Work and Effort in the View of the Religious Leaders
By: Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) once saw a laborer whose hand had swollen up. The Holy Prophet raised his hand up and exclaimed, “The fire of Hell will never burn this hand. This hand is loved by Allah and His Prophet. Whosoever lives on his hand’s earnings will receive Allah’s blessings and mercy.”
A worshipper once came into the presence of the Prophet and the Prophet was told that this person passes the whole year in worship and the maintenance of his family members is borne by his brother. The Holy Prophet said, “His brother, who bears the expenditure of this man’s family is nearer to Allah than this man. That man’s worship is more precious than of this.”
Once Amirul Mo-mineen Ali (a.s.) saw a group of people sitting in the mosque of Kufa. On inquiry he was informed that they were ‘Rijalul Haqq’ meaning, they eat if someone gives them to eat otherwise they endured with patience.
Amirul Mo-mineen averred, “The dogs in the streets of Kufa are also doing like that.” Then he ordered that the ‘Rijalul Haqq’ should be dispersed and that everyone must work to earn his livelihood.
Good fortune and prosperity comes to those who make efforts and work for it, not to the idle ones.
Those who have shaken the world were not extraordinary from the viewpoint of brainpower. The cause of their victory was hard work, effort and perseverance.
The great personalities of the world never hesitated to do small jobs for making both ends meet. Many of the brilliant students of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) were oil vendors, cobblers and camel-hirers.
Plato used to make up the expenses of his journeys by selling oil. The Famous botanist, Lena was a shoemaker.
It is pitiable that people look down at the job of coolies, though carrying weight is a gentleman’s honest work. If the Dockers at port or laborers of a city stop working even for a day everything would come to a stand still.
The great leader of mankind, Amirul Mo-mineen Hazrat Ali (a.s.) planted orchards with his own hands and later donated them to the needy people.
He had installed many tents in various parts of Medina with his strong hands. He was never ashamed of doing hard work.
The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) had condemned a person who became a burden for society and said that such a person remains away from Allah’s mercy.
Our fifth Imam, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) used to work in his fields and orchards even during the hot season and perspire there. He worked hard and also exhorted his men to do likewise.
Once his friend, Muhammad Mankadar took exception to this. He was of the opinion that it was not befitting for a personality of the Imam’s stature to toil like this. Imam told him, “To earn by ones own work is a kind of worship. Through this I want to make myself and my family needless of you and others.”
Faith in Intention
Faith or belief in ones aim is such an inner motive force, which definitely takes one to the final goal. Man loves himself too much and this love never abates. From this view if one is convinced that ones welfare and success lies in a particular work he would definitely proceed towards it.
One who values ones health takes the most bitter medicine in case of illness and finds that it easy to do so. He even puts himself on the operation table if necessary. Why? Because he knows that his safety is in taking that bitter medicine and his welfare demands the cutting off of certain diseased parts of his body.
If the diver is sure that there are precious pearls at the bottom of the ocean he submits himself to the waves of the sea with a particular zeal and enthusiasm. But if his belief were weak he would remain sitting idle on the shore and never venture into the deep waters.
Man steels his will power to attain some goal under the influence of such belief and faith that he does not care for the difficulties, hurdles and bitterness on the road to his goal. He befriends the thorns in his path and never complains of pain.
Sometimes the love for attaining a goal is so strong that man does not care even for his life. He sacrifices himself for his aim. He even greets death with a smiling face and sacrifices his life for his goal. Someone has correctly said: Shall I tell you the sign of a Faithful Man?
If death approaches him he embraces it with a smiling face.
It is the same trust and faith in the aim that carries the astronauts high up into the thresholds of death. They risk their lives to discover the mysteries of space and exploit them for the benefit of mankind. They struggle hard relentlessly and courageously to attain this goal.
Fourteen hundreds years ago the Muslims were not more than 313 in number and they did not have enough weapons when they faced the powerful army of Quresh at Badr. From the viewpoint of warfare experts there was remote chance of the Muslim victory. It was unimaginable that such a little group of Muslims would scatter the powerful army of Quresh. But contrary to the thinking of Materialist the small group, which was armed with Faith, overpowered the physically strong opponents within hours. The cause of the victory of the tiny minority was the same Faith, which had made it very easy for them to sacrifice their lives in the path to their goal. This truth was also accepted by their enemies. Before the Badr encounter, a brave soldier of the unbelievers was asked to ascertain the material and spiritual power of the Muslims. He said, “Though the Muslims are much less than us in number and also inferior in material power they are much more strong in spirituality and steadfastness in the path of their religion. They are a group whose shield is their sword. None of them would die unless and until he kills at least one of your warriors. What can we gain when they kill an equal number of our men?”
Huzaifah in the Court of Qaiser
A warrior who has complete faith in his goal never hesitates in sacrificing anything. For him there remains no difference between the nuptial bed and the battlefield.
The history of Islam is replete with such examples and we come across such incidents in the history of others communities also. A brigadier was arrested along with his men by the Byzantine army. The martial court of the enemy sentenced all the Muslim prisoners to death and ordered their massacre. The said brigadier was told that if he becomes a Christian the court would reverse its decision.
But the Muslim commander valued his aim more than his life. He knew that even if he gives up Islam apparently and becomes a Christians just for show, the resolve of all the other Muslim warriors who had fought courageously would also weaken and they would be deceived by the conspiracy of the enemy.
Thinking on these lines he rejected the court offer in unequivocal terms. Then the court promised that if he (Huzaifah) embraces Christianity the daughter of Qaiser would be given to him in marriage, and moreover he would be given a high position, but he rejected this offer too.
Emperor Qaiser was personally present in the court. He ordered that one of the commander’s men be thrown in boiling oil so that he may see with his own eyes that the court’s decision was serious and not a joke.
Huzaifah witnessed his man being thrown into the boiling oil and saw his flesh coming away from his bones and being dispersed in boiling oil. Seeing this Huzaifah wept in grief.
The enemy thought that Huzaifah was weeping due to fear. But suddenly he turned toward the courtiers and spoke thus: “I am not weeping over the consequences of this man. I myself am awaiting for this end. I grieve because I have only one life to sacrifice on Islam. If only I had as many lives as the number of my hair, I would have sacrificed all of them on my religion.”
Those who heard these words were extremely astonished at this unflinching faith and under some pretext they released Huzaifah along with his eighty companions.
In the world of politics today there is a problem called ‘Vietnam’. It was a poor nation having the power of bow and arrow only but it has complete faith and trust in its aim. This nation brought down America’s vast economy and administration on its knees. In fact only one ‘Viet Kong’ compelled America to spend 10,00,000 dollars.
In the year 1965 alone America dropped 80,000 bombs on South Vietnam (which is under the control of Viet Kong) and on North Vietnam and in 1966 America had to spend 15,80,00,00,00 dollars in these hostilities.
We see today the religious leaders of the Buddhists immolate themselves in the fields of ‘Saigon’ without the least sign of grief on their faces as they burn like a candle before the eyes of their followers who surround them singing religious songs. All this is only due to their unflinching faith and therefore their land has today become the battlefields for the east and west.
On the other hand, for creating courage and determination America has to dispatch a group of artists at a huge cost to provide light to the darkened hearts of their soldiers by dance and other material entertainment.
The Vietnamese soldiers are fighting for a particular aim and their goal is to end the rule of injustice and oppression and live freely, while the American soldier does not know what he is fighting for because there is a distance of thousands of miles between his country and Vietnam.
There are many examples of faith in aim. The greatest sign of Faith is that one bets ones life on it. The Holy Quran has mentioned this very clearly.