A reminder for me, first, if perhaps a bit late:
As narrated by Abu Huraira, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said
إِيَّاكُمْ وَالظَّنَّ، فَإِنَّ الظَّنَّ أَكْذَبُ الْحَدِيثِ، وَلاَ تَجَسَّسُوا، وَلاَ تَحَسَّسُوا، وَلاَ تَبَاغَضُوا، وَكُونُوا إِخْوَانًا
Beware of suspicion (about others), as suspicion is the falsest talk, and do not spy upon each other, and do not listen to the evil talk of the people about others’ affairs, and do not have enmity with one another, but be brothers.
With Hank gone—and the diesel settlement money in my account—I rushed out to buy a car yesterday. I test drove it (or the same model and trim level) last week, and the sales guy was expecting me, so I was surprised by how long it took, how much waiting around there was: waiting around for the sales guy to bring the car around; waiting around for the sales guy to talk to the sales manager; waiting around for the sales manager to reject our counter offers; waiting around for the finance guy to get his computer turned on or whatever he was doing: it took 4 hours to perform a task that actually only too, at most, an hour.
Anyway, when I got home, I realized that the car I bought was not the car I thought it was. Sure, it was the same make, model, color, and trim level, but I requested a specific package, and this one doesn’t have it… I thought I got a great deal on a car; instead, I got a decent enough deal on a car. And, upon further reflection, I realized that the package (one that allows the car to park itself, adjust speeds in relation to other cars, etc) would probably annoy me with all the proximity alarms and all, and the aggravation of that beepbeepbeep wouldn’t be worth it for the few times I’d run cruise control or let the car decide where and how to park.
Anyway. For about an hour, maybe two, I had all these thoughts about the sales and finance staff. Thoughts of conspiracy, reminders of the times kids on the playground pointed and laughed, memories of paranoid fantasies back in my days of ignorance, all sorts of whisperings from the devil and his buddies.
Then, on the walk home from prayer, I remembered something my stepdad Hank—the namesake of Hank the car—used to say (I’m paraphrasing):
Never assume malice when ignorance will suffice.
Great advice, and with that, my anxiety more or less dissolved, and, while still disappointed that I didn’t get a great deal, I’m happy with the purchase and the price I paid (it’s still on the low side of average), and it’s a great car.
So what does this have to do with the hadith above? Well, suspicion is a killer. My unfounded suspicion of the dealership staff robbed me of the joy of new car ownership for a few hours immediately after the purchase, that euphoric time where, with previous cars, I would’ve been finding excuses to go for drives, going out to just sit in it and smell, fiddle with things, set radio stations, load the cd player, etc. etc., and instead, I sat, alternating between fuming at the injustice and cursing myself for being so gullible.
So. 1) It’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you, and 2) never assume malevolence when stupidity will suffice. But even better than both, refer to the teachings of the Prophet, peace be upon him and, as Allah instructs us in Surah Nuh, 32
فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ
…do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.
May Allah guide me to better.