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Education and Willpower

Willpower and self-determination are primary intendments of Islamic mental education. First, Islam has been concerned with establishing a firm will, a constant determination, and a fixed spirit in the minds in order to save from drifting with the trends of occurrences, and challenge the seditious events. Islam has scorned extremely the languid and described them as dead. God says:
You do not make the dead hear, and do not make the deaf hear the call.

Islam bestows man with huge powers of determination and will to protect against the elements of weakness and fear. The Prophet (s) was the true exemplar of willpower and immense determination. He stood in firmness during struggling and resisting for the sake of his principals and goals. He behaved according to the Lord’s instructions, ignoring the problems and catastrophes. One hand was holding fast on the pennon of monotheism, while the other held the axe of destroying and ruining the ideas, customs, and traditions of Jahilism. Meanwhile, he was calling out to man’s dignity and rights. At the same time, all of the powers of polytheism and atheism were standing against him in one hand. He had no single supporter except Abu Talib his uncle --the believer of Quraish and the protector of Islam. The Quraishi chiefs threatened and menaced Abu Talib if the Prophet would not stop his advocacy. The Prophet answered his uncle who carried the chiefs’ words to him, “O uncle! If they position the sun in my right hand and the moon in the left for leading me to leave this advocacy, I will not respond till I perish or God will triumph.”

By such a giant willpower and great determination, the Prophet (s) overcame all of the problems. He demolished the pagans, ended the potentials of polytheism, and blasted the cells of Jahilism, and raised God’s word aloft on the earth and established a new life of firm right and strict justice.
The Prophet fed his companions with this remarkable trend to change their few numbers into mountains of dignity and fortification. They resisted the huge parties and defeated the armies of polytheism. They did never abscond in the battlefields until they conquered the countries and raised the Islamic banner on most of the provinces on this earth.

This handsome will was represented by the higher commander of Islam and the door of the Prophet’s city of knowledge- Imam Ali (a), the champion of the great conquests. He decapitated the polytheists, and overcame and subjected the Jews. He said, “I will never abscond even all of the Arabs collaborated against me.”

This giant willpower is a part of God’s will that rejects subduing, humiliation, slavery, and surrender. This will was visibly manifested by Imam al-Hussein (a)- the Prophet’s grandson and the father of the noble ones. He stood on the land of Kerbala despite the scantiness of supporters, and faced the armies of polytheism and deviation to dictate his will on them. He said, “I will not give you with my hand like the humble, nor will I submit to you like the slaves. I certainly consider death as happiness, and consider living with the wrongdoers as discontent.”

He then walked to the field of death, along with the virtuous men of his household, to deliver the best lessons of willpower, hard belief, and sacrifice for God’s sake to the world entirely.

Man’s value lies in his willpower, without which humanity is lost. A French philosopher says, “Nothing is more sticking to man’s personality than will.”

Willpower influences completely man’s composition and immortality. The weak-willed can never achieve any individual or social aim. Emerson says, “Willpower is the secret of success which is the goal of existence. The willpower of the famous personalities, such as Napoleon, Crenate and Alexander, was the reason beyond their immortality. Other personalities were known of their situations of humiliation because of their hesitation and ill self-determination. It is impossible to participate in the life conflict and expect triumph without the possession of willpower.”. It is an aspect of independent personality that contributes in making the human history and ignores impossibility. Napoleon answered, when he was told of the existence of the Alps in his way, “There will not be Alps there.” The worst words Napoleon hated to hear were ‘Impossible’ and ‘I cannot.’

It is worthy mentioning in this regard that Islam has specified willpower and giant self-determination as terms of selecting the rulers. The weak-willed are prevented from managing Muslims’ affairs since they may cause dangers, vanish the prestige of leadership, and cause mutiny and disobedience.

Lack of willpower:

Individuals that lack willpower will surely waste their personalities and their fancies will overcome. They will surely yield to their lusts and fling in lowly fields of vices such as consuming intoxicants, gambling, and committing all of the colors of sins. They will also relinquish to laziness and sloth that result in many problems and calamities.

Maturity of willpower:

Ethicists affirm that the treatment of the lack of willpower is the commitment to hard and arduous works that empower and help in overcoming the difficulties. Within the factors that increase the willpower is the exertion of all efforts. Hence, we should never show any delinquency in any duty that we should act. Islam has also called for this quality. God says:

And if you determine, rely upon God.

As well, considering the deeds of the great men of history is a means of arousing willpower, since those men could not achieve their success and change the history unless they enjoyed a high willpower that incited to do virtues.

Free will:

Islam has granted each individual the free will that enables in controlling all of the desires and achieving all of the expectations. Islam has banned from obstructing the individual wills except those that are used for sinning and perpetrating illegalities or harming others. Such wills should be interdicted and resisted for the sake of preserving the publics. In our ‘Political system in Islam’, I have referred to this point in detail.

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

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