Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Starting Point is Kindness...part 5

Asalamu alikum




From The Abridged Tafseer of Ibn Katheer
Aali Imraan 159
And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; also pardon them, and ask forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs...
Among the Qualities of Our Prophet Muhammad are Mercy and Kindness
Allah addresses His Messenger and reminds him and the believer of the favor that He has made his heart and words soft for his Ummah, those who follow his command and refrain from what he prohibits.
And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently...
meaning, who would have made you this kind if it was not Allah mercy for you and them?
Qatadah said that, And by the mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently... means, "with Allah's mercy you became this kind."
Al-Hassan Al-Basri said that this indeed is the description of the behavior that Allah sent Muhammad with. This aayah is similar to Allah's statement, Verily there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah); for the believers he is full of pity, kind, and merciful (9:128)
And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; (5:159)
The severe person is he who utters hash words and "harsh-hearted" is the person who heart is hard. Had this been the Prophet's behavior, "they would have scattered from around you." However Allah gathered them and made you kind and soft with them, so that their hearts congregate around you."
'Abdullah Ibn 'Amr (radiallahu 'anhu) said that he read the description of the Messenger of Allah in previous Books, "He is not severe, harsh, obscene in the marketplace or dealing evil for evil. Rather he forgives and pardons." [Fathul-Bari 8:449]
Verily there has come unto you a Messenger from among yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is eager for you; for the believers he is full of pity, kind and merciful. But if they turn away say: "Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He, in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne. [At-Tawbah 128 - 129]
This is similar to His other statement: And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you. Then if they disobey you, say: "I am innocent of what you do." And put your Trust in Allah the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. [26:215 - 217] -
From The Ideal Muslim
The true Muslim is sincere towards Allah his Book, His Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and to the leaders and the masses of the Muslims as is stated in the hadeeth: The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Religion is sincerity." We asked, 'To Whom?' He said, "To Allah (by obeying Him attributing to Him what He deserves and performing jihaad for His sake); to His Book (by reading it, understanding it and applying it to one's daily life); to His Prophet (by respecting him greatly and fighting on his behalf both in his lifetime and after his death, and by following his sunnah); to the rulers of the Muslims (by helping them in their task of leading Muslims to the right path and alerting them if they are heedless); and to their common folk (by being merciful towards them). [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim)
It is no surprise, then, that the Muslim should be sincere towards his brothers and not cheat them or mislead them. Sincerity in this sense is one of the most basic principles of Islam which the first believers pledge to adhere to when they gave allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam). This is confirmed by the statement of Jarir Ibn Abdullah; "I gave allegiance to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and pledged to observe regular prayer, to pay zakat and to be sincere towards every Muslim." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) "
In the hadeeth quoted above, we see that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) summed up Islam in one word, naseehah, showing that sincerity is the central foundation of the faith. For without sincerity a man's faith is invalid and his Islam is worthless. This is the meaning of the hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): None of you truly believes until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) This is impossible to achieve unless one loves one's brother with all sincerity. No doubt this level of love for one's brother is very difficult to attain, but it is not impossible as long as one is constantly aware that liking for one's brother what one likes for oneself is one of the conditions of faith, and that religion is sincerity. Indeed it is the natural attitude of the sincere Muslim who truly understands Islam

