Everyone must weigh the consequences before deciding to do something and he must always take his own self-respect and personal honour into consideration. Those whose intellects are extinguished and whose spirits are dark submit to every kind of ignominy and slavery for the sake of the meanest of goals and they do not refrain from anything in order to attain their petty goals. But are such goals worthy of an honourable human being?
Once a man requested the Noble Messenger, may God bless him and his Household, to give him counsel. The Prophet accepted his request but asked him, `Do you promise to be careful to act according to my advice?" "Yes, I promise," he replied. Thrice the Prophet put this question to him, and after taking his pledge and drawing his full attention to the importance of the matter, he told him: `Whenever you decide to do something, think about its consequences and reflect over the matter. If its consequences appear to be good and proper, pursue it until you get results. But if the consequences appear to be devious and destructive, refrain from carrying out your decision and from performing that act." A European scholar writes
One should carefully examine the pros and cons of an action before it is carried out, to see whether the desired goal is worth the effort and sacrifice. Views and opinions differ in this regard, and everyone considers one's goals as better and superior to those of others, and as Marcus says, "The spider is as happy to catch a fly as a hunter to capture a deer in the desert."
Accordingly, everyone has his own goals. Fame should be accompanied by honour, otherwise by itself it is of no use. In bygone days there were some persons who were as famous for being scoundrels as much as the sun is known for its light and the fire for its heat. But what did they get out of this fame except curses and denunciation?
The great men who spent their lives in propagating justice and human merit and for the advancement of civilisation are immortal, and time cannot diminish their greatness. This kind of persons transcend space and time by virtue of their brilliant deeds. In all ages and eras their name is on the tongues of men and their memory is inscribed in their hearts and the repute of their greatness reaches new heights every day.
History has nothing to do with the bodies of famous men, but it preserves their spirit in the amber of their beneficial deeds. Men of deeds have a will, sublime like the mountain peaks and a spirit as great as the ocean. Their determination overtakes everything in its stride and their spirit encompasses everything. They do not know despair and give no significance to defeat and, aside from all this, they have a perspicacity of mind. They recognise opportunities when they arise and know how to use them, for opportunity is like a wild deer which does not return once it is lost. 18
18. John Lubbock Baron Aveberry, Persian trans by Abul Qasim Payendeh, Dar aghosh-e khushbakhti, pp. 114-115.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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