Pessimism and mistrust destroys mans life
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Syed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
I want you to know that a man’s way to be happy is that he should have always a good opinion about his Lord. He should be happy with Him. He must acknowledge His bounties. He must be extremely drowned in thankfulness to Him. If he has a bad opinion about God, he is deviated and he will have nothing but grief, ill luck and misfortune. The reason why the man of today has become so miserable and restless is that he has distanced himself from his Lord. He looks at everything but not at God. He trusts everyone and everything except God. He says: I have this and that.
What he never says is that ‘I have my God with me’. That is why his life does not become better. Rather it is likely to become worse. By way of example, today, Switzerland is on top of all the countries of the world from the viewpoint of security, liberty and civilization. So naturally, people over there should be most happy and peaceful. But, as is reported by the press, there are a record number of suicides in that country! So, something is wrong somewhere. There are no apparent reasons for such suicides. It is not due to lack of money or power or independence. The defect is somewhere else. It is their distance from God. As man here has gone away from his Lord, he feels that he is alone and without any support. There is no other cause for this pitiable condition. He has a bad opinion about the universe. He has considered life aimless. A man who has such opinion about this world and Hereafter cannot get anything but ill luck.
"…The entertainers of evil thoughts about Allah. On them is the evil turn, and Allah is wroth with them and has cursed them and prepared hell for them, and evil is the resort."
They have bad opinion about God’s messengers about the goings on in the world of existence, about the creations of God and, let me say, above all, they have a bad opinion with regard to themselves also. They have no good opinion about fellow human beings. What do they think about themselves? They have considered themselves animals. What do animals do? Eat and mate! Another passion for man is to gather wealth and seek beautification. Such animal-like inclinations have made man consider himself a miserable. He has forgotten himself because he has forgotten God.
"And be not like those who forsook Allah, so He made them forsake their own souls…"
Everyone considers others as dishonest and they only look at the dark side. No one thinks of virtues. It has become their habit to find faults in everyone because of the misconception mentioned in the verse under discussion. Here is an amusing example.
A Melancholic youth turns into a cow
It is written that during the rule of Izzud Daula Dailami, a youth belonging to the tribe of Diyalama, connected with the ruling powers, suffered from melancholy, which is an illness of psyche and which is connected to both brain and body. It alters the temperament, increases ones anger and intensifies the emotions. He regards whatever comes to his thought as reality. It is indeed a serious and troublesome calamity.
What is real appears to him as imaginary and imaginary things appear real. For example, suppose he is sitting in a garden. Suddenly a thought comes to his mind that all the trees, plants and greenery have caught fire and going up into flames. Thus his mind makes him see that everything is burning before his eyes. This poor youth had become melancholious and he imagined that he was a cow. Then he began to moo like a cow as he remembered that sound well.
Then this devilish imagination turned more serious. People tried to give him food, but he resisted and said, "I do not want such food. You must, today, cut off my head and cook my flesh." He obtained promise from the people that they will surely slaughter him and prepare various kinds of meat dishes. The poor parents tried their best to give him human food but he just pushed everything back. By and by he became weak and thin. All the relatives feared that he would soon die. So they sent a word to Izzud Daula and sought his help in this matter. Izzud Daula asked Iran’s best doctor to attend this case. The expert physician also accepted the job. The way in which the doctor treated the patient is also very interesting.
He (the doctor) said, "When I come to you, you people should not address me as a doctor. You must say that the butcher has arrived. I pretend to be a butcher. When the youth says, ‘Slaughter me as I am a cow’, tell him, ‘All right, we have brought a butcher for you.’ Then I know what to do." So the people said to that youth, "Today, the chief butcher is arriving to cut off your holy head, to divide your meat into two portions for making minced and roasted meat." This made the youth quite happy. He asked, "When will the butcher come?" They replied, "Today is the appointed day." So the youth was awaiting the butcher and the parents and relatives of that youth were anxious to see what the chief doctor would do.
Then came the doctor who had worn a butcher’s dress and was holding a knife in each hand. He was rubbing the knives to sharpen them. On reaching them, he asked, "Where is the cow?" The youth himself mooed like a cow indicating that it was he. The doctor-turned-butcher said, "Very well, bring it to the open space in the garden." The youth came himself to the garden very happily and lied down at once with his head ready to be cut off. The butcher then said, "Very nice. Now tie up its hands and legs by way of precaution because, some cows fling their legs making our job difficult." The doctor was trying to convince the youth that what he wanted was about to happen soon, so that he may be treated in the way the doctor has planned.