The Starting Point is Kindness...part 4

Asalamu alikum




A Cause Of Fitnah (Trial)
Now there is the case of where a sister or brother is neither openly sinful nor exhibiting any bad character and in fact may be known for their good works and is considered an example of diligence and adherence to the Sunnah in the Muslim community. However they may make a statement or hold a position that disagrees with ours or that of a scholar or student of knowledge whom we respect. The hasty to judge then look upon them with suspicion and make statements about them and spread impressions to others that sully their reputations or lessen the respect or regard they had in the eyes of some and turn others away from them. Every association the person has is examined and any fault they may have is exposed. Perhaps their words become open to interpretation thereafter and they are discouraged from participation in the good deeds they had perviously been known for. Allah knows that they may in fact be in error or it could merely be a misinterpretation of their intent. Shaytaan may fuel the fire even more and harsh words are exchanged and battle lines drawn.
No time is taken to sit with the individual in question, speak with them, learn if they take their position based upon their understanding of evidence or the opinion of a scholar or even the interpretation of a hadeeth or the acceptance of a weak narration or opinion. They may be further accused of following some deviant sect or another. The issue may get taken to where an Islamic ruling about the person is sought from those who are very distant from them and the impressions are carried to the mufti by those who themselves are subject to error in their assessment and presentation of the matter which may lead to boycott or further recriminations.
Such is a clear injustice especially if it leads to castigation, and the spread of suspicion regarding them among the Muslims, even if "well-intended". This is simply thulm (wrongdoing) that may stem from anything from over-eagerness and impatience, jealousy or partisanship or insincerity to lack of knowledge and arrogance. No good purpose is actually served (other than perhaps to expose the incorrect approach of making false and unfounded accusations). Instead, what usually happens is that rumors get spread and backbiting becomes the order of the day - and in these days of the Internet the evil is magnified when the matter gets immediately sent around the world! Some zealous individuals may believe it is their duty to even physically confront the individual when they had nothing at all to do with the matter in the first place and all their information is gotten second-hand! When good people are attacked and vilified, it is very discouraging to others and demoralizing to the community!
Ironically it could be that after such treatment is shown to be clearly unjust, it still leads to the residual effect of creating distrust and disdain of those who initiated such actions and any good they attempt is rejected or negated and relationships get tarnished. They may just try to take a low profile so as to give the impression they had nothing to do with the fitnah they instigated and may even start to point fingers at each other!
A Wake Of Destruction
How sad is the resultant build-up of animosity between Muslims and the infusion of partisanship with innocent Muslims being pushed to take sides in disputes and an "You are either with us or against us" attitude develops that poisons relations in the community often over matters most really have no idea about in detail. The above even seems a case of the hunters "shooting themselves in the foot", as they alienate those who would be their allies, and give the impression of companions who turn upon themselves and people who don't know who their friends are.
In these times of confusion with so many parties and ideologies all claiming to be correct, the effect of harsh treatment may be to further distance Muslims from the truth, making them defensive, or more clinging to the parties of misguidance, wallaahul-Musta'aan! In the end the ranks of the Muslims are weakened and dissension and argumentation helps the cause of the deviants and the enemies of Islam.
We are not those who believe the word bid'ah should never be mentioned or pointed out and that we should remain silent about it when it is plain and obvious. This is a "head-in-the-sand" approach that only encourages more innovation. Muslims need badly to be educated about Islam and what is bid'ah and what is not along with what its dangers are and who is an innovator and who is not and whose place it is to make such determinations.
None of the above described scenarios included the person who practices innovation, teaches it, advocates it, and calls to it even after having been repeatedly given clear evidence they understand that clearly refutes their position. Such is the bona fide innovator who is deluded into believing that his whims and desires are determiners of what is or is not Islam. Such a one is dealt with in an altogether different manner which indeed may entail using harshness and even this should be determined by the people of knowledge and not just anyone who thinks that what they have done is sufficient.
Concluding Point
The scope of this article prevents us from addressing how to handle each of the cases above in detail, but the main point we hoped to make is that great thought must be given before treating a Muslim with harshness as to the consequences and justice of such action. The intent should be to guide one's brother or sister in faith for the sake of Allah. We must remember that the foundation of dealing with other Muslims in general is one of employing kindness, having patience and overlooking of faults, while harshness and sternness are the exception and not the rule, wallaahul 'Alam.
What follows is a body of evidence from the Qur'aan and the authentic Sunnah to substantiate the above so that it is clear that there is a genuine basis for it and not merely emotionalism.
May Allah forgive me for any errors and verily He is the Generous Provider of Success and all praise is His

