Kurdish Proverb

HAQ RAQA (Truth is Hard)

This is one of the most famous Kurdish proverbs, and it’s the Kurdish way of describing the truth. Haq Raqa means “truth is hard” (raq means “hard” in Kurdish). For centuries, people described the Kurdish mind by saying it was like rocks, or that Kurds had hard heads, and many Kurds live in the hard mountains, and their lives are truly hard. So I don’t know why they chose this word to explain the truth! Maybe because it was very hard for people to say the truth, and in many cases it might cost somebody’s life if the truth was told. Usually Kurds use this proverb when telling the truth makes a friend mad, or when it makes some people dislike the one who has told it…so he simply answers them that “truth is hard.” This is why Sufian, one of the famous [Islamic] scholars, said that “truth left no friends for me.”

There are many people who don’t ever like to be criticized, and when they do something wrong, whoever tells them the truth will [feel that person’s anger], but nothing should stop people of knowledge from saying the truth. That’s the only way to stop corruption and not let evil spread. When people keep silent and don’t say the truth, our lives become harder, and we all become victims. When such a [truthful] person is asked, “What do you say about such a thing?”, he replies, “It is wrong.” If he is then asked, “But your teacher did not say that,” he replies, “I love my teacher, but I love truth more.”

Such people, who love truth more than anything, will never conceal it. They are the true scholars and scientists; it’s their duty to educate the people, to show and explain the truth for them.

In the Qur’an, it is written: “And do not cover the truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know it.” (Surah 2, Verse 42). Criticizing the leaders and those in power, telling them the truth and advising them, is the duty of the scholar. When someone stood up and said something hard to Abubakr (2nd Caliph of the Muslims in 594), they tried to stop him, thinking it was disrespectful to the caliph, but Abubakr said, “Leave him.” He said, “There is no benefit for you people if you are not saying the truth, and no benefit for us leaders if we do not listen to it.”
I grew up in Iraq in the time of the dictator, and no one was able to say the truth to him. No one was allowed to criticize him or his government, especially Kurds, because we were second- and third-class citizens. Many scholars were disappeared for saying the truth, and this is the nature of the truth: it’s hard to say, and to accept, but without practicing it our planet will become hellfire. That is why Prophet Mohammed said, “The best jihad is to say the truth to the tyrant or unjust ruler.”  

Posted April 26, 2008


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