The Marvellous Effects of Trust in God
Self-reliance is not only not contrary to trust in God, the reliance one places in the Lord of the universe and the faith one has in the eternal Divine power strengthen and develop one's personality.
The human being having faith, while possessing the assets of self- reliance and an independent personality, utilises all the available opportunities and means fully and carefully. He does not waste any opportunity, but, at the same time, he does not confine his spirit within the walls of material causes and factors. His humanity is not limited by them.
Rather, his horizons are always open, to ascend to newer heights, and the scope of his activity is wide and extensive. That is because a part of his spiritual vigour and activity are devoted to higher purposes of life.
The human being with a heart full of faith relies upon God, Who directs all affairs with His infinite power and has no partner or collaborator in any of His works.
Whatsoever mercy God opens to men, none can withhold, and whatsoever He withholds, none can release after His withholding it, and He is Almighty, All-wise. (35:2)
Where can man find a refuge that is beyond the realm of God's power? Taking refuge in something other than God will have no result except disappointment and humiliation. How can any creature be master and arbiter of others' affairs, while it itself stands in need of God for everything, and owns nothing that pertains to itself, and has no power that is its own, nor is capable of offering refuge to anyone?
Accordingly, there is nothing more appropriate for the human being than seeking to live under the shadow of support and grace of God, who regulates all matters with His might and wisdom. Humility before God, at all times, in hardship and ease, and the conviction that the infinite power of God is above all ordinary powers, causes, and factors, that it rules and governs everything, give a wonderful strength to the spirit. It creates such a confidence and peacefulness within man's heart and soul that one would not be swept away by events and lose one's human equilibrium and worth, or be oppressed by anything big or small.
When one surrenders one's soul and mind to God, to the degree that one is capable of, one becomes infused with a spirit of submission to God and resignation towards His decrees. Then he neither complains of unpleasant events nor is carried away or made proud by his success. He is not affected by things that bewilder others and leave an undesirable effect on them. Due to their steady determination and spirit filled with confidence they would not submit to despair and desperation, which are so often the source of defeat and failure.
Reliance upon God never leads to any kind of weakness or indifference. Rather, it gives a self-confidence that strengthens the will and removes all traces of doubt and vacillation from the heart.
The unrelenting struggles of men of God in the face of unfavourable circumstances and against the destructive elements and degenerate ideas in their communities, derived their strength from the infinite Truth. They sought the help of this invisible agent for pursuing their plans of reform and guidance of the people. That is because their souls had an unbreakable bond with the indestructible power of God and then pursued their goals resolutely to the very end.
A self-reliance that is devoid of reliance on God cannot deliver the human spirit from agitation and anguish under hard and debilitating circumstances. Hardships and unfavourable factors of life shatter the spirit of those who lack trust in God and whose vision does not go beyond matter and corporeal reality. A feeling of gloom builds up within them and in such an oppressive state they cannot make the ascent towards perfection and edification and perceive truths which are greatly sublime and luminous. A crushing feeling of anguish settles upon them at encounter with unwanted events of the smallest significance, or they are shattered by catastrophic hardships of life.
This point becomes clear when we observe the spirit and conditions of Muslims during the early era of Islam, for they were the best symbol and example of trust in and reliance upon God. One does not observe any impotence, lethargy, or a negative indifference in those who make sacrifices for the advancement of their faith and work for their goals. Relentless effort, under the most difficult and taxing conditions, for building a new, prosperous society was their patent method. Those who have been brought up in this dynamic school of thought never succumb to loss of confidence. It was this steadiness of resolve and a composed and confident spirit that paved the path of their progress and led to the emergence of such a unique and matchless society in world's history.
Everyone should evaluate his situation in life and identify the road he has chosen through the terrain of existence. He should find out whether he is going towards felicity and goodness or towards wretchedness and deprivation. By identifying one's spiritual needs, one can effectively resist the conditions and factors that disturb one's spiritual equilibrium, not allowing harmful elements to accumulate and consolidate their strength. However, when it becomes evident that someone's being has been overshadowed by some inadequacy or defect, it is not possible to devise a basic remedy until the source of that inadequacy has been traced within the depths of the victim's soul.
Those who are victims of lack of confidence are afraid of starting on any venture due to their fear of failure. The best remedy is to find the causes of this spiritual defect, for identification of causes of any disease is essential for its treatment. In this way one can explore the depths of one's being and discover the key to one's cure. Without doubt, the effort that is made to overcome one's inadequacies yields remarkable results, for man has the capacity to wage a consistent struggle against unhealthy spiritual factors.
Every bad habit is the sign of a weakness that comes about as the result of repetitive behaviour and takes the form of a harmful and chronic disease. Though at first it seems difficult to change a habit, but it is possible to alter one's habits through exercise and effort. Every harmful habit that is overcome is to be counted as a great victory on the path of attaining to human merit and sublime spiritual qualities. Imam Ah, may Peace be upon him, said:
It is by overcoming bad habits that man can rise to the higher stations. 23
23. Ghurar al-hikam wa durar al-kalim
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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