The Starting Point is Kindness...part 3

Asalamu alikum




Some Examples
1a) A young Muslim woman lives in a Muslim country where many women wear Islamic hijaab yet she openly flaunts her beauty by taking off hijaab and even accentuating that beauty with perfume and make-up because she enjoys the admiration of others. If told to wear hijaab she just takes the admonition lightly or ignores it altogether making it clear that her desires have precedence over eeman.
1b) Another Muslim woman does the practically the same thing as above but she has been raised in a very un-Islamic environment yet she is diligent in her prayers and fasting nor does she flirt or mix with the opposite sex. On top of it, the few Muslims in her area don't make an issue of hijaab at all and it is common place to see women wearing the flimsiest of scarves or very attractive covering even with jilbaabs or scarves.
1c) A Muslimah who wears full hijaab but who has been through a series of bad marriages and divorces until she is intimately known by many men and it is known that a major contributing factor to those failures is her fierce temper and verbal abuse and vulgar speech and threats to her husband when angered.
2a) A Muslim who wears a suit and tie, shaves his beard and wears his slacks too long but he attends the masjid, gives zakat and treats his family with love and kindness not ever neglecting their rights upon him. He even supports all the efforts of the Muslims with his time and money and sends his wife to women's classes at the masjid but he rarely finds time to sit in the circles of learning. He believes in the Qur'aan and Sunnah but asks for rulings and opinions here and there and is given some incorrect rulings based on weak evidence or opinions and acts upon them.
2b) A Muslim who is also clean shaven and not readily or easily identifiable as a Muslim and who gives nothing to the Muslims nor takes any care with regard to the haraam and the halaal and only attends the masjid for Jumu'ah khutbah and even then gets out as quickly as possible. When he does show up at the masjid he avoids those "bearded ones" like the plague.
2c) A Muslim who who wears a full beard, is careful to make sure his thobe is above his ankles and when he speaks he only speaks of the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and the way of the Salaf yet at home he is brutal to his wife and children when angered and views spending a little extra on them as a sin or leaves his wife to collect assistance from outside sources (even non-Muslims) to support herself and her children.
Distinctions Should Be Made
Should there not be a distinction made between the two ladies (1 a and b) in how they are approached, taught or admonished even though the ruling of hijaab is the same upon both? What do you think will be the likely result when either of those women is exposed to sisters who wear full hijaab and they are both shunned as "brazen hussies" but in the company of those who do not wear proper hijaab (albeit incorrect) they are treated with kindness, support and love? Is it fair that 1c is treated with more tolerance and understanding because she looks the part but it is she whose behavior is perhaps more reprehensible?
In the case of the men, 2a and b may be lambasted as innovators or open sinners and even get approached by an intimidating group of well-meaning, "sticking-to-the-manhaj" brothers aiming to "set them straight". Is it likely that either will be amenable to such an approach or treatment? Yet 2c, because he "walks the walk and talks the talk" among those brothers they overlook what is known to others and always greet him with a smile and bend over backwards to treat him with kindness over and over again before tactfully chastising him for his negligence or cajoling him to do right by his family.
We should all agree as lovers of the truth and adherents to the Sunnah that innovations (bid'ah) are detestable and should be avoided and warned against. When we see or read of innovation it should be detested in our hearts and we should hate to see it manifest in ourselves or other Muslims. Yet we must not let our distaste for this evil, partisanship or any other external factor cloud our judgment and even-handed treatment of others.
Each case above is that of a sinful Muslim, in some cases openly so, and evident innovation is present, yet they are not equal nor should they be treated in the same way nor with a double standard based upon how they look or whom they associate with. Certainly, class, nationality or race should have no place in determining the equality of treatment. They all need to be guided in the best possible manner and with careful consideration. It is not an easy task or a "black and white" one. This is why the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was so outstanding in his ability to assess the situation of different believers and was able to affect their hearts and correct them.

