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Realizing One’s Own Shortcomings
|He had reached old age and was still unmarried. When asked his reason for remaining a bachelor, he said that he had always been looking for a perfect spouse. "But in all this time, did you not find one?" he was asked. "Once I did," he replied, "but unfortunately she was looking for a perfect spouse too, and I did not come up to the required standard."
Generally people are expert at detecting the faults of others. That is why they are unable to get on with anybody. If they were to seek out their own faults, instead of those of others, they would realize that they are in the same position as they find others to be in. Awareness of one’s own shortcomings makes for a spirit of humility in individuals and unity in society. If one sees only the faults of others, on the other hand, one will become arrogant, and perennially be at odds with one’s fellows.
It is a fact of psychology that no single person can be an amalgam of all good qualities. Just as there are many shades of grey between black and white, so are there many gradations of good and evil in ordinary human beings. While few are saints, few also are the out-and-out villains.
Character Builds the Nation
Toyota, a Japanese motor company, has been functioning for the last thirty years without a single day ever having been wasted, and without its production ever once having slackened. This is only one of the many examples which explain the fast development of industry in Japan. General Motors and the Ford Motor Company of the U.S.A. are the biggest motor manufacturing companies in the world. The annual production of these motor companies is, on an average, 11 cars per employee, while the Toyota Motor Company annually produces 33 cars per worker.
Considering the non-existence or at least paucity of all the major raw materials of industry in Japan—coal, iron, petroleum, etc.,—Japan still manages to surpass all other countries in industrial progress. One might well ask why. A Hindustan Times commentator (25 August, 1981) attributes Japan’s success to "A national spirit of compromise and co-operation, and a willingness to endure short-term setbacks for the long-term good of the nation, company or family."
It is temperament then which plays the most crucial role in the making of a nation. It is important in nation-building in the way that bricks are important in any kind of construction work. A house made of unfired bricks is unsafe, because any calamity, even a minor one, can bring it tumbling down. A building, on the other hand, which is made of kiln-fired bricks can be trusted to withstand the onslaught of tempests and floods.
A character so tempered that it can be depended upon through thick and thin—like the kiln-fired brick—is what in the long run builds a nation, for it is only such a temperament which can remain attuned to the more and more complex procedures of industrialization and remain steadfastly geared to national progress.
Roger II (1095-1154), founder of the Norman dynasty in Sicily, holds a distinguished place among medieval European monarchs. He had his capital at Palermo, and is noted for having made Sicily into a prosperous country. He established a strong administration, and constructed a powerful fleet. The success of Roger II, according to a western historian, can be attributed in part to the fact that he "made Sicily a meeting place of European and Arabic scholars."
Al-Idrisi was a contemporary of Roger II. Born in Marrakesh, he was educated in Spanish universities. Later he travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and Africa. He became the greatest geographer of his age, and a close friend and adviser to Roger II, at whose court he served as official geographer. Roger II originally invited Al-Idrisi to Sicily to make a map of the world for him.
Here we can see the cause of the esteem in which Muslims were held in times past. They made Islam a dominant force on the world scene, not through protests and demands, nor from spreading conflict and terror, but through being useful to the world. By virtue of hard struggle, they established themselves as intellectual leaders of the world. They had something that others did not have, so people flocked to their sides. That was how Muslims raised their standing in the world in times past. It is by the same method that they can improve their position today, and build for a better future.
Analysis of the writings of
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan q