Civility, Gradual Change, Hard Moments
Issue 731 » March 29, 2013 - Jumada Al-Awwal 17, 1434
Surah Al-Taubah (The Repentance) Chapter 9: Verse 112 (partial)
Civility is preserving the limit between exaggeration and coolness, while being aware of the damage that may result from aggression.
It consists of three levels:
The first level is preventing fear from extending to despair, keeping expectation from turning into security and containing pleasure so that it does not equal boldness.
The second level is forsaking fear in order to enter the field of constriction, rising from expectation to the field of expansion and progressing from happiness to the field of contemplation.
The third level is being aware of civility, then dispensing with civility by experiencing the civility of the True One, then escaping from witnessing the burdens of civility.
"Stations of the Wayfarers" - Abdullah Al-Ansari, pp. 128-130
Changing people is not a simple task. Individuals become set in their beliefs and attitudes, and dominant practices, customs and traditions become part of their life. To change these will require hard work and a great deal of patience. Therefore, keeping human nature in mind, all the noble Prophets of Allah worked according to the set priorities of Islam and introduced change gradually so that it could become firm in people's hearts and minds.
If change is rushed, it could have a negative impact on the person or society that is being changed.
"The religion of Islam is a lenient one - so go into it with ease and patience. No one who attempts to storm his way into it will come out victorious." (Bukhari)
"Building a New Society" - Zahid Parvez, p. 163
The poet Robert Frost wrote, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." There are certain hard moments, diverging-road moments, that, if we are strong in them, will make "all the difference" down the road of life.
Hard moments are conflicts between doing the right thing and doing the easier thing. They are the key tests, the defining moments of life - and how we handle them can literally shape our forevers. They come in two sizes, small and large.
Small hard moments occur daily and include things like getting up when your alarm rings, controlling your temper, or disciplining yourself to do your homework. If you can conquer yourself and be strong in these moments your days will run so much more smoothly. For example, if I'm weak in a hard moment and sleep in (mattress over mind), it often snowballs and becomes the first of many little failures throughout the day. But if I get up when planned (mind over mattress), it often becomes the first of many little successes.
In contrast to small hard moments, larger ones occur every so often in life and include things like choosing good friends, resisting negative peer pressure, and rebounding after a major setback: You may get cut from a team or dumped by your lover, your parents may get divorced, or you may have a death in the family. These moments have huge consequences and often strike when you're least expecting them. If you recognize that these moments will come (and they will), then you can prepare for them and meet them head on like a warrior and come out victorious.
Be courageous at these key junctures! Don't sacrifice your future happiness for one night of pleasure, a weekend of excitement, or a thrilling moment of revenge.
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" - Sean Covey, p. 122