The Starting Point is Kindness...part 2

Asalamu alikum




The Heart of The Matter
A sad but true reality is that innovation (bid'ah) is spread far and wide. It is an evil of major proportions that has caused confusion about fundamental matters such as principles of faith and action among the Muslims. Many brothers and sisters who understand this danger and have taken the time to learn from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and the statements of the scholars of the Sunnah deeply feel and understand the need to correct and reform the Muslims and to guide them. Many of these adherents of the sunnah see the disastrous effects of bida'h upon the ummah, sometime within their own families, not to mention in the Ummah at-large and it is a source of pain and frustration when due to the poison of bidah they face staunch opposition and rejection when calling to the truth sometimes for the simplest of matters.
It is the people of bidah who in reality mete out the most harshness toward the people of the sunnah with their charges of extremism against them. Many Muslims who are merely trying to implement the sunnah in all aspects of their lives are castigated and stereotyped by those who outnumber them.
If a sister who wears proper hijaab so much as opens her mouth to encourage her sisters to fear Allah and wear the hijaab according to the conditions laid out by the scholars of Islam, bringing evidence of those conditions from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah, and doing so in the nicest non-condemning way, she is still liable to be backbitten and called a fanatic! The same when a brother who does not shave his beard and who wears clothing that clearly identifies him as a Muslim bothers to point out any matter to those that feel threatened by that, they will quickly label him extreme and harsh no matter how soft, tactful or patient he is when doing so! They may even call him names publicly to turn people away from him. We have even heard of charges of assault made against decent brothers when they did nothing of the kind just because the person being corrected was afraid and trying to deflect from his own errors and misguided speech or actions. Some good and sincere da'ees have faced getting ostracized from certain mosques and even received physical threats!
The focus of this article is not on the deeds of those innocent and sincere brothers and sisters who uphold the way of the salaf in word and deed yet who nevertheless get attacked and labeled by their detractors. In fact, they mostly understand that they will be labeled and face hardships in calling to the correct path. It is the fate of the da'ee who is following the path of the prophets ('alaihimus salaam), most notably that of the Final Messenger Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions (radiallahu 'anhum) who faced much opposition and false accusations. Rather, the main focus of this treatise is to point to those true and actual occurrences that hinder the path to guidance for some that in fact are due to the manners of those who strive to adhere to the proper way but who miss the mark in their approach and as a result cause damage. Inadvertently perhaps, but damage nonetheless. This is written with love for those believers who want to follow the right path butnot to make excuses for the deviations and misguidance of those followers of desires who merely seek to protect their positions and parties no matter what the evidence is against them.

The Starting Point is Kindness

Asalamu Alikum




All praise and thanks is due to Allah and may salaat and salaam be upon the Messenger of Allah and upon his family, companions and supporters as well as all those who adhere to his Sunnah until the Day of Resurrection, ameen.
In this article we address a trend among some Muslims to emphasize the aspect of harshness towards other Muslims when correcting them or warning others against them. There are admittedly circumstances that warrant being tough and hard, and many of the articles alluded to make those circumstances clear, however due to their emphasis on that aspect, harshness has become the starting point and is resorted to very quickly by some as opposed to being something employed after all else has actually been tried in an attempt to guide others to the correct path. Let it be clear that we are limiting this discussion to relationships between the common Muslims and not the criticisms of scholars of the innovators and deviants.
The fact is that we have too often experienced that those who apply harshness while claiming to adhere to the way of the salaf, leap to conclusions and tactics based upon statements of scholars without always first looking closely at the circumstances of the individuals they apply that harshness towards. Moreover, although claiming to want to correct and guide others, we find that they often never use the approach of kindness or courtesy of actual personal contact or generosity such as a call or a visit or a friendly meeting to deal with the issue in question. Instead we have found Muslims being hastily judged as innovators and then getting vilified publicly and privately, boycotted, warned against, rumor spread about, wrong suppositions made about inward motivations, the bearing of false witness, and even personal correspondence sent around the world justifying harshness towards them all in the name of protecting the "da'wah". We find this regrettable and in some cases reprehensible because it is being put forth as the way of salaf and moreover the Sunnah of our noble and generous Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa salaam).
Many relationships have been damaged and suspicion sewn due to the harsh approach. We therefore find it prudent to present evidences from the Qur'aan and the authentic hadeeth first that clearly establish that the starting point when dealing with Muslims, even if astray or in error, is gentleness and kindness to what some may consider a fault. This, as opposed to rapidly seeking to find fault in or condemning other Muslims whom Allah may have already forgiven or who seek His forgiveness.
Also keep in mind that the error, sin or deviation in question is often only in the perception of others when it may not in fact be the absolute case according to shariah. More dangerous is that the drive to lambaste or condemn often stems from what amounts to a difference of opinion on a given matter where there is indeed room to differ. When a position is taken that is not in agreement with that of one's preferred scholar or student of knowledge, then it is assumed that some deviation or ill-motive is afoot! Undoubtedly when expressing opinions one must take care to stay as closely to the principles and tenets of Islam and utilize solid evidence. Great scholars have differed and still do on many matters of the religion yet they do not always raise those differences to the level of loyalty and disassociation nor make them a cause of enmity and disrespect as we do!






