The Relationship between Hope and Success in the Family
By M. Zinhari
Everyone looks ahead towards his/her future life either by planning or by day dreaming about what can happen. Human beings live with hope and struggle with hope. A mother feeds her baby with hope. A farmer plants seeds with hope. A young man marries with hope of a happy and prosperous future and independence from his family. A patient who places himself in the hands of a surgeon and takes bitter medicine lives with hope. In short, success and joy in material and intellectual matters is due to hope for the future, because human nature is based on hope. This nature changes when the human deviates from his original path and becomes hopeless and disappointed.
Family is the smallest social unit and is the first center for shaping and training the individuals and social personalities under the light of success and hope. It is such that with hope one can have happy and active children and educate them based on true and proven scientific methods and prepare them for a shinning future. Without doubt, a baby learns family’s methods of deciphering aims and goals, struggling, and these are all accompanied by hope. On the hand, impeding education, delinquency, narcissism, , emptiness and not being purposeful are the results of wrong methods of training and destroy a child’s hope.
It is necessary to mention that hope is a motivation and a key to success when it is accompanied by will power and careful planning. Otherwise, life becomes nothing more than a mirage.
Negative and weak willed human beings not only cannot benefit from fruitful positions but also always disturb others and use their inner power to prevent work and progress. They always use words such as “impossible” and “cannot” and sit silent and motionless in a corner and disappoint others.
Even though Napoleon cannot exactly be called a role model for us, he can be used as an example of someone who made great advances towards achieving his goals. Napoleon said: “The word “Impossible” must is obliterated from the dictionary of life.” He was always upset at hearing words such as, ‘impossible’. ‘I cannot’, and ‘I don’t know’ and said: “If you want it, it’s possible.” 1
Have you ever observed how fathers’ and mothers’ negative or positive dispositions and suggestions have influence on their children’s deeds and mentality and what kinds of results they obtain? They weaken a child’s will by destroying his/her hope. Then they darken the future of adolescents and young people by speaking ill of society and country leaders. As a result young people lose their life’s purpose and their Islamic and spiritual values decrease.
Difference between Hoping and Wishing
Hope is a suitable desire that is attainable in the future, and therefore because of it’s possibility is based on reality. So hope is a mental phenomenon such that the more it is based on reality and truth the more suitable and efficient it is.
A wish on the contrary refers to something, which is unobtainable, and there is no hope or indication that it may happen in the future. A wish is expressed through phrases such as: “I wish it was ....”, “I wish something like that happens...”.
Therefore, human beings with far reaching wishes are forced to waste his mental energy in formulating reasons, reforming what he perceives as reality, and eliminating illogical selections of the truth. 2 In this expression wishing is a kind of want that is unobtainable. So it might become the source of negative effects in the future and shortcomings in duties related to the present.
Imam Sajjad (AS) said: “O Allah! I take refuge in you from prayer that becomes a veil for me and also from an unreal hope.” 3 Far-reaching and unrealistic wishes distances the human from Allah, and destroys his education and training. Allah said to Prophet Musa (AS): “O Musa do not have far reaching wishes in this world because you will become hard-hearted.” 4
Hope and good opinion towards Allah is the secret of many individual, social, moral and material successes. This word holds an important place in the dictionary of Islamic education, and the verses of the Holy Qur’an encourage hope in Allah and reproach hopelessness in Allah’s grace. Allah wants the sinners to return to Him with hope in His grace and to repent. It is the only way to restrain deviation and direct man to the right path.
Allah in the Qur’an says: “Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah;...” (39:53)
In this verse, Allah speaks to the sinners using the word “My slaves”, and this shows how He is merciful and compassionate to his servants. Sometimes you encounter people that say, “Despite being optimist and hopeful I never embrace success in my life”. I want to be virtuous and a believer, I want to be unselfish and helpful, I want to study and be good humored but I don’t know how I can achieve such goals. I don’t know what the obstacle in my way is? And how I can succeed?
Success and Lack of Success
Success is attaining that which man wills for, both moral and material affairs. Of course success is not due to the mere talent of the person but it is related to his/her efforts and endeavors. In this way a virtuous person with strong will power and control over the things which enters his heart and mind and his selfish needs, will succeed. Man uses all his mental, psychological and physical powers in order to succeed. A successful family always controls their child’s activities and behavior and supervises him/her with full efforts and spends their time and money to train their children, so that they are protected from deviation and error at the hands of friends and become the manifestation of both human and Islamic values.
One, who in addition to familiarity with the rights of spouses, takes them into consideration and is thankful to his/her spouse, leads a good life. A man came to Allah’s Messenger (SAW) and said: “I have a wife who welcomes me when I go home, and when I leave home she escorts me. When she sees me sad and dejected, she asks me why I am worried? She tells me if your are worried about your income, Allah will feed us and if it is for the hereafter, I hope Allah will add to your grief.
The Prophet (SAW) told him: “Allah has agents and delegates and this woman is one of Allah’s agents. She benefits half of a martyr’s reward.” 6
This woman’s success is due to her strong will in doing her duties towards his husband and that amazed the Prophet (SAW). One who has strong will, a pure intention and is hard working is able to achieve his goals.
In the Persian language there is a poem, which says:
There are a lot of dangers in the way to Leyla’s house.
The condition for the first step towards her is being Majnoon.
