Accepting the Reality
By: Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
We must accept the reality or truth, as it does not matter whether it is in our interest or against us. We must never imagine the reality to be always in our favor.
Everyone should wear a spectacle, which can show him the facts honestly, and he too should view them honestly, without any prejudice.
Those who want to spread corruption in society always create rumors to satisfy their mean souls. So as a result of continuously deceiving their hearts they tend to believe their own lies making their minds blind.
On 6th August 1945, the first atom bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which has become the world’s unforgettable city due to this unfortunate event. The bomb afflicted 1,50,000. Its population, which was 3,44,000 in 1940, was reduced to only 286 in 1953. Three days later a bomb fell on another Japanese city of Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered a week later. The whole world condemned the beastly act of America, which had mercilessly massacred thousands of innocent men, women and children. This barbarous deed is unprecedented in world history. It was president Truman who had ordered this bombing, whose heart began to trouble his mind thereafter. All the peace lovers of the world condemned Truman whose status was reduced to dust. The world called him a killer instead of a diplomat.
Now, let us see, how Truman had viewed this event and how he was deceiving his soul, distorting the truth and trying to present poison as nectar. He says, “I had issued this order to save millions of American soldiers. If the bombs had not been deployed the U.S. army would have had to attack the shores of Japan, which was very secure with military arrangements. Thus it would have been a furious battle in which Japanese too would have suffered much.
These are the words of an ex-president of America, but even a layman can understand that Truman was deceiving himself through false arguments. He did not want to see the reality. Moreover, he has been thinking that his prestige has remained intact and also his popularity, but very soon he tested the fruits of his folly. Freedom lovers of the world threw him out of the field of politics and public life and this stain remained on him forever.
Businessmen, diplomats and other people can succeed in their fields only when they see their conditions truthfully and without any bias. It is necessary for a good trader to listen to the criticism made by the customer about his merchandise or about the way he conducts business with a cool mind and full attention and thereafter remove objectionable things. Similarly it is necessary for a diplomat to consider people’s objections properly. Without proper understanding he should not brand the people’s movements as self-motivated struggles. He should not try to suppress people by alleging that they are anarchists or lawless. Politicians should always remember that only by loving the truth and appreciating it can a nation be made stable, and their politics secure. Truthfulness is the first condition.
The student who loves progress tolerates the teacher’s scolding happily. When he gets fewer marks he never alleges that the teacher was partial. Rather he pays attention and examines his own self and his method of study. Possibly the truth was that he himself had made mistakes and faults. Such understanding of truth will serve him as a ladder to future success.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to assess the enemies and their power before waging a war against the polytheists and idol-worshippers. He used to gather relevant information before starting a campaign. The facts were sometimes unpleasant too but he never considered the strength of the enemy insignificant and worth ignoring. He never deceived himself or the Muslims through wishful thinking, saying, for instance, that we will finish the enemy with a single assault or will push them into the sea instantly.
In the battle of Badr, Muslim spies captured a soldier of the polytheist Quresh on the well of Badr and brought him to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). They had not, till then, known the number of the enemy forces.
The Holy Prophet (s) asked him, “How many camels are being slaughtered by the Quresh daily?”
The captured man replied, “Some times nine sometimes ten.” The Holy Prophet said, “The enemy’s strength is between nine hundred and one thousand men.”
The 6-day war between the Arabs and the Israel in June 1967 ended in the defeat of the Arabs. It is painful to state that very few have confessed this bitter truth only because it is bitter. The fact is that the cause of the defeat was that the heads of the Arab states and their internal and external supporters, instead of making a correct and truthful assessment continued to sing and broadcast war songs. Had they done so they would have never faced such a humiliating defeat unparalleled in human history.
Indeed, doubt is a ladder to surety and trust. So long as a man does not develop doubt about anything he does not care to make inquires and act seriously.
Similarly objection and criticism also are ladders leading to perfection. Successful is one who listens to people’s criticism carefully. He takes into account every criticism, which has been made selflessly with an intention of improvement. The truth is that true reflection of man and his defects are seen in the mirror of public criticism.
Jamshed made the Jame Jahan Numa (world reflector cup) only because he was not aware of the truth that the world itself is a Jaam (cup) exhibiting itself.
We should remember that Imam Ja’far (a.s.) has said, “Dearest to me among my brothers is the one who presents to me my shortcomings and thus makes me aware of my defects.”
In the eyes of our great leaders the best gift is to show the defects of people to them in the nicest possible manner.
In today’s free world, criticism is the foundation of life.
The European world invites experts from other countries and entrusts governmental and other departments to them so that they may examine them and offer criticism.
One who feels bad hearing his criticism and who does not like to see the reality as it is and who dislikes to know people’s opinion about him, should be told: Break thyself, as it is wrong to break the mirror, which reflects real face.
There is a distinct difference between being flexible and being a weathercock. A flatterer and weathercock type man has no aim in life. He does not follow any true principle. He puts on different masks on his face and appears before others on the stage of life. He destroys all principles for his personal benefits and to satisfy his passions.
But a flexible person behaves mildly unless there is a danger to his principles or aims. He makes agreements even with his enemies when essential. He lets go many of his personal advantages in order to safeguard his principles and if need be, gives preference to the wishes of others ignoring his own liking.
The changing circumstances of the world are mostly like the storms, which uproot many. A windstorm starts and attacks trees. Green trees show some flexibility and allow the storm to pass overhead and soon thereafter become upright after bowing for a while. But dry and hard trees try to remain standing in the face of stormy winds. The hardness and stiffness does not allow them to be flexible and consequently they are uprooted.
The head of a state who is in charge of all affairs, the managing director of an organization who has to deal with hundreds of people, a trader or businessman who faces all kinds of consumers and buyers are such people that if they sacrifice their principles for gaining passing and temporary benefits, they are weathercocks.
But the same people, if they show a little flexibility, become somewhat soft and give some positive response to the demands of relevant people, and win over their hearts by suffering a little material loss then, we can consider them as people having a desirable flexibility.
In this connection, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) says, “In the face of the storms of events the position of a believer is like a flexible plant. When a stormy wind hits, it shows softness and does not remain stiffly erect. But an unbeliever is like a hard dry tree, which does not bend and consequently gets uprooted.
If these people are harsh in ordinary matters in dealing with different types of people it can harm their reputation. Such harshness creates hatred in the hearts of the masses and, therefore, such people cannot attain high status nor can they perform commendable deeds. Only one with some flexibility in temper can become popular in society.
If you see the Treaty of Hudaibiyah you will be surprised to observe the flexibility shown by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The treaty he signed in the 8th year of the Hijri Era with the idolaters of Quresh was even criticized by some ignorant and unwise persons, but with the passage of time it was proved that flexibility was necessary for future success.
The biggest hurdle in the advance of Islam was the idolaters of Quresh. They had, through their continuous attacks taken away the freedom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). Had there not been this hindrance, the Holy Prophet’s call was so effective and impressive that, by dispatching a few preachers and by propagating and spreading the message of the holy Quran, he could have brought the entire Arab Peninsula under the banner of Monotheism. However the idol-worshippers had deprived the Holy Prophet of this chance by direct and indirect attacks on him.
The high aim and noble intention of the Holy Prophet was to get secure freedom for propagating Islam. With this aim in view he signed the peace treaty with the Quresh and showed a high and uncommon measure of flexibility.
In order to explain our point we mention hereunder some points:
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had entrusted the writing of the treaty to Ali (a.s.) who wrote on the first page: “Bismillahirrehmaanirraheem” (In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful), but at once the delegate of the Quresh said, “We do not know the words Rahman and Rahim. According to Arabian customs, you should write ‘Bismika Allahumma. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) accepted this proposition. Then Ali wrote, “This is an agreement, which has been entered into, by God’s Messenger Muhammad with the representative of the Quresh.” Immediately the Quresh said, “We do not recognize Muhammad as the messenger of God. Had we recognized him as the prophet of God, we would not have fought him.” The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked Ali to erase the words “Messenger of God”.
One of the conditions of this agreement was that if any polytheist flees Mecca and reaches the Islamic capital of Medina, it would be the responsibility of the Islamic state to return that man to the authorities of Quresh. But if any Muslim runs away from Medina and takes shelter in Mecca the Quresh will not be responsible for returning him to the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) accepted this condition too so that he and his followers may get some relief from the Quresh, and a path may be opened for propagation of Islam. The advantages he obtained in connection with the propagation of Islam were more important than the allowances he gave to Quresh.
One of the defects of our way of working is that when we calculate our profit and loss, we forget to maintain a balance. If we cut off relations with some people, we do so forever continuously and never think that the relations can be restored under some special conditions. In other words we consider flexibility as a sign of defeat and disgrace. But both wisdom and Shariat say that it is a principle of success to show flexibility to an extent, which does not harm our original aim.
The Correct Way
One of the great economists says, “Financial institutions and factories manufacturing various items decline due to their tendency of maintaining their original position.”
Intelligent people believe that to remain in the same condition is a kind of downfall. But is this law only for factories? Or is it a common law applicable to all categories of every kind and every field?
In this respect Ali (a.s.) says, “If a man passes two continuous days in such a way that from the material and spiritual viewpoint the latter day is just like the former one, then that person has suffered a great loss in his life.”
Man’s greatest capital is the life span gifted to him. This precious capital is being spent gradually. If its return is not of the same value then it means that we have lost our capital and have not been able to make any profit by it.
As a principle doing new things is a part of human nature. Man becomes bored doing the same work continuously for a long time. Even the most delectable things lose their taste if they are consumed daily.
Shopkeepers and departmental stores owners, in order to avoid monotony, rearrange their materials every now and then even if the profit from both the settings is same.
Newspapers having large circulations, in order to avoid similarity, change printing or color every day or every week, so that it may not appear awkward.
Similarly the decorations of dining halls in big restaurants are changed often so that they appear attractive and people may not be bored.
But is every kind of change and novelty a sign of progress? Is it so even if good thing turns into bad ones? Never!
While the great economists consider changelessness a kind of decline they also consider it suicidal to change a good thing into a bad one. From this viewpoint, every change should be proper and it should be better than earlier. When we make an improvement we should not concentrate only upon its outer change, but we must also pay attention to the original aim and make changes accordingly.
The main defect of our eastern factories is that when once the masses like their products they never think of making any changes and if they ever do so they do not do it in a nice way.
The Holy Prophet always liked regularity, discipline and aptness in every work.
When a military officer Saad bin Maaz died and his coffin was lowered in the grave, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) observed that people are dropping dust in it in an inappropriate manner, which made him sorrowful. He sat down near the grave, leveled the earth of the grave with his own hands and then said to his companions, “I know that this grave will soon become old. But God likes a slave who performs his work nicely and perfectly.”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) knew that this mismanagement and irregularity could enter every walk of life. He did not like that even a minor and ordinary work should be done haphazardly even if it was not to last long.
Any young man or woman that desires appreciation of his deeds and one who aims for permanent success should perform today’s work in a way better than yesterday.