Friday, April 5, 2013

Watchfulness

Asalamu alikum




Allah Almighty says, "He who sees you stand up to pray and your movements with those who prostrate," (W26:217-218; H26:219-220)
and the Almighty says, "He is with you wherever you are." (57:4)
The Almighty says, "Allah ­ Him from whom nothing is hidden, either on earth or in heaven." (W3:5; H3:6)
The Almighty says, "Your Lord is always lying in wait." (89:14).
The Almighty says, "(Allah) knows the eyes' deceit and people's breasts conceal." (40:19)
60. 'Umar ibn al-Khattab said, "One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black. No trace of travel could be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said, 'O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam.' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast in Ramadan and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.' He said, 'You have spoken the truth,' and we amazed at him asking him and then saying that he had spoken the truth. He said, 'Then tell me about belief.' He said, 'It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in the decree, both its good and its evil.' He said, 'You have spoken the truth.' He said, 'Then tell me about ihsan.' He said, 'It is to worship Allah as though you could see Him for while you do not see Him, He sees you.' He said, 'Then tell me about the Hour.' He said, 'The one asked about it knows no more about it than the asker.' He said, 'Then tell me about its signs.' He said, 'That a slavegirl will give birth to her mistress and that you will see barefooted, destitute herdsmen competing in constructing lofty buildings.' Then he left but I stayed on a while. Then the Prophet said, ''Umar, do you know who the questioner was?' I said, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'It was Jibril who came to teach you your religion.'" [Muslim]
61. Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junada and Abu 'Abdu'r-Rahman Mu'adh ibn Jabal is that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Fear Allah wherever you are and follow up an evil action with a good action which will wipe it out. Treat people well." [at-Tirmidhi]
62. Ibn 'Abbas said, "One day I was behind the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'Boy, I will teach you some words: Be careful regarding Allah and He will take care of you. Be careful regarding Allah and you will find Him in front of you. When you ask, ask Allah and when you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the whole community were to gather together to help you with something, they would not be able to help you in any way unless Allah had written that for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you in some way, they would not be able to harm you except with something which Allah had written for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages are dry."[at-Tirmidhi]
In another variant than that of at-Tirmidhi, "Be careful regarding Allah and you will find Him before you. Recognise Allah in ease and He will recognise you in hardship. Know that whatever misses you could never have hit you and what hits you could never have missed you. Know that victory comes with fortitude, rescue with constriction, and ease with hardship."
63. Anas said, "You do actions which you see as having no more than a hair's weight of significance while in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we used to consider them deadly dangerous." [al-Bukhari]
64. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah Almighty is jealous and the jealousy of Allah Almighty is on account of a man coming to something that Allah has made unlawful for him." [Agreed upon]
65. Abu Hurayra heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, "Three of the Children of Isra'il were respectively leprous, bald and blind. Allah wanted to put them to the test and so he sent an angel to them. He came to the leper and said, 'What would you like best?' He said, 'A good complexion and clear skin and the thing that I have which makes people find me unclean to be taken from me.' He wiped him and his impurity left him and he gave him a good complexion. He said, 'What property do you like best?' He said, 'Camels (or he said 'cattle' - the relator is uncertain)' and he gave him a pregnant she-camel.' He said, 'May Allah bless you in it.'
"Then he came to the bald one and said, 'What would you like best?' He said, 'A good head of hair and to have what people consider distasteful about me removed from me.' So he touched him and removed what he had and gave him thick hair. He said, 'What property do you like the best?' He said, 'Cattle,' so he gave him a pregnant cow and he said, 'May Allah bless you in it.'
"Then he went to the blind man and said, 'What would you like best?' He said, 'That Allah return my sight to me so that I can see people.' He touched him and Allah returned his sight to him. He said, 'What property do you like the best?' He said, 'Sheep,' and he gave him a pregnant sheep.
"These animals all gave birth and produced offspring. The one had a valley full of camels, the other a valley full of cattle and the other a valley full of sheep.
"Then he went to the leper in his own form and appearance and said, 'I am a poor man who has lost his means on his journey. Today I can seek none but Allah and then you. I ask you, by the One who gave you a good complexion and good skin and property, for a camel so that I can complete my journey.' He said, 'I have many obligations.' He said, 'I seem to recognise you. Were you not a leper, that people found unclean, and poor and then Allah was generous to you?' He said, 'I inherited this property, elder son from elder son.' He said, 'If you are a liar in your claim, may Allah return you as you were!'
"He went to the bald man in his own form and appearance and said to him the same as he had said to the other and he replied to him in the same way. He said, 'If you are a liar, may Allah return you as you were!'
"Then he went to the blind man in his own form and appearance and said to him, 'I am a poor man who has lost his means on his journey. Today I can seek none but Allah and then you. I ask you by the One who returned your sight to you for a sheep so I can complete my journey.' He said, 'I was blind and Allah restored my sight to me, so take what you want and leave what you want. By Allah, I will not be hard on you about anything which you take for Allah, the Mighty and Exalted.' He said, 'Keep your propery. You have been tested and Allah is pleased with you and angry with your companions.'" {Agreed upon]
A variant of al-Bukhari has "I will not praise you (i.e. for leaving what you need.")
66. Abu Ya'la Shaddad ibn Aws reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The intelligent man is the one who subjugates himself and works for what will come after death. The stupid man is the one who follows his own whims and hopes that his desires will be gratified by Allah." [at-Tirmidhi]
At-Tirmidhi and other scholars said that "dâna nafsahu" (subjugates himself) means to make it answerable.
67. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Part of the excellence of a person's Islam is his leaving alone what does not concern him." [at-Tirmidhi and others]
68. 'Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "A man is not questioned as to why he beat his wife." [Abu Dawud and others]

