STARTING POINT

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Principles of Life

When the Prophet of Islam left his hometown in Makkah and emigrated to Medina, these words were on his lips: “Makkah, my dear and beauti­ful town. If my people had not expelled me, I would never have lived anywhere else.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 4, Book 25, Hadith 3108)

The Prophet resigned himself to being deprived of his beloved country and the result was that Madinah became a powerful center of Islam. If, instead of emigrating to Madinah, he had followed the policy of head-on confrontation with the people of Makkah, the history of Islam would have ended before it had begun. Its first step forward would have been its last.

To resign oneself to loss is truly the most intelligent action, and to fail to do so is sheer folly. Here lies the secret of success and failure, both in this world and the next.

To reconcile oneself to loss amounts to accepting matters as they truly are. When an individual accepts matters as they really are, he knows from where to begin his work.

If, on the other hand, he does not accept situations as they are, he will work to achieve things which are never going to come his way.

On hearing this, the shortsighted will say that a person or nation which is in a deprived state at present should accept the depravity forever. But such thoughts spring from complete unfamiliarity with the ways of life. Life is an evolving reality in which nothing remains static. When a person resigns himself to occupying his real position–it is as though he is putting himself in a situation where life’s evolutionary capacity can be activated. He can then proceed to the next stage in life. Those who reconcile themselves to loss, know their starting point and to know one’s starting point is the greatest secret behind arriving at his destination.

As Otto von Bismarck, a German statesman puts it: “Politics is the art of the possible.” This means that we should start with what is possible today. Only then will we achieve tomorrow what seems impossible today. If, on the other hand, we start from the impossible, our journey will never get under way. The possible will elude us, and the impossible too.