Once on a visit to the city of Madinah, an Indian happened to come across an Arab, a Bedouin by appearance, one of whose hands had been amputated. Because it was the practice to cut off thieves’ hands in Saudi Arabia, it immediately occurred to the Indian that this man must have been a thief. He felt hesitant, therefore, to meet him, but made an effort–perhaps out of pity, or curiosity, or both–and went forward to greet his Arab brother.
He learnt in the course of his conversation with him, that the Arab belonged to a town called Yutma. He owned a big farm with 23 tube wells. The produce of his farm was daily brought to the city market in Madinah in large quantities. He further told his Indian brother that in 1948 he had joined the Palestinian war against the Jews, where he had received six bullets in his arm. He had to be hospitalised for a long time. In spite of the doctor’s best efforts they failed to cure the wound. To save the arm, therefore, there was nothing for it but to cut off his hand.
This is an example which shows how jumping to conclusions on the basis of inadequate information can cause great misunderstandings. An honourable member of society had been taken for a thief and a criminal.
Every member of society should feel it is an obligation to exercise his judgment with extreme caution, before arriving at his conclusions. Thorough investigation should always precede the forming and offering of opinions.
Where this is impossible for any person, the only alternative is to keep silent. Speech is silver, but silence is golden.