Patience and perseverance

Asalamu alikum




Patience and perseverance, tolerance and forbearance are common traits of the world’s most successful people. Patience is a very high quality of man.
Sometimes one errs in differentiating between patience on one hand and laziness, inaction, tolerating oppression and relying on luck on the other. Whereas patience and forbearance guarantees victory and success while laziness and inaction causes misfortune and results in failure.
Now we shall explain the difference between these two opposing qualities illustrating them through different examples:
A gardener desires that there be so many flowers in his garden that it always remains fragrant and the different colors of the flowers please the eyes and the atmosphere of the garden remains good.
If the gardener wants it to be so he must work hard. He should endure the sun and heat and cold and rain. He must become habituated to the pricking of thorns also and he ought to visit his garden often.
Hardships that one must endure to attain the goal are termed as patience.
If a trader wishes to earn profits and increase his wealth he must undertake arduous land, sea and air journeys. If a student desires good marks, a diplomat intends to woo the people they must work hard with utmost steadfastness and determination.
Regarding this Hafiz Shirazi says:
Patience and success are friends of each other,
Success comes as a result of patience.
One may wonder why as the causes of success ‘steadfastness and firm resolve’ is not discussed along with ‘work and effort’. It is so because there is a difference between the two. There are some people who do make efforts in the beginning, yet they break down when confronted with difficulties. Looking from this angle, steadfastness and endurance should be regarded as the supports of work and effort. They must be considered as the motive forces assuring that the work continue unceasingly.
Every triumph is not of the same kind. Sometimes it arrives early and sometimes it takes a long time. One must not expect that everything would be done in the same manner and that everything will end in success.
Works differ from one another. There are some easy jobs, which must be undertaken in difficult circumstances. Moreover the capacities and capabilities of people also are different. It is possible but the degrees of their intelligence may not be the same.
If a man is able to learn a vocation and becomes habituated to endure difficulties of the field within a year it does not necessarily mean that another person would also require the same time to master the same line of work.
It is said that George Stephenson, the mathematician who also came to be known as the father of the steam engine was very slow in learning and in making educational progress. Yet he manufactured the world’s first railway engine. He produced the world’s first passenger train in 1825.
Scholars say: High intelligence is of two types: one is late-coming intellect and another, which come soon.
The lives of great men show this disparity. Hence we can say that success is also of two types: one comes sooner and the other, late.
So if success does not arrive early one must not give up efforts. One must not imagine that victory is impossible and very difficult. A great Muslim scholar Abu Ja’rana is famous for his firm determination and steadfastness. He has said, “I have learnt firm determination from an insect called ‘Bijju’. Once I was sitting near a clean and shining pillar in the Jame Masjid when I observed that the tiny insect was attempting to climb the upright stone pillar to reach a lamp that was on the top. I kept sitting whole night and observing until dawn that how relentlessly that insect was struggling to climb up the slippery column. I counted 700 attempts when he was falling down from the middle of the path because the pillar was very smooth and glassy. His legs could not hold on. I was extremely astonished to see the extraordinary determination of that little worm. As it was time for Morning Prayer I got up from my place, made ablution and engaged myself in worship. After concluding my Namaz I looked back toward the pillar to find to my absolute astonishment that, as a result of its perseverance and untiring effort the insect had achieved its aim and was sitting close to the burning light!”
In the words of a melodious poet: Firm determination and perseverance is a nail. Man must take a lesson from it. The more you hit on it, the more firmly it sticks into its place.
The Role of steadfastness in learning art
