The real Story…
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Once a great scholar in the days of old went to a library in Baghdad to borrow some books. He found two scholars eagerly going through all the books in the library and writing some of the words, which were written in those pages. Puzzled at their actions, he came up to them to find out if he could help them in some way.
He asked them: My friends, what is it that you hope to gain from going through all these books? They replied: We are writing down words of wisdom, of the ancient scholars in order to be successful in all the endeavors we undertake in our lives. He said to them: There are three things? If you have them, you will not succeed.
The men were immediately interested and asked him excitedly: What are they? And he said:
Worry of yesterday, sorrow of today, and fear of tomorrow.
If you overcome these three things, you will always emerge successful in all your endeavors throughout your life.
One day Bohlool arrived at Haroun’s palace and saw that the throne was empty. There was no one to stop him, so he unhesitatingly and fearlessly went and sat in Haroun’s place. When the court slaves saw this, they immediately started whipping him and took him off the throne. Bohlool started crying. Haroun came and saw this; he asked those nearby why Bohlool was crying. A slave told him the whole story. Haroun scolded them and tried to cheer Bohlool up.
Bohlool said he wasn’t crying at his condition, but at Haroun’s condition. “I sat on the seat of Khalifate wrongfully for a few seconds and received such a beating and endured such misfortune; but you have been sitting on this throne all your life! What troubles you must receive, yet you still don’t fear the consequence.”
There is no one in the world who does not need friends. The more friends we have the more successful our lives will be. A learned man has said, “One who thinks that he does not need friends is like the simpleton who tells the sun that he does not care whether it rises or sets”.
It should also be remembered that it is necessary to be careful in the selection of friends. Making more friends does not mean that we should have firm relations with anyone and everyone. If we befriend unmannerly and lazy people, their bad habits will gradually affect us and we shall become lazy and worthless like them. This will make us lose our esteem in the eyes of others.
There is a well-known proverb: “A man is known by the company he keeps”. We should, therefore, befriend those people who are good mannered, pious and hard-working. Islam says that two companions should act as preachers for each other and each one of them should point out the shortcomings of the other. So by associating with such people we shall overcome our weaknesses and advance on the path of progress.
It should also not be forgotten that making friends is not sufficient; but it is also necessary to retain their friendship. This would be possible only when we behave with them properly and sincerely. Imam Ali (a) has said:
“A man who has no friends is very poor. And poorer than he, is he who cannot retain the friendship and loses his friends”.
A man is known by the company he keeps.
Co-operation is to work together far a common good. It is to undertake a job in which everyone plays his part sincerely to finish it. People in co-operation pool their resources for their common benefit. We come to hear or see co-operative societies established in many countries. Their benefit has been dignity of labour and self-dependence. The co-operative movement has been the cause of rapid economic progress in many countries.
There is a story of an old man who was on his death-bed. He called his sons and asked them to break a bundle of sticks which was bound together. Although the sons were strong and tried hard to break it, they failed. The old man then advised them to untie the bundle and to break the sticks separately. Everyone of them could do so very easily. The bundle of sticks is like co-operation and working together in unity which cannot be destroyed. Thus co-operation is strength.
The Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (s). was once travelling with his companions. They stopped at a place to have something to eat and then rest. They decided to slaughter a sheep and roast it.
One of them said, “I shall do the slaughtering.”
The other said, “I shall remove the skin.”
The third one said, “I shall do the roasting.”
Each one of them volunteered to do one piece of work.
The Prophet of Islam said, “I shall collect and bring the firewood from the forest.”
The companions said, “Oh Prophet! You need not take the trouble. We shall attend to everything.”
The Prophet said, “I know you can do everything. But I do not like to enjoy a preferential treatment from you. God Almighty does not like to see a person distinguishing himself from his companions.” Thus the Prophet went and brought firewood from the forest;
This is one of the examples set by the Prophet of Islam on co-operation and working together for a common good.
God ordered two angels to destroy a city. On reaching there, the angels noticed one of the inhabitants beseeching and supplicating to God. One of the angels said to the other:
“Don’t you see this person supplicating?”
“Yes I do, but God’s order has to be executed,” replied the other one.
“Wait. Let me ask God as to what should be done.”
Praying to God, the first angel inquired: “In this city there is a person, who entreats and beseeches you. Do we still impose thechastisement upon the city?”
The answer came from God:
“Execute the commandment which has been given to you, for that person has never been perturbed and distressed for My sake, nor did he show anger over the evil deeds committed by the other people.”