Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

We all are aware of the fact that there are disease causing bacteria and viruses. These bacteria and viruses can be fatal for a human being. Small they may be, invisible to the naked eye but they breed at such a furious rate that, given favourable conditions, one of their number can reproduce itself 10,000 times over within a mere matter of ten hours.

Their species run into thousands. We are fortunate, however, in that 99 percent are either beneficial or harmless. Though only one percent is harmful, its deadliness is such that it can claim the life of a man within a matter of seconds. Many fatal diseases, according to medical science, are produced by such micro-organisms. Their very lack of bulk makes it possible for them to enter the human system in ways against which man has no natural system of defence.

People are usually aware of big and obvious dangers, and imagine they must be responsible for all their misfortunes. But, if the truth were told, the harm done to us by these tiny living organisms far surpasses any havoc our bigger enemies can wreak on our physical health.

In the same way in matters of our intellectual health there is great harm from those seemingly insignificant and often short-lived moments of neglect—moments when timely action was our duty, when approval needed to be given or withheld, when advice or help or self-appraisal was needed, and we let the occasion slip by, heedless of the consequences. Easy going negligence can creep into our souls, like bacteria into the body, and if not pulled up short, can become an ingrained attitude, leading to moral corrosion.

A negligent attitude permits people to fritter away their time, day after day, with no thought for the future. Similarly, they squander substantial portions of their income. This wasted time and pointless expenditure may seem a trivial matter, if it is just a question of one day—a few hours and a few rupees don’t seem to add up to much. But if one were to calculate the time and money thus wasted in one year and then in a whole lifetime, it would become clear that a large percentage of one’s life and earnings had been squandered in vain pursuits. Take the total wastage of a whole nation and the loss assumes such enormous proportions that it goes quite beyond the imagination. Should we not take this into consideration seriously?

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