Finally he repeated, "Tie up his hands and feet firmly." They acted accordingly. Then the ‘butcher’ knocked at the youth (cow’s) back and also at his chest and shook him with a jerk. Then he asked, "Who is the owner of this cow?" The father of the youth came up and asked, "What is the matter?" The ‘butcher’ said, "Cow’s meat is a nice food, but people usually feed it well to keep it healthy and get good beef. Only then do they slaughter it and benefit from its beef. This cow has no flesh. It is so weak! How should I slaughter it?" The father asked, "Well, then what should I do?" The ‘butcher’ said, "For the time being, take it back and give him food so that it puts on more flesh." The youth heard this and understood that the butcher was right. People do not slaughter a cow unless it is fat and fleshy.
So he said, "All right, bring whatever food is there so that I may eat." The doctor prescribed some medicine. The youth took hoping to become fleshy enough for slaughter. After a month or forty days, the medicine showed its effect and his melancholy decreased and then vanished altogether, and the youth realized that he was human, not a cow. That he was the eater, not an eatable. Man is not in the control of a cow. Cow is subservient to man.
Melancholy has overtaken most people today
You heard this story. Now, believe me. Today, most of the people are affected by a kind of melancholy, some clearly and some not so clearly, but all consider themselves animals. What is an animal? Its function is lust and passion, either stomach or that another inclination. It can do nothing beyond this. He says, "When I die, it’s all over. What is hereafter and what is eternity, spirit, night in the grave, Paradise and hell? What is all this?" Are we different from cows? Cows and donkeys are free. Male and female animals confront each another in the streets. What happens when a female ass arrives and a male donkey’s sees her? It is like some youths of today.
What is their behavior in gardens, on roads, in cinema houses? He says: Man must have liberty. Man is no different from a cow. Why? Why should there be any difference between the two? Have the female animals any hijab (veil)? All their bodies are bare. What is the difference between them and these two-footed animals? How are these women of today different from female donkeys? To what extent the melancholious man has advanced? They have missed their reality. For what are you created? In what type of a pit have you hurled yourself? They consider dancing as a perfect art! Monkey also dances. Is this the aim of creation?
O people! Why have you ignored and lost your reality? You must get treatment for this melancholy. Now let me show you the treatment.
I ask you: What is your play and pastime, your dances, your films? Is all this meant for you? They say: Well, we do not make any distinction between a man and an animal. We must be free and at liberty. We must have entertainment. We should have pastimes. We ought to have television. In reply they must be told: Well, gentlemen! It is nice what you say. Verily, man requires entertainment in the house from morning to evening. Outside, one should attend cinema at least for two hours every day to kill himself. Right. A cow must have some flesh so that people may eat its beef.
We also say so. We confirm it. O Man! You certainly do require entertainment, but healthy entertainment it should be. It should give true pleasure to your heart, not temporary and superficial. It should not fan the fire of passion inside you. These cinemas! Apparently there is pleasing entertainment therein, but it instigates passions and lusts in everyone. Consequently, a married man becomes disinterested in his own wife and runs after another woman.
What a disaster it brings. What dirty corruption! I have repeatedly said that women who get distanced from their own houses finally fall down in dens of vice, due to these cinemas and television shows! How many men are there who did have warm households, wives and children whom they have now discarded. What kind of entertainment is this? How much fiercely man burns from within after this entertainment?
Violence after watching films
A few months back there was a news report published in Iran. In a city, a ten-year-old boy killed his three years old sister in their house. He had killed her with a knife. Thereafter, police and court made inquiries to find out the motive. Finally, it was found that the child had seen a violent film on his home television and was influenced by the violence shown in it. O fathers! Bring televisions in your homes and turn your children into killers.
Is this entertainment? It inflames fury and frenzy of passion and lust. What a fountainhead of lust, greed, passion, desire and sin, the five fingers of the devil’s hand! How does it drown you in a dirty well of misery and restlessness! Yes, you require entertainment, but it should be healthy entertainment. Almighty God says in Qur’an: "Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy- in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather."
Be happy and experience pleasure when you spread your dinner-cloth, when you eat this precious bread. You are tasting God’s bounties. Be happy with it. Where was this bread before it came into your hands? Thousands of hands had done their job before it reached you.
How tasteful is the morsel, which has reached my hand and mouth. The cloud, the wind, the moon, the sun and the sky all have performed their duty to provide me with this piece of bread!
