No, because I know how to distinguish between the essence of religion and attitudes of its followers, who might be good or bad and who can abuse religion. I see religion as a group of people who make up a living body that develops and includes all its miserable sublime aspects.'

Adnan Farooq Hashmi said...

Glad to see some objective comment in response to mine. I hope that worship (namaz) really does stop one from committing wrongs and evils. Ironically, we see the opposite happening in the real world, as the post highlighted.

Faisal Nasim said...

[Courtesy: Paulo]

Paying the right price

Nixivan had invited his friends to supper and was cooking a succulent piece of meat for them. Suddenly, he realised that he had run out of salt.

So Nixivan called to his son.

'Go to the village and buy some salt, but pay a fair price for it: neither too much nor too little.'

His son was surprised.

'I can understand why I shouldn’t pay too much for it, Father, but if I can bargain them down, why not save a bit of money?'

'That would be the sensible thing to do in a big city, but it could destroy a small village like ours.'

When Nixivan's guests, who had overheard their conversation, wanted to know why they should not buy salt more cheaply if they could, Nixivan replied:

'The only reason a man would sell salt more cheaply than usual would be because he was desperate for money. And anyone who took advantage of that situation would be showing a lack of respect for the sweat and struggle of the man who laboured to produce it.'

'But such a small thing couldn't possibly destroy a village.'

'In the beginning, there was only a small amount of injustice abroad in the world, but everyone who came afterwards added their portion, always thinking that it was only very small and unimportant, and look where we have ended up today.'