You must know that life is like a chessboard, and time is the player opposite you. So, if you don’t move fast, are not aware of the dangers and don’t rearrange your pieces, they will disappear from the chessboard one by one. You compete with one who doesn’t accept delay or being undecided.
Characteristics of a Hopeless Person
One of the characteristics of a hopeless person is that they always say: “I will come to nothing.” “I won’t have a shinning future.” “I do not lead a good life.” “Allah doesn’t accept my repentance,” etc. Being pessimistic, by destroying hope in themselves, they become a vertical dead body, which sits and looks forward at his/her dark and vague future. They always make pretexts and make statements like:
“If I didn’t have spouse and child....”
“If I was healthy enough....”
“If conditions were favorable....”
“If I were young....”
“If I had somebody to help me....”
“If my family understood me....”
“If I could make decisions....”
“If I Were lucky ........
”If I had bravery and courage enough to know my reality, and if I realized my defects and were able to correct them…”.
We know that they are all pretexts. Despite having spouse and children, many men and women succeed in their lives. There are many persons who progressed and improved their condition without being healthy or young.
The Remedy for Hopelessness and Mental Anxiety
You may have understood that the reason behind most physical illnesses is psychosomatic and has its root in depression and hopelessness.
Physical and mental fatigue is the result of factors such as anger, a feeling of ungratefulness from others, reproach, extreme solitude, haste and anxiety which decreases man’s activities and makes him/her prone to unknown illnesses.
Anxiety can cause inflamed arthritis, heart and stomach disease. One the well-known specialists in arthritis holds that: “Factors for arthritis are disappointment in marriage, financial problems, grief, anxiety, and continuous hesitation”. 7
What can be done? How can one free himself/herself from this crisis and its effects? How can one become an active, cheerful, and hopeful person?
To relieve hopelessness and decrease mental pressures the following are suggested:
1- Reliance on Allah
One who calculates everything according to material criteria and neglects Allah’s grace will fall into depression and hopelessness. But hope in God’s all encompassing power and constant attention to His servants and that Allah wants for His servants nothing but a good and fruitful life and to reinforce hope is important in their spirit, While using material means one should trust in Allah and empower his/her soul to start and complete his/her duties. The ideology of the one who places his trust in Allah is that: “The increase and decrease of my livelihood, what I lack, need and benefit from are all under Your control not the control of others”. 8
The Glorious Qur’an states:
“Surely by Allah’s remembrance are the hearts at rest”.9
Turning away from and forgetting Allah cause mental insecurity. Allah in this regard says:
“And whoever turns away from My reminder, his shall surely be a straitened life, and We will raise him on the day of resurrection, blind”. 10
In fact, a difficult life, feelings of hopelessness and futility are the results of mental deficiencies, lack of spiritual wealth and assurances of the future, fear of loosing available conveniences and possibilities and clinging to the material world. The case is more dreadful in the societies that have forgotten Allah; the societies that in spite of surprising progress in industry and having all life’s conveniences, live in worry and anxiety. They are all afraid of each other and relying on others. Their relationships and communications are only based on individual gains.
Dr. Billy Graham writes: “Today’s youth are more literate, have better taste and are more intelligent compared to adults of the past generation. But it is not clear why they always feel insecure sad and unhappy, what do they actually want? This is the question raised in all world countries.”
This writer under the subject “Belief and Strong Faith”, writes: Today’s youth do not have belief and strong faith which is the biggest factor leading to their grievances, hopelessness and misdemeanors. Then he says: “We must confess that we have neglected to train our adolescent in belief and faith.” 11
We can preserve our mental stability by using correct methods, strong belief and relying on Allah at sensitive stages of individual and social problems.
1) If you are able, reveal your worries and problems to reliable and accepted persons and ask for their guidance and advise. Although they may not be able to help you — that is the most urgent remedy to anxiety and worries.
2) Be satisfied and appreciative of what you have such as wealth, vocation, spouse and children. Think about their values and righteousness. Never compare your life with the well-to-do life of another, but compare it with persons who are less fortunate than yourself. Because the latter will make you reassured, content and satisfied with your blessings granted by Allah.
Salman Farsi the great follower of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) says: “...The Prophet (SAW) advised me to consider seven points in any case: The first one is to look at the people who lead a life lower than mine and not to the people who are higher than me. The other is to love the oppressed and accompany them.....12
3). Treat your heart by reciting Qur’an and supplications. Especially the 15th prayer of Imam Sajjad the forth Imam of Ahl -ul Bait (AS), which is available in Mafatih al-Jinan and think about their meanings and concepts.
1. The Secret of Victory of Great Men, Sobhani, J., p. 99
2. Sharh (explanation) Nahjul-Balagha, Ja’fary, M. T., vol. 9, p. 275
3. Bihar ul-Anwar, vol. 9, p. 156
4. Usul-e Kafi, vol. 2, p. 329
5. The Holy Qura’n, (39:53)
6. Wasail ash Shi’a, vol. 14, p. 17
7. The Best Way to Win Worries and Hopelessness, p. 40
8. Sha’bania Supplication
9. The Holy Qura’n, 13:28
10. The Holy Qura’n, 20:124
11. Reasons for the Progress of Islam and Decline of the Muslim, Qorbani, Z., p. 53
12. Wasail ash Shi’a, vol. 6, p. 309