Spoken walked forgiven

Every religion has a unique approach to forgiving sins. Repentance. Penance. Punishment. It is possibly a list as long and varied as the types of sins that stalk humanity every day.

In my faith, the Dawoodi Bohra sect, which is a small sect within Shia Islam, there are many different forms of penance, confession and punishment.

But there is one practice that has become very public and relatively easy to do – and in my mind  goes against every principle of seeking forgiveness. I have never believed  it should be easy, and I only feel forgiven when the penance has been difficult and painful to achieve.

Like most things in life I suppose. Whatever comes easy is never really worth it.

But in complete contrast to my personal beliefs is this Bohra saying which has become a meme.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.

Which translates to Spoken Walked Forgiven.

The idea that you are seeking forgiveness for a sin which has been committed by your tongue or your deeds.

It is short, catchy and like a slogan.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.

It trips off the tongue. It’s rhythmic.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.

It is spoken and not written, and so punctuation is redundant (unlike the popular “Eats shoots and leaves” phrase). It isn’t even a request with the slight tonal upturn that a question demands.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.

It is flat. Toneless. Punctuated by neither emotion nor guilt.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.

All encompassing and socially acceptable at any occasion. It can be tagged to the end of any greeting.

Eid Mubarak. Bolyu chalyu maaf.

The deal is sealed.

In the mind of the speaker, it is probably the ultimate quick win. No discomfort. No need to confess the sin before seeking forgiveness. And it doesn’t even require admission of sin or guilt because it is a fail safe.

The “just in case I have offended you, forgive me” approach.

Not so for the listener I am sure, who may or may not be ready to forgive the trespass easily and who has this saying shoved down their throat in a manner which cannot be prevented or slighted.

And who in their right minds would sour a joyous occasion – a time when the phrase is most often used – by slighting an apology and doggedly holding onto a grudge. You come off as the ogre, and they escape white as a lily.

So they say it. You accept it.

They move on with a saintly demeanour of having being absolve. You swallow the bitter taste that remains in your mouth.

And that is that.

Bolyu chalyu maaf.


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