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Accepting Reality

Ayatollah Jafar SubhaniThe Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) used to assess the enemies and their power before waging a war against the polytheists and idol-worshippers. He used to gather relevant information before starting a campaign. The facts were sometimes unpleasant too, but he never considered the strength of the enemy insignificant or worth ignoring. He never deceived himself or the Muslims through wishful thinking by saying, for instance, that we will finish the enemy with a single assault or will push them into the sea instantly.

Ayatollah Jafar SubhaniWe must accept the reality or truth, as it does not matter whether it is in our interest or against us. We must never imagine the reality to be always in our favor.

Every person should have a lens that can show him the facts honestly, and he too should view them honestly, without any prejudice.

Those who want to spread corruption in society always create rumors to satisfy their mean souls. So as a result of continuously deceiving their hearts, they tend to believe their own lies, making their minds blind.

On August 6th, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which has become the world’s unforgettable city due to this unfortunate event. The bomb afflicted 150,000 people. Its population – which was 344,000 in 1940 – was reduced to only 286 in 1953. Three days later a bomb fell on another Japanese city, this time the city of Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered a week later. The whole world condemned the beastly act of America, because of which hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children were mercilessly massacred. This barbarous deed is unprecedented in world history. It was President Truman who had ordered this bombing, whose heart began to trouble his mind thereafter. All the peace lovers of the world condemned Truman whose status was reduced to dust. The world called him a killer instead of a diplomat.

Now let us see how Truman had viewed this event and how he was deceiving his soul, distorting the truth and trying to present poison as nectar. He said: “I had issued this order to save millions of American soldiers. If the bombs had not been deployed, the U.S. army would have had to attack the shores of Japan, which was very secure with military arrangements. Thus it would have been a furious battle in which the Japanese too would have suffered much.”

These are the words of an ex-president of America, but even a layman can understand that Truman was deceiving himself through false arguments. He did not want to see the reality. Moreover, he had been thinking that his prestige remained intact and his popularity also unharmed, but very soon he tested the fruits of his folly. Freedom lovers of the world threw him out of the field of politics and public life, and this stain remained on him forever.

Businessmen, diplomats and other people can succeed in their fields only when they see their conditions truthfully and without any bias. It is necessary for a good trader to listen to the criticism made by the customer about his merchandise, or about the way he conducts business, with a cool mind and full attention and thereafter to remove the objectionable things. Similarly, it is necessary for a diplomat to consider people’s objections properly. Without proper understanding he should not brand the people’s movements as self-motivated struggles. He should not try to suppress people’s voices by alleging that they are anarchists or lawless. Politicians should always remember that only by loving the truth and appreciating it can a nation be made stable, and their politics secure. Truthfulness is the first condition.

The student who loves progress tolerates the teacher’s scolding happily. When he gets fewer marks he never alleges that the teacher was partial; rather, he pays attention and examines his own self and his method of study. Possibly the truth was that he himself had made mistakes and faults. Such understanding of truth will serve him as a ladder to future success.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) used to assess the enemies and their power before waging a war against the polytheists and idol-worshippers. He used to gather relevant information before starting a campaign. The facts were sometimes unpleasant too, but he never considered the strength of the enemy insignificant or worth ignoring. He never deceived himself or the Muslims through wishful thinking by saying, for instance, that we will finish the enemy with a single assault or will push them into the sea instantly.

In the battle of Badr, Muslim spies captured a soldier of the polytheist Quraysh on the well of Badr and brought him to the Holy Prophet. They had not, ’til then, known the number of the enemy forces.

The Holy Prophet asked him, “How many camels are being slaughtered by the Quraysh daily?”

The captured man replied, “Sometimes nine, sometimes ten.” The Holy Prophet said, “The enemy’s strength is between nine hundred and one thousand men.”

The 6-day war between the Arabs and the Israelis in June of 1967 ended in the defeat of the Arabs. It is painful to state that very few have confessed this bitter truth only because it is bitter. The fact is that the cause of the defeat was that the heads of the Arab states and their internal and external supporters, instead of making a correct and truthful assessment, continued to sing and broadcast war songs. Had they done so, they would have never faced such a humiliating defeat unparalleled in human history.

Indeed, doubt is a ladder to surety and trust. So long as a man does not develop doubt about anything, he does not care to make inquires and act seriously.

Similarly, objection and criticism are also ladders leading to perfection. Successful is one who listens to people’s criticism carefully. He takes into account every criticism, which has been made selflessly with an intention of improvement. The truth is that the true reflection of man and his defects are seen in the mirror of public criticism.

Jamshed made the Jam-e-Jahan Numa (world reflector cup) only because he was not aware of the truth that the world itself is a Jaam (cup) exhibiting itself.

We should remember that Imam Ja’far (peace be upon him) has said, “Dearest to me among my brothers is the one who presents to me my shortcomings and thus makes me aware of my defects.”

In the eyes of our great leaders, the best gift is to show the defects of people to them in the nicest possible manner. In today’s free world, criticism is the foundation of life. The European world invites experts from other countries and entrusts governmental and other departments to them so that they may examine them and offer criticism.

One who feels bad hearing his criticism and who does not like to see the reality as it is and who dislikes knowing people’s opinion about him, should be told: Break thyself, as it is wrong to break the mirror, which reflects the real face.

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from the author’s book Secrets of Success, available online.

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One comment

  1. Asalamu alaykum,

    Thank you so much for your article it brings up a great point which we don’t often think about, it’s very true that often times it is very hard to accept the truth as, sometimes the truth is painful and in reality it takes courage and strength to accept the truth.

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