Essay No. 70:

All That Glitters Is Not Gold: The maxim brings home to the reader that appearances are often deceptive. A thing that looks beautiful outwardly, may, in fact, be inwardly ugly. A lady looking beautiful outwardly, may, in fact, be inwardly ugly. A lady looking beautiful outwardly but inwardly may be populated by various kinds of ugly insects.


Likewise faces of ladies appearance but they can’t be taken for real beauty. The real beauty of a person lies in his good deeds. Hazrat Bilal (RA) was of black colour but his actions were good which won him a high place in Islam. He is considered as the fairest person as human deeds are concerned. So good looking objects can dodge the on-looker.


Some people by nature are as poisonous as a scorpion. Their object is to sting people for one reason or the other. Shakespeare in his play ‘Othello’ creates the character of lago, who had motiveless malignity. People like lago appear in the grab of saintliness and beguile people. People often are taken in by their sugar-quoted talk and polite behaviour.


One should be beware of the bad designs of such people in life. One should not be duped by the outer behaviour of people. Appearances are not what they seem. A person may smile and smile and yet be a villain. There can be villainy behind a human smile. One should be able to read the underlying motives of people, who often can appear in the livery of Christ.

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A devil can quote scripture to gain his motive. One should be able to analyze the hidden motives of the people with noble exterior appearance. Human beings are too deep to fathom out their interior feelings and motives. One should avoid people who don themselves with the cloak of piety. Their exterior and interior self is different.

Ghalib, a great Urdu poet, rightly says:

ہیں کواکب کچھ نظر آتے ہیں کچھ

دھوکہ دیتے ہیں یہ بازی گر کھلا

[The stars are not what they seem, like a sorcer, they openly beguile the on-looker.]


Anything glittering cannot be taken for gold. One should not thus get deceived by the appearances of things. One is reminded of Ghulam Abbas’s short titled “اوورکوٹ” (The Overcoat) in which a young man wearing an overcoat is seen visiting different car showcases on the mall. He is held in great respect when he visits different shops dealing in the sale of cars of a different make.


He is taken for belonging to the class of aristocracy. In a bid to cross the road, he is overtaken by a speeding car. He dies instantaneously. A large crowd of men gathers around the dead body. What people see is a torn-out shirt lay hidden under the overcoat. The writer has dealt with the theme in a subtle artistic way. The burden of the song is that outer appearances may not be taken for real ones. One should not run after glamorous appearances which more often than not turn out to be unreal.

“All That Glitters Is Not Gold”

“All That Glitters Is Not Gold”