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Education and Courage

Courage is one of the significant constituents of the conspicuous personality because it provokes on self-control and endurance in states of dangers, and saves against collapsing in calamities. Islam has spared no efforts for seeding this quality in the souls and caring for it in the thorough mental and educational aspects. Thus, it has driven Muslims to the battlefields and the terrains of sacrifice and offertory to the right, for guarding their principals and goals. In the first eras of Islam, Muslims showed no dearth in joining the battles with consonant determination and giant will that qualified them, despite of their little number, to defeat the powers of polytheism. The Islamic history has abounded with the unparalleled championship. Imam Ali (a) cited the most engaging example of courage. None of the ancient and modern history considered a man more courageous and consonant than him. He was the star of the celebrated situations and the distinguished standings in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Ahzab, and Khyber. No single hair of him was terrified by such nauseous situations when he strove for God’s sake consistently and recorded that file of heroism in struggling the atheists in their lands and opposed them openly. He said, “The great numbers of the surrounding people will not increase my fortification, and their dissension will not make me desolate. I will not submit even all of the people let me down.”

Imam Ali’s heroic situations comprised the languages of this world. Thence, he was the founder of the most splendid pictures of courage in the whole world. Imam al-Hussein, being a copy of his father, has elevated in this bright field. He has become the leader of the Islamic liberal and combative movements. He received spears and swords while he was standing like an exalted mountain to deliver to the generations the lessons of dignity, haughtiness, and self-denial. He disregarded those heartbreaking catastrophes that resulted in the massacre of his sons, brothers, and darlings, in addition to the horrible adversities of harsh thirst and the screams of his harem and children. All these tear-jerking distresses did not hinder his striving and struggle. He kept on fighting invariably until he met the Exalted Lord with full endurance. The Imam’s great attitude recorded the greatest triumphs of Islam that remained lively and illuminative to open the paths of struggle for freedom and independence to people.

Aspects of courage:

The most important natural aspects of courage are as follows:

- The preservation of the natural state and equanimity, and the avoidance of hesitation during disputations and exchanging opinions and defending the beliefs

- Overcoming the countering difficulties and taking steps in the path of reforming the faults of people’s lives and beliefs

- Declaring the right and the bravery in the face of the evils for the sake of exalting the wording of the right

Ethical courage:

Ethical courage stands for declaring the right bravely. It also stands for the self-denial. Islam has adopted this very meaning in its educational aspects. Muslims are required to express the right under any circumstance. The Prophet said, “Say the truth even if it injures your own personality.” “Care not for any blame in the field of saying the truth.” Within his precepts to Imam al-Hassan his son, Imam Ali says, “Engage in the right wherever it is.” the Prophet (s) warned the nation against concealing the truth before the tyrants and the unjust. He said, “My nation will be vilipended if they fear of declaring the wrong deeds of the unjust.”

Abu Therr al-Ghefari was the most famous in the field of declaring the right and criticizing the evil. Induced by the revelation of the Islamic doctrine, he went on denying the Umayyad policy when they deviated and went astray. He used to threaten Othman and call for revolting against him.

Abu Therr’s call was originated from a heart that cognized Islam thoroughly and understood its goals and factuality. He denied Othman’s policies of acting fraudulently in the nation’s destiny when he usurped its fortune to provide them to the celebrities and the rich individuals while starvation attacked people all over the state. Sayyid Qutb says, “Abu Therr’s call was one of the Islamic thrusts that the corrupt-hearted denied. Presently, the likes of such individuals –such as the packs of the colonialists- are still denying the calls of right. It was a call of arousing the consciences that are uncontrolled by greed in front of the harsh inflation of the riches in a way of classifying Muslims into various categories and demolishing the bases that Islam came for reforming.”.

Abu Therr conducted very bravely when he showed his intense denial and indignation on Othman who exiled him to Rabatha where he was deceased due to starvation. Meanwhile, Othman grasped the riches to spend them generously on the Umayyads and the sons of Muit, and withheld from this notable companion, who was likened, by the Prophet, to Jesus (a) in guidance and straightness.
Shiite leaders also possessed such huge amount of bravery and audacity. They did not submit to the persecution and severity of the unjust ruling authorities. They pushed forwardly for exalting God’s word and renouncing corruption and evil. Abdullah bin Afif al-Azdi, the acquaintance of Imam Ali, revolted against Ubeidullah bin Ziad, the tyrant murderer, when the latter addressed a speech after the killing of Imam al-Hussein, the Prophet’s grandson. Before Ubeidullah had finished his speech, the man answered him with words sharper than new swords. He said, “The liar is most surely you and your father, and that who appointed you and his father. O, you slave of the barbarous! You killed the sons of the prophets, and ascended on the Muslims’ pulpits. Where are the sons of Muhajirs and Ansar to revenge you and your tyrant chief-- the cursed and son of the cursed? –He refers to Yazid and Muawiya whom were cursed by the Prophet (s)-”

Al-Kumeit bin Ziad, the poet, was another example of the revolution against the wrongdoers. He satirized roughly the Umayyad kings and praised the Alawids. He said:

“They –the Alawids- are chiefs unlike those who see no difference between leading people and leading sheep. They are unlike Abdul-Melik, al-Walid, Suleiman and Husham*.”

