Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Speaking Tree Blog | Oct 19, 2020
While crossing rivers, small animals generally swim across and larger lightweight animals swiftly walk over. But watch an elephant who is about to make the crossing. He does not step out briskly like other creatures. First, he tests the riverbed for hardness or softness, making sure not to put his whole weight on his forefoot. When he is sure of his foothold, he sets forth. Even once launched, his progress is slow for he is still afraid of becoming irremediably stuck in soft mud. He proceeds with caution, testing the riverbed at every step.
Who taught the elephant to tread with such caution? Surely it must have been God who gave him his instinct for survival, thus setting upon him His seal of divine approval. God has given us this example to show us that when there are signs of danger on our path, we should not advance care¬lessly, but should move with similar caution gauging the nature of the “ground ahead”.
Man is endowed with greater brain power than the elephant. No one lights a fire near reserves of gun powder. No engine driver is careless in shunting petrol buggies. But most of us tend to forget that this is a principle to be followed in social life as well. Every society is com¬prised of a variety of people who create different types of environ¬ment. In every society there are ‘marshy places’, there is ‘petrol’, there are ‘thorns’ and there are ‘pits’. The wise are those who try to avoid such difficult, even explosive situations; thus, saving themselves from the trammels of confrontation.
Those who have some goal or the other before them, never allow themselves to become enmeshed in such situations because that would mean being diverted from their objective. A purposeful man always looks ahead to the future, straight forward and not towards right or left. He always thinks of long-lasting consequences rather than momentary considerations. He looks at things not from the point of view of personal desires and whims, but from the point of view of reality.