God’s grace in Marital life
Look at your wife and be happy and thank God Who made you contented lawfully in the matter of your natural sexual instinct and safeguarded your Faith. How has He made this lady a means of your rest, peace and gratification. God made her a means of rest and peace for you, through a permitted and lawful sexual benefit. This is entertainment. So be happy with the God-given grace.
O women! Be happy and pleased by looking at your husbands. God, through this man, protected your faith, your chastity and your honor. He brought you out of loneliness. The duty of you women is to adorn yourselves for winning the hearts of your husbands. The Holy Prophet has cursed those women who give up beautification for their husbands. You should behave in such attractive manner with your husband that he may never be inclined to look at any other woman. You must take care of your husband’s attention through love, kindness, pleasing manners and adoration. There are numerous narrations regarding man’s pleasure while meeting his wife and the wife’s pleasure while meeting her husband.
Children also are a bounty given by God. They take you out of loneliness. It is indeed God’s great grace.
"Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy- in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather."
It is also mentioned in narrations that Grace of God means Muhammad Mustafa and Mercy (Rahmat) of God is Ali bin Abi Talib. They show the path of humanity. They show how to attain the aim. It is being happy with God by looking at His bounties. Pondering over God’s construction of the universe gives pleasure to a healthy heart and mind. O wise and intelligent man! You observe that a truckload of watermelons arrives in your town. It has come from quite a long distance. Say: O Lord! What a wonderful thing You did you for Your servants!
How pleasing it is in this terribly hot atmosphere and also so sweet. Bless also the cultivator who worked for its growth. Always look at the bright side of everything and feel happy. Do not find faults with everyone and everything. How much labor the farmers have undertaken in this hot season whereby this watermelon came to you at this time of breaking the fast. Now, while eating it, be mindful and think about the several hands, which toiled for this purpose. Under whose control all of them are? God and only God. It is You and You, O Allah! Who turned dry branches into green foliage to provide us with sweet grapes? How thankful should all of us be to Him!
Appreciate the bounties of hand and tongue. Is there anyone who offers due thanks and gratitude? (Persian couplet)
O man! Whenever you face some difficulty, you forget all other positive points. Do not have any bad or adverse opinion about God’s creation. Instead of ‘Remembering God’s favors’ they distance themselves from God and say the days are now very difficult, the situation is very bad, the market is dull. He does say not even a single word of thankfulness to God and His favors. This is being away from God and having an adverse opinion about His creation.
It is mentioned in a tradition that some people told the fourth Imam (Ali Ibnul Husain), "O Master! There is much inflation." The Imam replied, "Let it be. What about it? God will give more."
When a pound of bread cost one rial, God was giving us one rial. When it became costly He gave a Tooman to us. Now also he will give in proportion to it. The habit of having bad opinion about God must be given up soon, with the help of God, of course. Otherwise, I have no ability to make you look nicely towards God and know Him correctly. I cannot even make you have a good opinion about yourselves. This cynical pessimism of yours, this illness of melancholy can be cured with the Qur’anic medicine – the spiritual medicine.
The dog’s white and strong fangs
It is mentioned in narrations that some companions of Prophet Isa saw a dog, which looked very ugly and horrible. They expressed their hate towards that dog. Jesus Christ said, "Why do you not look at its fangs. How nice they are?" God Almighty put them in the mouth of a dog. How strong they are. They can crush hard bones by them.
O Muslims! How much grateful should you be to Almighty Allah! Do not, always, look at the dark side. Look at the bright side also. How beautiful is Nature! If you see a fault in someone, do not consider it absolutely bad. How do you know that he will not do a good thing, which may dwarf his shortcoming? For example, someone usurped your money. Yet you should never say: O God! What a bad person You created! Yes, he did a wrong thing to you. Yet it is quite possible that he has some hidden virtues, which may make him nice in the sight of God.
What you see apparently is that he is a sinner. Never look hatefully at anyone even if he is disbeliever, Jew, Christian or an atheist. We do not say that you should not act upon ‘Nahy Anil Munkar’ (prohibiting evil). Do prevent one from evil but do not think that he or she is absolute evil and that you yourselves are absolutely good. It is possible that, despite having drawbacks observed by you, that person may have some virtues, which are liked by God and may be their value is higher than what you imagined. You have remembrance and good attire. He may have generosity and charity. You may be reciting Ziyarat Ashura often and may be spending a lot in the path of Allah. Who is better? To spend money or to spend words! It is better that we understand this from a narration.