An intelligent man, a scholar with a trained mind, came one day to a village. He wanted to compare, as an exercise and a study, the different points of view which might be represented there.
He went to the caravanserai and asked for the most truthful inhabitant and also the greatest liar of the village. The people who were there agreed unimously that the man called Kazzab was their greatest liar; and that Rastgu was the truthful one.
In turn, the scholar visited them, asking each a simple question: “What is the best way to the next village?”
Rastgu the Truthful said: “The mountain path.”
Kazzab the Liar also said: “The mountain path.”
Not unturally, this puzzled the scholar a great deal. He therefore asked some other ordiry citizens the same question.
Some said, “The river”, others said, “Across the fields”, while a few others again said, “The mountain path.”
Filly, the scholar took the mountain path and reached a village on the other side. But the problem of the truthful man and the liar of the previous village giving the same answer troubled him.
After he related his story at the rest-house there, he ended: “I evidently made the basic logical mistake of asking the wrong people for the mes of the Truthful and the Liar. I arrived here quite easily, by the mountain path.”
A wise man who was present spoke: “Logicians, it must be admitted, tend to be blind, and have to ask others to help them. But the matter here is otherwise. The facts are thus: The river is actually the easiest route, so the liar in that village suggested the mountain route. But the truthful man was not only truthful, he was also observant. He noticed that you had a donkey, which made the journey by mountain route easy enough for you.
“Fortutely, the liar did not have a keen eye, or he would have seen that you had a donkey but no boat. Otherwise, he would surely have suggested the river!”
Telling this story to illustrate his point, Sufi saint Sayed Shah Qadiri used to preach that there are some people who believe all kinds of things which are not true, either because of habit or because they are told them by people of authority.
“But real belief is something else. Those who are capable of real belief are those who have experienced something. And having experienced it, the capacities of others or blessings merely reported are of no use to them,” he would conclude.