He also satirized Husham the tyrant as well as the Umayyad kings. He said, “His words are the prophets’, while his deeds are the Jahilites’**.” “Tell the Umayyads wherever they were, though you fear swords: May God starve those whom you feed, and saturate those whom you starved due to your injustice.”

Those kings exceeded in persecuting and oppressing our poet, but he was exceeding in adhering to his belief and principals.

On the theatre of Shism, another poet emerged. He was al-Farazdaq, who criticized and reprimanded the Umayyads and upheld the Prophet’s progeny --the real people of the Islamic right and justice. The most remarkable situation of this poet was praising Imam Zeinul abidin and denigrating Husham bin Abdul-Melik, the Umayyad king, who pretended he had not known the Imam. Al-Farazdaq said, “This is the one whose steps are realized even by the deserts. The holy House, the legality, and the precincts realize him, too. This is the son of the best of God’s servants.

This is the pious, the pure, the sanitary, and the master. Your asking about his personality does by no means prejudice him. The Arabs and the non-Arabs know him.”

The poet went on praising the Imam in such an unprecedented wording. Consequently, he had to encounter the Umayyads’ irritation and punishment. Nevertheless, this persecution did not stop him. He satirized Husham and kept on referring to the Umayyads’ defects. He said, “He is nodding the head which has never been a master’s head. He has a crossed eye of manifest defects.”

Diibil al-Khuzai was surely the poet of the persecuted and the wronged ones. He declared the right and criticized the kings after they had exceeded in wronging and persecuting people. He satirized ar-Rashid, al-Amin, al-Mamun, al-Mutassim, and Ibrahim bin al-Mahdi. The most influential and consonant poetry was that addressed at al-Mutassim. He said, “Then came an unguided leader who lacked intellectuality and mind. The Abbasid kings are seven as it was predicted in the ancient books. No single book has referred to an eighth one. This is similar to the people of the cave, who were seven individuals. They were virtuous. Their eighth was their dog. I exalt their dog to you, because you are sinful while it was not.”

This giant man used the notable religion and the belief that he embraced for antagonizing the unjust rulers, who wrung from this nation’s affairs, persecuted, and debasing people. None could declare the right word and defend the miserable and the deprived except Diibil and his faithful brothers who stood against the ferocious waves to declare God’s word in the most horrible and suffering circumstances.

Women also had notable roles in the field of the moral courage. They contributed in supporting the right and conflicting the social injustice and oppression.

Suwada bint Imara-- the mistress of the Iraqi women- was the best example in this regard. As she was before Muawiya for complaining the injustice of the governor, the man realized her. He said, “It was you who said in the battle of Siffin*, ‘O son of Imara! Fight like your father on the days of fighting and the meeting of opponents. Support Ali, al-Hussein, and their party, and combat Hind** and her son degradingly. The Imam, who is the Prophet’s brother, is surely the sign of guidance and the minaret of believing. Lead the armies and walk under his pennon with your sharp sword and spear.’ You said these words, did not you?”

She embarked upon Muawiya with highly firmness and said, “Yes, by God. It was I. I do never disdain the right and provide false excuses.” This answer surprised Muawiya who asked for the reason that incited her to say that wording. “It was the love of Ali and the pursuance of the right,” she replied. “But I do not notice the effects of that love,” said Muawiya. “The head was deceased and the tail was amputated. You had better leave remembering the forgotten and repeating the past,” she worded, and cited her problem of the injustice that her people and she had to encounter due to the oppression of their governor. She then expressed, “May the Lord bless that body in that grave in which the justice was buried. He allied nothing but the right; hence, he was permanently mentioned with the right and belief.” “Who is that?” wondered Muawiya. “That was Ali bin abi Talib,” she answered. “What did he do to you to occupy such a situation in your heart?” asked Muawiya. The woman storied, “Ali was performing a prayer when I came to him to complain the tax-collector that he had appointed on our province. He finished his prayer and asked about my demand. When I told him the whole story, the Imam wept and supplicated to God, ‘O, Allah, thou know that I did not instruct them of wronging your servants or deserting the right.’ He then took a piece of skin out of his pocket and wrote down, ‘In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. An evidence from your Lord has come to you. Give full measure and weight fairly, and defraud not men their things, and do not act corruptly in the lands, making mischief. What remains with Allah is better for you if you are believers, and I am not a keeper over you. As soon as you read this missive, you should keep what is in your hands until a man that receives the position will arrive.’”

The story shocked Muawiya completely. He could not control his nerves when he said, “Son of abi-Talib suffused you with bravery and inveigled you by his saying, ‘If I am the doorkeeper of a paradise, I will surely welcome the people of Hamdan warmly.’”

The memorable situation of this noble mistress was one of the gifts of the Islamic spirit that never subdue to affronts and subjugation, and never succumb to wronging and injustice.

Adapted from the book: "The Educational System in Islam" by: "Baqir Sharif Al-Qireshi"

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