‘Demotson’ is a great American orator who had to face failure a number of times while learning the art of public speaking and consequently had to stop speaking for some time. But he was not one who would give up so easily and in order to perfect his art he began to practice in his cellar. Sometimes he shaved half his face to look satirical so that he may be compelled to remain indoors and continue his practice. At last he succeeded.
The story of a famous seventh century Muslim scholar, ‘Sakkaki’, is also very interesting. He began to study at the age of thirty. Though his teachers were not at all hopeful of his success he continued his study with a wonderful zeal and enthusiasm. With a view to ascertain the extent of his intelligence a teacher once posed a problem of Shafei jurisprudence before him. The teacher said, “The Shaykh says that the skin of a dog becomes clean and pure by pounding.” Sakkaki was supposed to learn this by heart. So he repeated it many times and became ready to recite it when called for. Next day the teacher asked him to recite the sentence in front of all the other students. He stood up at once to say, “The dog said, the teacher’s skin becomes clean and pure by pounding.” Hearing this, everyone, including the teacher burst into laughter. Yet the aged pupil’s determination was so sound that despite this experience he did not give up his study, but followed the same course for another ten years. Of course, due to advancing age, his grasping power was becoming weak day by day. Once he had gone to the forest to memorize his lessons where he noticed that drops of rainwater constantly fell on a rock and made marks on that hard stone. He thought over it and told himself, “My heart is not harder than this rock. If drops of knowledge fall on it constantly like these raindrops they too would certainly leave imprints on it, at least to some extent.” He returned home and began to study with added zeal. At last, as a result of his untiring and continuous efforts and nonstop endeavor he became a distinguished personality of the literary circles of the Arab world. He authored a book, which was, for many years, a textbook in the course of Arabic education.
A Spring and a Mountain
A spring or a rivulet always flows from the mountain downwards. On its path it has to face many obstructions. Sometimes its water does not move further for several hours. Hurdles try hard to restrict its flow but it does not relent in its effort to push forward and weaken the hurdles every moment. Finally it succeeds in carving out its course by any means and in any way.
Another example is worth attention. The late Malik-us-Shoraa “Bahaar” has put this truth in verse thus:
A rivulet sprang from a mountain.
A rock came in its way.
It asked mildly to the rock: O kind one, please give me way.
But since the rock had a rigid heart, it slapped it and told it harshly to go away from there.
I am not to move from here even if there is a flood.
Who are you to make me move? Why should I care for you?
The spring did not get disappointed with this harsh lofty claim.
It kept on putting pressure and tried hard to find a way.
By making constant effort you can attain anything you like.
Those who engage in public welfare require more patience, perseverance, endurance and steadfastness. Unless they have these virtues they cannot move a step further.
An English philosopher was of the view that anybody can do anything. In the light of this principle he went out riding with a companion. On their way they came across a low wall. The expert rider spurred his horse and crossed it. The philosopher attempted to do so but could not succeed and he fell off his mount. But he got up and tried again, but again he failed. Then at last he succeeded in crossing the wall.
‘Odobon’ was a famous American zoologist who had drawn some pictures and after that he went on a journey putting away the papers safely in a box. But during his absence a rat chewed away those pictures and on returning home when he opened the box he saw that all his hard work was destroyed and he became very sad. Yet he remained determined and drew all the pictures afresh.
Carlyle had written a volume on the history of France. A friend of his borrowed the first volume though it was the only copy with him. This book was destroyed in fire due to the carelessness of the friend’s servant. With profound patience and perseverance Carlyle rewrote that volume.
Harvey had discovered blood circulation but he continued experimenting for eight years. Only then did he become sure of this. Then he put forth his view with simple arguments but met with strong opposition from all sides. A group called him mad and a lunatic. His friends began to avoid his company but he continued to defend his stand strongly. Today his view is accepted by all and is considered a fact of science